Tucker's debut at tackle goes poorly - PD
Tucker's debut at tackle goes poorly
By Jim Thomas
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Sunday, Sep. 11 2005
SAN FRANCISCO -- There's a chance Rex Tucker's first career start at
right tackle could be his last for a while. Tucker, new to the Rams after
spending his first six NFL seasons playing guard for Chicago, left Sunday's
season opener late in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
"I'm really not going to talk about it till I find out exactly what it is, if
you don't mind," Tucker said. "I just don't know what to say about it."
After being replaced by Matt Willig against San Francisco, Tucker watched the
rest of the game with his lower right leg in ice. Rams trainers wrapped the leg
before Tucker and the team flew to St. Louis.
After performing well in the final two preseason games, Tucker struggled at
times with his pass blocking against the *****' 3-4 defense. On the first of
San Francisco's seven sacks, Tucker blocked down - or to his inside - with
blitzing ***** defensive back Mike Adams swooping in from the outside for the
On two other occasions, ***** defensive end Bryant Young got by Tucker for
sacks. It appeared they both were coverage sacks, with quarterback Marc Bulger
holding the ball too long. But Tucker would have none of it.
"As far as I'm concerned, I didn't play well enough for us to win this game,"
Tucker said. "That's the way it is. I've got to get better - period."
First-round draft pick Alex Barron, whom coach Mike Martz announced as his
starting right tackle on draft day, didn't even suit up. Barron, of course,
fell behind and fell into disfavor with Martz when he missed the first 2 1/2
weeks of training camp in a contract dispute. He has been working as the backup
left tackle behind Orlando Pace since signing with the team.
Barron was among seven pre-game inactives designated by the Rams. The inactive
list also included CB Ron Bartell, RB Aveion Cason, DT Brian Howard, CB Terry
Fair, OG Claude Terrell and LB Drew Walhroos. In addition, Ryan Fitzpatrick was
the designated third quarterback and did not play.
Fair was sidelined with a sprained neck.
With Barron, Bartell, Terrell and Fitzpatrick sitting, only four of the Rams'
11 draft picks suited up: Punter Reggie Hodges, FB-TE Madison Hedgecock and
safeties Oshiomogho Atogwe and Jerome Carter.
Not only did Chris Johnson finally make his NFL debut, but he touched the ball
on the very first play of the Rams' 2005 season. In something of a surprise,
Johnson was the team's kickoff returner instead of normal returners Cason and
Johnson, a cornerback, was acquired Sept. 3 in a trade with the Green Bay
Packers for linebacker Robert Thomas. He was told during the week - his first
week with the club - that he would be returning kicks and practiced there
during the week.
When asked about his kickoff return experience, Johnson replied: "Really, this
is my first time since college. When I first got hurt when I came to Green Bay,
I was supposed to be the return man."
Trouble was, Johnson never played in a regular-season game in two seasons with
Green Bay because of knee and leg injuries. Johnson, who played in college at
Louisville, did return kicks in Green Bay's exhibition game against Tennessee
Johnson said he was a little surprised to learn of his kickoff return
"They were just trying to get me on the field," Johnson said. "They knew I had
some kind of return ability."
It was not a stellar debut. Johnson averaged only 13.8 yards on four returns.
He committed a major faux pas on that opening kickoff, stepping out
of bounds at the 1.
Re: Tucker's debut at tackle goes poorly - PD
We'll be keeping a RB and a TE in to help the ORT block against Stahan (NYG) in a couple weeks. That'll certainly hinder our Offense. Therein lies the problem the O-line woes affect some many other areas and hamstring our offense.