Pace Holds Up
Sunday, August 10, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
MEQUON, Wis. – Although he is almost certainly sore Sunday, left tackle Orlando Pace is probably enjoying the pain that comes from the day after playing in a football game.
Pace started and played about a quarter against the Titans in Saturday night’s preseason game with no complications from his surgically repaired shoulder other than some rust.
“There’s a lot of rust I have got to knock off,” Pace said. “It’s tough to gauge. This was a real test for me just going out there and using it. I need to be more consistent with it and I think it will just get better with time.”
To this point in training camp, Pace has been taking limited repetitions in the “team” drills and done no work in the one on one portion of practice.
Slowly but surely Pace has worked his way back into the mix and he got more reps in team drills in last week’s shared practices with the Titans than at any point during the preseason.
Pace was admittedly shaky in his first game back though he had some good moments mixed in with the bad. If nothing else, Pace’s presence on the field lifted the spirits of teammates, especially quarterback Marc Bulger.
“I didn’t know how much he was going to play tonight but we missed him,” Bulger said. “It was good to have him back in the huddle.”
After reviewing the film of the game against the Titans, coach Scott Linehan said he thought Pace looked fine and expects to get him more work this week.
“He held up good,” Linehan said. “He knocked some rust off but nothing (wrong) as far as his shoulder. I’m sure he is probably feeling it today.”
Pace will pick up the pace this week and hopes to be ready to go full speed in this weekend’s home opener against San Diego. Pace’s reps are expected to increase this week and he could play a half or more with the first team offense against the Chargers.
“I have got to increase my reps,” Pace said. “As you guys know I haven’t been doing a lot as far as practice so this week I probably will increase my reps and get used to hitting even more and get a few more plays in a row. For now, it feels good to get out there and get in the flow of the game.”
VERMEIL VISITS: There were plenty of hugs to be had Sunday evening at Concordia University as former Rams coach Dick Vermeil arrived in town.
Linehan had been asking Vermeil to come to camp for the past couple of years and apparently the thought of sleeping in a dorm bed again was too good to pass up for Vermeil.
“You guys recognize that guy over there,” Linehan said, chuckling. “I heard he misses it so he wanted to come stay in the dorm again.”
In all seriousness, Linehan wanted Vermeil to speak to the team and the opportunity to ask a few questions about how to go from the top of the draft to the top of the heap.
“I was glad he was able to make it,” Linehan said. “I told him to come spend a couple days, visit and have him visit with the team here one of these nights before we leave and kind of pick his brain a little bit about ’99. I know every year is different but us coaches we all have to stick together because you have those up waves and those down waves and you have to kind of pick the other guy’s brain at what they did.”
Vermeil shared a warm embrace with many of his former players, coaches and staff and will be in Mequon through Tuesday.
Stay tuned to stlouisrams.com for more with Coach Vermeil in the next few days.
ROMBERG PLAYS IN PAIN: Center Brett Romberg has been practicing on and off for the better part of the past couple of weeks.
Romberg banged his hand on defensive tackle La’Roi Glover’s helmet during a practice. Originally, it was thought Romberg simply bruised his hand but Romberg actually suffered a fractured bone in his hand.
“In the beginning it was kind of sore and we thought it was a bit of a contusion but then we had an MRI done on it and it was fractured.”
Despite the broken bone, Romberg practiced through the pain in Friday’s walk through and then started with the first team in Saturday night’s game.
Linehan said the line situation has kind of solidified itself with Romberg at center but that didn’t keep Romberg from wanting to begin jelling with his linemates.
“It feels pretty bad,” Romberg said. “I just had to come out and play. Everybody else has been working real hard here all week so for me not to wrap it up and play would be kind of selfish on my part.”
Romberg said the injury doesn’t require anything but rest and time. It’s likely that he will take it slow this week in practice before returning but he will probably play against the Chargers on Saturday night.
INJURY UPDATES: Elsewhere on the injury front, the Rams got some mixed news about the two injury casualties in Saturday night’s game.
Cornerback Justin King is out for the season with a torn ligament in his left big toe. He will be placed on injured reserve in the next couple of days.
Tackle Brandon Gorin suffered a right shoulder injury to his rotator cuff and will likely miss a couple of weeks.
“He won’t have surgery but it will be rehab for a couple of weeks,” Linehan said. “It’s like a slight tear of some part of the rotator cuff. It’s not like the general tears. It’s something that can be healed.”
Linehan was unsure if the injury was similar to the one suffered by cornerback Fakhir Brown early in camp.
Safety Jerome Carter suffered a strained groin against Tennessee. Linehan said he will be day to day with the injury.
Linehan said he expects free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe to return to practice, potentially as soon as Monday. Receiver Donnie Avery is also close to a return and will practice this week.
Re: Pace Holds Up
One game and we have lost our 4th/5th cornerback for the season. This sucks. Damnit.
Re: Pace Holds Up
He was actually playing as the third for some time, right? He will surely be missed, but just think of it as his senior season at Penn State.