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  • Thin offensive line awaits Bears

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    MACOMB, Ill. - Chris Dishman left the practice field early Wednesday because of back spasms. Adam Timmerman didn't practice because of stingers in his neck and shoulder area.

    Neither injury is considered serious, but they could keep both players out of the action in the Rams' exhibition opener tonight against Chicago at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Those developments had coach Mike Martz all but calling for volunteers before the team left Macomb this morning for St. Louis.

    "I'm really concerned with our offensive line," Martz said following Wednesday's practice at Western Illinois University. "We're down to just a few bodies in there. We may only have six or seven available (against the Bears). So that does concern me. We'll just have to see."

    Actually, it's not quite that bad. Even if Timmerman and Dishman are sidelined, the Rams will have nine offensive linemen available for Chicago.

    But with Orlando Pace (contract impasse), Kyle Turley (back), Dave Wohlabaugh (hip), and rookie Jeremy Phillips (neck) unavailable, the Rams are very thin up front for this time of year.

    "Maybe we'll have Chris or Adam available," Martz said. "Other than that, we're getting down to Red Cross time."

    If Timmerman doesn't play, Andy McCollum will be the only starting offensive lineman from 2003 in uniform for the 7 p.m. kickoff. Without Timmerman, the Rams probably will start Grant Williams at left tackle, Andy King at left guard, McCollum at center, Scott Tercero at right guard and Greg Randall at right tackle.

    If Timmerman starts at right guard, look for Tercero to start at right tackle, and for Randall to come in off the bench.

    "Scotty Tercero's doing a terrific job," Martz said. "It looks like Grant Williams is doing just a terrific job."

    But the lack of numbers could affect how Martz approaches the game, and influence how much he plays quarterback Marc Bulger. Bulger could be in for as little as a couple of series.

    "We'll have to get a feel for how they're doing (on the line), and we'll just have to adapt to it," Martz said. "I feel good that the guys we have - knock on wood, if they can stay healthy - that they'll be all right."

    Preseason or not, this is an important game for players such as King and Tercero to prove their mettle. Tercero, a sixth-round draft pick in 2003 from California- Berkeley, spent last season the Rams' practice squad. He didn't play at all in the '03 preseason following arthroscopic knee surgery.

    "It's been almost a year and a half since I've actually played in a game," Tercero said. "So I'm really excited. I can't wait."

    Tercero's last game as a Cal Bear was against arch-rival Stanford in what is known as "The Big Game." So what does that make tonight's Rams-Bears contest?

    "It'll be the next biggest game," Tercero quipped.

    If the Rams need Tercero to take on a heavy workload tonight because of the injury situation, he's all for it.

    "However long they want me to play, I'll play," Tercero said. "They'll have to drag me off the field."

    As expected, running back Marshall Faulk will not play tonight. "He's not ready to play physically yet," Martz said.

    Faulk is coming off offseason knee surgery, but normally sits out the first two preseason games anyway each August. Faulk took a lot of practice repetitions on Tuesday, easily the most he has taken in training camp. But he did not practice Wednesday.

    As for the rest of the squad, the players are ready for the next stage after two fairly grueling weeks in training camp. "It seems like we've been up here two years," defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said.

    Pickett says the defensive line, minus departed free agents Grant Wistrom and Brian Young, comes out tonight with something to prove. "So we're anxious to get out there and play as a unit," Pickett said.

    With new coordinator Larry Marmie, safety Adam Archuleta said the entire defense is anxious to get going.

    "We really want to start to forge our identity (Thursday) night and see what kind of personality we're going to take this year," Archuleta said.

  • #2
    Re: Thin offensive line awaits Bears

    Jeez, the offensive line is critical in this offense, I hope they can get some time to play together. This is my area of concern for the year.

    Should I be expecting a call from Martz soon? lol


    • #3
      Re: Thin offensive line awaits Bears

      It's strange how they can have so many injuries on the o-line so early in the season. Maybe they are not in the best shape? :upset:

      Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


      • #4
        Re: Thin offensive line awaits Bears

        But with Orlando Pace (contract impasse), Kyle Turley (back), Dave Wohlabaugh (hip), and rookie Jeremy Phillips (neck) unavailable, the Rams are very thin up front for this time of year.
        I sure hope Fat Boy is enjoying his vacation. Sign the tender and get to work already!
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


        Related Topics


        • RamDez
          Martz Pleased with First, Second Units
          by RamDez
          Martz Pleased with First, Second Units
          Saturday, August 14, 2004

          By Nick Wagoner
          Staff Writer

          For more than a half of football Thursday night, St. Louis dominated Chicago. The bad news is the Rams ended up losing a 13-10 decision to the Bears. Fortunately for St. Louis, though, the first half was the portion of the game it was in control.

          The reason that comes as good news is that was the part where both sides played their first and second teams. The starting St. Louis offense moved the ball well behind quarterback Marc Bulger before a Jeff Wilkins’ 33-yard field goal capped its lone drive.

          The beat went on after the top unit left, as Chris Chandler turned in a nearly perfect performance, going 8-of-9 for 108 yards and a touchdown. The St. Louis offense finished the first half with 190 yards of offense and a 10-3 lead.
          Rams coach Mike Martz said he was happy with the top two units. “All in all, I was very pleased, particularly in the first half with both groups,” Martz said.

          St. Louis entered the preseason game with quite a few concerns that needed addressing. The main concern was along the offensive line, where both starting tackles and the center were missing and one of the starting guards played center. The line held up, though, behind the leadership of veteran guard Adam Timmerman, the lone starter on the unit playing his normal position at kickoff.

          Timmerman missed a pair of practices leading up to the game because of shoulder soreness, but Martz identified Timmerman’s leadership as a main reason for the first-half success. “He can play anywhere,” Martz said. “He can play in the street. It doesn’t make any difference. He’s what you’re looking for as a leader, as an example in every form.”

          Martz took the time Sunday to praise another lineman, only this one doesn’t quite have the pedigree and resume of Timmerman. Tackle Scott Tercero, making his first start in the NFL, overcame some nervousness to have a strong showing. If Tercero continues to perform at a high level, some of St. Louis’ major concerns might be eased.

          Martz, who has said in the past that he likes players to step up their play in the preseason and show themselves, said Tercero did just that. “I think that there’s a toughness with Scott that I didn’t realize was there because he’s such a quiet young man,” Martz said. “There’s a resolve… that you don’t know about these guys until you put them in pressure situations like we had him in. He really responded very well.”

          Tercero’s emergence could prove important in the next few months. Offensive tackle Kyle Turley is out at least four weeks with a bulging disc in his back. “The doctors have said four weeks from now they’ll have an idea about how he feels and what direction we’ll go,” Martz said.

          Center Dave Wohlabaugh could miss up to three months with his hip injury. Pro-Bowl left...
          -08-15-2004, 02:14 AM
        • RamWraith
          Thursday Notes
          by RamWraith
          Thursday, December 16, 2004

          By Nick Wagoner
          Staff Writer

          While things on the defensive side of the ball for the Rams seem to be settling in, the same can’t be said for the offense.

          If it wasn’t bad enough losing quarterback Marc Bulger to a sprained right shoulder and running backs Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk to bruised knees, the offensive line is as bruised and battered as any unit on the team.

          Injuries and inconsistency have plagued St. Louis’ offensive line for most of the season and that has led to some tense moments. Bulger has taken many hits and that finally caught up to him against San Francisco on Dec. 5. Bulger began throwing again Wednesday and did some more Thursday, but is still questionable for Sunday’s game at Arizona.

          In addition to the injuries behind the offensive line, there is not a single Rams’ lineman who has been completely healthy all season.

          Rams coach Mike Martz said injuries have been the biggest cause of the line’s inconsistency.

          “I think it’s a little bit more complicated than the mindset,” Martz said. “We just have to have them ready. We’ll give some of these other guys some repetitions. It’s not a question of wanting to play good or the effort or anything. That’s never been the issue with these guys. They are just banged up, trying to fight through it and struggling a little bit. We have to do the right thing by these guys and give them the opportunity to get back physically.”

          Specifically, the guard position has been the most depleted this week. Right guard Adam Timmerman has yet to appear on the injury report, but he missed most of Wednesday and Thursday’s practices because of shoulder problems.
          Timmerman, who has joined fellow Doughnut Brother Andy McCollum as the Death and Taxes of the group, is usually impossible to keep out of practice. Martz said he practically has to force Timmerman to sit out.

          “Adam will not come out of practice, he just refuses,” Martz said. “He gets upset with it, and says he can’t leave his guys. It’s a very emotional thing for him; he’s the rock out there. Everything is kind of built around him in that offensive line, and if he leaves that huddle, even in practice for a minute, he has a hard time with that.”

          On the left side, Tom Nütten continues to struggle with foot and knee problems. Earlier this season, he missed time with a severe case of turf toe. He was limited in practice the past couple of days, also.

          Nütten replaced Chris Dishman at left guard when Dishman tore some ligaments in his knee. Dishman returned to practice Wednesday and did little on Thursday, but isn’t likely to return this week and his status for the rest of the season remains in question.

          If Nütten and or Timmerman aren’t able to play, that leaves rookie Larry Turner and Darnell Alford as the backup options....
          -12-17-2004, 10:53 AM
        • RamWraith
          Offensive Line Gives Strong Opening Act
          by RamWraith
          Monday, September 13, 2004

          By Nick Wagoner
          Staff Writer

          Patchwork. Pieced together. Makeshift. Pick an adjective and the Rams’ offensive line was called it during the preseason. As the injuries mounted, the questions about the unit became as big as the men who played on it.

          With one regular season game down and a win on its record, St. Louis answered many of those questions with a resounding response. The starting group consisted of Orlando Pace (left tackle), Chris Dishman (left guard), Andy McCollum (center), Adam Timmerman (right guard) and Grant Williams (right tackle), playing its first game together.

          Finishing with zero sacks leading to 272 passing yards and a piledriving effort in the trenches that resulted in 176 rushing yards, the offensive line did more than jell, it dominated.

          After struggling with a trio of turnovers in the first quarter, the Rams decided to put it on the line, ramming (no pun intended) the ball down Arizona’s throat, leading the way to a 17-10 win at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday. The win was St. Louis’ first victory in an opener since it beat Philadelphia in 2001.

          Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he was more than pleased with the dominance of his offensive line.

          “I told our staff today that I felt like this is probably the best performance of an offensive line since I’ve been here,” Martz said. “Anytime you rush for those kind of yards and don’t give up any sacks, that’s a pretty exceptional day for any offensive line.”

          On the surface, it seemed like it would be difficult to put the line together in time to have any kind of continuity entering the regular season. Somehow, someway, the Rams made it work.

          The injury bug hit early when right tackle Kyle Turley left camp with back problems. Pace was absent on the other side because of a contract stalemate, leaving the Rams without either of their top-flight tackles. To make matters worse, center Dave Wohlabaugh struggled with a nagging hip injury, forcing left guard Andy McCollum to slide back to his center position.

          The only sure thing was Timmerman, who was forced to play through pain in his shoulder, just so the group could have some kind of consistent presence. Instead of crying over their losses, St. Louis got proactive, seeking help in the form of available free agents and looking within its own roster for possible help.

          Williams, who has been a steady hand in his time with the team, manned Pace’s position admirably, even playing on a badly sprained ankle. Scott Tercero was the utility man of the group, sliding between the two tackle spots and left guard at various times. In his second year, Tercero came of age, providing the Rams with a valuable commodity off the bench.

          Aside from the homegrown talent, St. Louis went shopping and found a high school football coach in Nebraska. Chris...
          -09-13-2004, 04:19 PM
        • RamWraith
          Injuries disrupt offensive line play
          by RamWraith
          By Jim Thomas
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          Tuesday, Dec. 21 2004

          When it comes to offensive line continuity, the Rams are finding out how the
          other half lives.

          With rare exceptions since the move to St. Louis in 1995, the Rams have sent
          out their five starting offensive linemen at the start of every regular season
          and watched those five guys perform nearly every Sunday.

          In the first nine seasons of Rams football in St. Louis, the normal starting
          five up front answered the bell 95 percent of the time. In 2003, the Rams
          started the same five blockers in all 17 games, from the season opener against
          the New York Giants to the playoff loss against Carolina.

          And now comes the 2004 season, a trainwreck from the start in terms of
          offensive line injuries.

          "I don't think I've seen a season like this, where we've had that many injuries
          at different positions," right guard Adam Timmerman said. "I've maybe seen one
          position where we've had to use a couple of guys."

          But nothing like this. When rookie Larry Turner started last Sunday in Arizona,
          he became the ninth offensive lineman to start for the Rams this season. That's
          the most line starters in any one season since the franchise moved here. And
          there are still two games to play.

          The only season remotely similar was the '02 campaign, a season in which the
          team finished 7-9. That season, left tackle Orlando Pace missed Games 4-6 with
          a calf injury and Games 13-15 with a hamstring injury. Left guard Tom Nutten
          missed the final five contests of that season with a broken leg. Backup tackle
          Grant Williams suffered season-ending ankle and leg injuries in Game 6 against

          As for 2004:

          Turner, Blaine Saipaia and Scott Tercero have all made their first
          NFL starts.

          Tercero went on the season-ending injured reserve list Nov. 16 because of
          a shoulder injury. Kyle Turley, who was supposed to be the starting right
          tackle, was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 28 after aggravating a back
          injury that had required surgery last spring. Dave Wohlabaugh, who was supposed
          to be the starting center, was released on Aug. 18. He couldn't pass his
          physical at the start of training camp following offseason hip surgery.

          Williams will need cleanup shoulder surgery once this season is
          completed. Timmerman may need surgery on both shoulders. Tercero already
          has undergone surgery.

          Rams offensive linemen have missed 42 games because of injury.

          Almost in desperation, the Rams coaxed guards Nutten and Chris Dishman out of
          retirement in August. But Dishman already has missed seven games because of ...
          -12-22-2004, 05:34 AM
        • RamDez
          Nütten Returns to Rams
          by RamDez
          Nütten Returns to Rams
          Friday, August 20, 2004

          By Nick Wagoner
          Staff Writer

          Tom Nütten spent the better part of the past year coaching tight ends for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe. It came as little surprise, then, when Nütten arrived at Rams Park on Friday afternoon looking like his players.

          After five years with the Rams, where he started at left guard in both of St. Louis’ Super Bowl appearances, Nütten signed with the New York Jets in the 2003 offseason. Nütten battled many injuries during training camp and retired on Aug. 14.

          Nütten, who was born in Toledo, Ohio, but grew up in Quebec, signed on with the Centurions, a new franchise in NFL Europe, in March. Nütten was one of a few former Rams taking part in a new program between NFL Europe and the NFL that allows young coaches to gain valuable experience in the game and get a comprehensive evaluation of their abilities. Former Rams D’Marco Farr and Amp Lee also coaching in NFL Europe in 2004.

          Now two months after the NFL Europe season ended, Nütten signed a one-year deal with the team that gave him his start in the league. Nütten’s signing comes after a series of injuries and uncertainties along the offensive line has created opportunities.

          Nütten, who was living in Tampa, Fla., was preparing to teach at a football camp when he got the call from the Rams on Wednesday night. With Nütten’s recent injury problems, the team ran numerous medical checks, which Nütten passed.

          Nütten made sure to apologize to the kids ready to attend his camp, but he said he had to take advantage of a circumstance that was unique. “Hypothetically, people always ask ‘what would you do if a team calls you and wants you to come out of retirement,” Nütten said. “Obviously, I would say hell no, knowing it was a longshot that a team calls you anyway, especially your old team. If it were any of the other 32 teams, it would have been a real easy answer: no, no thank you, but these are the guys I bled with, the guys I sweated with. It’s an opportunity I didn’t want to let slip away.”

          Nütten comes back to St. Louis with plenty of experience under his belt, having started 56 games as a left guard. The biggest problem facing Nütten right now is the number of notches he is using on his belt.

          While most offensive linemen never lose their voracious appetites, Nütten actually lost between 20 and 25 pounds. His final listed playing weight was 304 pounds, but he estimated he is around 280 now. Nütten said he would attempt to add five to 10 pounds before the regular season begins Sept. 12 against Arizona.

          When it was suggested to Nütten that he could join Adam Timmerman and Andy McCollum, “The Doughnut Brothers,” Nütten wasted no time saying that he wants to add a different kind of weight. “I think they’re kind of jealous of my slim physique,” Nütten said. “I’m sure the jokes are going...
          -08-21-2004, 12:14 AM