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Rams are going soft - at least on the surface
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Monday, May. 09 2005
Rams coach Mike Martz can put a check mark next to another entry on his "wish
The Rams, the Convention and Visitors Commission and the Regional Convention &
Sports Complex Authority have scheduled a joint news conference for 2 p.m.
today, when it will be announced that FieldTurf will be installed at the Edward
Jones Dome in time for the upcoming season.
Martz, who addressed several on-field needs in the draft and with other
personnel moves in the offseason, has been an increasingly vocal critic of the
10-year-old surface at the Dome. It is the last remaining AstroTurf field in
the league, and is widely regarded as harder than virtually all the other
artificial surfaces around the NFL.
A survey conducted by the NFL Players' Association and released in Super Bowl
week ranked the dome's surface as the second-worst in the league, behind the
AstroTurf field at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. That surface also is being
replaced with FieldTurf.
"If I'm a player, I want to have a new surface. I would refuse to play on that
surface," Martz said then.
He could not be reached for comment Monday night. The turf was thought to be a
contributor in at least two significant injuries to Rams players last season -
a bruised shoulder suffered by quarterback Marc Bulger and running back Steven
Jackson's bruised knee. Team President John Shaw had indicated that if the
Edward Jones Dome field weren't replaced soon, litigation might be the Rams'
The lease negotiated between the team and city officials when the Rams moved
here from Los Angeles in 1995 required that the Dome remain in the top 25
percent of NFL facilities after 10 years; i.e., remain a "first-tier facility."
If that condition was not met by July, the Rams had the option of leaving St.
FieldTurf is thicker and heavier than AstroTurf, and is considered more like
natural grass. With the Rams and Colts added to the list, 22 of 32 NFL teams
will be playing on FieldTurf. FieldTurf was installed at the indoor practice at
Rams Park before the 2002 season.
FieldTurf features 1 3/4-inch layers of sand and small bits of recycled rubber
inserted between 2 1/2-inch tall polyethylene-polypropylene fibers that are
woven into a backing to simulate grass blades. A FieldTurf surface is expected
to last eight to 12 years.
Unlike AstroTurf, FieldTurf can't be rolled up and removed after a game, which
presented a logisitical problem for Dome officials. Bruce Sommer, the CVC's
director of facilities at the Dome, explained that the mobility of the surface
was a vital factor because access to the concrete floor beneath was necessary
in staging other events at the convention center.
The installation plans will be revealed today. Rams Vice President Bob Wallace
declined to discuss details Monday night, but he did say that a tray system
that FieldTurf has been developing, in which the turf can be removed in
segments, will not be used at the dome.
Rams cut Stemke
The Rams have cut Kevin Stemke, leaving rookie Reggie Hodges as the only punter
on the roster. Stemke, a left-footed kicker from the University of Wisconsin,
was signed Nov. 11 to replace veteran Sean Landeta. In six games, Stemke
averaged 39.8 yards on 28 punts. Hodges, a sixth-round draft pick, averaged
40.2 yards on 254 punts at Ball State.
Also, the Rams have picked up defensive end Brandon Green, a 6-foot-2,
264-pound Rice product who recently was released by Jacksonville. Green, 24,
missed his entire rookie season in 2003 because of a knee injury. He played in
three games last season for the Jaguars, recording two tackles.
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Re: Rams are going soft - at least on the surface
I still find it ironic that the aforementioned turf is the same one that made them the "Greatest Show on Turf".
That's a little bit like saying playing on asphalt early in his career is what made Michael Jordan great! Just because they were able to succeed on a tough surface does not make it desireable. They want an artificial surface due to their speed - but it does not mean they should tolerate a BAD artificial surface.
Re: Rams are going soft - at least on the surfaceOriginally Posted by sbramfan