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Thread: Thin offensive line awaits Bears
Thin offensive line awaits Bears
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
MACOMB, Ill. - Chris Dishman left the practice field early Wednesday because of back spasms. Adam Timmerman didn't practice because of stingers in his neck and shoulder area.
Neither injury is considered serious, but they could keep both players out of the action in the Rams' exhibition opener tonight against Chicago at the Edward Jones Dome.
Those developments had coach Mike Martz all but calling for volunteers before the team left Macomb this morning for St. Louis.
"I'm really concerned with our offensive line," Martz said following Wednesday's practice at Western Illinois University. "We're down to just a few bodies in there. We may only have six or seven available (against the Bears). So that does concern me. We'll just have to see."
Actually, it's not quite that bad. Even if Timmerman and Dishman are sidelined, the Rams will have nine offensive linemen available for Chicago.
But with Orlando Pace (contract impasse), Kyle Turley (back), Dave Wohlabaugh (hip), and rookie Jeremy Phillips (neck) unavailable, the Rams are very thin up front for this time of year.
"Maybe we'll have Chris or Adam available," Martz said. "Other than that, we're getting down to Red Cross time."
If Timmerman doesn't play, Andy McCollum will be the only starting offensive lineman from 2003 in uniform for the 7 p.m. kickoff. Without Timmerman, the Rams probably will start Grant Williams at left tackle, Andy King at left guard, McCollum at center, Scott Tercero at right guard and Greg Randall at right tackle.
If Timmerman starts at right guard, look for Tercero to start at right tackle, and for Randall to come in off the bench.
"Scotty Tercero's doing a terrific job," Martz said. "It looks like Grant Williams is doing just a terrific job."
But the lack of numbers could affect how Martz approaches the game, and influence how much he plays quarterback Marc Bulger. Bulger could be in for as little as a couple of series.
"We'll have to get a feel for how they're doing (on the line), and we'll just have to adapt to it," Martz said. "I feel good that the guys we have - knock on wood, if they can stay healthy - that they'll be all right."
Preseason or not, this is an important game for players such as King and Tercero to prove their mettle. Tercero, a sixth-round draft pick in 2003 from California- Berkeley, spent last season the Rams' practice squad. He didn't play at all in the '03 preseason following arthroscopic knee surgery.
"It's been almost a year and a half since I've actually played in a game," Tercero said. "So I'm really excited. I can't wait."
Tercero's last game as a Cal Bear was against arch-rival Stanford in what is known as "The Big Game." So what does that make tonight's Rams-Bears contest?
"It'll be the next biggest game," Tercero quipped.
If the Rams need Tercero to take on a heavy workload tonight because of the injury situation, he's all for it.
"However long they want me to play, I'll play," Tercero said. "They'll have to drag me off the field."
As expected, running back Marshall Faulk will not play tonight. "He's not ready to play physically yet," Martz said.
Faulk is coming off offseason knee surgery, but normally sits out the first two preseason games anyway each August. Faulk took a lot of practice repetitions on Tuesday, easily the most he has taken in training camp. But he did not practice Wednesday.
As for the rest of the squad, the players are ready for the next stage after two fairly grueling weeks in training camp. "It seems like we've been up here two years," defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said.
Pickett says the defensive line, minus departed free agents Grant Wistrom and Brian Young, comes out tonight with something to prove. "So we're anxious to get out there and play as a unit," Pickett said.
With new coordinator Larry Marmie, safety Adam Archuleta said the entire defense is anxious to get going.
"We really want to start to forge our identity (Thursday) night and see what kind of personality we're going to take this year," Archuleta said.
Re: Thin offensive line awaits Bears
Jeez, the offensive line is critical in this offense, I hope they can get some time to play together. This is my area of concern for the year.
Should I be expecting a call from Martz soon? lolDJRamFan
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LONG LIVE MIKE MARTZ
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Re: Thin offensive line awaits Bears
It's strange how they can have so many injuries on the o-line so early in the season. Maybe they are not in the best shape? :upset:JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey
Re: Thin offensive line awaits BearsBut with Orlando Pace (contract impasse), Kyle Turley (back), Dave Wohlabaugh (hip), and rookie Jeremy Phillips (neck) unavailable, the Rams are very thin up front for this time of year."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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