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  • Tuesday Notebook

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Travis Fisher’s broken right arm wasn’t the only cause for concern Monday night. Quarterback Marc Bulger injured his knee after being sacked in the first half. Bulger had an MRI on his knee Tuesday, which revealed only a bone bruise. His status is day to day.

    Linebacker Tommy Polley and defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson are battling shoulder injuries. Polley has a muscle strain and Jackson has a shoulder strain and are day to day as well. Adam Timmerman’s sore shoulder continues to give him problems. Martz said Timmerman will be held out of practice this week. Tony Newson (hamstring), Robert Cromartie (hamstring), Groce (knee), Jeremy Phillips (neck) and Joey Goodspeed (hamstring) were inactive for Monday’s game.

    FAULK CHECK: Marshall Faulk played 13 snaps against Kansas City, finishing with 16 yards on six carries and made a catch for 9 yards. Faulk, who has battled knee and hand injuries in recent years, said he felt fine after the game. “There’s a conditioning factor that I’m working on,” Faulk said. “I felt pretty good out there. You never know in this offense until your number is called five, six seven times in a row if you are in the conditioning you want to be. That is something that is going to come as I get my carries throughout the preseason and throughout the year.”

    Martz said he was pleased with what he saw from Faulk against the Chiefs and expects him to play against Washington at the Edward Jones Dome on Friday night. “We’ll continue in these last two games to make sure that he gets some work,” Martz said. “He’s further along than he’s ever been at this point in the season. He looked like he had that great burst of speed and all that good stuff.”

    O-LINE MOVING ON: The offensive line had problems with the Chiefs’ continued blitzing Monday night, but there were myriad reasons for that. The starting group consisted of left guard Chris Dishman (signed late, still working on his conditioning), right tackle Scott Tercero (who had played in only one game of any kind in his year in St. Louis), left tackle Grant Williams (playing on a severely sprained right ankle), center Andy McCollum (who moved over from left guard) and right guard Timmerman (shoulder injury).

    The problems along the line made it difficult to stop Kansas City’s relentless pass rush. Martz said he expects the unit to jell as the regular season draws closer and certain players get back to their comfort zones. “Provided that we can keep what we have healthy, we will put out a first unit that will compete and play well,” Martz said.

    ROSTER MOVEMENT: The Rams released seven players Tuesday afternoon moving closer to the limit of 65 that must be reached by Aug. 31. The final cuts to reach the 53-man roster must be made by Sept. 5. Defensive tackle Richard Harris, receivers Derek McCoy and Brian Sump, linebackers Jason McWilliams and Justin Smith, punter Jesse Nicassio and tight end Ryan Prince were let go.


    Martz Post-Game Quotes
    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    (Opening Statement)
    “I think we can play better than that, I know we can. We did a very poor job getting this football team ready to play this preseason game. I own this one, this is my fault as the head coach. We came out here and flopped around, and acted like we didn’t know where we were, and that’s a coaching issue, always is, always will be. I can blame players, but that’s my responsibility. That won’t happen again, we’ll make sure these guys are ready to play. Credit to the Chiefs, that’s a fine football team, they’re in top form right now, we’re not there by any stretch of the imagination. We’re a long way from were we need to be to start this season, but we’ll get there.”

    (On CB Travis Fisher’s injury)
    “Broke his arm, probably out for the year. It’s a three to four month deal, so to plan on having him back for any substantial part of the season after 16 weeks, from now you’re looking at maybe two games, if we’re fortunate enough to be in the playoffs you might have him. He’ll have to have a plate put in it from what they said.”

    (On CB Kevin Garrett’s performance)
    “He did a good job. I think the rest of the secondary played well there, particularly the backups in the second half, they moved around real well. He made a nice play. In fact I think (Dwight) Anderson did a heck of a job a couple of times too on some pass breakups.”

    (On how limited he was on his offensive play selection)
    “We didn’t approach this as a regular season game, that’s not normally what we do in the preseason. What we did do, we can do a whole lot better, and that’s what we have to focus on. The protections fell apart at times, we we’re disjointed with calls that didn’t come in right, we looked like our first day of practice. This is not the way we’ve practiced, I’m a little surprised by it. I’ll go back and reflect on how I prepared this team this week, and obviously I’ll have to accept responsibility, and I do.”

    (On it surprising him that Kansas City blitzed so much)
    “It did, they brought up double safeties, maximum blitzing, and all that sort of thing. I just let it go, it is what it is. I don’t want the rest of the teams that we play to know how we deal with that, so we just make due with it as much as we can. That’s their prerogative.”

    (On how QB Marc Bulger handled the blitzes)
    “We had some protection issues early. He had Isaac (Bruce) open a couple of times clean, and couldn’t make a throw. We knew we we’re going to have those problems. I was really trying to get Marshall (Faulk) the ball early, with a pass or two, and a couple handouts, and get him out. I was trying to look at him a little bit. I wanted to hand Steven (Jackson) the ball quiet a bit in the second half, which we tried to do, particularly in the third quarter. In terms of Marc, I just wanted him to have some success with some throws down the field, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that.”

    (On RB Marshall Faulk’s performance)
    “He looks good to me, but I didn’t want to leave him in there. Standing from the sideline it’s hard to tell, but he looks like he has his burst and speed. He got probably six carries and a pass reception, that’s all he needs right now to get ready to go, and I’m pleased with him. We’ve got an awful lot of work to do in our offensive line, so what we had left of them, we had them in there the second half. Trying to get Scott Tercero and some of these guys to play.”

    (On WR Kevin Curtis’s performance)
    “Kevin we’ve kept out for 11 days, so he hasn’t done anything up until the day before yesterday, because of the shin splints, so he got gassed at the end of the game. But he needs to play, we just need to play some of these guys, but we’re held hostage a little bit in some situations, but that’s the way it goes.”

    (On how confident he is with the offensive line at the start of the season if T Orlando Pace gets signed)
    “I think Big Dish (Chris Dishman) is going to be fine, he’s three weeks away from being ready physically, he’s really out of shape, but he’s light years ahead of where he was when he came in. He’ll be playing left guard. Orlando, obviously solves a lot of issues for us at left tackle. I think Grant (Williams), particularly with a healthy ankle, will be just fine at right tackle. That first group will be fine when we get everybody in place. We’ve had (Scott) Tercero play three different positions now all week. That’s the preseason, you keep some guys out that are nicked, and you try and get some things done. We certainly did not come to do what we did, I thought we would play better than we did, but we didn’t."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Head Coach Mike Martz on th mike
    by RamWraith
    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    (Opening comments on injuries)
    “CB Travis Fisher, obviously, (will get) surgery, with a plate in the bone. No one completely knows when we will be getting him back. We could be very optimistic and say eight to 10 weeks, or you can be pessimistic and say three to four months. Nobody really knows, so there is no sense in putting a time on it. When he’s back, he’s back. It’s very unfortunate. He was having a heck of a game. We were very excited about his play. He had about 15 plays. It was just a freak accident. QB Marc Bulger injured his knee in the first series. He’s getting an MRI as we speak. LB Tommy Polley has a shoulder injury, a rotator cuff. And then DT Tyoka Jackson had an injury to his shoulder. Everyone else came out clean, so the significant one is losing Travis. He’s a terrific corner and it will be hard to replace him. It just gives someone else an opportunity, like CB DeJuan Groce or CB Kevin Garrett, to step in there and take charge. That’s what they are here for. They get paid for this opportunity. They need to make the most of it, and I’m sure they will.”

    (On positives seen during the game)
    “A couple of good things, DT Brian Howard and Tyoka (Jackson) were terrific in that game. All three linebackers, (Brandon) Chillar, Pisa (Tinoisamoa), and Robert Thomas, I thought played very well. I think that RB Marshall (Faulk) and Steven Jackson play exceptionally well. I was very excited watching the tape. Marshall’s burst and his speed. Obviously we have some things going for us on the offensive line. We had T Grant (Williams) trying to play for us on a bad wheel, and some other things that you guys well know. So we didn’t want to leave (Faulk) in there too long. But he did get 13 snaps in there. He had a chance to carry the ball, catch a pass, then get him out of the game. Steven, I thought, really picked it up. I was very pleased with his effort. He ran hard and he was very impressive with his change of direction. Some of the jump cuts that only smaller backs seem capable of doing, he demonstrated a couple of those during the game. He lowered his shoulder and ran through a couple of tacklers. I was very excited and pleased with how he ran the ball and just his skills. He did make some mental errors that did cost us on key third downs, and of course that needs to get cleaned up. The offensive line, (G Adam) Timmerman has a shoulder (injury), and probably won’t practice this week and we’ll see how he is for the game. We have some problems with the offensive line that will not get resolved in the next day or two. It’s going to take some time. Tommy (Nütten) needs to come back. We need to get G Chris Dishman in shape. He did play much better than I thought he would at this point, but we still have a ways to go on the offensive line. On a more positive note, G Scott Tercero continued to play terrific. He was outstanding again. So...
    -08-25-2004, 05:43 AM
  • RamWraith
    Martz on the Mike
    by RamWraith
    Head Coach Mike Martz
    Friday, August 27, 2004

    (On having practice outdoors)
    “It was a change of pace. It was good to get them outdoors and move around a little bit. That’s what these fields are for. We haven’t been on them for about four months, or whatever it has been.”

    (On how the offensive line is progressing)
    “Good. I’m very pleased with the progress of G (Scott) Tercero and G Chris Dishman. We know our center and right guard are stellar performers. T Grant Williams is now on the mend, and he was really having a terrific camp. Those guys are solid and I’m very pleased with that. We are a little thin right now, particularly in experience. We’ll be fine.”

    (On T Grant Williams’ injury)
    “He has so much scar tissue from the surgery that every now and again he tweeks it. When that happens, from the way they explained it to me, sometimes it scares you. His biggest (problem) is not so much the pain, but keeping (his ankle) strong. I think he feels much better now than he did a week ago.”

    (On how G Tom Nütten has been playing)
    “Tommy had a nice practice yesterday and I think he’s coming back into it really well. I think a little faster than he anticipated. His stuff is coming back to him pretty good, He needs to play here. We’ll get him in there and let him play.”

    (On G Adam Timmerman)
    “He has had such a great camp, we are going to try to back off of him as much as we can, within reason. He still needs to get some reps in. I think (he will be ready to play) on Friday night.”

    (On DT Damione Lewis and DT Ryan Pickett)
    “They have had a real solid camp, particularly D-Lew (Damione Lewis) at times up there in Macomb, has really flashed on us. Hopefully that will emerge in the season.”

    (On the battle for the starting right defensive end)
    “It is very competitive. I think Bryce Fisher, right now, would be considered the starter. But when you look at the other two guys, and I would include (Anthony) Hargrove in there too, as he grows and matures with this defense and at his position I think he will be someone to contend. And of course Erik (Flowers) can go from side to side, and Tyoka (Jackson) can move back inside. The way we play our defensive ends, and the inside guys, we roll those guys. (Defensive line coach) Bill (Kollar) keeps those guys as fresh as he can. So they all play. It’s not like one guy is going to play 80 percent of the snaps. We don’t do that.”

    (On what he wants to see out of the team on a short week)
    “The biggest thing is, I want the ones to be sharp. Obviously, that is not what we did on Monday night. We did do that in the opener. I felt real good about our first group in there. And continue to take a look at some of these guys in the second half because we are going to have to make some hard decisions. When the first...
    -08-27-2004, 09:34 AM
  • RamDez
    Head Coach Mike Martz
    by RamDez
    Head Coach Mike Martz
    Friday, September 3, 2004

    (Opening comments)
    “We came out of the game, physically, in good shape. We have a slight knee strain with Erik Jensen and a very minor ankle sprain with Cam Cleeland. So other than that we came out of the game clean. There were a lot of good things in this game. We were able to evaluate personnel for a long period of time, particularly on defense. On offense there was some pleasant surprises. I’m very pleased with being able to evaluate and where this team is. Some of these guys, hopefully, now can contribute during the season.”

    (On RB Lamar Gordon)
    “That is the first time he has been hit, or put pads on, in four weeks. To go in and take the ball like he did, and he took some horrendous hits out there on the edge, then jumped, turned, twisted, and stayed in the game. I was very impressed with his toughness. The burst that he had, the acceleration he showed right before the touchdown run, to get it down to the one-or-two yard line. I was very pleased with Lamar. I told him (we were going to play him a lot). I know the conditioning aspect, because he has not been hit in four weeks, and that’s a big deal now. But the more we played him, the better he played. He got dinged there a little bit and came out briefly, but went back in, which is important. I was very impressed with him.”

    (On if WR Torry Holt’s back spasms are of concern)
    “No I don’t think so. We didn’t plan on playing he or Isaac (Bruce) more than a few plays anyway. And the other guys need to play. (WR Shaun) McDonald has to play a whole game. Mike Furrey needs to play. The only issue at wide receiver is, that he still has shin splints, is (WR Kevin Curtis). We did try to play him as little as possible, but he did need to play a little bit and he was able to make a couple of big plays in that game. We will try to keep him quiet for a while on those legs, and see if we can’t get that thing to calm down a little bit. Anybody who has had shin splints knows how painful they are. The only way to get rid of them is to rest them. So we will try to manage them as best we can.”

    (On how he feels about the team at this point)
    “I feel good about where we are. The areas that we wanted to get better, running the football, we made a big emphasis of that in the last few games, as you could see. Regardless of who was in the game, we wanted to run the football. I think it sets a mentality for the offensive line and the backs. I was very pleased with the way we have run the ball the past few weeks. It didn’t make a difference who was in there. I’m very excited about the play of the quarterbacks. I’m very excited about the play of the linebackers and how the defensive line is starting to come together. We’ve got some issues in the secondary because of injuries. We need DeJuan Groce back, obviously. He’ll be back this week. Losing (CB Travis)...
    -09-05-2004, 05:00 AM
  • RamDez
    Head Coach Mike Martz
    by RamDez
    Head Coach Mike Martz
    Tuesday, October 5, 2004

    (Opening statements)
    “There are some things that I would like to mention that are really outstanding from that game: Tyoka (Jackson) came in and had three hits on the quarterback, two pressures, two tackles, and two assists, really on third downs, which is terrific. Pisa (Tinoisamoa) had nine tackles and five assists, 14 tackles all totaled, and half a sack. Jerametrius (Butler) had the interception and he broke up two passes. Leonard Little had four tackles and three assists, for a total of seven. He had three hits on the quarterback, he had a pressure, he had one sack, and, of course, he recovered a fumble, so he had a terrific game. Rich Coady is our defensive player of the week with four tackles and six assists, that’s 10 tackles, two passes broken up, a forced fumble, and a quarterback hit, just a terrific evening for Rich. On offense, Marshall (Faulk) and Isaac (Bruce) are our offensive players of the week. Marshall, obviously, with the big night: 23 carries, 121 yards, a total of 146 yards, and Isaac, for the fourth week in a row, starts the season with another 100-yard game. (Isaac) was not just catching the ball, but he was vital in the running game, in terms of blocking down the field, which he always is. He is a complete player, very unselfish player. I thought Marc (Bulger) played really well. The offensive line played very well. They came out fast and furious in all three phases, and that’s what we asked them to do, attack, be physical, not worry about mistakes, play fast. I thought we played disciplined football. We did not turn the ball over. We got two turnovers. We had a very limited amount of penalties, which is something that we have been trying to stress. We are getting better, we really are. That first half was played at a high level, and that’s what we are asking them to do. We’ve got a lot of room to go yet. We can get a lot better, and we need to go in that direction. We came out of that game, physically, in good shape. But I’m very pleased with the effort of this football team. I’m ready to put this one to bed, because we have a big one up in Seattle.”

    (On the Rams’ defense)
    “(The *****) really tried to get something going, and the same running schemes that have hurt us in the past, we shored that up a little, the stretch and cutback type of plays. Penetration by the defensive line, by and large, the entire defensive line was a exceptional. They played really well. And Ryan Pickett, who plays nose guard, just won’t get credit for anything. You’re not in the position to rush the passer, so you’re not going to get sacks. All you do is get beat on the whole time. You’re not going to make a lot of tackles, but what you do, it’s the most unselfish position in football. All you do is take the hits and try to throw them off, so the linebackers and everyone else make the play. But he was penetrating, getting back into the backfield, and...
    -10-06-2004, 12:00 AM
  • RamWraith
    Martz raves about offense
    by RamWraith
    Compiled by Jeff Gordon
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist

    Mike Martz talks with Rams QB Marc Bulger on Sunday.

    Rams coach Mike Martz can't stop raving about his team's offensive line play in Sunday's 17-10 victory over Arizona.

    "The offensive line, as a group, was just outstanding," Martz told reporters Monday afternoon. "I have to single out Andy McCollum as having the best game he's had since he's been here. He was dominating.

    "I told our staff today that I felt like this was probably our best performance as an offensive line since I've been here. Any time you rush for those kind of yards (176 yards; 5.9 yards per carry) and don't give up any sacks, that's pretty exceptional. When you look at the tape, they are sustaining blocks. The things they were able to do were, I was very pleased. I was very pleased how physical they were.

    "They haven't missed a beat, like they did in camp. They are just a tough group. We've had all kinds of different combinations in there throughout the training camp, but (the coaches) kept everybody focused. (Chris) Dishman comes in, loses 20 pounds, right now he's played through the preseason, gotten himself into shape, played very well. Grant Williams on the right side was doing a terrific job."

    Technically, teams do not have to issue information about injuries until Wednesday. So when Martz was asked about the injuries to two of his five linebackers -- Pisa Tinoisamoa (dislocated shoulder) and Trev Faulk (hamstring) -- he said, "I kind of know what that injury situation is and we'll be fine."

    Other highlight's of Martz's press conference:

    On his team's offensive miscues:

    "In the first three possessions, offensively, we turn it over, which is always a concern. If we hadn't done that, we were in position to really take charge of that game early."

    On the red-zone inefficiency:

    "There were a couple of situations in the red zone where basically I screwed up the verbiage in it and we had to call a timeout. I would take that third-down-and-two (Cam Cleeland tight end around run) play back. I felt like the structure defense they do in the goal line it would be good. I guessed there a little bit and they came off the edge. We didn't get the ball in the end zone. That's a coaching error. I can do a better job of that."

    On Marc Bulger's interception:

    "After looking at the interception, I know what he did. He was fine where he was throwing it. We had a receiver turning up instead of turning out on that thing; he brought the defender, at the last second when (Bulger) was throwing the ball, right into the throwing lane. He tried to pull off the ball and the ball took off on him. . . .

    "I thought...
    -09-15-2004, 03:59 AM