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  • Saturday Notebook

    Saturday Notebook
    Monday, August 2, 2004

    Staff Writer

    After a few days of harm-free football, the injury bug bit St. Louis for the first time on Saturday.

    Tackle Kyle Turley, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy and safety Rich Coady missed both workouts with back spasms. Linebacker Tommy Polley sprained his right big toe and tight end Cam Cleeland battled a slight hamstring strain.

    Coach Mike Martz said he didn’t expect any of his players to miss an extended period of time.

    “The injury list, unless it’s a real serious injury, I just don’t pay a heck of a lot of attention to it,” Martz said. “Whoever shows up out here, we are going to have practice.”

    Offensive lineman Ryan Schau missed practice again with a back sprain. Cornerback Robert Cromartie watched again from the sidelines because of continued hamstring problems.

    LENDING A HAND: Rookie running back Steven Jackson showed the crowd why the Rams’ thought so highly of him in April’s draft. One play after Jackson made a darting, 25-yard burst off right tackle, he made a one-handed catch along the right sideline.

    In the afternoon practice, Jackson did it again.

    Martz said that is the kind of thing he expects from his running backs.

    “That was the big thing about Steven when he came out of college was that he was a complete back,” Martz said. “He certainly has done everything to prove that so far.”

    FIGHTIN’ WORDS: Apparently, one afternoon practice off is all the Rams needed to take the intensity to another level. With each passing practice, something has happened to bring the competition to a new height.

    Saturday was no exception as the morning practice featured the first true fight of camp. About halfway through the workout, fullback Chris Massey met linebacker Tony Newson in a block. After some small shoving and basic blocking, Massey shoved Newson backward.

    Newson came back with a right cross and the fists began to fly. After some swinging by both pugilists, Massey decided to end the fight. He bullrushed Newson and slammed him to the ground as teammates separated them.

    WISH GRANTED: Offensive tackle Grant Williams has taken back his role as the Rams’ starting training camp tackle. With Orlando Pace not in camp, Williams has once again played nearly every down at left tackle with the first team.

    Williams, a 10th year player out of Louisiana Tech, has impressed Martz.

    “Grant, right now, this is the best he has looked since he’s been here,” Martz said. “I can’t tell you how fortunate we are to have him.”

    Sunday Notebook

    Staff Writer

    Two days removed from what was described as atrophy in his leg, offensive tackle Kyle Turley left camp Sunday afternoon with pain in his back. The Rams coaching staff limited Turley’s work Saturday with what were then called back spasms.

    Turley suffered from similar pain toward the end of the 2003 season, but seemed to be fine as camp opened. He participated in nearly every drill in the first three days of camp, but the pain started to kick in Friday. Turley spent Sunday morning riding an exercise bike and observing drills. He said he would return to St. Louis on Sunday afternoon to have his back examined further by doctors on Monday.

    He also mentioned a possible trip to Los Angeles to meet with a back specialist and told the Associated Press that the injury might have career implications.

    Head coach Mike Martz said it is too early to make any judgments on Turley’s situation.

    “Who knows?” Martz said. “I think anytime a player as competitive as Kyle… you know he is very, very frustrated to have an injury like this. Whenever a player has this kind of injury and he can’t go, they get a little depressed and down in the dumps. So, obviously a lot of those things come across your mind.”

    Scott Tercero took many of the repetitions in Turley’s place, but Martz said there is a chance the Rams could bring in more linemen to play and compete in case Turley isn’t ready for the start of the season.

    BUMPS AND BRUISES FILE: Turley wasn’t the only Ram dealing with injuries. Martz described the other problems as nicks that are common problems. Cornerbacks Travis Fisher and Jerametrius Butler sat out the afternoon workout. Fisher sprained his ankle in the morning workout and Butler sat out for precautionary reasons.

    Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (back spasms) and linebacker Tommy Polley (toe sprain) returned to practice after missing Saturday’s workouts. Cornerback Robert Cromartie continued to sit out because of hamstring problems and Ryan Schau missed practice again with a back sprain.

    “Usually in days five, six and seven (in training camp) is when we sustain a lot of injuries,” Martz said. “That is the red-hot time. That’s why we were in shells out there both practices today.”

    St. Louis is set for one workout Monday morning, where it will resume full pads. The light schedule is consistent with the Rams’ new “third day rest” plan that they adopted from Olympic training.

    WORKOUT WONDERS: Receiver Kevin Curtis and safety Justin Lucas stood out Sunday with solid play in both practices. Curtis had a strong morning performance, running precise routes and catching a trio of touchdown passes in traffic. Lucas made an acrobatic interception and returned it for a touchdown in the same practice.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Rams Wrap Up Practice Week
    by RamWraith
    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    No, Rams’ coach Mike Martz didn’t have his days mixed up. With their first preseason game only a day away, the Rams wrapped up a relatively light week of practice the day following what was probably their toughest workout.

    Coach Mike Martz said Tuesday’s practice was the equivalent of a regular season Wednesday practice. The practice lasted nearly three hours, with St. Louis working hard every step of the way.

    “We’re trying to teach our guys about a regular, in-season Wednesday practice and these are always chaotic because guys don’t understand the scout teams, the changing of getting in and out of the huddle, the speed, the focus, all that kind of stuff,” Martz said. “We’re trying to get them ready for Thursday night. In these Wednesday practices before the first game, (we) attempt to teach all these new guys about game preparation and bring them along the best we can, so it was okay.”

    Wednesday’s actual practice was slightly more reserved, lasting a little more than two hours. Now, the Rams turn their attention to Thursday night’s preseason game against Chicago. Kickoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Edward Jones Dome.

    The Rams will not practice Friday and Saturday and returns to Macomb for practice to begin Sunday. There will be a week of practice next week before camp breaks after a morning workout Friday.

    Martz said his team is ready to get in some real game action after a tough pair of weeks of training camp.
    “I’d like to see one step further than we were a week ago in terms of the crispness of it,” Martz said. “I’d like to win every one of them. In the middle of the game, I’m not thinking that this is preseason.”

    PT FOR THE ‘ONES’: Martz won’t predict how long his starters or any of his team will play, but did say he expects starting quarterback Marc Bulger to play.

    The starters probably won’t play much more than a series or two for fear of injuries. Martz said he chooses not to discuss how much playing time anyone will receive. Martz said Wednesday that running back Marshall Faulk will not participate.

    TURLEY TALES: The Rams medical staff heard from offensive tackle Kyle Turley’s agent earlier this week, but there were no updates on Turley’s condition.

    Turley left camp in the early stages with problems with a bulging disc in his back. Turley had offseason surgery on his back and tweaked it in the opening days of practice. He has since returned to St. Louis to visit with back specialists, traveled to Los Angeles to see another specialist and Atlanta to see a third doctor.

    Martz said he doesn’t yet know the extent of the injury, but he does know that Turley is upset by the turn of events. Martz said he will have some discussions this weekend about results of Turley’s back reviews and hopes to have...
    -08-12-2004, 10:52 AM
  • RamDez
    Defensive tackle will be limited first few weeks
    by RamDez
    Defensive tackle will be limited first few weeks

    Associated Press

    MACOMB, Ill. - St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Bernard Holsey, coming off quadriceps surgery in February, will be limited in practice the first few weeks of training camp.

    Coach Mike Martz said the team knew when they signed Holsey that he'd need some recuperation time. The leg has atrophy from the surgery.

    "He could practice, it just puts him in jeopardy," Martz said. "We were aware of that when we signed him."

    Holsey started every game last year for the Redskins and had 41 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He's expected to compete for a backup job with St. Louis after signing a free-agent contract.

    Offensive tackle Kyle Turley also will be limited for the time being due to offseason surgery for a bulging disc in his back. Martz said Turley had a lot of soreness after practice Wednesday.

    "We're going to watch the amount of reps in the first week," Martz said. "We think he can do everything in the morning and we'll just be cautious with him in the afternoon."

    The Rams had two-a-day workouts the first two days of practice, but will have only one practice, in full pads, on Friday morning. Players will get the bulk of the afternoon off aside from some weight lifting.

    "It allows these guys every third day in the afternoon to get off their feet and recover physically a little bit," Martz said. "You talk to people who train Olympians, everybody always talks about the third day being a day where they need to recover."...
    -07-29-2004, 11:19 PM
  • Nick
    Turley reinjures his back
    by Nick
    Tackle undergoing tests on back
    Associated Press

    MACOMB, Ill. - St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Kyle Turley reinjured his surgically repaired back in practice Saturday and the team scheduled tests to determine the extent of the problem.

    The team characterized the injury as a strain and tests were done at training camp rather than having Turley return to St. Louis. Turley, who left the field on a cart during the morning practice, has been trying to build his strength and regain pounds lost since the surgery and he had been seeing limited action in workouts.

    On Tuesday, the day Rams players reported to training camp, Martz downplayed doubts about Turley's readiness.

    "He looks like he's in terrific shape," Martz said then. "There's no reason why he won't be 100 percent in camp."

    Last year was Turley's first with the Rams and he started all 16 games.

    A few other players also are dealing with back issues. Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, the team's first-round pick last year, rode a stationary bicycle during both practices and safety Rich Coady and offensive guard Ryan Schau were out.

    Other minor injuries were sustained by linebacker Tommy Polley (sprained toe) and tight end Cam Cleeland (hamstring).

    Aside from Turley, Martz didn't appear overly concerned about any of the other players.

    "Unless it's a real serious injury, I just don't pay a heck of a lot of attention to it," Martz said. "Whoever shows up, we're going to practice and there's nothing you can do about the rest of the guys.

    "When you get them back, you get them back."
    -07-31-2004, 06:39 PM
  • RamDez
    T Randall Joins Rams
    by RamDez
    T Randall Joins Rams
    Monday, August 2, 2004

    Staff Writer

    Maybe the phone line was down. Perhaps nobody had his number. Whatever the case, offensive lineman Greg Randall is back in the NFL with something to prove.

    One day after Kyle Turley left training camp in Macomb, Ill., to return to St. Louis for back examinations, Randall made his debut as a Ram. With Orlando Pace, the other starting offensive tackle, stalled in contract negotiations, St. Louis desperately needed some depth on the offensive line.

    Enter Grant Williams. Williams, who has made a living as the official left tackle of Rams’ training camp and the team’s third tackle, told coach Mike Martz about a mammoth tackle with Super Bowl experience, who just happened to be a free agent.

    Martz said Randall looked as good as a player who hasn’t practiced yet can.

    “Obviously, we feel good about him,” Martz said. “This guy just came in last night and he was able to perform pretty well.”

    Randall, who enters his fifth season out of Michigan State, stands 6-feet-6 and tips the scale at 333 pounds. He spent the 2003 season with Houston, starting every game at right tackle. He also started on the New England team that beat the Rams in the 2001 Super Bowl.

    Randall signed with St. Louis on Sunday and arrived in Macomb on Sunday evening. The Rams released kicker Dillon Pieffer to make room for Randall. It came as somewhat of a surprise that Randall was without a job as long as he was. San Francisco released him in June; only it didn’t do it the conventional way. There was nobody sent to tell Randall the coach wants to see him.

    Instead, Randall received a letter in the mail from the *****. The letter told him his services were no longer needed and Randall began the process of looking for a new job. St. Louis fit the bill and contacted Randall at home in Houston. He quickly agreed to a one-year contract. He said he is looking forward to his shot at the Rams’ NFC West rivals, but he has other worries right now.

    “The main thing is just trying to learn the system and get the offense down,” Randall said.

    Martz said the Rams might add another lineman, with former Arizona interior lineman Chris Dishman a possibility. The Rams had yet to contact Dishman on Monday morning.

    RAINING ON THE RAMS: For the first time since camp began Wednesday, the weather didn’t cooperate with St. Louis’ morning practice. Thunder, lightning and steady rain was the order of the day.

    Martz said the Rams cut practice a little short because of worries about the lightning. Practicing in full pads, St. Louis went live in the 11-on-11 drills at the end of practice. Martz eliminated the 7-on-7 drill and a few others.

    Linebacker Robert Thomas made a diving interception in the 11-on-11 that drew cheers from the crowd and an...
    -08-03-2004, 11:15 AM
  • RamDez
    Turley remains out of camp with bad back
    by RamDez
    Turley remains out of camp with bad back
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    MACOMB, Ill. - As Rams coach Mike Martz addressed a small group of reporters after Monday afternoon's practice, a cell phone went off.

    "Kyle, is that you?" Martz asked.

    He was joking, of course. Still, the training camp absence of first-team right tackle Kyle Turley has edged into its second week, and it's hardly a laughing matter. No determination has been made on how long he'll be away from Western Illinois University while having his back examined by a series of specialists.

    Martz hasn't been able to reach Turley, but he indicated that Rams officials have spoken with Turley's agent, Tom Condon.

    "Kyle's down in the dumps," Martz said. "This thing isn't as far along as he wants it to be, and he's very, very frustrated. ... I understand what Kyle is going through; I feel for the guy."

    Turley, 28, had surgery in March to repair a herniated disc. He skipped the on-field work at minicamp in May, but participated fully when camp workouts began July 28. Within a few days, he experienced pain in the same spot of the original injury and he was forced to the sideline again.

    Before he returned to St. Louis on Aug. 1, Turley acknowledged that he was concerned about his future in the NFL.

    Turley has been examined by Rams physicians in St. Louis and by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. He also is expected to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

    Condon could not be reached to comment Monday.

    "We've just got to get a conclusion medically in terms of a course of action he needs to take," Martz said. "Kyle's a guy that's played at an extremely high level his whole career, and now all of a sudden he's got something that's keeping him down. Guys as high-strung and competitive as Kyle is, that's hard to deal with. He'll be much better when he knows what the course of action is and he can focus on that."

    Other absences

    Three other Rams - center Dave Wohlabaugh, offensive tackle Jeremy Phillips and defensive end Kevin Aldridge - also were absent Monday.

    Wohlabaugh, who started every game last season but has missed all of camp, is having further evaluations on his hip in St. Louis and in Ohio, where surgery was performed in March on a torn labrum.

    Phillips, who has been troubled by stingers, returned to St. Louis to have his neck examined.

    Martz said that Aldridge, a second-year player with a shot at making the 53-man roster, had been granted an indefinite leave to take care of "a very serious personal issue."

    Back in business

    Several Rams who had been nursing minor aches and pains were back on the field Monday after a 1 1/2-day break following Saturday's
    -08-10-2004, 11:56 AM