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  • No Turley, no Pace, no peace

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    08/01/2004

    Right tackle Kyle Turley is a cornerstone in the Rams offense, one of a handful of veterans the unit is built upon.

    And now he is shelved by a nagging back injury that has him fretting about his future. Turley returned to St. Louis on Sunday for further testing and may head to Los Angeles to meet with a back specialist.

    So much for the notion that offseason disc surgery fixed his problem.

    "It was a threat to my career last year," Turley told reporters in Macomb, Ill. "For it to have possibly reoccurred is definitely a bigger threat."

    Uh, oh. You hate to see words like "threat" and "career" in the same quote, especially when back injuries are being discussed.

    Ever since reliable Fred Miller exited as a free agent after Super Bowl 34, the Rams have struggled to fill the right tackle position. Sometimes, successor Ryan Tucker dominated . . . and sometimes he got manhandled.

    Tucker, too, departed as a free agent. That ushered in the ill-fated John St. Clair Era. After the ironically nicknamed "Beast" flopped miserably, the Rams turned to Turley.

    They acquired him from New Orleans last year for a second-round pick, then locked him up with a five-year, $26.5 million contract extension with $12 million of that money guaranteed.

    He and Orlando Pace were impressive bookends on a Rams offensive line that got stronger as the 2004 season progressed. Their forceful play created high hopes for the unit coming into this season.

    Now Turley is sidelined and Pace remains out of camp as an unsigned franchise player. Grant Williams is holding down the fort at left tackle and right tackle is a grab bag. Utility lineman Ryan Schau could become a capable fill-in, but he, too, has been limited by a back problem.

    So what's the answer now? Scott Tercero? Greg Randall?

    Furthermore, center Dave Wohlabaugh must take it easy while recovering from offseason hip surgery. That moves Andy McCollum back to center and puts inexperienced guard Andy King on the first unit.

    Rams fans have every reason to fret about this unit. This mighty offense will sputter without sturdy run and pass blocking.

    When the Air Martz passing game is clicking, it dares opponents to blitz. But if the pass protections falter and blitzes are not read correctly, the quarterback gets hammered.

    With Chris Chandler backing up Marc Bulger these days, the Rams don't have any margin for error.

    The Rams came to camp looking to build a more consistent ground game in 2004. The addition of first-round pick Steven Jackson, a punishing runner, will allow the team to grind out more yardage between the tackles,

    If the line does its job, that is.

    Turley is a big piece of the offensive equation. We assume Pace will eventually sign and suit up. The Rams are hopeful that Wohlabaugh will be back to full strength by the regular season opener.

    But if recurring back problems wipe out Turley, the entire line could be compromised. The Rams would have to start a fill-in (who may or may not be up to the task) and the unit's depth would suffer as well.

    And then if somebody else got hurt . . . well, let's not look too far down the road. Rams fans need to focus on one crisis at a time.

  • #2
    Re: No Turley, no Pace, no peace

    Right tackle Kyle Turley is a cornerstone in the Rams offense, one of a handful of veterans the unit is built upon.
    Huh?

    A guy who's been here exactly one season...a cornerstone?

    I think not.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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    • #3
      Re: No Turley, no Pace, no peace

      Big Jackie is still in shape. We need to start talking contract with him. Get him suited up and ready for the season.

      ramming speed to all

      general counsel

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      • #4
        Re: No Turley, no Pace, no peace

        This is ominous. Injuries have crippled the o-line's efforts at achieving continuity even before the season opens. Pace will have had little if any reps to establish tendencies of his LG partner before the regular season starts. Bulger has to be wondering whether he can turn himself into a scrambler in short order, 'cuz he has to know what is in store for him if he doesn't get any time to throw ... maybe 6 fumbles, a concussion, and the clipboard in game 2 ...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: No Turley, no Pace, no peace

          Originally posted by adarian_too
          Bulger has to be wondering whether he can turn himself into a scrambler in short order, 'cuz he has to know what is in store for him if he doesn't get any time to throw ... maybe 6 fumbles, a concussion, and the clipboard in game 2 ...
          How's about we trade Pace for some team's starting R&L tackles? 2 for 1 mammoth problem child. Contract negotiations will drag on, Pace will be mediocre when the season starts, and like Adarian said.... Bulger holds the clipboard, Chandler yells encouragement, and Smoker get OTJ training while he throws many interceptions and eats a lot of turf and dirt.

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          • RamDez
            Turley, Pace leave holes in Rams line
            by RamDez
            Turley, Pace leave holes in Rams line
            By Jim Thomas
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            08/10/2004





            MACOMB, Ill. - Little more than a month remains before the Rams' regular-season opener, against Arizona. And what arguably is the NFL's best offensive tackle tandem remains nowhere in sight.

            Nothing has changed on the Orlando Pace front. The team's franchise player has yet to sign his one-year, $7 million tender - the first step towards any long-term contract, much less a Pace appearance on the practice field.

            But some clarity is coming soon on the Kyle Turley front. The Rams expect to see the report from Dr. Robert Watkins, the nationally-known back specialist from Los Angeles, in the next day or two. That report should shed light on the severity of Turley's back injury, and help define when he might return.

            Turley has a slight herniation of a disc in his lower back - in the same disc on which he had surgery in March. After aggravating the back early in training camp, Turley left Macomb on Aug. 1 - and hasn't been back since. He has seen a doctor in St. Louis, and Watkins in Los Angeles for further evaluation. But contrary to earlier reports, Turley will not see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews, however, will receive a copy of Watkins' findings for review.

            When Turley last spoke with reporters before leaving Macomb, he called the latest setback career-threatening, and also indicated that he would be unwilling to have any further surgery.

            There have been rumors, so far unconfirmed, that Turley has told close friends that he will sit out the season. Neither Turley nor Turley agent's - Tom Condon - could be reached by the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

            When asked Monday if he was optimistic about Turley's return this season, coach Mike Martz said: "I don't know. I don't know what to think because we don't have all the facts from the doctors."

            Some of Turley's teammates are bracing for the worst.

            "I don't think Kyle, even best-case scenario, is going to be back for a while," offensive guard Adam Timmerman said. "With the bulging disc story, I'd be surprised if he's back this year. But I haven't heard an official word."

            Quarterback Marc Bulger said he experienced some back problems early in his college career, so he has an inkling of what Turley must be going through.

            "Those things take time, and they're confusing," Bulger said. "When you're dealing with a back, you never know what to expect."

            Meanwhile, the Pace contract impasse remains stuck in neutral. With each day that passes in training camp, his situation is looking more and more like a sequel to 2003, when Pace skipped all of training camp, then signed his franchise tender in time to play in the final exhibition game.

            President of football
            ...
            -08-10-2004, 11:20 PM
          • RamWraith
            Turley to IR Tuesday
            by RamWraith
            John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com

            Now that he's learned he's out for the season, St. Louis Rams right tackle Kyle Turley will take some time to determine what to do next. Every medical checkup revealed another bulging disc above the area that required surgery in the offseason.

            The prognosis was to have a second operation. The only way he could have played was to take epidural shots to relieve the pain, but that would do nothing to fix the problem. The Rams' offensive line is in trouble now that injured center Dave Wohlabaugh has been released and Turley won't be available.

            The Rams are expected to put Turley on injured reserve before Tuesday's roster cutdowns to 65 players.

            The back problems put the long-term future of Turley in question. He turns 29 on Sept. 24 and has 95 starts during his six-year career. Last season he signed a six-year, $31 million contract that included $10.9 million in guarantees.

            His presence along with the addition of Wohlabaugh solidified the blocking for quarterback Marc Bulger, who is not the most mobile quarterback. The improved blocking allowed the Rams to get back into the playoffs last season.

            Turley's back started bothering him during the first couple days of training camp. Before camp was a week old, Turley left Macomb, Ill., and starting visiting doctors.

            The final prognosis came Wednesday afternoon when a couple of specialists confirmed that his back was not healthy enough to withstand the season.

            The Rams acquired Turley from the Saints for a second round choice in the 2004 draft. He was the seventh pick of the 1998 draft by New Orleans.
            -08-26-2004, 06:35 AM
          • RamWraith
            Turley leaves camp to get ailing back checked
            by RamWraith
            By Jim Thomas
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            08/02/2004
            MACOMB, Ill. - A disappointed and frustrated Kyle Turley headed back to St. Louis on Sunday for further tests and evaluation of a back problem that doesn't seem to want to go away.

            Meanwhile, the Rams are bringing in reinforcements for an offensive line that has been short-handed since the start of training camp. Offensive tackle Greg Randall arrived in Macomb early Sunday evening for a physical, and later was signed to a one-year contract. He is on the practice field this morning.

            Randall started 16 games for the Houston Texans last year. He played his first three seasons in the NFL for the New England Patriots, and started at right tackle in Super Bowl XXXVI against the Rams.

            The Rams also were attempting to bring in guard-center Chris Dishman, the former Arizona Cardinal, to help their depth on the interior of the line. But as of Sunday evening, the Rams had been unable to contact Dishman, causing some team officials to wonder if he was still interested in playing.

            Before heading to St. Louis, Turley told reporters that he considered the latest setback career threatening.

            "It was a threat to my career last year," Turley said. "But for it to have possibly reoccurred is definitely a bigger threat."

            Turley experienced nagging pain in his hip last season. After the season, the source of the pain was diagnosed as a herniated disk in his lower back, and Turley underwent surgery in March.

            Coach Mike Martz pronounced Turley fit at the outset of camp, but Turley has practiced only about half the time over the first five days here at Western Illinois University because of back pain.

            "I came out here in hopes of everything being OK," Turley said. "And everything kind of felt fine. But I went through the first day of practice, and it didn't seem like it was completely right.

            "I expressed my feelings about it. The idea was to come back out and see how it goes. We did it, and I don't know if that was necessarily the right thing to do."

            In addition to getting checked out in St. Louis, Turley said he might see a specialist in Los Angeles.

            "We're attacking it right now, with some heavy anti-inflammatories," he said. "And we're going to see these people and see what they have to say."

            Turley had an MRI Saturday in Macomb and termed the results "not good."

            Turley added, "I'm not doing the surgery again. I'm not going through that again."

            With or without surgery, Turley is concerned that any additional deterioration of the disk won't leave much cushion between the vertebrae.

            "The biggest fear is bone on bone," Turley said. "I don't want that to happen and be a hunchback...
            -08-02-2004, 06:52 AM
          • RamDez
            Rams' Turley says he may retire
            by RamDez


            Rams' Turley says he may retire


            BY STEVE KORTE

            Knight Ridder Newspapers



            ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - Offensive tackle Kyle Turley, who will sit out the entire 2004 season for the St. Louis Rams due to a back injury, is mulling retirement.

            The 28-year-old Turley left training camp three weeks ago to seek out the opinion of several back specialists, and was told that he will likely require a second operation on the herniated disc in his back if he ever wants to return to the football field.

            If Turley opts for the operation, he probably wouldn`t be healthy enough to play until midway through the 2005 season.

            ESPN.com reported that Turley`s friends say he is not yet mentally prepared for the rigors of such a lengthy rehabilitation.

            There`s also no guarantee that the surgery will permanently correct Turley`s chronic back problems.

            Turley, appearing on Fox Sports Net`s "Best Damn Sports Show Period" on Thursday, said it was 50-50 whether he`d ever play again.

            "There`s the quality of life after football," Turley said in an interview on FSN Midwest. "I want to be able to pick my kids up when I`m 40 years old and carry them around."

            Turley failed to return several telephone calls from Rams coach Mike Martz in the week after he left training camp.

            "At the time, when things we`re going on, and Mike came on the air and talked about how I didn`t call him back, I was traveling around," Turley said. "And, it was a situation that I had not been used to dealing with. I was angry in some cases that this (injury) happened again and in other cases very disheartened. I didn`t return a lot of telephone calls."

            If Turley does retire, the Rams could seek the return of a portion of the $10 million signing bonus he received when they acquired him in a trade with the New Orleans Saints in March, 2003.

            Turley has been placed on injured reserve for this season. He`ll count $2.36 million against the Rams` salary cap for 2004.

            Turley was a model of durability before the back injury. He had missed only one game in six previous NFL seasons.

            The loss of Turley and center Dave Wohlabaugh, who was released after failing to comeback from off-season hip surgery, was a big blow for the Rams` offensive line.

            Compounding matters is the holdout of Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace, who has yet to sign the one-year, $7.05 million tender as the team`s franchise agent.

            The Rams are in the process of finalizing their roster. They must trim 12 players by 3 p.m. on Sunday to get down to the NFL regular-season limit of 53 players....
            -09-05-2004, 04:59 AM
          • Guest's Avatar
            Turley leaves camp
            by Guest
            According to nfl.com, kyle turley has left camp following his mri to get his back checked out further. Turley has spoken of possibly visiting a specialist in LA. He claims he may have tried to do "too much too soon." The phrase "possibility of a career threatening injury" was used in the article by turley himself.

            Needless to say, this is exactly what we didnt need to hear. Too soon to jump to conclusions, but i dont know if we can win a superbowl without turley. Grant williams is a capable backup and lord knows he wouldnt be the worst right tackle in the league, but given our offense, with the memory of the st clair debacle still fresh in our minds, the presence of turley is really critical.

            Protecting bulger in preseason until we get pace back should really be an adventure if turley is out for any extended period of time.

            Lets hope and pray that turley will be ok.

            ramming speed to all

            general counsel
            -08-01-2004, 12:47 PM
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