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  • Rams fin e without Turley and Pace ---- so far

    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


    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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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
    ...
    -08-11-2004, 12:20 AM
  • RamWraith
    No Turley, no Pace, no peace
    by RamWraith
    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....
    -08-02-2004, 08:12 AM
  • RamWraith
    Turley goes on IR, is out for season
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Aug. 28 2004

    A veteran offensive tackle made news Saturday at Rams Park. But, no, it wasn't
    Orlando Pace, whose arrival is expected soon but hasn't taken place just yet.

    The report involved Kyle Turley, and it actually only made the inevitable
    official: Rams coach Mike Martz announced that Turley had been placed on the
    injured reserve list, meaning that he'll be sidelined for the season.

    Turley, a seven-year NFL veteran, underwent surgery in March for a bulging disc
    in his back. He sat out team drills at minicamp in May but participated fully
    when training camp workouts began July 28 at Western Illinois University. After
    three days of practice, Turley felt pain in the same area and soon thereafter
    left Macomb, Ill., for tests.

    His agent, Tom Condon, told the Post-Dispatch last week that Turley "herniated
    the same disc, and he's got a bulging disc above that. It's just a matter of
    what you do about it." Turley was obtained in a March 2003 trade with New
    Orleans and he was signed to a six-year, $30 million contract. The Rams gave up
    a second-round pick in this year's draft as part of that deal.

    Turley will count $2.36 million against the salary cap this year.

    A somewhat tight-lipped Martz said Saturday that he didn't know what Turley,
    28, might do about his back. "I talked to Kyle today, and he was very vague
    about his plans," Martz said. When asked whether Turley's loss would be a blow
    to the offensive line, Martz said simply, "I'm happy with the guys we have."

    Grant Williams, a nine-year veteran who has been filling in for Pace at left
    tackle, probably will slide over to Turley's spot on the right side once Pace
    shows up. Although Martz said Williams "had his best game so far" Friday night
    in a 28-3 victory over Washington, he could face a challenge from Scott
    Tercero, who has had a strong preseason at right tackle.

    Andy McCollum is set at center, as is Adam Timmerman at right guard. Chris
    Dishman, a free agent signed during camp, apparently has nailed down the left
    guard job.


    Loyd goes down

    Joining Turley on injured reserve is linebacker Jeremy Loyd, who suffered a
    torn pectoral tendon Friday night on a special-teams play. Martz said that Loyd
    would have surgery and that rehabilitation would take three to four months.



    Rams make cuts

    Six players were released Saturday: tight end Nick Burley, wide receiver
    Michael Coleman, cornerback Robert Cromartie, quarterback Russ Michna,
    defensive tackle Justin Montgomery and cornerback Corey Yates.
    ...
    -08-29-2004, 08:29 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, 07:52 AM
  • RamDez
    O Line in trouble ?
    by RamDez
    O-line components are out of sync as Rams camp nears
    By Bill Coats

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    07/24/2004






    When the Rams assemble Wednesday morning for their first training camp practice, the offensive line will be far from intact: Left tackle Orlando Pace will be absent, center Dave Wohlabaugh will be on the sideline, and right tackle Kyle Turley will be trying to chip away rust.

    "We've got a lot of work to do," coach Mike Martz said.

    No area is of greater importance for the Rams. Without a solid line, the team will be hard-pressed to produce the kind of numbers that led to a 56-24 regular-season record and four playoff appearances over the last five years.

    That's not to suggest that this year's unit won't perform effectively. But with Pace embroiled in another contract dispute, Wohlabaugh still experiencing hip pain after offseason surgery, and Turley recovering from a back operation that kept him out of minicamp practices and has limited his workouts, the O-line is in flux as the team heads for Western Illinois University in Macomb.

    Here's a look at each of those situations:

    Pace missed the first month of camp last year before reluctantly signing a one-year, $5.73 million tender as the club's franchise player. He again has the franchise tag, but his agent, Carl Poston, has been negotiating with Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt on a multiyear contract.

    Martz said he expects Pace, a reigning All-Pro, "to be at camp probably a little sooner than he was last year. I think he understands the effect it has on this team. And also, no matter how hard he thinks he's training, it's not the same. It takes awhile to get going."

    Wohlabaugh started all 17 games last season despite the nagging hip problem. Martz said the Rams would be cautious with the nine-year NFL veteran and wait for the discomfort to ease.

    Turley, the team's major offseason acquisition in 2003, improved steadily, particularly with his pass-blocking, after struggling early in the season. "Kyle brings a toughness and a nastiness," offensive line coach John Matsko said. "And he's got tremendous leadership. Kyle leads by performance; he does his talking with his headgear, elbows and shoulder pads."

    Beginning his second year in the Rams' system should be an asset for Turley. "Normally, it makes a big difference," Martz said. "It's an advantage coming into camp that he's had this stuff, but also, he's missed an awful lot in the offseason. . . . It won't be easy for Kyle. It's not going to be like getting on a bike again; it just doesn't work that way."

    Veteran Adam Timmerman returns at right guard. With Wohlabaugh out, Andy McCollum moves to center from left guard, and Andy King, a second-year pro from Illinois State
    ...
    -07-25-2004, 01:56 AM
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