The Rams signed Barry Richardson in May, just to add a little depth.
Now, he could be replacing a former No. 2 overall pick.
Richardson’s working with the Rams’ first offensive line at right tackle, in the place of Jason Smith, the second pick of the 2009 Draft.
“I’m a little surprised,” Richardson said to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Most would be.
Even though Smith hasn’t played since suffering a concussion last October, it’s a swift fall for a guy picked so high, so recently. Richardson passed him last week, started the preseason opener and was back with the ones in practice this week.
“Any time you create a competitive situation, you want to be able to evaluate it fairly,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a decision before too long.”
Smith’s already taken a huge pay cut to stay, and his current status would make his future beyond this season a no-brainer. But sometimes coaches just try to light fires under players, especially ones they don’t know and didn’t draft.
Smith seems like he understands the situation, and how close he is to joining the scrap heap of history. He said he was grateful to be back on the field after being carted off in Dallas last fall, and sounded like a man taking the appropriate steps.
“For me, there’s still some things I’m working out to get better at,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, I want to be where I’m supposed to be. I don’t want to be a guy that’s on the field not knowing where to go or not having the right technique.
“And everything that’s happened to me as far as — I think the word is being demoted. Is demoted the word I’m looking for? Demoted to the ’2s,’ or not working with the starters. I mean, that’s great. I need to earn the job. I need to be accountable when I’m on the field, in the huddle.”
If not, he’ll be elsewhere in 2013, if not sooner.