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Rams mailbag: Talking departed offensive linemen

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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams still haven't started organized team activities but they are moving ever closer. With the spring owners meetings in the rearview mirror, it's clear there's no shortage of things to talk about.

So let's not waste any more time in getting to Part II of this weekend's mailbag.

As always, you can find me @nwagoner on Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #RamsMail.

@nwagoner: This is pretty much the biggest question facing the Rams going into 2015. In my eyes, there isn't a single spot on the line that you can feel completely secure in right now. Even Greg Robinson and Rodger Saffold face their share of issues as Robinson has work to do to get up to speed at left tackle and injuries always loom large with Saffold. From there, as we sit right now, you have a competition at center and possibly two rookie starters in Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein. If everything comes together, it could be a very good run-blocking line, which is fine because that's who the Rams want to be. But I have a hard time seeing things coalesce that quickly for this group. There's going to be some growing pains for the youngsters, and if they lose Saffold or Robinson, it could get ugly.

@nwagoner: Well, there's no doubting the pedigree of either guy as a player. Weinke won a Heisman Trophy and Garcia had a long, solid career as a quarterback in the NFL. That playing experience should be useful in helping the Rams' revamped quarterback room. But I'm curious to see how they work together and what Garcia's precise role will be. I've only been able to spend a little bit of time with Weinke, but I came away impressed and I really like his history of working with signal callers from all types of backgrounds. I wouldn't mind seeing some sort of working relationship where one of them spends most of his time with getting Mannion up to speed. In an ideal world, Foles plays well enough to be the quarterback long-term but if he doesn't, getting Mannion ready sooner rather than later would be a nice bonus.

@nwagoner: This is a pretty tough question since I'm not entirely sure there's a definitive answer. I suppose I'll take the easy way out and go with Foles. If nothing else, we've seen what the Rams are with backup-level quarterback play. It's been enough to make them competitive, but not a playoff team. So let's see what can happen with Foles in there. His job is to take care of the ball and connect on big plays while the running game rolls. If he can do that and stay healthy, the Rams should be in the mix. The other name I'd offer is Saffold, if only because he's the one proven veteran on the line and without him, it's going to be a really young, inexperienced group.

@nwagoner: I don't think it's all that complicated. Barksdale's side overestimated his value. The Rams had interest in bringing him back as far back as last year but only at a certain price (think something in the range of $2.5 million to $3 million annually). Barksdale bet on himself and believed the market would come his way. He didn't get any offers in that range and the Rams and other teams began looking at their options. Again, the Rams liked him but they didn't love him, and even as far back as the 2014 offseason, they viewed right tackle as a position they could upgrade. So as the offseason goes on and nothing materializes, the Rams might still have interest in him, but you have to remember that many times in these scenarios, egos can get in the way. A player might get his feelings hurt if he doesn't get what he expected to get and it can be hard to go back to the same locker room after that happens. So it became pretty clear, even before the draft, that the two sides were headed for a breakup. The Rams drafting four offensive linemen only sealed the deal, but this was a long time coming. And while some might argue that the Rams could have signed him for a little more than the Chargers did, it's almost certain that wouldn't happen because he wasn't going to come back at such a low price to compete for a job he believed should have been his for a much higher price in the first place.

@nwagoner: I think it's pretty safe to say that ship has sailed unless something changes dramatically.