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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Offensive Line Competition Begins

    Tuesday, May 3, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Claude Terrell estimates that when he played guard at New Mexico last year, he probably had to know about five protection schemes.

    After arriving at Rams Park on Thursday night, Terrell thought maybe he would probably need to learn another five, possibly 10. So, what happened when Terrell entered his first meeting with offensive line coaches John Matsko and John Benton came as quite a surprise for the fourth-round choice.

    Im already way past what we had at New Mexico, Terrell said. As soon as I got off the plane, I jumped right into a meeting. Its been full speed ahead since I got here. Weve been getting a crash course in the offense. You know, the Rams have got a playbook as big as any in the NFL.

    And that is the whole point of having the rookie mini-camp. It is a chance for all of the rookies and first-year players to come in and begin to grasp the offense or defense that will help them earn a living.

    How fast they pick up the new information could go a long way in determining whether a player makes the team. That is especially true on the offensive line, where a fierce competition is brewing.

    While Terrell describes the learning process as a crash course, coach Mike Martz said that isnt really the case.

    "When we start the season, we coach and teach the smartest guy," Martz said. "It's up to everybody else to catch up. It's the only way we can do what we do. Our expectations are very high. Right now, it's just the opposite. We kind of spoon-feed them. We make sure the basis of what we do, they have ingrained and they really do understand it."

    Comprehension is going to be an important piece of the battle that is sure to take place in the next few months for spots on the offensive line. Four of the five starting spots are seemingly set in stone with Orlando Pace at left tackle, Alex Barron at right tackle, Adam Timmerman at right guard and Andy McCollum at center.

    That leaves the only open starting position at left guard, a battle that looks like it will come down to Blaine Saipaia and Rex Tucker. Scott Tercero could also figure into the mix, but he looks like a good candidate to move to center to backup McCollum.

    With the starting spots seemingly locked up, that leaves approximately four roster spots for the future up for grabs. The four starters are locks for the roster with Saipaia and Tucker also probably have spots locked up regardless of which starts. That makes four spots to be divvied up among some combination of a group that includes Tercero, Terrell, Richie Incognito, Grant Williams, Darnell Alford, Larry Turner, Matt Morgan and Toby Cecil.

    The odds-on favorites for the other spots at this point would be Tercero, Williams, Incognito and Terrell, but that could change. Incognito had knee surgery Thursday and is probably out for three to four months. That could leave Incognito on the injured reserve list for this season, freeing up another spot.

    On the other hand, the Rams might choose to keep nine offensive linemen on the active roster leaving one less available spot up for grabs.

    With that kind of depth and competition, St. Louis will have an interesting training camp to say the least. Taking that into account, Terrell went back to work in hopes of learning as much as possible.

    I think we have like a total of 35 protections and we only learned seven so far, Terrell said. We still have 28 to go in like two days. Then, week to week, they might add more.


  2. #2
    UtterBlitz's Avatar
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    Re: Offensive Line Competition Begins

    The O line has plenty of talent and depth this year. What a big difference from last year.

    :ramlogo: :ramlogo: :ramlogo:
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  3. #3
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Offensive Line Competition Begins

    I like the analysis in the article. If incognito goes on IR, i think turner makes the team. He did well last year in limited duty and is really the only other center we have on the roster at this point. I dont see how we cut him.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel

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