O-line's injuries put spotlight on rookies
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Aug. 19 2008
For a time during Rams training camp in Mequon, Wis., guard Roy Schuening
sported what he called a "mull-hawk." Basically, it was a mohawk haircut — all
the rookies had them, courtesy of the vets — accompanied by mullet-style locks
that flowed down his neck.
The fancy 'do is gone now, in favor of a buzz cut. Gone, too, is a large chunk
of the first-year cushion for the fifth-round draft choice. With guard Mark
Setterstrom (knee) and tackle Brandon Gorin (shoulder) already lost for the
season, Schuening and fellow rookie lineman John Greco must be up to speed
sooner than expected.
"It's a very unfortunate situation for Mark," said Schuening, 6 feet 3 and 310
pounds. "With him going down, I've got some big shoes to fill. ... No growing
pains; I need to be ready to play."
Greco, a third-round draft pick, had been working mostly at guard; now, he'll
also take snaps at tackle, the position he played exclusively at Toledo.
"I'll play wherever I'm asked," said Greco, 6-4 and 314. "I'd never played
guard till I came here, but I caught on quick. I know the plays at tackle, as
And he believes he's prepared to step in if needed.
"I think I'm ready," he said. "That first preseason game, there was a little
bit of butterflies. But I've gotten more comfortable as time has gone on."
Coach Scott Linehan is confident enough that the draftees can handle the
ramped-up learning curve that he's not planning to bring in more linemen.
"There's a reason why they're here; we needed some more depth and certainly
quality players" on the line, Linehan said. "It just gives them an opportunity
now to get more snaps than what they would have to this point."
PACE IN ON PACE
After the team's first practice at Rams Park since returning to St. Louis,
Linehan reported that left tackle Orlando Pace withstood a full half of play in
Saturday's preseason game vs. San Diego. Pace is recovering from a nearly
year-old shoulder injury,
"He was a little sore (Monday), but it was a good sore," Linehan said. "He will
be (sore) during the year as we go, and we'll just kind of monitor how he
Pace, who was in for 39 plays against the Chargers, shared first-team reps with
Adam Goldberg in team drills Monday.
Sitting out because of injuries were safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring),
cornerback Fakhir Brown (shoulder), running back Brian Leonard (shoulder),
linebacker David Vobora (ankle) and fullback Russ Weil (ankle).
Tight end Anthony Becht (hamstring) was on the field for the first time in
three weeks. He was limited to individual drills, as were safety Jerome Carter
(groin) and center Brett Romberg (hand).
Days out: 25
Practices missed: 25
Games missed: 2 (preseason)
Fine total: $377,900 ($15,116 per day)
Quarterback Marc Bulger, who took a hard hit to his right shoulder Saturday,
threw without problems Monday. ... Quinton Culberson, who started vs. San
Diego, was back with the first team Monday at strongside linebacker.