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Tucker Takes Turn at Tackle
Friday, August 5, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
For the next installment of “As the Right Tackle Turns,” the revolving door at the position has come full circle to land on another Tucker.
With Grant Williams out of Friday’s practice because of a back injury, Rex Tucker took over at right tackle. Tucker moved to the right side after spending most of his career and all of camp at left guard.
But his struggles there combined with Claude Terrell’s emergence at in his stead made the move an easy decision according to coach Mike Martz.
“We moved Rex Tucker to right tackle which is probably where he belongs,” Martz said. “We had to wait and see if a rookie was going to transpire the way we hoped. (Terrell) has been the biggest surprise (of camp). He’s doing so well, allowing us to move Rex Tucker now and see if we can’t get him situated at right tackle.”
Tucker played some right tackle in college at Texas A&M, but in his six seasons with the Bears, Tucker worked exclusively at guard. Tucker doesn’t mind the position change, but said he has plenty of learning to do.
“It is an adjustment, but that’s part of this game, you have to do it,” Tucker said. “There are a lot of things: the stances, the timing, the playing in space. There are a lot of differences, but the bottom line is you have just got to go out, work the best you can and learn to block those guys.”
To that end, Tucker immediately turned to a Hall of Famer for advice after his first practice at right tackle. Former Ram Jackie Slater, who traditionally helps with the offensive line during camp, took about 20 minutes after practice to work with Tucker and Matt Morgan at tackle.
Slater showed them some footwork drills and hand placement techniques as well as a variety of other things. Tucker said having someone like Slater around could be a big help in his adjustment.
“What can you say, he’s the best right tackle that ever played and to have him show you things that work is a big help,” Tucker said. “It’s great to have him give you that extra time and coach you up on things that you need to learn, things that will help you block people.”
Although Tucker probably will never reach Slater’s status, one goal to strive for might be to at least achieve the level of his brother at right tackle. Ryan Tucker played tackle for the Rams to begin his career and is now the starter at said position for the Cleveland Browns.
Martz said he sees a resemblance in the brothers’ games in addition to their looks.
“He has Ryan’s kind of ability,” Martz said. “We felt like he was going to have to play for us at guard, but having Claude come in and do what he’s done is a bonus for us. Now we can take Rex and put him outside and groom him to be a right tackle. We’ll see.”
The wait and see approach is probably the best idea for now. At various points just in the past few months Alex Barron, Williams, Blaine Saipaia, Matt Morgan, Darnell Alford and Tucker have worked with the first team at right tackle.
INJURY UPDATE: Williams was the only new injury of any significance on Friday morning. Williams’ has a disc problem in his back, a problem that ailed him two years ago.
The Rams sent Williams to get an MRI on Friday and will wait to see how it pans out.
“He strained it again two days ago,” Martz said. “We don’t know what it is for sure. It’s the same thing he had two years ago. We are just going to see what happens.”
On the other end of the line, left tackle Orlando Pace sat out the morning session as a precautionary measure for a hip flexor. Backup quarterback Jamie Martin was also limited.
The rest of the injured group stayed the same. Torry Holt (lower back), cornerbacks Travis Fisher (groin) and Jerametrius Butler (knee bruise), running back Dusty McGrorty (strained knee), tight end Erik Jensen (back) and defensive lineman Brian Howard (hamstring) also watched the workout.
Linebacker Chris Claiborne returned after missing Thursday afternoon’s workout.
BARRON WATCH: Martz had nothing new to report on the progress of Barron’s contract negotiations. Barron is now in day 10 of his contract impasse and there are few signs of immediate hope on the horizon.
Of course, with the injury to Williams and Tucker’s inexperience, Barron’s presence would be a welcome site for the coaching staff and quarterback Marc Bulger.
JUST VISITING: The Rams welcomed three groups to their Community Outreach tent on Friday morning.
Bear Essentials, which is the non-profit organization that Torry Holt is heavily involved with, had 10 guests at the morning session. Bear Essentials helps children between the ages of 4 and 12 who are dealing with a parent suffering from cancer.
Ten representatives of the Belle Center and the Hervey Foundation were also in attendance. The head count for the morning practice was 1,523.
Re: Tucker Takes Turn at Tackle
My friend Jackie Slater... :bow:
Calude Terrell... :football:
Someone should indict "Agent" Roosevelt Barnes! Aaaaaarghh!