Frenney topped NFL in sacks last season
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams left tackle Orlando Pace spent some extra time studying film this week in anticipation of going against Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney.
Pace vs. Freeney is a marquee matchup between two of the best players in the NFL at their respective positions.
"You study a guy, you get a feel for a guy," Pace said. "I may study him a little more because I've never actually played him."
Pace blocked against Freeney in the Pro Bowl this past February, but they've never gone one-on-one in an NFL game where the outcome really matters.
"That's kind of hard to gauge because the game is so light and you can't really tell," Pace said of going against Freeney in the Pro Bowl.
Pace said he was looking forward to the challenge of blocking Freeney, who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated this past week, when the Rams play the Colts at 8 p.m. Monday at the R.C. Dome.
"If he's not the best defensive end, he's one of the best in the league," Pace said. "It's a challenge. You just do what you do, and try to keep him from making plays."
The 6-foot-1, 268-pound Freeney has 30 sacks and 19 forced fumbles in 50 career games. He had 16 sacks last season and he has five sacks so far this season.
"He's a smaller guy, but he's a speed guy," Pace said. "He's more of an up-the-field player. He has a variety of moves. You just have to get on him quick, get your hands on him and try to shut him down."
Offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild said the Rams must account for Freeney on every offensive play.
"He is a guy that you have to take into consideration because he is just so fast compared to most defensive ends that you face," Fairchild said. "We're fortunate enough to have Orlando lining up against him. It's not anything where we are going to change a lot of schemes or anything for him. We just had to take special attention with (Pace) this week studying what (Freeney) does, how he does his moves and just being aware of where he is."
Promising to play
Wide receiver Torry Holt sat out practice for the second straight day, but he still vowed to play against the Colts.
"I expect to play," Holt said. "All this time I'm getting off is good. It's giving me the opportunity to heal up and rest. Right now, I feel like I'll be ready to play on Monday."
Holt is suffering from what an MRI earlier this week showed to be a strained knee.
Holt estimated that his knee was about 60 percent of normal.
"I wish I could say 80-85-90 percent," Holt said. "At this point, I don't know if there is anybody who is 80 percent. This is the NFL. This is how it is, and the toughness of the game. Everybody bangs on everybody, everybody is hurt, but you have to fight through that and help your football team."
Holt injured his knee in the first half of the Rams' 37-31 loss to the Seahawks last Sunday. He left the game briefly, but returned to finish with eight catches for 126 yards and one touchdown.
"During the course of the game, your adrenaline is going, so you're able to go," Holt said. "You put the injury aside and try to do whatever you can do to help your ballclub win the game. On Monday, it swelled up on me. I was able to get some treatment and some of the swelling went down. Right now, things are looking pretty good."
Rams defensive tackle Ryan Pickett had to wear a Penn State jersey and hat around Rams Park all week after losing a bet to teammate Tyoka Jackson.
Pickett's alma mater, Ohio State, lost to Jackson's alma mater, Penn State, last Saturday.
The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Pickett had to squeeze his massive upper torso into the No. 97 jersey complete with logos from the 1997 Blockbuster Bowl.
"It's real snug," Pickett said. "He brought in the smallest one that he had so I could be uncomfortable in it."
Pickett took the embarrassment of being forced to wear the undersized jersey in stride.
"There's always next year," Pickett said.