Tuesday, August 24, 2004

By Nick Wagoner
Staff Writer

Travis Fisher’s broken right arm wasn’t the only cause for concern Monday night. Quarterback Marc Bulger injured his knee after being sacked in the first half. Bulger had an MRI on his knee Tuesday, which revealed only a bone bruise. His status is day to day.

Linebacker Tommy Polley and defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson are battling shoulder injuries. Polley has a muscle strain and Jackson has a shoulder strain and are day to day as well. Adam Timmerman’s sore shoulder continues to give him problems. Martz said Timmerman will be held out of practice this week. Tony Newson (hamstring), Robert Cromartie (hamstring), Groce (knee), Jeremy Phillips (neck) and Joey Goodspeed (hamstring) were inactive for Monday’s game.

FAULK CHECK: Marshall Faulk played 13 snaps against Kansas City, finishing with 16 yards on six carries and made a catch for 9 yards. Faulk, who has battled knee and hand injuries in recent years, said he felt fine after the game. “There’s a conditioning factor that I’m working on,” Faulk said. “I felt pretty good out there. You never know in this offense until your number is called five, six seven times in a row if you are in the conditioning you want to be. That is something that is going to come as I get my carries throughout the preseason and throughout the year.”

Martz said he was pleased with what he saw from Faulk against the Chiefs and expects him to play against Washington at the Edward Jones Dome on Friday night. “We’ll continue in these last two games to make sure that he gets some work,” Martz said. “He’s further along than he’s ever been at this point in the season. He looked like he had that great burst of speed and all that good stuff.”

O-LINE MOVING ON: The offensive line had problems with the Chiefs’ continued blitzing Monday night, but there were myriad reasons for that. The starting group consisted of left guard Chris Dishman (signed late, still working on his conditioning), right tackle Scott Tercero (who had played in only one game of any kind in his year in St. Louis), left tackle Grant Williams (playing on a severely sprained right ankle), center Andy McCollum (who moved over from left guard) and right guard Timmerman (shoulder injury).

The problems along the line made it difficult to stop Kansas City’s relentless pass rush. Martz said he expects the unit to jell as the regular season draws closer and certain players get back to their comfort zones. “Provided that we can keep what we have healthy, we will put out a first unit that will compete and play well,” Martz said.

ROSTER MOVEMENT: The Rams released seven players Tuesday afternoon moving closer to the limit of 65 that must be reached by Aug. 31. The final cuts to reach the 53-man roster must be made by Sept. 5. Defensive tackle Richard Harris, receivers Derek McCoy and Brian Sump, linebackers Jason McWilliams and Justin Smith, punter Jesse Nicassio and tight end Ryan Prince were let go.


Martz Post-Game Quotes
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

(Opening Statement)
“I think we can play better than that, I know we can. We did a very poor job getting this football team ready to play this preseason game. I own this one, this is my fault as the head coach. We came out here and flopped around, and acted like we didn’t know where we were, and that’s a coaching issue, always is, always will be. I can blame players, but that’s my responsibility. That won’t happen again, we’ll make sure these guys are ready to play. Credit to the Chiefs, that’s a fine football team, they’re in top form right now, we’re not there by any stretch of the imagination. We’re a long way from were we need to be to start this season, but we’ll get there.”

(On CB Travis Fisher’s injury)
“Broke his arm, probably out for the year. It’s a three to four month deal, so to plan on having him back for any substantial part of the season after 16 weeks, from now you’re looking at maybe two games, if we’re fortunate enough to be in the playoffs you might have him. He’ll have to have a plate put in it from what they said.”

(On CB Kevin Garrett’s performance)
“He did a good job. I think the rest of the secondary played well there, particularly the backups in the second half, they moved around real well. He made a nice play. In fact I think (Dwight) Anderson did a heck of a job a couple of times too on some pass breakups.”

(On how limited he was on his offensive play selection)
“We didn’t approach this as a regular season game, that’s not normally what we do in the preseason. What we did do, we can do a whole lot better, and that’s what we have to focus on. The protections fell apart at times, we we’re disjointed with calls that didn’t come in right, we looked like our first day of practice. This is not the way we’ve practiced, I’m a little surprised by it. I’ll go back and reflect on how I prepared this team this week, and obviously I’ll have to accept responsibility, and I do.”

(On it surprising him that Kansas City blitzed so much)
“It did, they brought up double safeties, maximum blitzing, and all that sort of thing. I just let it go, it is what it is. I don’t want the rest of the teams that we play to know how we deal with that, so we just make due with it as much as we can. That’s their prerogative.”

(On how QB Marc Bulger handled the blitzes)
“We had some protection issues early. He had Isaac (Bruce) open a couple of times clean, and couldn’t make a throw. We knew we we’re going to have those problems. I was really trying to get Marshall (Faulk) the ball early, with a pass or two, and a couple handouts, and get him out. I was trying to look at him a little bit. I wanted to hand Steven (Jackson) the ball quiet a bit in the second half, which we tried to do, particularly in the third quarter. In terms of Marc, I just wanted him to have some success with some throws down the field, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that.”

(On RB Marshall Faulk’s performance)
“He looks good to me, but I didn’t want to leave him in there. Standing from the sideline it’s hard to tell, but he looks like he has his burst and speed. He got probably six carries and a pass reception, that’s all he needs right now to get ready to go, and I’m pleased with him. We’ve got an awful lot of work to do in our offensive line, so what we had left of them, we had them in there the second half. Trying to get Scott Tercero and some of these guys to play.”

(On WR Kevin Curtis’s performance)
“Kevin we’ve kept out for 11 days, so he hasn’t done anything up until the day before yesterday, because of the shin splints, so he got gassed at the end of the game. But he needs to play, we just need to play some of these guys, but we’re held hostage a little bit in some situations, but that’s the way it goes.”

(On how confident he is with the offensive line at the start of the season if T Orlando Pace gets signed)
“I think Big Dish (Chris Dishman) is going to be fine, he’s three weeks away from being ready physically, he’s really out of shape, but he’s light years ahead of where he was when he came in. He’ll be playing left guard. Orlando, obviously solves a lot of issues for us at left tackle. I think Grant (Williams), particularly with a healthy ankle, will be just fine at right tackle. That first group will be fine when we get everybody in place. We’ve had (Scott) Tercero play three different positions now all week. That’s the preseason, you keep some guys out that are nicked, and you try and get some things done. We certainly did not come to do what we did, I thought we would play better than we did, but we didn’t."