Rams line decimated

The St. Louis Rams head to town this weekend and have a mountain of problems on the offensive line, boding quite well for the San Diego Chargers. One name who is coming along is Alex Barron.

First-round pick Alex Barron is finally in camp after signing a five-year contract Aug. 12. The question is how soon he can play.

"From what we saw of him in minicamp, he had a long ways to go," coach Mike Martz said. "You don't ever want to box the guy in -- tell him he can't do this or that. But it's going to take him some time just to learn what we do. No matter how good he is.

"(But) there's no way in the world, he'll be ready for the opener. I don't care who you are, there's just too much stuff to learn that he's missed. Which is really unfortunate, and that's been lost somehow in these things. It's just too bad, really. But hey, it's done. What's done is done, let's move on."

Barron was out of uniform, but on the sideline for the team's game against the Chicago Bears the same day he signed. Afterward, Barron said, "I'm just here to get out there and learn as much as I can as quick as I can. After that, you know, we'll just see what happens. It's an extreme playbook. I mean, it's an extreme team. That's one of the things that comes with an NFL team, period. It's a lot to process, that's all."

With Barron absent and Orlando Pace and Grant Williams injured, Matt Willig played most of the game against the Bears at left tackle, while converted guard Rex Tucker was the right tackle for all of the game. Willig had just four practices with the team before playing extensively against the Bears.

"We're still kind of a taped-together group in the offensive line," Martz said. "We had to play some guys throughout the (entire) game. We just didn't have anybody. But that'll change next week. I think we're going to get some of these guys back."

One of those is Pace, who has been held out of work as a precaution because of a quadriceps injury. Williams might also return this week.

Right guard Adam Timmerman, who underwent off-season surgery on his shoulders and foot, isn't expected to play until the final preseason game against Kansas City.

Tucker has been a guard his entire career and started camp as the Rams' left guard. But he struggled, and when rookie Claude Terrell looked so natural at the position, Tucker was moved to right tackle after Williams suffered a back injury.

"It's a work in progress," Tucker said of his work at tackle. "I am learning on the run. I am just doing the best I can trying to learn all the stuff. I hope it works out. It's a different kind of timing and footwork and all that kind of stuff."

Still, the wild card could be Barron, if he can use his athleticism to overcome any problems with knowing the offense.

"I'm ready to get it on," he said.


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