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Monday Notebook: Pace Back in Fold
Monday, September 6, 2004
By Nick Wagoner
Subtract 12 from 65, place two more on the injured list, add a veteran safety and a “Big O,” and what do you get? It isn’t rocket science, but the answer isn’t negative 13. That’s because the “Big O” isn’t a zero, but Orlando Pace, the Rams’ Pro Bowl left tackle. His addition is St. Louis’ biggest, literally and figuratively, of the preseason.
The correct answer is the completion of the Rams’ final 53-man roster. The roster can change at anytime as the team scours the waiver wire for possible additions and alterations. Rams’ coach Mike Martz said the roster turnover is a natural part of the way the league is today.
“Unfortunately, you just can’t afford to hang on to some of these guys,” Martz said. “You try to keep people that you think are the core players. That’s just the way the league is. Everybody’s in the same boat.”
After receiving the team’s franchise tag for the third straight year and sitting out all of the preseason, Pace signed his one-year tender for about $7.02 million Sunday night.
Pace’s return has been long awaited after injuries decimated the offensive line throughout camp. Right tackle Kyle Turley was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 28 because of a back injury. In addition, the Rams released center Dave Wohlabaugh after he failed to pass a physical because of complications from a hip injury.
Those injuries and Pace’s absence left the Rams with a thin offensive line throughout the preseason, with many of their starting linemen playing out of position. Pace’s arrival means Grant Williams will move from left to right tackle, where he played against Oakland in Thursday night’s final preseason game.
Pace, who was listed at 6-foot-7, 325 pounds, is likely to play in Sunday’s opener against Arizona at the Edward Jones Dome. In years past, Pace has made it to camp in time to play in at least one preseason game and get his conditioning up. He reported to camp in better shape than before, according to Martz.
“We’re always glad to have Orlando back,” Martz said. “He came in to camp 16 pounds underneath what he did last year. He has obviously trained very well and prepared himself to come to camp. Watching him out here in practice he was a little rusty with some things, but he looks pretty good.”
Pace did look to be almost svelte in his body composition. He also looked to be conditioned fairly well. On one play in a one-on-one drill, Pace pancaked defensive end Anthony Hargrove with the kind of power that helped Pace create the statistic for pancake blocks.
The line, which has, at times, started Scott Tercero, Greg Randall and Andy King, looks like it might have solidified with Pace’s addition. The likely line features Pace and Williams at the tackles, Chris Dishman at LG, Adam Timmerman at RG, and Andy McCollum at center. Dishman is the only new member on the line. Williams enters his third season with the Rams, but his first as a starter.
Pace wasn’t the only familiar face arriving at Rams Park over the weekend. This face, though, was familiar from his time with one of the Rams’ biggest rivals.
Zack Bronson, a safety who played for San Francisco for seven years, signed Sunday. Bronson will now take some time to have his ***** leanings removed from his mind and said he is excited is excited that he doesn’t have to go against the Rams’ receivers anymore.
“Having competed against them (St. Louis) after seven years in San Francisco, I am happy to be on this side of the ball,” Bronson said.
Bronson started 43 games in his time with the *****, but injuries to his left foot, shoulder and neck, have limited his time on the field the past two years. San Francisco released him on June 2.
Martz said Bronson is a guy the team eyed during Bronson’s time in San Francisco.
“Last year, I think he had three injuries and kind of struggled,” Martz said. “Up to that point, he had played at a very high level. I’m very pleased to have him.”
PRACTICE SQUAD: A few familiar faces returned to the Rams on the practice squad Monday. Quarterback Russ Michna and receiver Michael Coleman were released Aug. 28, but brought back on the practice squad. Joining them are running back Dusty McGrorty and cornerback Dwight Anderson, a couple of players who were cut Sunday.
Offensive lineman Ben Noll appeared to be in position to join them on the practice squad, but Dallas claimed him before St. Louis could bring him back. Others released include linebackers Tony Newson and Brandon Spoon, safeties Justin Lucas and Nijrell Eason, defensive end Sean Moran, defensive tackle Bernard Holsey, receiver Jamal Jones, defensive end Kevin Aldridge and tackle Matt Morgan.
INJURY UPDATE: Cornerback DeJuan Groce returned to practice after missing time with a sprained knee. Receiver Kevin Curtis missed practice with continued problems from shin splints.
In lieu of cutting two players, the Rams placed another pair on the injured reserve list, meaning they are out for the year. Tight end Erik Jensen, who has had a pair of knee injuries, and safety/cornerback Tom Knight, who missed time with a variety of injuries, including a broken finger, joined Kyle Turley and Jeremy Loyd on the list.
Re: Monday Notebook: Pace Back in Fold
Wait, Newson was released? So who are our backers?
Pisa, Thomas, Chillar, Polley, Faulk and who else?
Re: Monday Notebook: Pace Back in FoldOriginally Posted by RamWraith
Country Roads, Take Them To St. Louis!
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