The St. Louis Rams have a good problem at the offensive tackle position, as they have found themselves two capable starters at right tackle in Rodger Saffold and Joe Barksdale. Saffold made his return in last week’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, but he wasn’t immediately inserted as a starter. That’s because Barksdale did an exceptional job filling in for Saffold while he was out with a knee injury, and Barksdale and Saffold were instead used in an even split at right tackle.
ESPN NFL Nation’s Nick Wagoner reports that the Rams will continue to use something of an even rotation at the position this week, and I wonder how long this will last. The Seattle Seahawks should expect to see plenty of both Barskdale and Saffold out there on the field, and Barksdale’s rise in Saffold’s absence has been a terrific occurrence for the Rams. With Saffold set to hit free agency after this season and looking for a left tackle-type deal, the emergence of Barksdale makes the future much easier for the Rams. It would have taken far too much money to sign Saffold, who has big ambitions, but the Rams can feel confident that he can be replaced with the way Barksdale has played this year.
Against the Panthers last week, Barksdale played 31 snaps and Saffold played 30, but Saffold did look significantly better. Expect Barksdale to improve this week, and the right tackle position is a very interesting storyline for the St. Louis Rams going forward.