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    Pace Suffers Shoulder Sprain

    Pace Suffers Shoulder Sprain
    Saturday, September 8, 2007

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    For the second consecutive regular season opener the Rams might have lost an offensive lineman for an extended period. This time, though, it was literally and figuratively the biggest piece of that unit in left tackle Orlando Pace.

    Almost a year to the day after losing center Andy McCollum for the season to a knee injury in the season opener against Denver, the Rams saw Pace suffer a serious right shoulder sprain that will keep him out for an unknown amount of time.

    “We’ll do a fairly extensive look at it with MRIs and things that go with it,” coach Scott Linehan said. “The diagnosis now is that it’s a pretty bad sprain. We don’t know much more than that.”

    Depending on the severity of the sprain, Pace could miss a good portion of the season. The injury is believed to be similar to the one quarterback Marc Bulger suffered against Indianapolis in the 2005 season.

    That injury kept Bulger out for most of the season, but that was his throwing shoulder. It’s unknown how long it could keep an offensive lineman out, though it’s fair to say that he can’t simply strap a harness on it and get back on the field.

    The loss of Pace is particularly disappointing considering the long road he just traveled to get back on the field in time for Sunday’s game against Carolina. Pace suffered a torn left triceps against the Seahawks on Nov. 12. The injury kept Pace out the rest of the season and he spent a long and arduous offseason working to recover in time for Sunday’s game.

    But Pace was only on the field for over a quarter of play before suffering the shoulder injury. He left the game with a minute and 50 seconds to go in the first half and did not return.

    Adam Goldberg replaced Pace for the remainder of the game at left tackle and did what Bulger called “a pretty good job.”

    Goldberg replaced Pace for parts of last season and wasn’t expected to be the top backup at tackle. But when Todd Steussie suffered a broken foot in the preseason finale, Goldberg moved up the depth chart.

    Goldberg believes he fared better this time out because he has spent most of the past few weeks working almost exclusively at left tackle as opposed to bouncing around in his normal utility role.

    “It’s never a fortunate thing when someone like Orlando goes down, a Hall of Famer goes down,” Goldberg said. “But given that circumstance, fortunately for the last three weeks I have been playing a lot of left tackle. It’s nice to go in at a position that you have actually been playing during the preseason. It was nice that way. It’s our job as a unit to overcome injuries and win.”

    If Pace’s injury keeps him out for an extended period, there’s a strong chance the team will slide right tackle Alex Barron over to the left side to protect Bulger’s blind side and have Goldberg handle right tackle duties.

    BROWN IN: It wasn’t a big secret during the week that guard Richie Incognito’s ankle injury wouldn’t heal well enough for him to start against the Panthers.

    While many expected Claude Terrell to get the nod against Carolina, Linehan decided to go with Milford Brown as the starter on the right side. According to Linehan, Brown was the choice because he had more experience as a starter and the versatility to play tackle in a pinch.

    “The both of them have been very close and it was going to have to be one of the two,” Linehan said. “Between the two of them they didn’t really have the experience at the tackle spot so we thought we’d put the best seven in the game.”

    INJURY UPDATE: Aside from Pace, the Rams only had another pair of small injuries. Included in that was a right foot sprain for linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. Tinoisamoa left the game briefly but returned.

    Returner Dante Hall, who had an 84-yard kick return, suffered cramps in his legs soon after the return. Although Hall stayed in the game as a returner, he was replaced in passing situations by Dane Looker.

    Of course, Hall was only in as a receiver because of the absence of Drew Bennett. Bennett had a quadriceps injury that kept him out of practice for most of the week and never improved to the point where he would be able to play.

    “His progress was slowing during the week,” Linehan said. “There was still quite a bit of soreness in the quad area. We felt like if we had played him, he could have taken a couple of steps back. He could have helped us in some situations possibly, but he wouldn’t have been as effective as we would like him to be.”

    The inactive list included Incognito, Bennett, defensive end Victor Adeyanju (knee), running back Antonio Pittman, linebacker Quinton Culberson, Terrell, defensive end Eric Moore and Marques Hagans (third quarterback).

    PRO DEBUT: Rookie defensive tackle Adam Carriker made his regular season debut against Carolina. Although it would be hard to tell considering the Panthers’ success running the ball, Linehan and Carriker agreed that he had a solid performance for the most part.

    Linehan said he wouldn’t know for sure how well Carriker played until he watched the film, but there were some bright spots.

    “There were times he showed signs that he was going to be very good,” Linehan said. “And then there were times where he has to get into position, use his hands and get up blocks. I will look at the tape, but he was playing very solid from what I could see.”

    Carriker made a strong impression early in the game when he burst into the backfield and dropped running back DeAngelo Williams for a 1-yard loss.

    For his part, Carriker said he personally fared OK, but he knows he still has a way to go.

    “I would say it was more wins than losses for me personally, which is good,” Carriker said. “You have to get better every week.”

    RAM BITS: Carolina defensive tackle Damione Lewis isn’t an official captain for the Panthers, but he served as one against his former team Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome…Hall had two catches for 18 yards working in Bennett’s place as the third receiver…The Rams allowed five sacks, less than they did against Carolina last year, but still an area that needs to be cleaned up…The Rams failed to record a sack of their own…Incognito could return next week from the sprained ankle against the *****.

  2. #2
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    Re: Pace Suffers Shoulder Sprain

    Goldberg believes he fared better this time out because he has spent most of the past few weeks working almost exclusively at left tackle as opposed to bouncing around in his normal utility role.
    Again, this is exactly why I think the Rams were right to not shift anyone around mid-game in terms of the LT position. Goldberg has spent the majority of his time working at LT. Because of all that extensive work on the left side, I still think you're looking at some significant problems if you'd move Goldberg to the right side to either replace RT Barron (who would then move to LT) or to replace RG Brown (who would then move to RT).

    Now, make the move this week in practice and give him the reps to regain familiarity, fine. But I don't think a mid-game shift would have produced significantly different results for this team.

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