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  1. #1
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    Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    R.B. FALLSTROM

    Associated Press


    ST. LOUIS - Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace broke a three-day silence on his contract holdout Thursday, saying a lighter playing weight would help him get back into playing shape in time for Sunday's opener.

    Earlier this week Pace agreed to a one-year, $7.02 million contract as the team's franchise player, and he practiced for the first time Wednesday. He reported at 325 pounds, almost 20 pounds below last year, and believes that will offset the fact he's got only four practices to get ready.

    During the offseason, in addition to working out on his own, Pace largely eliminated fried foods from his diet and cut back on his soft drink intake.

    "I feel light years better than I did last year," Pace said. "I feel a lot quicker, a lot fresher. That was one of the elements I dealt with last year, just trying to get the weight down."

    After two workouts, the Rams have been pleasantly surprised by Pace's conditioning.

    "It looks like he's been here all camp, honest to goodness he does," coach Mike Martz said. "No mental errors and he's quick, he's physical.

    "At this time last year he was very sluggish and the conditioning was a factor for him."

    Martz said there's no question Pace will be ready for the opener.

    "If there was any doubt, if he was not in great shape or if he was sloppy and making mistakes out here, you'd have to consider otherwise," Martz said. "But it's clear in my mind, he's looked terrific."

    Pace, the first overall pick of the 1997 draft, has been a holdout in three of his eight seasons. He said there's been no backlash from teammates who went through two-a-days plus four preseason games.

    "Really the bottom line, and what matters most in this locker room, is how the guys feel," Pace said. "And they're happy to see me and they're happy I'm back on the team."

    Pace said a holdout was his only option when the Rams designated him as their franchise player for the second straight season. Now that he's signed the Rams and Pace's agents, the Poston brothers, can negotiate a long-term deal.

    Not that he's holding his breath, considering the sides were far apart the last time they talked.

    "Right now I'm not really focusing on next year," Pace said. "Whatever happens at the end of the season, hopefully I can sign a long-term deal. If not, we'll be sitting here talking about the same thing next year."

    After three holdouts, Pace remains steadfast in support of his high-profile agents. He also said the bottom line is these are his decisions.

    "I always have confidence in the people that represent me," Pace said. "They're professionals in what they do and they have to get the most for their clients.

    "Hey, they work for me. That's the bottom line."

    Pace joins a line that has been a source of concern all summer. The other tackle, Kyle Turley, is on injured reserve after reinjuring his surgically repaired back early in training camp. Center Dave Wohlabaugh was released following hip surgery when he was unable to pass his physical.

    Only Pace and right guard Adam Timmerman remain in the same positions from last season.


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    LT: Orlando Pace
    LG: Chris Dishman
    C: Andy McCollum
    RG: Adam Timmerman
    RT: Grant Williams

    Can anyone tell me why this can't be a very solid O line for the Rams?

  3. #3
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    LT: Orlando Pace
    LG: Chris Dishman
    C: Andy McCollum
    RG: Adam Timmerman
    RT: Grant Williams

    Can anyone tell me why this can't be a very solid O line for the Rams?

    [NFL Analyst]

    Um... um... because Kyle Turley's injured... and... Dave Wohlabaugh's injured... and... I have to memorize new names... and.... AAAAAHHHH!!!

    [/NFL Analyst]
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  4. #4
    coy bacon is offline Registered User
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    I read Martz's hype about Pace and chuckled to myself. As the coach of a primadona he's obligated to stroke him. I remember that Pace was unprepared last year and I don't think he'll walk out on the field this weekend and be 100%, or as prepared as Martz is making him sound. I'd hate to see Bulger get injured because Pace screws up, but that is what I'm worrying about. And as lowly as the Cards are, I gotta think that their DEs know how poorly prepared Pace is.

  5. #5
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    As poorly as Pace was prepared? Break out the TiVo or the VCR tapes and watch Pace. It wasn't his fault. That bum rush came up the middle, not at the LT position.

  6. #6
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    OK-

    Pace - Poor Conditioning (talented nontheless)
    Dishman - A washout from AZ
    Mc Collum - Already a 2nd String Center
    Timmerman - Dough Boy take 2. A tough blocker, but long in the tooth.
    Williams - A washout from the Patriots (Belichick did not want him).

    Other than that.... I would say the line should be barely adequate. Given the age of some of these guys and lack of foot-speed and quickness with maybe one exception, I can think of a lot of reasons for Bulger to wince. Overall,

    2 first stringers
    2 second stringers
    1/2 washouts depending on how you view it..... not good! :disappoin

  7. #7
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    LT: Orlando Pace
    LG: Chris Dishman
    C: Andy McCollum
    RG: Adam Timmerman
    RT: Grant Williams

    Can anyone tell me why this can't be a very solid O line for the Rams?
    Bottom line: There is no reason!
    I love the fact that the "experts" have condemned this line to the lowest bowels of blocking hell. Nick nailed it on the head...
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    Um... um... because Kyle Turley's injured... and... Dave Wohlabaugh's injured... and... I have to memorize new names... and.... AAAAAHHHH!!!
    I can actually hear Berman's voice and Salisbury's voice saying those exact words in my head.

    This is a decent line. In fact, I like this line better than last year's line.
    04 Orlando Pace vs. 03 Orlando Pace - He says he's quicker now and he was All-Pro last year
    04 Chris Dishman vs. 03 Andy McCollum - Dishman is a bigger stronger body that will be harder to push around and Dishman will not be having to report the blocking schemes to his center as McCollum had to last year
    04 Andy McCollum vs. 03 Dave Wohlabaugh - Wohlabaugh did not pick up on the schemes as quickly as hoped and it showed. McCollum knows them inside and out
    04 Adam Timmerman vs. 03 Adam Timmerman - a year older, but no significant difference
    04 Grant Williams vs. 03 Kyle Turley - an underestimated above average tackle with a big heart takes over for an overrated above average tackle with a big mouth

    I think the line is better and will enjoy saying so at the end of the year when the "experts" have to eat their words.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    He's coming in lighter and he thinks this will help him get ready for the game? That's what we needed all along, a lighter O line....NOT!

    I can't believe we are throwing good money at this man. And for what? What message did we send to other swollen-headed players and what does it say about our team and coach? He's not gonna get us there. He can't. It never was and never will be dependent on him.

  9. #9
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    He's 325 lbs. Not exactly a waif.

  10. #10
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyOpal
    never was and never will be dependent on him
    I hate to say it, but, yes, that O-line is dependent on Pace. Until we get a left-handed QB, our LT covers the blind-side. And the difference between Pace and any other lineman on our team at covering that blind-side is astronomical.

    Can we win w/o him? Yes, but I'd rather not try.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  11. #11
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    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    I think this line will be more producetive that last year and help out with a solid ground game that will improve the overall offense. All you nay sayers take note. the O will be more effecent this year. :ramlogo:
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


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