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  • Rams Get Back to Work

    Sunday, August 15, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    With less than a week of training camp to go, St. Louis got back to work Sunday afternoon with a spirited workout. After a 13-10 loss to the Bears in their first preseason game in which a number of small mistakes cost them the game, the Rams began to remove the kinks.

    St. Louis had most of the weekend off after the game and returned to Macomb on Sunday morning. The rookies and first-year players came back Friday and the veterans were free to return before Sunday morning’s weightlifting session.

    Now, the Rams will have plenty of time to remove the miscues, as they don’t play another game until an Aug. 23 showdown with cross-state rival Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium. Martz said it was nice to get his team back to work and begin correcting the problems that were evident Thursday night. “They ran and lifted this morning to kind of get the blood flowing a little bit,” Martz said. “They get out here in full gear and it’s hard to get used to that when you’ve been off for a little bit, but I thought they did a good job.”

    The practice seemed to run smoothly with the starting offense getting a lot of repetitions. Running back Marshall Faulk took every snap with the first unit and looked strong, showing good burst and vision, as per his usual. Quarterback Marc Bulger continued his excellent camp with some nice completions into traffic and a perfectly thrown deep ball that Torry Holt hauled in for a long touchdown.

    Martz said he can’t be worried about fatigue this late in camp and he likes the way the team came back after having some down time. “They have worked so hard,” Martz said. “You’ve got to recover. You just have to let some of these nicks heals. We have a real tough stretch here after this next week. If you’re going to take a break, now is the time to do that.”

    MISSING PERSONS FILE: A few Rams missed Sunday’s workout for various reasons. Martz said defensive end Anthony Hargrove left to take care of his family and friends in the south who were affected by Hurricane Charley. Hargrove was given the time to ensure that they could find a hotel and that everyone was safe. Fortunately, Hargrove’s family was safe when he got there.

    Chris Dishman also got a little extra time over the weekend so he could get some things in order. When Dishman signed, he reported to camp immediately and had little to no chance to tie up any loose ends at his home in Arizona, let alone say goodbye to his family. Martz excused him to take care of anything outstanding. Hargrove and Dishman are expected back as early as Monday.

    INJURY UPDATE: Pisa Tinoisamoa and Arlen Harris practiced as normal Sunday, showing few ill effects from injuries suffered against the Bears. Tinoisamoa (left ankle sprain) and Harris (slight concussion) didn’t miss any time.
    Robert Cromartie and Cameron Cleeland missed practice with hamstring injuries. Cleeland did some running on the side and appeared to move better than he has since camp began. Martz said Cleeland is getting close to a return.
    “He’s very close,” Martz said. “He’d be a questionable for this week, but we’ll err on the side of trying to keep him out this week.”

    Cornerback Travis Fisher also continues to battle hamstring problems. Martz said you could tell not playing bothers Fisher. “He’s frustrated,” Martz said. “With all these hamstring injuries, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. Until that thing feels and looks good we’re going to be very careful with it

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  • RamWraith
    Rams rookie loses home in Florida hurricane
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/16/2004
    MACOMB, Ill. - The effects of Hurricane Charley have reached all the way to Western Illinois University. Defensive end Anthony Hargrove, a rookie from Georgia Tech, missed Sunday's Rams workout to be with his family in Florida.

    Hargrove, the Rams' third-round draft pick in April, is from Punta Gorda, Fla.

    "Anthony's family was in that hurricane, and his girlfriend was missing," coach Mike Martz said. "So he flew down there. Fortunately, they had gone to another town and were accounted for once they got down there.

    "But he's got a lot of things to do with his family to help them get back on their feet, into a hotel and what not, because their house is gone basically."

    Martz said he expects Hargrove back tonight.

    Dishman gets time off

    Guard Chris Dishman also missed practice Sunday to tend to matters back home in Nebraska, but under less dire circumstances.

    "When we signed him, he didn't get a chance to say goodbye to his family," Martz said. "So we gave him a day to get back and kind of get his things back in order, like everybody else has a chance to do before they come to camp. The poor guy didn't have a chance to do that, so he needed an opportunity to go back and get some things squared away."

    Dishman, who weighed in at 366 pounds after signing with the Rams, saw some action in the second half Thursday against Chicago. He had some trouble with speed moves in that game, but Martz is pleased with Dishman's conditioning.

    "He's continued to trim his weight down," Martz said. "He's a ways away yet by his own admission. But on those things, you've got to try and be as patient with them as you can."

    Cleeland progresses

    Tight end Cam Cleeland has missed two weeks because of a hamstring injury but is nearly ready to play.

    "He's very close, and would be questionable for this week," Martz said. "But we'll err on the side of caution. We'll try to keep him out this week (against Kansas City) and then get him ready."

    With seventh-round draft pick Erik Jensen (knee) also sidelined, Mike Brake and Ryan Prince have been getting plenty of work as the Nos. 2 and 3 tight ends behind starter Brandon Manumaleuna.

    Rams like weather

    The Rams have had only two practice days in Macomb that could be considered hot - and Sunday wasn't one of them.

    Has the weather for training camp been too mild?

    "I'm never worried about the heat," Martz said. "First of all, we play indoors - it's air-conditioned."

    And the only outdoors game the Rams play this season where warm weather could be a factor is Oct. 24, in Miami.
    ...
    -08-16-2004, 05:25 AM
  • RamDez
    Rams Head Home
    by RamDez
    Rams Head Home
    Friday, August 20, 2004


    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    With the quickness of a Marshall Faulk cutback, coach Mike Martz ended the Rams’ 2004 training camp about 5:15 Thursday evening. Martz cited a major storm brewing in the Macomb area as the reason for the abrupt end.
    “I told them to get out of here tonight,” Martz said. “I don’t want them driving home in the rain in the morning. We wouldn’t get anything out of a morning practice here, anyway.”

    The players and coaching staff will leave for St. Louis on Thursday night and probably have a practice Friday afternoon at Rams Park. The end of camp signals the next step in the drive toward the regular season. St. Louis will play cross-state rival Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night.

    The regular season kicks off Sept. 12 against Arizona at the Edward Jones Dome. Martz said he is more than satisfied with the work the team put in at camp. “We had a heck of a camp up here,” Martz said. “The injury list is minimal compared to what it’s been in past years. I’m pleased with where we are.”

    WOHLABAUGH GONE: It was a disappointing ending for center Dave Wohlabaugh, who spent 2003 starting in the middle of the Rams’ offensive line.

    St. Louis cut ties with its injured center Wednesday night. Wohlabaugh had surgery on his hip in March and was not expected back for at least three or four months.

    Wohlabaugh had not practiced with the team during this training camp and was likely going to miss the entire season. He recently traveled to Ohio to have the hip check out again, but the results were not positive that Wohlabaugh would play again this year or any other.

    With his tenure in St. Louis ending, so too, might his career. Wohlabaugh signed with the Rams on Feb. 28, 2003. Wohlabaugh was entering his 10th season in the league. Andy McCollum, who started at left guard for the Rams last season, moved back to center at the beginning of camp.

    McCollum said he feels comfortable playing his original position again, but he is sorry to see his friend and linemate struggle with injuries. “It’s just unfortunate, the injury that Dave had,” McCollum said. “He’s only been here a year, but I consider him a friend of mine.”

    TIGHT COMPETITION: Brandon Manumaleuna seems to be the only tight end that has wrapped up his position, though a return from hamstring problems by Cameron Cleeland could bring the competition into focus. Manumaleuna looks like he is in better shape, showing better burst off the ball and making some difficult catches in traffic.

    Martz said Manumaleuna’s offseason efforts are paying off handsomely. “Brandon has come a long way,” Martz said. “First of all, he has lost a lot of weight. He’s done a terrific job, in terms of being a receiver and a significant blocker. The thing about him is that he has been consistently excellent,...
    -08-20-2004, 11:19 PM
  • 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
    Dishman is back after a visit home
    by RamDez


    Dishman is back after a visit home
    By Bill Coats

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/19/2004


    MACOMB, Ill. - When the football players at Lincoln (Neb.) North Star High saw Chris Dishman's Hummer parked outside the weight room early one morning this week, they figured he'd be coaching their team again.

    "They thought I was released," Dishman said after Wednesday afternoon's practice at Rams training camp. "They (said), 'Geez, you already got cut?'"

    No, Dishman is still with the Rams, vying for a job on an offensive line badly lacking in personnel. But he had some unfinished business that needed to be addressed, so he left for his Garland, Neb., home after Thursday night's preseason game in St. Louis and returned to Western Illinois University about noon Wednesday.

    "Just a lot of personal stuff," said Dishman, who had decided to retire after seven NFL seasons before Rams coach Mike Martz persuaded him earlier this month to accept a one-year deal and report to camp. Dishman said it seemed like a good idea at the time, but . . .

    "My kids, I didn't get to say goodbye to them," said Dishman, 30, a father of two. "It was getting tough for them, crying every night and calling me up and telling me they wanted me to come home. It started to make me (wonder) if . . . my retirement wasn't a bad plan. The money's all good and everything, but when you've got kids at home, the money doesn't really mean anything to you."

    Although Dishman acknowledged that "definitely there were second thoughts," he emphasized that he never seriously considered re-retiring. "My wife and my dad both said, you signed a contract, don't back out like some of those guys," he said. "I was raised that way. There was no way that I wasn't coming back."

    But he wanted to see his children again, as well as his extended family at North Star, where he'd been serving as an assistant coach. "I went up and saw them practice," he said. "I let them know why I wasn't there personally. Calling them on the phone, I think, is inconsiderate when you've spent four months with these kids.

    "Some of them don't have fathers. It's not a troubled group, but it's a new school there, so they're getting kids there from all over town. If you're a role model to them, you need to go back and show them your face and tell them you haven't forgotten about them."

    Two players are hurt

    Two more Rams went down with injuries Wednesday, but Martz reported that neither player was seriously hurt. Offensive tackle Grant Williams, who probably will be in the lineup when the Rams open the regular season Sept. 12, turned his right ankle in the morning practice and skipped the afternoon workout.

    Cornerback DeJuan Groce appeared to be much more
    ...
    -08-19-2004, 01:49 PM
  • RamWraith
    Martz pleased with minicamp effort
    by RamWraith
    Coach calls team ahead of schedule

    BY STEVE KORTE

    News-Democrat


    ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Rams are so far ahead of schedule that coach Mike Martz canceled one of the five practices during the team's mandatory minicamp this weekend.

    Martz made the unprecedented move of calling off the Rams' Saturday afternoon practice. The team still held its final scheduled practice on Sunday morning.

    "To take a practice and not use it indicates that I'm pretty pleased," Martz said. "We're way ahead of the curve. Ninety-five percent of the squad has been here most of the time, which is highly unusual for any organization. They are prepared.

    "I can honestly say that I pleased with the progress everywhere, which is probably a first."

    Asked how the team reacted to the announcement of the canceled practice, Martz said, "They seemed mildly excited."

    Martz pointed to the defense, especially the defensive secondary as standing out during the minicamp.

    "I think the corner play was outstanding," Martz said.

    The Rams also concentrated on special teams play during the minicamp. New special teams coach Bob Ligashesky directed several brisk sessions.

    "I think the difference is Bob's approach to it," Martz said. "I think Bob's time management is a lot better. He's a lot like Frank Gansz with a high-energy approach."

    Second-year quarterback Jeff Smoker took a lot of snaps as he vies for the job of backup to starter Marc Bulger.

    "We are going to give him a lot of opportunities," Martz said. "This is the right time for him. This is his third year, and he should be ready to step up and be counted on."

    Martz said Smoker looked sharp throwing the ball on both Saturday and Sunday.

    "He made significant improvement in the last couple of practices," Martz said. "Something happened with him. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's because he changed his number. He's really matured and calmed down."

    Martz strongly urged Smoker to get rid of his No. 9 jersey because it reminded him of Joe Germaine, a fourth-round draft choice in 1999 who was supposed to the Rams' quarterback of the future. Germaine ended up being cut before the 2001 season.

    Martz also remembered a couple of college quarterbacks who wore that number being failures.

    Smoker wore No. 15 during the minicamp.

    "It was a conflict of interest with somebody, so we changed it," Smoker said. "Somebody would rather I have a different number, so I changed it."

    Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, defensive end Anthony Hargrove and cornerback Travis Fisher all sat out practice Sunday because of injuries. Pickett has a pulled...
    -06-06-2005, 05:11 PM
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