TSN Rams Report

Young, unproven Bob Ligashesky is being asked to due what three veterans coaches could not do before him -- breath life into the Rams' perennially pathetic special teams. Ligashesky replaces Mike Stock, who was fired after just one season with the Rams. Ligashesky, 42, becomes the fourth special teams coach in Mike Martz's six seasons as head coach. Unlike Stock, Bobby April and Larry Pasquale before him, Ligashesky has next to no NFL experience. After 19 years in the college ranks, Ligashesky's only year in the NFL came this past season as an assistant to Jacksonville special teams coach Pete Rodriguez. Martz is hoping that Ligashesky's work ethic, youth, and high-energy approach will breath new life into a special teams unit that finished near the bottom in every major category. But it will take more than that. The Rams need a commitment from Martz to add good special teams players as backups on the roster, particularly at the linebacker spot. Martz must re-think his longstanding policy against using starters on special teams. In addition, the team must make a commitment to finding speedy aggressive return man. Late-season pickup Aveion Cason could fill the bill on kickoff returns; Shaun McDonald has the tools to be a dangerous punt returner, but is way too tentative. . . .

RG Adam Timmerman ended the season with two bad shoulders, a bad knee and a fractured foot. The foot is expected to heal with time, but Timmerman needs surgery on both shoulders and perhaps the knee as well. Perhaps he can get some kind of discount. Timmerman's toughness is without question, and he hates to miss practice time under any circumstances. But at this stage of his career, the team should think about resting him as much as possible in training camp, so he doesn't wear down. . . .

The club wants to re-sign DE Bryce Fisher, even if his strong late-season finish may have raised his price tag significantly. Fisher, who is scheduled for unrestricted free agency, finished with a team-high 81/2 quarterback sacks in his first full season of extensive playing time. Martz doesn't want to develop him for somebody else.

Special Project: The Rams went through four starting left guards during the regular season, and two of them suffered injuries that may force them into retirement. Chris Dishman underwent knee surgery for a torn ACL, and the Rams won't know where he stands for another six months. Tom Nutten needs what amounts to reconstructive toe surgery following a severe turf toe injury. As a result, Scott Tercero looks like the starter entering training camp. Tercero was the starter at the position between Dishman and Nutten, but his season ended early because of knee surgery. Tercero has very good feet, technique, and athleticism, which bodes well for his future as a pass blocker in the "Air Martz" attack. Tercero was one of the team's best linemen in the preseason, although he played primarily right tackle. More than anything, Tercero literally needs a strong offseason in the weight room. He needs to get bigger and stronger, particularly in the upper body.