Saturday, August 23, 2008

By Nick Wagoner
Senior Writer

Left tackle Orlando Pace’s status was questionable all week as a sore shoulder kept him out most of the week of practice.

And with Pace out of the lineup, the offensive line barely missed a beat against the Ravens on Saturday night.

“Our guys up front played great again,” quarterback Marc Bulger said. “I could stand back there all day.”

Indeed, Bulger had plenty of time to throw and for the second week in a row, the offensive line was in control of the line of scrimmage. Bulger had his best night, going 18-of-25 for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

The running game clicked again early in the game, opening things up for Bulger to find open receivers down the field.

All of that, of course, with Pace and center Brett Romberg on the sideline in street clothes. Nick Leckey filled in for Romberg with Adam Goldberg sliding in for Pace.

The Ravens never got to the quarterback for a sack and the offense had its finest outing of the preseason in perhaps its final tune up for the regular season.

As for Pace, it was initially believed he suffered a shoulder injury not related to the one that required surgery last year. In fact, Linehan said tests revealed it was more of a biceps injury and the Rams wanted to be careful with him.

“He just didn’t practice,” coach Scott Linehan said. “I didn’t want to put a guy in the game against a defense like this if he hasn’t practiced whether it’s Orlando or whoever it is. Since he wasn’t able to go and only limited on Thursday I just didn’t feel comfortable with him being ready to play.”

Pace injured the bicep last week against San Diego when attempting to make a tackle after an interception. When he arrived at work on Monday, Pace was barely able to lift his arm above his shoulder.

He sat out every practice except Thursday and was considered questionable entering the game. Alas, Linehan said Pace actually feels OK and isn’t likely to miss the regular season opener.

“I think he’s feeling pretty good,” Linehan said. “The doctors took a real good look at it and tested it and he looks like he’s fine. It’s kind of what happens. You get a little banged up when you play and I think it scared him a little bit. It wasn’t anything serious.”

EXTRA WORK: Running back Steven Jackson got just one practice and a walk through before Saturday’s game but he did get plenty of extra work Friday after the walk through.

That process will continue for the next couple of weeks in order to get him ready for the regular season.

“He did get work prior to pre game and quite a bit and also had a real full day yesterday afternoon working with the quarterback and the center and basically like a simulation game…a lot of the calls and things he feels like he needs to be ready for,” Linehan said.

Jackson, of course, missed the first 27 days of the preseason before signing a six-year contract Thursday morning.

CLEARING THE AIR: The Rams got some good news late Friday when they were informed that guard Mark Setterstrom cleared waivers.

Setterstrom suffered a fractured patella in last week’s game against San Diego and is out for the year. That injury was the second serious leg injury in less than a year for Setterstrom.

The Rams had to place him on the waived/injured list to get him to the injured reserve list. Now that he’s cleared waivers, he reverts to injured reserve and remains a part of the Rams.

INACTIVES: There were plenty of players on each side in street clothes not playing, in addition to Pace and Jackson.

For the Rams, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, cornerback Fakhir Brown and Romberg were pregame inactives.

For the Ravens, safety Ed Reed, cornerback Chris McAlister, running back Willis McGahee, tackle Jared Gaither, tight end Todd Heap, defensive tackles Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards sat out.