The Sports Xchange

NFL Team Report - St. Louis Rams - INSIDE SLANT

Naming the St. Louis Rams starting quarterback may be a game-time decision Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Erstwhile starter Shaun Hill, still impacted by a strained quad, did not practice this week and was listed as questionable on the official injury report Friday.

Coach Jeff Fisher's options are Austin Davis and newly-acquired Case Keenum.

"Obviously, Shaun didn't do much today," Fisher said Friday." He'll probably be a game-time decision. But we got Austin some reps. Austin's much better suited to play this game, this week because of the starter reps that he's taken this week. We'll see what happens."

Fisher said Hill knows the offense well enough to start without practicing all week. He also said he wouldn't hesitate to start Davis.

"Yes, he's excited for the opportunity if it happens," Fisher said.

The coach also mentioned that Keenum is catching on fast to a new offense. He was a starter for a while last year in Houston.

"He's done a great job with it," Fisher said of Keenum grasping the new offense. "He didn't get many reps but he's got a package. We have a decision to make whether we keep two or three up, right now. A lot can happen in the next 48 hours."

Davis and the recently added Keenum each had snaps with the first team this week, but Davis had the most. Friday was Keenum's sixth practice with the team.

Davis played for the first time in the regular season Sunday.

"There were several instances where he needs to throw the ball away and not take a sack," Fisher said. "He got fooled on the pressure on the interception for a touchdown. Coming in off the bench, having not had a whole lot of reps during the practice week is a difficult thing to do. Especially, when you're talking about your first real game experience in the National Football League."

Davis admitted communication "was spotty at times," and he said it was good to get reps with the first team Wednesday in the event he plays Sunday.

"Practice gives you a lot of confidence to run the plays you'll be running. If my number is called, I'll be ready and the practice time will have helped. It was great to be in the huddle today and focus on communication."

Right guard Davin Joseph said, "He was a little nervous, but he did pretty good. I'm excited for the guy. I'll help him as much as I can."

The Rams do know the status of defensive left end Chris Long and it isn't good.

Long won't play for at least eight weeks due to an ankle injury in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Long was scheduled for surgery Thursday morning and was placed on reserve/injured, designated for return.

Players on that can begin practicing after six weeks and play after eight weeks. If he is able to play after eight weeks, his first game back would be on Nov. 9 at Arizona. But that might be a longshot judging by Fisher's comments.

Fisher said after Wednesday's practice, "The players are aware of it (the surgery). Obviously, they're disappointed. I'm disappointed for Chris. I won't go into the specifics on the surgery. It is unique however, and he will be back. When, I can't predict at this time, but we have a good feel that he will be back at some point late in the season."