Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

    Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/13/2004





    MACOMB, Ill. - It may not be a pretty picture, but the news that offensive tackle Kyle Turley (four weeks) and center Dave Wohlabaugh (three months) will be out for extended periods at least clarifies the situation on the Rams' offensive line. Namely, that . . .

    The left guard job is Andy King's to lose. Unless he plays himself out of the spot, he will open the regular season in the starting lineup.

    Tackle Grant Williams probably gets moved to the starting job at right tackle whenever left tackle Orlando Pace shows up and is deemed ready to play.

    And more than ever, the Rams will rely on the Donut Bros. - Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman - to keep the offensive line anchored and focused.

    "Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman have really done an outstanding job of leading our offensive line," line coach John Matsko said. "Adam is extremely consistent in his run blocking and pass protection, and he's very good in space - in his pulling and getting out there on his screens.

    "Andy's very, very sharp on the calls. And the calls are very, very automatic to him. He reacts to what he sees as quickly as anybody."

    McCollum played left guard last season but was switched back to center last spring after Wohlabaugh's hip surgery. Center hardly is a new position for McCollum - he started 52 regular-season and postseason games for the Rams there from 2000 through 2002.

    "I definitely like having Andy back there," Timmerman said. "Not that Dave was bad at it, but Andy has been in the system longer, and Dave was new to it last year. So I think Andy's a little bit sharper on (line calls) and just communication. We're totally on the same page."

    Wohlabaugh left camp last week for further evaluation of his right hip, on which he had surgery for a torn labrum March 5. The recommendation is that he continue to rest and rehab the hip for another three months. Even before Wohlabaugh rejoined the team Thursday, watching the Chicago game from the sidelines, Rams players knew his return to action wasn't imminent.

    "I'm no doctor, but Dave looks like he's a long ways from (playing)," Timmerman said. "He's not exactly getting in a stance yet, and that's a long way from playing football."

    Ditto for Turley, who aggravated a back condition the first few days of training camp and hasn't been in Macomb since. The recommendation on Turley is that he let the back rest and "calm down" for the next four weeks. That takes the Rams right up to their regular-season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona.

    For the second camp in a row, Williams has been keeping the left tackle spot warm while Pace skips Macomb in a contract impasse. Last year, Williams returned to the bench once Pace reported. But that may not be the case this year; he may be headed to right tackle as soon as Pace shows.

    "I would be wise if I anticipated that," Williams said. "Certainly, I have to be ready to go right, and that'll be fine."

    Williams, who also experienced back problems last year in camp, is better equipped to handle extended playing time. Williams lost 30 pounds during the offseason, dropping from 330 pounds to 300.

    "He's a lot quicker," Matsko said. "He's a better knee-bender. He has improved his pass-protection skills. He's playing a lot lower in the running game. We're really excited about him."

    Williams lost the weight in part because it would help prevent his back problems from recurring.

    "Just to feel truly healthy for the first time in two years was nice," Williams said after Thursday's 13-10 overtime loss to the Bears. "I'm looking forward to a week from Monday at Kansas City."

    That's when the Rams play their next preseason game - Aug. 23.

    With Williams at left tackle, King at left guard, McCollum at center, Timmerman at right guard and Scott Tercero at right tackle, the starting offensive line acquitted itself well against the Bears.

    "Coming together like they have, they did a great job," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "They've been mixing and matching, and guys have been playing different positions. The only time I was touched, I think, was from a hot read, which they're not responsible for."

    Blitzing Chicago linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer got past tight end Brandon Manumaleuna for a sack on the play in question.



    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

    Personally, I wouldn't mind to see Andy King stay at that left guard spot a little longer than expected if he plays well. I love it when we can grow our own starters rather than trade/FA sign them.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

      Yeah, like David Loverne. He was a real winner. I'm more comfortable with McCollum at center than Wohlabaugh at this point, too. It's too bad that Turley's out, though, after hearing bad reports on Grant Williams' performance. Maybe it was just rust, but he'd better get ready for the season.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

        Originally posted by Evil Disco Man
        Yeah, like David Loverne. He was a real winner.
        Heck, just looking at our starting offensive line, the majority are either FA acquisitions or trades: Turley (Saints trade), Wohlabaugh (FA from Browns), Timmerman (FA from GB), McCollum (FA from Saints). Heck, Pace is the only projected starter on the O-line that we actually drafted and has been with us his entire career. Maybe that's not as shocking as I think it is, but it had me somewhat surprised.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

          Nick, I was agreeing with you. I was just emphasizing the point that it's safer to develop than acquire.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

            I know. I was just exploring the fact that our projected starting line had only one Ram-grown player.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape

              Originally posted by NickSeiler
              I know. I was just exploring the fact that our projected starting line had only one Ram-grown player.
              This FO has never been one to draft O-line in early rounds. Since '96, we have drafted O-lineman once in the 1st round (Pace), none in the second, 1 in the 3rd (St. Clair), 3 in the 4th, 2 in the 5th, 2 in the 6th, & 2 in the 7th. Of the 11 drafted in those 9 seasons, only Pace and Tercero are still on the team.
              The more things change, the more they stay the same.

              Comment

              Related Topics

              Collapse

              • RamWraith
                With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'
                by RamWraith
                BY JEFF GORDON
                Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
                Tuesday, Aug. 31 2004

                Rams guard Adam Timmerman got pinned to a wall by an anxious mob of reporters
                Tuesday afternoon.

                "So," a media guy asked, "is Orlando here?"

                "Haven't seen him," Timmerman said. "Have you guys seen him?"

                Uh, no.

                So the Orlando Pace saga marches on. The unsigned "franchise tag" player was a
                no-show at Rams Park on Tuesday morning, so the offensive line continued making
                do without him.

                The line also must muddle along without '03 center Dave Wohlabaugh and '03
                right tackle Kyle Turley, veteran blockers who didn't make it back from major
                offseason operations in working condition.

                Timmerman has soldiered on with a bum shoulder. Tackle Grant Williams has been
                playing on a sore ankle. Left guard Chris Dishman is hobbled by a minor ankle
                injury and back-up right guard Tom Nutten is recovering from a toe injury.

                Scott Tercero? He has played both tackle spots and guard this preseason, after
                taking exactly zero snaps as a rookie.

                The offensive line has done admirable work under tough circumstances. Whether
                they'll be ready for the season opener, whether O.P. will be in the lineup by
                then . . . well, we'll just have to see how it goes.

                "We kind of joke about it," Timmerman said. "Whenever he gets here, he gets
                here. We don't think too much about it.

                "I guess all of us, in the back of our minds, we figured that some time this
                week he would be here. I was kind of thinking, back in camp, that there was no
                guarantee that he would be here. That's just the way it works."

                Since the media didn't have Pace to chat with, reporters quizzed Timmerman
                about the harm a holdout can do to an offensive lineman.

                "Speaking from my own experience, I would need some time, at least, to get my
                timing down, stuff like that," he said. "He'll have to decide that for himself.
                Hopefully, whenever he gets here, he'll have a little bit of time to get ready
                and put himself in a position where he doesn't get hurt."

                Timmerman has never seen a fellow offensive lineman hold out for this long.

                "Not this far," he said. "We have, what, two days left?"

                Pace's holdout, combined with the demise of Wohlabaugh and Turley, has forced
                Rams coaches to shuffle players. Dishman and Nutten came out of retirement.
                Andy McCollum moved from guard to center.

                Williams has played both tackle spots and Tercero has moved all over the line,
                as needed.

                "This does make it a little trickier,"...
                -08-31-2004, 04:09 PM
              • RamWraith
                Rams are losing now to win later
                by RamWraith
                By Jim Thomas
                Of the Post-Dispatch
                Tuesday, Aug. 31 2004

                One of the reasons for Grant Williams' improved play this preseason is that he
                is carrying around 30 fewer pounds.

                "I definitely feel like I'm moving better laterally," Williams said. "There's a
                lot less pressure on my back. I just feel better overall. The joints,
                everything, feels better."

                With that in mind, Williams is doing what he can to help teammate Chris Dishman
                fight the battle of the bulge. For instance, when Williams sees Dishman
                reaching for that extra roll at lunchtime at Rams Park ...

                "We split it," Williams joked. "We're just sharing it right now."

                Williams and Dishman are kindred spirits beyond dieting and nutrition. It is
                looking more and more like they will be opening day starters on a revamped
                offensive line. All five starters on the line were expected to return this
                season, but the depth chart changed in a hurry once camp started.

                "Just a few months ago we (thought), 'Yeah, everything should be intact,'"
                offensive guard Adam Timmerman said. "But that changed in a matter of a couple
                weeks."

                Hip problems led to the release of center Dave Wohlabaugh, who may retire.
                Continuing back problems put right tackle Kyle Turley on the injured reserve
                list, ending his season. Throw in left tackle Orlando Pace's continued absence
                in a contract impasse, and it's been a tumultuous preseason for the line.

                "Each year's different," offensive line coach John Matsko said. "The challenge
                this year was to bring a bunch of guys together - we brought two guys out of
                retirement - and develop the continuity, the unity, and the pride that you need
                to have on an offensive line. It's an ongoing process."

                The development of Dishman and Williams has helped that process. Williams has
                spent most of the preseason at left tackle, which is Pace's position. But on
                Monday and Tuesday, Williams practiced at right tackle, his position once Pace
                shows up.

                Left or right doesn't matter to Williams.

                "I've made a career out of going back and forth," said Williams, a nine-year
                NFL veteran in his third year with St. Louis. "So at this point, it's not a big
                deal."

                The big deal is that Williams has a chance to be a full-time starter for the
                first time since 1999, the last of his four seasons in Seattle. Last preseason,
                Williams did the heavy lifting at left tackle until Pace reported, suffering a
                back injury in the process. But once Pace reported, Williams returned to the
                bench.

                It looked like the same thing...
                -09-01-2004, 05:41 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
              • RamDez
                Rams fin e without Turley and Pace ---- so far
                by RamDez
                By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer

                August 13, 2004

                ST. LOUIS (AP) -- So far, the St. Louis Rams are doing just fine without their two bookend offensive tackles.

                It would have been logical for quarterback Marc Bulger be concerned before the preseason opener, considering Orlando Pace is holding out again and Kyle Turley hasn't practiced since re-injuring his surgically repaired back early in training camp.

                But Bulger was hit only twice in the first quarter in a 13-10 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, when the first team was on the field. So the concerns about the makeshift alignment eased.

                ``They did a fantastic job,'' Bulger said. ``I didn't have too many pressures, and the one sack was a hot route.''

                Grant Williams stepped in for Pace, as he's done in the past. Scott Tercero, a sixth-round pick last year who missed the entire season with a knee injury, was solid at Turley's right tackle spot.

                Andy McCollum, who has moved from guard to center while Dave Wohlabaugh recovers from hip surgery, is more experienced at center, anyway. And Andy King, who has minimal NFL experience and played in only one game last year, was solid at McCollum's left guard spot.

                ``They came through fine,'' coach Mike Martz said. ``I really watched the offensive line in the first half as much as I could. The protection held up well.''

                Right guard Adam Timmerman helped hold things together with a quick recovery from a nerve injury to his neck and back. A cortisone shot Wednesday helped matters.

                ``I was a little sore, but we don't have a lot of numbers,'' Timmerman said.

                ``I took a few days off and it's feeling pretty good.

                ``Hopefully, it all kicks in.''

                Help is definitely on the way. It is just a matter of time before Pace, designated as the franchise player for the second straight year, agrees to a one-year tender offer and joins the team.

                Team doctors are hopeful that Turley will be back soon after he visited two specialists. Turley roamed the sideline in street clothes during the game, although he didn't stick around afterward.

                ``I didn't get any details from him,'' McCollum said. ``I think he wanted to escape before you guys (the media) grabbed him.''



                Updated on Friday, Aug 13, 2004 1:23 pm EDT

                -08-14-2004, 02:34 AM
              • Nick
                Rams are losing now to win later
                by Nick
                Rams are losing now to win later
                By Jim Thomas
                Of the Post-Dispatch
                Tuesday, Aug. 31 2004

                One of the reasons for Grant Williams' improved play this preseason is that he
                is carrying around 30 fewer pounds.

                "I definitely feel like I'm moving better laterally," Williams said. "There's a
                lot less pressure on my back. I just feel better overall. The joints,
                everything, feels better."

                With that in mind, Williams is doing what he can to help teammate Chris Dishman
                fight the battle of the bulge. For instance, when Williams sees Dishman
                reaching for that extra roll at lunchtime at Rams Park ...

                "We split it," Williams joked. "We're just sharing it right now."

                Williams and Dishman are kindred spirits beyond dieting and nutrition. It is
                looking more and more like they will be opening day starters on a revamped
                offensive line. All five starters on the line were expected to return this
                season, but the depth chart changed in a hurry once camp started.

                "Just a few months ago we (thought), 'Yeah, everything should be intact,'"
                offensive guard Adam Timmerman said. "But that changed in a matter of a couple
                weeks."

                Hip problems led to the release of center Dave Wohlabaugh, who may retire.
                Continuing back problems put right tackle Kyle Turley on the injured reserve
                list, ending his season. Throw in left tackle Orlando Pace's continued absence
                in a contract impasse, and it's been a tumultuous preseason for the line.

                "Each year's different," offensive line coach John Matsko said. "The challenge
                this year was to bring a bunch of guys together - we brought two guys out of
                retirement - and develop the continuity, the unity, and the pride that you need
                to have on an offensive line. It's an ongoing process."

                The development of Dishman and Williams has helped that process. Williams has
                spent most of the preseason at left tackle, which is Pace's position. But on
                Monday and Tuesday, Williams practiced at right tackle, his position once Pace
                shows up.

                Left or right doesn't matter to Williams.

                "I've made a career out of going back and forth," said Williams, a nine-year
                NFL veteran in his third year with St. Louis. "So at this point, it's not a big
                deal."

                The big deal is that Williams has a chance to be a full-time starter for the
                first time since 1999, the last of his four seasons in Seattle. Last preseason,
                Williams did the heavy lifting at left tackle until Pace reported, suffering a
                back injury in the process. But once Pace reported, Williams returned to the
                bench. ...
                -08-31-2004, 11:56 PM
              Working...
              X