Barnes Is Next Man Up For Rams’ Offensive Line

Posted Dec 4, 2013

Tim Barnes has long prided himself on his level of preparedness.

The second-year center, who has appeared mostly on special teams while serving as the primary backup to veteran Scott Wells, had that quality tested last week, when he was thrust to the top of the depth chart following Wells’ departure after a broken fibula. Barnes played the final 44 offensive snaps against San Francisco.

Barnes credited his serviceable showing in San Francisco to the same mental preparation he has entered each game with since joining the Rams’ 53-man roster last year.

“Obviously, I was a little rusty, but I was pleased with myself overall,” Barnes said. “It’s difficult, but I knew that was a possibility. As a backup, that’s what you get yourself ready for, because in a moment’s notice, you’re in the game. It wasn’t really a surprise.”

Barnes will be appearing in his 28th NFL game on Sunday, though most of that work has come on coverage and return units. By playing the entire second half against the 49ers, Barnes saw more playing time than at any point since training camp. His first start in the NFL will come on Sunday, two years after joining the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

“He played pretty well,” Fisher said of Barnes. “Tim, he’s a pro, he prepares. He gets a minimal amount of reps on the practice field, and he played well with (C) Scott (Wells) being down. Scott’s going to be down for four to six (weeks) now, so Tim will be our guy.”

What Barnes won’t need is much time to build a rapport with QB Kellen Clemens. With both opening the season second on the depth chart at their respective positions, Clemens and Barnes have gained plenty of familiarity in working together on the scout team over the past two seasons.

“The good news is, I’ve been taking snaps from Barnes for a couple of years,” Clemens said. “We didn’t hardly even take any snaps at halftime last week and didn’t have any problems, so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”

The Rams have seen the depth of their offensive line challenged at multiple times this year, as they have contended with injuries to T/G Rodger Saffold and G Harvey Dahl for extended periods of time. T Joe Barksdale and G Shelley Smith were called upon early on to fill the voids left by Saffold and Dahl. Now with Wells likely out for the year, Barnes becomes the latest Rams’ reserve lineman to receive an extended look in the regular season.

“I’ve got an opportunity here and I’m going to do the best I can,” Barnes said. “I don’t need to worry about if I’m ready. I’ve been there, I’ve seen the looks all week. I’m ready.”