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  • Where's Pace-SI

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Now that the curtain has fallen on right tackle Kyle Turley's season before it even began, Grant Williams and the rest of the St. Louis Rams' offensive line could find solace Monday in at least one thing: One huge distraction down, one more to go.

    In a preseason that has resembled a soap opera in terms of the Rams' blockers, the nagging question now is when, and if, five-time All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace will end his holdout, perhaps even in time for the Rams' preseason finale Thursday at Oakland.

    Stay tuned.

    "Just from a team standpoint, it'd be nice to get what looks like would be the starting five out there for a quarter or a half against Oakland, just get some time together as a unit before we go into the season," Williams said Monday, two days after the Rams placed Turley on injured reserve because of his ailing back.

    Turley, among the NFL's steadiest linemen throughout his six seasons, started every game in 2003 after joining the Rams in an offseason trade with New Orleans.

    But when he reinjured his surgically repaired back in late July and left training camp Aug. 1 to visit doctors, coach Mike Martz _ already dealing with the no-show Pace -- had to piece together an offensive line, even luring veterans Chris Dishman and Tom Nutten out of retirement.

    Martz waited for word from Turley on the prognosis about his back. Then on Saturday -- a day after the Rams' offensive line held the Washington Redskins at bay in a 28-3 preseason victory -- Martz finally declared Turley's season was history.

    "I talked to Kyle today, and he was very vague about his plans," Martz said. When quizzed about the significance of losing Turley, he added without elaborating: "I'm happy with the guys we have."

    Turley's agent, Tom Condon, did not return telephone messages left Monday. Messages also were left with Pace's agent, Carl Poston.

    So it goes in what a Rams staffer quipped Monday was the latest in "As the World Turns," with Williams -- a nine-year veteran filling in for Pace -- perhaps playing Turley's role if Pace agrees to a one-year tender offer as the team's designated franchise player and returns.

    "It'll be nice when he reports," said Dishman, a 350-pound guard nursing a right ankle he rolled in the first quarter against the Redskins, though he went on to play the entire game. "It'd be nice to get some work in with him. But his thing is his thing, and when he comes in he comes in."

    Williams' advice to Pace: Get back sooner rather than later, certainly before the Rams' Sept. 12 opener at home against Arizona.

    "I know if I was in that situation I would want to play in the last preseason game and get ready for the season," Williams said, convinced Pace would benefit from getting some reps -- and perhaps more importantly, some conditioning -- against Oakland.

    Beyond that, Williams said, the value of "Big O" to the team is immeasurable.

    "You can't ask more for an offense to have a solid left tackle," Williams said, willing to shift positions if it meant Pace was back. "That's all you can do is work hard and see what happens. If you get an injury, that's part of the deal. Or if an All-Pro tackle comes in and you can't play, that's part of the deal, too.

    "But you have to be glad from a team standpoint that you have an All-Pro tackle."

    Martz has said that with or without Pace, he expects the line to be solid by the time Arizona comes to town.

    Regardless, Scott Tercero wouldn't mind not ever hearing or reading one phrase again.

    "Everyone's tired of hearing 'patchwork offensive line,"' Tercero, a sixth-round pick last year who has been playing right tackle, said after Friday's victory. "Yeah, we have a couple of young guys playing, but with time, experience comes. And I think we're doing really well."

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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • RamWraith
    Williams, Tercero Ease Concerns
    by RamWraith
    Tuesday, August 31, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    With about two weeks until the start of the regular season, anticipation is building around Rams Park. Not for the first kickoff, but for the return of All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace.

    Pace, who has missed all of camp because of a contract stalemate, is expected to arrive at any time this week before St. Louis plays Oakland on Thursday at 9 p.m. Right tackle Kyle Turley was placed on injured reserve Saturday and will miss the season. Those pair of absences has left plenty of repetitions for other linemen to step up.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he doesn’t worry about Pace’s absence, but is pleased with the performances of his pair of former backup tackles.

    “When he comes, I’ll welcome him with open arms,” Martz said. “Until then, we’ve got Grant (Williams), who is playing well and Scotty (Tercero). Whatever happens, happens, but I’m happy with the guys we have playing.”

    While the line has seen new faces in different places for most of the preseason, the backup tackles have proved to be starter-capable. Williams, who has held down Pace’s spot on the left side and Scott Tercero, who has played on the right side, have been two of the Rams’ most pleasant surprises and consistent performers.

    Williams has spent the better part of his career bouncing between the tackle positions and has made a habit of playing the role of Pace on the left side during training camp. Never satisfied to be backup, Williams worked extra hard in the offseason and shaved his weight down to 320 pounds. Williams’ 6-foot-7 frame holds the weight well and he said he notices a major difference.

    “I’ve made a career out of going back and forth, so at this point it’s not a big deal,” Williams said. “It definitely feels like I’m moving better laterally, there’s a lot less pressure on my back. Just overall, I feel better.”

    Williams, a nine-year veteran, will probably move to the right side when Pace returns, but Tercero’s improved play could provide Williams with a challenge. Williams is used to moving back and forth, but so is Tercero. Tercero’s flexibility allows him to play anywhere on the line. He played guard in college at California and center on last season’s practice squad.

    The injury bug hasn’t stayed away from Williams and Tercero, either, but the ailments have been less severe. Williams sprained his right ankle and Tercero suffered a slight concussion against Washington.

    Williams took some time to recover from the injury, which was buoyed by scar tissue from when he broke the foot two years ago, but he appears to be at full strength. He played most of the game Friday night and Martz said it was “his best game.”

    Tercero, who didn’t play at all in 2003, was forced to sit out the second half after his concussion, but is fine. He has received...
    -09-01-2004, 05:43 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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