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  • King-size opportunity

    King-size opportunity

    Rams give Lincoln native shot at left guard position


    By HAL PILGER
    STAFF WRITER


    MACOMB - The third year could prove to be the charm for Lincoln native Andy King, an offensive lineman with the St. Louis Rams.



    The 6-foot-4, 310-pound former Illinois State standout has played in only a handful of games since signing as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2002 season. Not only has he bounced back and forth between the practice squad and active roster, King has been switched between the tackle and guard positions.

    Through it all, King has kept a positive attitude and noticeably strong work ethic. And now his patience and hard work may be paying off. The Rams are planning to play King considerably at the left guard spot during the preseason.

    Veteran center Dave Wohlabaugh, coming back from offseason hip surgery, is limited to participation in a few agility drills and may be weeks away from a full recovery. The Rams have moved Andy McCollum to center, creating the opportunity for the 25-year-old King to play left guard.

    "I've been at tackle for the last couple of years, in and out of right and left tackle, and filling in at guard here and there in practice," said the 1997 Lincoln High School graduate. "Now this year I think I'm expected to stay at left guard and do what I can there to be a contributing member of that starting five."

    That's largely, King believes, because of his patience and persistence - two things he knew he would need to make it in the NFL.

    "Undrafted free agent, up and down with the practice squad several times the last couple years, you just have to make your way and take a hold of opportunities when they come up," King said.

    "At some point during the offseason, I don't remember exactly when, Mike (Martz, head coach) just came by and said, 'We're gonna put you at guard, work you there and get you going.' And then closer to mini-camp they weren't sure if Wohlabaugh was going to be able to practice, and they said they were going to put me where they need me.

    "I was at right tackle during mini-camp until the last day and then started in at left guard and stayed there since. So I guess it was really the end of mini-camp when they put me there."

    And King, who has not played a great deal at guard, would not mind pulling permanent left guard duty.

    "I can't tell you how much of a benefit that is, to be able to focus on one position," he said. "The last couple years I've had to make sure I knew everything about all the positions so whenever I had to fill in I was ready to do it. Now, being able to focus and just get that edge on this position, I think will really help out a lot.

    "It's not too different," King said. "I guess (playing) inside you've got people on the right and left of you, so you've just got to get used to playing inside a box, where at tackle you're kind of more out there on an island by yourself.

    "You get a little more help sometimes; you get a little less help sometimes. Some cutoff blocks are a little different. I've got to change a few things, but it's all football.

    "I was a tackle through college," King added. "I spent just a few days at guard when they were trying to move some people around one time. Originally when I came here they wanted me to play guard, so I spent the rookie mini-camp my first year at guard. And then we went into the team mini-camp, and I think it was because Big O (Orlando Pace) was out with an ankle (injury), they put me at tackle and I kind of stayed there through that year."

    King has come a long way since he made his NFL debut at Philadelphia in 2002 after Pace tore his hamstring. John St. Clair was switched from right to left tackle, and King took over at right tackle. King's inexperience showed as Eagles defensive end N.D. Kalu collected a couple of sacks.

    "He went into that Philadelphia game a couple of years ago, and we all sweated real hard on that one," Martz said, pointing out that unlike some players, King didn't let his difficult debut demoralize him. Instead, he worked even harder to improve.

    "He handled that very well. That's a pretty good indication, or window into his toughness," Martz said. "He got challenged by that. He got a little taste of playing. It's what he wanted, and he worked that much harder.

    "We threw him into guard this spring because we wanted to see what he could do. He has really improved and done really well. He's going to make some mistakes here in camp, but he's going to play an awful lot of preseason - more than the rest of the guys on the offensive line in that first unit - just to get him ready."

    King has very specific and ambitious expectations for this season.

    "Come in here and do well, contribute to the team, help us get to a championship and be part of a starting five that dominates as an offensive line," King said.

    Martz shares those expectations, indicating he would have no qualms about playing King if the season started today.

    "If I felt (a lack of confidence in King), then he wouldn't be in there right now," Martz said. "I think we all have seen enough of Andy over the last few years that we feel good about his ability to go in and handle all of this.

    "He's what we're looking for," Martz added. "He's a big, physical guy. He's a tough guy. He's smart, and he wants to be as good as he can be. What else do you want?"

    Martz is particularly pleased with what King concedes is a bit of a mean and nasty streak when he's battling defenders.

    "That's a quality that we like to have in those offensive linemen," Martz said. "That's what Adam (Timmerman) has; that's what Andy (McCollum) has. All those guys up there have that, and he fits that mold."

    Said King, "You can't sit back; you can't relax. You've always got to be on the aggressive side and on the front edge. You've got to push, otherwise you get complacent and complacency, honestly, can lose you a job."

    A job King is confident he can do.

    "You've got to do what you've got to do. Coach Martz has said this ever since I've been here - if you don't consider yourself a starter on this team, then you don't belong here.

    "I took it to heart the day that I got here and tried to prepare myself to be that starter whenever the chance came."

    It appears that chance is now.

    "God gave me talents to do something, and football is the talents that he gave me," King said. "If he wants me playing football, then I'm going to be playing football. He's prepared me the last couple years to be where I'm at now, and with his help I'll take this starting position and do the best that I can with it.

    "I've gotten stronger since I've been here; I've gotten faster. I think the mental edge is really what's changed - just being able to think faster. This offense, there's so much to it that you have to be on top of it in order to play well."

    Which is exactly what he expects to do. Oh, and King has one more expectation for this fall.

    "I've got a baby on the way," beamed King, who has been married about 11/2 years. "We're due in November." A good, solid month before the playoffs.

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamDez
    Offensive line looks just fine for St. Louis
    by RamDez
    Offensive line looks just fine for St. Louis


    BY HAL PILGER
    STAFF WRITER


    ST. LOUIS - It has been one of the biggest questions of training camp for the St. Louis Rams.



    The players may be too young to remember the old TV show, "What's My Line?" but fans, media and even the coaches have been pondering that question for weeks.

    Thanks to injuries, departed players and offensive tackle Orlando Pace's failure to make it to camp once again, the Rams have had to mix and match line players on both sides of the ball.

    Even though Thursday night's 13-10 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears was nothing more than the first preseason game for both teams - and, of course, new Bears coach Lovie Smith's triumphant return to St. Louis - the Rams are breathing a little easier regarding their lines.

    Especially their offensive line.

    "They came through fine," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "I really watched the offensive line the first half as much as I could. We just tried to stay kind of generic and just tried to let them have a chance to play a little bit."

    Martz seldom gives out tons of preseason praise, but he was pleased with several members of his offensive line.

    "We were able to play the first half with Adam (Timmerman, right guard); he hung in there pretty good with it," Martz said. "(Right tackle Scott) Tercero, I thought, played very well. I was very pleased with his performance."

    And Martz talked about one other member of that offensive line - third-year player Andy King of Lincoln, who was making his first NFL start - preseason or any season.

    "He looked pretty good," Martz said. "Obviously, when he was in there he did a nice job.

    "I thought the protections held up very well. We went down to the red zone and sputtered a little bit, but that's more what we were doing than anything else."

    Throughout the first half, first for starting quarterback Marc Bulger and then for veteran backup Chris Chandler, the offensive line afforded the necessary protection. No glaring holes with defenders pouring through. Very few missed or misplayed assignments. An offensive line any NFL quarterback could be comfortable playing behind.

    "They did a fantastic job," said Bulger, who was 3-for-6 for 57 yards in his only series of the game. "I didn't feel any pressure.

    "I think the one sack at the end (of the Rams' first-quarter drive) was on a hot route, but I think Lovie (the former Rams defensive coordinator) had something set up for us there," Bulger added with a grin.

    Chandler, who was 8-for-9 with one interception on a ball that was stripped away from his receiver, agreed with Bulger about the line.

    "I think the guys...
    -08-13-2004, 02:52 PM
  • MauiRam
    King works to re-establish himself
    by MauiRam
    By BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/03/2009

    It was all going so well in the early part of training camp last year for Rams rookie Justin King. A fourth-round draft pick from Penn State, King was challenging Jonathan Wade for the No. 4 cornerback spot.

    Then King's big toe gave out in the preseason opener at Tennessee. Just like that, his season was over.

    "It was extremely tough, just sitting there and knowing that there's nothing you can do about it," said King, who had surgery for a torn ligament. While his new teammates were struggling through a 2-14 season, King was hobbling through Rams Park with his foot in an orthopedic boot.
    "It was a long season," King said. "And now we have a whole different coaching staff and I've got to re-establish myself coming off the injury."
    After months of rehab, King is back in uniform and participating in the team's second spring minicamp. The toe "gets a little sore every once in a while, but nothing to hold me down," King reported. "It's coming around."

    One of the starting cornerback spots belongs to Ron Bartell, but the other is open for competition. Tye Hill, who played in just four games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, has been working with the first unit, and Wade has been the nickel back.

    Still, the 5-foot-11, 188-pound King is conceding nothing.

    "I look at it as true competition," he said. "I just want to go out and try to get better every day, and let the coaches make their decisions."

    Instead of doing his mending back home in Pittsburgh, King remained here virtually all last season. He decided that if he couldn't advance himself on the field, he could make strides elsewhere.

    "I used to do scouting reports for the defensive backs on the opposing teams' offenses," King said. "It's one thing to be hurt and it's another thing to just be away from it all for a year. So I tried to stay around it as much as possible."

    BARTELL ADJUSTS

    After establishing himself as a mainstay in the secondary and earning a new contract that could net him $28 million over four seasons, fifth-year pro Bartell is feeling like a rookie again. He acknowledged that his head is swimming as he tries to absorb a new defensive scheme.

    "Learning a whole new defense is like learning how to read all over again," Bartell said. "We spent the last three years in the same defense and we got to know that pretty well. Then to throw that out the window, learn new terminology, new techniques, new blitzes, new coverages, it's definitely different. ...

    "The old way wasn't working. Now we have to do it this way, and hopefully it works out."

    SPEED IMPRESSES SMITH

    His first four NFL practices...
    -05-03-2009, 06:24 PM
  • Kooshster
    Andy King
    by Kooshster
    Hi everyone. I'm a Seahawks fan, so let me get out right away. I haven't come here to spam or anything, but simply to ask a question.

    I noticed via KFFL that the Seahawks signed Andy King, who was up until now a Rams OG. Does anyone here know much about him? What kind of player he is, what kind of character, etc.

    I ask because I can't seem to find much on him and figured someone around here was much more knowledgable than I in this arena. Can anyone fill me in?
    -06-21-2005, 10:57 PM
  • MauiRam
    Rams sign DT Mitch King to Practice Squad ..
    by MauiRam
    Rams make changes to practice squad
    by Nate Latsch of GridIronGateway December 1, 2010 at 1:52pm ET

    Mitch King Profile

    The St. Louis Rams have added defensive tackle Mitch King to the practice squad and released cornerback Terrail Lambert from the practice squad.

    King, 24, is a 6-foot-2, 282-pound defensive tackle from the University of Iowa who was signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent last year and was with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season.

    He appeared in four preseason games and then the first four games of the regular season, recording three tackles, before being released in October.

    Here's an article after the 2009 draft.... Posted on another Ram Forum ..

    Agent: Calls overwhelming after draft about King
    by Scott Dochterman


    IOWA CITY — An abnormally high volume of calls came in moments after the draft for former Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King, according to his agent, Richard Rosa.

    “We weren’t dealing with scouts,” Rosa said. “We were dealing with coaches, general managers … at least two team presidents called him personally and said, ‘That’s a guy we have to have.’ There was tremendous interest for him.”

    “I can’t deny that there were teams lining up. He had an unbelievable amount of interest from teams. Ultimately, Mitch got to pick the spot.”

    Rosa said King chose Tennessee because he felt most comfortable with defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who is known for his fiery temperment.

    “The bottom line is Mitch King is a tremendous football player,” Rosa said. “One day he’ll have his day and he’ll say, ‘I told you so.’”

    One day after Mitch King was left unwanted by NFL officials, one draft analyst said the slight might benefit King in the long run.

    “He was much better off going undrafted than it would have been to go in the sixth or seventh round,” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock on Monday. “At least he had an opportunity to make some decisions as to where he wanted to go.”

    The Tennessee Titans signed King, 22, Sunday night to a free-agent deal. Most draft experts expected King, a Burlington native, to be drafted anywhere from rounds three through five. Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads Scouting Services LLC., listed King as the fourth-best defensive tackle and a third-round pick. The Sporting News listed King as a fifth-round selection.

    “Boy he could slip as far as six, but it would surprise me,” Shonka said before the draft. “You’re talking about (rounds) three to four and if he fell below that, it’s really a bonus to some team. He’s a third-, fourth-round caliber player.”

    King ranks among the most productive defensive players in Iowa football history. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. He had 15.5...
    -12-02-2010, 01:42 AM
  • RamWraith
    At the Risk of Being a Cheerleader ... Peter King
    by RamWraith
    SI.com's Peter King will keep a daily blog as he travels across the country visiting NFL training camps.

    At the Risk of Being a Cheerleader ...
    Earth City, Mo. -- 10 a.m.

    It's happening again. An NFL team is doing the right thing with the customers. On the beginning of a broiler of a day here on the outskirts of St. Louis, coach Mike Martz has ended practice early. He's happy with how his team is working, and he's giving them the afternoon off. But first, he gathers his team at midfield and says: "I want everyone to go over and sign autographs for the next 10 minutes.''

    There are maybe 1,000 fans here. The Rams open the morning practice every day, then close it during the afternoon when, presumably, more strategic things occur. Martz knows these players have spent four months preparing for the season already. The best thing he can do for them now is occasionally give them a break they didn't expect.

    "The drudgery of camp isn't what it used to be,'' Martz says later. "We've got a great group of guys, and they've worked to prepare for the season pretty hard already. I gave Marc Bulger the day off today, and the rest of the team will get the afternoon and evening off. They deserve it.''

    The autographs? "These fans are our customers,'' Martz says. "They come out here expecting to see a longer practice and more stuff, and the last thing we want to do is disappoint them. Our players know it's a good idea to make sure the fans go home happy.''

    What a novel idea in sports -- treating the customer right.
    -08-03-2005, 10:56 AM
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