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Thread: Saipaia gets shot to start at RT
Saipaia gets shot to start at RT
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Blaine Saipaia, starting right tackle.
"As of today," Saipaia said. "It could change tomorrow."
Truer words were never spoken. Because of Rex Tucker's calf injury, it's just the latest twist in the ongoing saga of "As the Blaine Turns."
In what has been a dizzying training camp and preseason, Saipaia has practiced at all five offensive line positions - from left tackle to right tackle, and all points in between. But because of Tucker's injury, Saipaia now finds himself back where he was at the end of the '04 season - the team's starting right tackle.
"I like being in the starting lineup," Saipaia said. "But I'll play wherever they need me to play."
Saipaia said switching from spot to spot on the line has been taxing at times.
"It's definitely been a lot mentally," he said. "But you know what? I love playing. So I'll do whatever I have to do to get on the field."
Saipaia, 27, has been nothing but persistent when it comes to his NFL career. The native of San Diego played his final college football game at Colorado State in 1999, but didn't play in his first NFL regular-season game until the 2003 season finale with the Oakland Raiders.
Before that, Saipaia bounced around with New Orleans, Tennessee, Oakland and Denver, but the farthest he got at all those stops were a few practice squad gigs.
But Mike Martz and the Rams' front office saw something they liked in Saipaia, picking him up on Sept. 8, 2004 following his release by the Raiders.
"He's a very tough guy," Martz said. "He's very competitive. It's unusual in that he can play - or has played for us - all five positions. He's good enough to start, obviously, at guard or the right tackle position. He finished up last year ... playing very well."
Saipaia, 27, started seven regular-season and playoff games last season at right tackle, in place of the injured Grant Williams. He gets another chance Sunday in Arizona in place of Tucker, who suffered a right calf injury against San Francisco.
"He will be out in this game," Martz said, referring to Tucker. "They did an MRI on him, and he's got what they call a Grade 2 sprain."
Martz said he wasn't sure how long Tucker would be sidelined. It's probably going to be more than a week, but it's not a season-ending type of injury. Tucker was walking - make that limping - around Rams Park on Wednesday with a boot on his right leg.
So it's Saipaia, with Matt Willig next in line if Saipaia struggles or is injured. As for rookie first-round draft pick Alex Barron, he took a small step toward eventually becoming the team's starting right tackle by getting his first practice snaps there on Wednesday, albeit with the scout team. Barron has been working at left tackle, backing up Orlando Pace, since signing his contract nearly 2 1/2 weeks into training camp.
Martz said Wednesday that Barron has made impressive progress over the past couple of weeks.
"The big issue for Alex now is to put it all together - all the things that we do," Martz said. "Like I said, to come in as late as he did has really affected him. If he hadn't come in so late, who knows where he'd be?
"But that's obviously history. I'm very pleased with how he's handled the situation. He's been very mature. He's a tough guy. He's been working hard, and doing all the things that we ask him to do. He's made good progress."
Just don't expect him starting in the near future. As a rookie in 1997, Pace signed his contract four weeks into the preseason. He didn't make his first start that year until Game 5 against Oakland, and Pace was a No. 1 overall pick. Barron was the No. 19 overall pick.
"Yeah, (Barron) is a ways away," Martz said. "When Orlando was starting (in '97), offensively, they were kind of finding their way, so to speak. We're fairly well established. So the expectations for whoever would play at that position are pretty high."
Which brings us back to Saipaia. In the past, when asked to name his favorite position, Saipaia's stock answer has been: a starting position. But he conceded Wednesday that if he had his druthers, it would be right tackle.
"I like right tackle," Saipaia said. "It's what I played in college and high school. That's just the position I was comfortable with. I played a lot of it last year, and I've just gotten really comfortable at it.
"But I've been away from it for a while, so I've gotten accustomed to the different positions. But my heart's still out there at tackle."
-09-15-2005 #2jkramsfan Guest
Re: Saipaia gets shot to start at RT
Is Anybody Else Worried About Our O-line Woes,i Read Timmerman Is Hurting Also,is This A Case Of Here We Go Again ?
Re: Saipaia gets shot to start at RTOriginally Posted by jkramsfan
The revolving door at RT never seems to end. Maybe someone could tell me I was utterly ridiculous for saying that Turley was a cancer and needed to keep his mouth shut or Martz would run him out of town the first chance he got.
Oh wait!! Someone did give me all kinds of static for saying that about Turley....Hmmm....Wonder who it was? - Better question...Where is Kyle Turley these days?
Timmerman may or may not be hurting, regardless, he looked awful pulling from his RG position last Sunday.
-09-15-2005 #4Tony Soprano Guest
Re: Saipaia gets shot to start at RT
This is classic Martz... A coach has to instill confidence in his players. The team was clearly not happy with Saipaia as a Starter at Right Tackle last year. They identified going into the draft that OFF RIGHT TACKLE was the team's top priority and Martz has labeled it his "nightmare" position for the last 3 years.
The Rams thought Saipaia would do better at guard and stated that in the off-season. I'm sure Saipaia is valuable as versatile OL and may end up being a good guard, but our OFFense will be affected if he starts as he will need help and that'll make it easier for teams to defense us, and limit us offensively.
Re: Saipaia gets shot to start at RTOriginally Posted by FerterClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!
-09-16-2005 #6STLRAMSFAN Guest
Re: Saipaia gets shot to start at RT
I think Saipaia will do surprisingly well this weekend and if there is an issue with Timmerman hopefully Terrell gets the start. The OL will look better this weekend and if we don’t get so far behind we could have a more balanced attack. But when Bulger gets done counting to 5 Mississippi he better throw the damn ball away.
As for Turley the guy looks like he is down to 245 pounds he looks small.
Last edited by STLRAMSFAN; -09-16-2005 at 12:35 AM.
Re: Saipaia gets shot to start at RTOriginally Posted by Ferter
I still think that whole situation was a bit overblown. He was never a locker room cancer like most people expected. The whole mess that came about would've never happened had he not gotten injured in the first place. It's a jinx, I tell you.
I remember hearing/reading that Turley's injury was career-threatening, so I'm assuming he's out of football for good, just not officially yet.
AB had better get his sh!t straight soon. Every week that Rex Tucker and Blaine Saipaia make the headlines [never for good reasons], he inches closer to starting.
Re: Saipaia gets shot to start at RTOriginally Posted by Evil Disco Man
You might be right about the injury, however, Turley did not help his situation with his actions and his mouth.