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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    R.B. FALLSTROM

    Associated Press


    ST. LOUIS - It's been more than four months since Kyle Turley shut himself down for the season with another back injury, and the St. Louis Rams are still feeling the repercussions.

    The biggest hole on the offensive line has been Turley's vacated right tackle spot. Grant Williams has been beaten repeatedly in recent weeks, and he was burned for the sack that knocked quarterback Marc Bulger out of last week's 16-6 victory over the ***** with a sprained right shoulder.

    Now, it's up to unheralded Blaine Saipaia to help keep 39-year-old backup Chris Chandler healthy until Bulger returns, perhaps in two weeks. Williams was benched in the second half last week in favor of Saipaia, and coach Mike Martz has named Saipaia the starter for Sunday's game at Carolina.

    Saipaia has a tall order, trying to handle one of the NFL's best pass rushers. Julius Peppers has nine sacks, two off the league lead.

    "Blaine obviously understands the opportunity that's ahead of him," Martz said. "He has the athleticism to line up on the edge and block a guy like Peppers.

    "The experience is going to be a bit of a factor, so we need to help him. Hopefully we can settle in with Blaine."

    Saipaia came in on the Rams' off-day on Tuesday to study Peppers' moves.

    "He's a speed guy and does a lot of moves where he can transfer his speed to power," Saipaia said. "With his speed, he can catch a lot of people off-balance.

    "If I stay balanced and stay with him, I should be OK."

    Keeping Chandler in one piece is paramount for the Rams (6-6) considering the alternatives. The backups are rookie Jeff Smoker, a sixth-round pick, and well-traveled Jamie Martin, who had been unattached since being released by the Jets in October 2003.

    It's unclear which quarterback would be the backup this week. Martz was adamant about not using Smoker earlier in the week, given his lack of experience and Martin's rust, but later in the week hedged on his choice.

    Martz also said Smoker has picked up the offense faster than he had anticipated.

    "He's got a lot more in him, he's retained a lot more, and looks a lot more at ease with what we're doing than I would have thought," Martz said.

    Saipaia has one career start, at Buffalo on Nov. 21, when he also stepped in for a banged-up Williams. In that game, he played well initially but struggled against the pass rush and blitz in the second half.

    He expects to do better with his second chance.

    "I'm not so hyperactive now that I've actually had a chance to get in there and get some time," Saipaia said. "I'll give it the best shot I can, but I think I'll be a little more relaxed and focused.

    "I've definitely got to be on my game."

    Williams has a rotator cuff injury that has forced him to alter his technique, and also has an elbow injury.

    "When he sets he's got to turn and favor one arm, and that's when he gets beat," Martz said. "If he's healthy, he's fine. Unfortunately, he hasn't been healthy."

    As for Turley, he hasn't been seen around Rams Park all season. He left training camp on Aug. 1 and was placed on injured reserve in late August after reinjuring his surgically-repaired back early in training camp.

    Martz had difficulty reaching Turley while the tackle was visiting various specialists around the country, noting that he phoned him about 20 times without receiving a return call. So, this disappearance is nothing new.

    "I have no idea where he is, have no idea if he wants to play or can play," Martz said. "I have no idea about any of that. I have not seen him."


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    "I have no idea where he is, have no idea if he wants to play or can play," Martz said. "I have no idea about any of that. I have not seen him."
    Nor would I expect to see him any time soon, Coach.
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  3. #3
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    In my opinion, given the combination of the loss of a very high level player at a critical position at a time when we were potential title contenders, coupled with a potentially devasting long and short term cap impact, makes this the single most adversely impactful injury in the history of the franchise (assuming he never comes back and we have to take a major future cap hit as a result).

    Can anyone think of a more impactful injury in the cap era? I guess one could argue that captain kurt never really recovered from the thumb he hurt against philly in game one of the 2001 season, but bulger has stepped up very effectively, whereas to date, turleys replacements have been one abomination after another.

    ramming speed to all,

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  4. #4
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    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    Cap Question - for Capoligists:

    If Turley cannot play, can the Rams reach a medical settlement or do they eat all of his cap $$? Does that change if he retires, not that he would retire, if that is all the money he will ever make.

    Warner's injury was bad - right after the $6MM signing bonus. But, the loss of Turley has had a real ripple effect.

  5. #5
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    All I know is that if Turley retires, the Rams take an accelerated cap hit for the remainder of his bonus. That's really going to hurt, considering the Rams are already going to be eating $6.7M in dead money in 2005 for releasing Warner, and combine that with a high salary for Marshall Faulk and, if Pace doesn't sign a long-term deal, a high franchise tag value for Pace.
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  6. #6
    RamTime Guest

    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    I say get what we can for this homewrecker. Get some stupid team to trade for him.

  7. #7
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    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    KFNS in St. Louis was reporting that Kyle Turley was going to begin his training regiment soon. Take it for what it's worth but if he comes back, that will be one less major hole we have to fill on draft day. Then we can really focus on defense.

  8. #8
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    When we are discussing cap problems for next year, lets not forget the uncertainty surrounding the leonard little situation.

    As for the acceleration and overall hit on an injury settlement, i have been trying to get an answer on that question from balzer for quite some time but he has not responded. Very, very relevant data.

    general counsel

  9. #9
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    I asked Barry Waller what Turley's cap hit would be if he retired, and he said that the Rams would make it official after June 1st to spread out the hit, which would cost $1.67 million "dead money" in 2005 and the remaining $5 million counting in 2006.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    "I have no idea where he is, have no idea if he wants to play or can play," Martz said. "I have no idea about any of that. I have not seen him."
    I know he's on IR and doesn't necessarily have to be with the team...but this really bothers me. I mean he's still getting paid right? Don't you guys think he should at least be at the games since he's part of this team? I knew he was a "me-first" kind of guy and this is evidence of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamTime
    I say get what we can for this homewrecker. Get some stupid team to trade for him.
    Couldn't agree more, RamTime.
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  11. #11
    general counsel Guest

    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    Nick, what if they make an injury settlement with him. does the reduced payout that turley takes reduce the cap hit on a dollar for dollar basis?

    general counsel

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