St. Louis Rams OL Barrett Jones Expected to Make Season Debut Sunday


After a frustrating back injury which has kept him out of action since the first week of training camp and required surgery in mid-August, St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Barrett Jones is expected to make his return to the gameday roster on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

The second-year lineman’s anticipated debut will be the latest development in what has been somewhat of a youth movement for the Rams over the past week, as first-rounders Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald both started for the first time against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, while third-rounder Tre Mason made his NFL debut and fourth-rounder Maurice Alexander dressed for his first home game.

Under normal circumstances, the 24-year-old Jones probably would have been given a few more weeks to practice and get back into shape before dressing for a game, if he even made his way onto the 46-man gameday roster. But in a rather strange turn of events, backup center Tim Barnes suffered a shoulder injury while playing special teams. That injury is expected to keep him out of action on Sunday, so Jones, who just went through his first full week of practice after doing limited work for the past several weeks, should serve as the backup center in his place.

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Jones, a fourth-rounder in last year’s draft, was expected to contribute to the Rams as a depth player in rather short order due to his ability to play every position on the offensive line. Unfortunately, he has been held back by injuries for nearly his entire professional career thus far. Jones was held back by his recovery from a lisfranc injury last season, as he missed out on key preseason reps and was unable to stay in good shape. As a result, he ended up as an inactive for the Rams’ first 13 games until a season-ending injury to starting center Scott Wells necessitated Jones’ presence on the active roster as Barnes’ backup for the final three games.

Jones will likely be behind another versatile backup, Mike Person, in the pecking order when it comes to filling Barnes’ roles on special teams and in the Rams’ heavy jumbo goal line package. Nevertheless, we should see him get a few plays on Sunday, most likely as a blocker on the field goal/extra point team.