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  1. #1
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    Offensive Line Sticks Together

    Thursday, September 27, 2007
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    In the aftermath of yet another injury to the offensive line in the form of guard Mark Setterstrom’s torn ACL, the only thing the remaining linemen can do is find a way to stick together.

    That means trying to keep the mood light while attempting to maintain focus on the task at hand. The only remaining lineman at the spot he started the season is center Brett Romberg and Alex Barron is the only other original starter still taking a spot on the line (he moved from right tackle to left).

    “That was a joke Mark threw at me the other day,” Romberg said. “He said ‘Well, we have you and Alex left, let’s see who can hold on the longest.’ You have to have a little sense of humor about the whole situation. Obviously staying healthy is key and playing together with the guys who are coming in.”

    The good news for the Rams, though, is that things can’t get much worse for the offensive line and the news will probably get better before it gets worse. As it stands, the offensive line this week will have (from left to right) Barron, Claude Terrell, Romberg, Milford Brown and Adam Goldberg.

    That line would constitute the 22nd starting group lining up in front of quarterback Marc Bulger since he became the starter. Yet hope still remains that at least one familiar face will reclaim his spot in the lineup this week.

    Guard Richie Incognito is still limited in practice as he recovers from a sprained ankle, but he has slowly but surely been getting better. In Thursday’s practice Incognito continued to work both in individual drills and team work.

    In the individual blocking drills, he even had a little bounce to his step. For that reason, coach Scott Linehan isn’t ruling out the possibility that Incognito could take his place at right guard Sunday against Dallas.

    “I’m not going to count him out,” Linehan said. “He’s still limited because we are working him gradually into the team. I think he looked a lot more comfortable even today than he did yesterday.”

    Should Incognito come back, it could provide a big boost to a group that has been losing players more than it has gained them. If indeed he is back, the Rams would likely use a rotation of Brown and Terrell on the left side or perhaps in conjunction with Incognito.

    While getting Incognito back would throw a bit of a wrench into any continuity the offensive line has gained, it wouldn’t change much of anything because the line would be using a new look any way.

    As Romberg is quick to point out, though, the offensive line has been through it before and succeeded.

    “The consistency factor is always going to be there, especially with the offensive line,” Romberg said. “Having guys come in and fit in and not be used to people, again we did it at the end of last year. Hopefully we get the ball rolling, we have another week together and we look a lot better this week than we did last week so another week of playing together I’m sure will be that much better this week.”

    Just last week against Tampa Bay, Bulger was hit just twice the whole game. That has helped Bulger recover and feel better in this week’s practice. Considering the way Dallas gets after the quarterback and attempts to create pressure with a variety of blitzes, the line will have to keep Bulger clean once again to have a chance to get the offense ignited.

    “We have to protect the quarterback for us to win,” Linehan said. “We have to do it by being efficient and explosive in the run game and being able to execute our protection schemes. Marc’s going to be able to be much more effective as he gets healthier, but I believe his effectiveness whether he was 100 percent healthy or not is based on our ability to protect him. That’s our goal, that’s what we’re focused on and without limiting our ability to get the ball downfield and get the ball in the end zone.”

    PISA RETURNS: The return of linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is official. Tinoisamoa practiced uninhibited for the second day in a row Thursday and will take his usual spot at weak side linebacker against the Cowboys on Sunday.

    Tinoisamoa suffered a sprained ankle in the season opener against Carolina and missed the past two games because of the injury. After myriad injuries put him out last year, Tinoisamoa said he learned the value of getting fully healed before returning to the lineup.

    “I’m fully healthy which allows me to play at where I want to play at as opposed to me just being out there to be the heart and spirit of the team even though I’m not 100 percent,” Tinoisamoa said. “I’m feeling good and I will be that much better because of it.”

    INJURY REPORT: There were no significant changes to the injury report Thursday afternoon, but there were a couple of upgrades.

    Incognito was the only player listed as limited in practice. Tye Hill (back) and Steven Jackson (groin) are out and will not play.

    Safety Jerome Carter (thigh), defensive end James Hall (pectoral) and linebacker Tim McGarigle (groin) joined Tinoisamoa and Bulger on the full participation list. Hall and McGarigle moved from limited to full participation.

    RAM BITS: The NFL released some statistics on which high schools are best represented in the league Thursday. Dillard (Fla.) High, Isaac Bruce’s school, is tied for second with five players in the NFL. On a local level, Hazelwood East High is tied with myriad schools with four representatives in the NFL. St. Louis is tied for fifth among cities with 12 players in the league…Linehan will have a homecoming of sorts this weekend when the Rams travel to Dallas. He had a cup of coffee with the Cowboys in 1987…Defensive tackle La’Roi Glover played for the Cowboys from 2002 to 2005, but says it doesn’t mean much to him to return because of the need for the Rams to get win.

  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Offensive Line Sticks Together

    Milford Brown makes me nervous. Imagine how Marc Bulger feels!

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Offensive Line Sticks Together

    Can we literally stick them together? Like with glue or duct tape or something? Maybe that could stop the inside pass rush...

  4. #4
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    Re: Offensive Line Sticks Together

    Nice to see the guys retaining a sense of humour about the whole thing.

    I'd rope them together at the waist......................

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