With two starting offensive linemen out for Sunday's game against the Rams after they went down with serious injuries last week, rookie offensive lineman David Snow will get his first start at either guard or center.
The former Texas Longhorn is known as a versatile lineman, as he spent time at all three interior positions in college starting 14 times at center, five at right guard and 13 at left guard. Snow admitted the variety of spots he's experienced gives him an edge.
"Whenever you can play all three inside positions you understand what everybody is doing on the field," Snow said. "It definitely gives you perspective that someone that is locked in one position might not have."
The 6-4, 305 pound lineman has played in every game since Week 6 after he was placed on the 53-man roster from the practice squad, but it's been primarily on special teams. Teammate and starting right guard Kraig Urbik has split time with Snow at the center position during practice, after starting center Eric Wood went down with a torn MCL last game. Urbik said he thinks Snow is prepared for either position come Sunday.
"He's been here all year whether it's been on the practice squad or the active roster," Urbik said. "He's been doing a lot of guard work and center work. He's been getting a lot of work with that. I think he feels comfortable at either position. It's just communication and knowing where we're going."
St. Louis comes into Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday ranking 12th in total defense. Robert Quinn and Chris Long, the Rams starting defensive ends have combined for 15.5 sacks this season, accounting for just under half of the team's total of 34 on the year.
"Probably the biggest challenge we've had all year," said head coach Chan Gailey.
"With the quality of players they have on their front, they play so hard and so fast. They're quick and strong. They're as good a defensive line as we have faced all season. We have our work cut out for us with two new guys on our offensive line. It's a challenge for our football team."
Snow admitted how impressive the Rams defense has performed as they rank tied for fourth in the league in total sacks.
"It's a good challenge," Snow said. "They're really good up front and they have fast flowing linebackers that make a lot of plays. You have to give a lot of credit to them for what they've done this year. It'll be a good test."
And if Snow inside, and Young on the edge need some help in pass protection, running back Fred Jackson noted the tight ends and backs are aware they may have to lend a hand at times.
"It's something that we'll be aware of," Jackson said. "We would like to see what those guys can do, though. We're going to have some things in the game plan where we may be doing some things over there, chipping here and there, but I think that will be dictated by how they handle it. If they're doing fine, we'll let those guys handle it on themselves, and just do what we do. If we feel like we have to get over there and give Fitz a little bit more time back there, it's something we're accustomed to doing and it won't be hard for us to adjust to that."
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick added that he has enough confidence in Snow that he'll get the job done.
"Looked like he did OK," Fitzpatrick said in reference to Snow's relief performance last week against Jacksonville. "We just had some run plays called, but he was pretty excited to be out there. He was pretty excited. He had that young energy jumping around. He has to go in there and play. Luckily he has been here pretty much throughout the year so that will be OK in terms of knowing the system."