ST. LOUIS -- Joe Barksdale does this thing.
When reporters trickle into the St. Louis Rams locker room after practices and form tight circles around newsworthy players, the effervescent reserve tackle tries his damnedest to make the surrounded teammate crack a smile.
"There you go, Gene!" he shouted when Rams defensive end Eugene Sims fielded questions about a restructured contract.
"There you go, Rob!" he hollered when defensive end Robert Quinn was named NFC defensive player of the week.
But the script flipped Wednesday, when Barksdale became the center of attention instead of the guy poking fun from the outside.
"Good God!" he said when two reporters quickly turned in to 15-plus.
Barksdale, as usual, was mostly kidding. The self-described "swing tackle" who is comfortable playing at both ends of the offensive line is becoming increasingly at home in the spotlight, a result of repeated injuries to starting right tackle Rodger Saffold.
Saffold's most recent setback, a strain...