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  • Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

    Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Monday, Aug. 30 2004

    The Rams handled the Redskins pretty easily Friday night, even though All-Pro
    tackle Orlando Pace remained unsigned. Afterward, O.P. showed he cared by
    hosting a party for this estranged teammates at a downtown nightclub.

    But Rams Nation would like to see the big fella get back in uniform or get on
    down the trail. Here is still another sampling of the electronic mail sent to
    the "Letters to Gordo" bin:


    * * *

    "How do you think the rest of the team feels year after year after the Big Oaf
    -- I mean, Big O -- comes into camp after the rest of the team has sweated
    their backsides off in camp and says 'I am here to save the team.'

    "I say the guys ought to get together and nickname him SLACKER until he can be
    a man and do what the other guys do, work their backsides off. Remember, there
    is no letter "I" in the word team or "O" for that matter. I say get rid of Big
    Oaf."

    -- Tom Stephens

    GORDO: Well, O.P. did throw that party for the fellas, so that might smooth
    over things just a bit. Some players may still resent him, of course, but that
    could go away if the team gets off to a good start this season.

    We presume that Pace has been working hard to stay in shape, so he'll be ready
    to play once he finally signs his franchise tag tender. If he doesn't sign . .
    . well, now, that could get ugly.


    * * *

    "I've lost a lot of respect for a very fine football player. He has (bad)
    agents and listens to bad advice. Meanwhile, and you're exactly right, his
    teammates are busting backside and slowly becoming non-teammates, and on the
    offensive line of all places! His routine each year is becoming old and
    tiring, and that's too bad for the team and fans alike.

    "I'm very concerned about the 2004 season for the Rams. The team needs Big O
    to be a leader RIGHT NOW. Why don't you give him a call and ask nicely?

    -- Jeff Rabenort, Okawville


    GORDO: Ask nicely? What fun is that? I believe Pace will make it back to the
    starting lineup for Game 1. Rams fans can only hope he is more prepared for
    football than he was at this point last summer.


    * * *

    "I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but has it occurred to
    anybody that the Pace vacation through training camp may be part of a
    gentleman's agreement with the Rams for not getting signed to a long-term
    contract via the franchise tag? It would be nice if pro football were 'All for
    One and One for All' but it's a business. Listen to the tone of the coaches and
    management -- no one is making nearly as big a deal about this as the fans. It
    makes for dull print and even duller radio."

    -- Tom Grieve


    GORDO: Everybody knew this holdout was coming, once efforts to sign Pace to a
    long-term deal went nowhere. Everybody assumes Pace will come back in time for
    the season, because he has before. But keep in mind, coaches and players WERE
    trying to contact him in recent weeks, so this standoff really is a big deal
    for the franchise.

    "Let Pace sit out, or trade him if you can. This guy doesn't want to put effort
    in here in St. Louis."

    -- Mike Bray


    GORDO: The Rams need the guy, plain and simple. With the demise of right tackle
    Kyle Turley and center Dave Wohlabaugh, this team is awfully vulnerable along
    the offensive line. Add a Pro Bowl-caliber blocker to the current unit and it
    gets a whole lot better overnight.


    * * *

    "I sure hope Orlando was watching Monday night, and to know that he's needed.
    And, as for those two idiots he calls agents, I hope future NFL players will
    take note and avoid those clowns at all cost."

    -- Dan Stecklein, Dodge City, Kan.


    GORDO: The Poston Brothers get top dollar for their clients, so they will
    always get more clients. Players have no empathy for the billionaire owners
    these agents work over. Why should they? Business is business. At the end of
    the day, the players have to make their own call on when to sign and for how
    much.


    * * *

    "How can he do this (hold out)? Because he simply doesn't care. Pace is an
    overstuffed, spoiled rotten, overrated PUNK who will never make the most of his
    ability. Best left tackle in football MY (BACKSIDE). He plays with no fire,
    just like the rest of his teammates (and head coach). The whole thing is beyond
    frustrating."

    -- Mike Wirth


    GORDO: It's good to let those feelings out. Let those emotions build up inside
    and you'll turn as wacky as that dude in the kilt at the Olympic marathon.

    But Pace IS an excellent player, arguably the best at his position. He's a good
    guy, too, although not overly demonstrative on the field. He earns respect on
    the field, both with teammates and opponents. And that is where he needs to
    get, ASAP.

  • #2
    Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

    While Pace might be letting his teammates down, I don't think it's terribly wrong for him to holdout during training camp and the preseason. What if the big fella has a career ending injury during camp? I'm sure it's frustrating for some of them, but I bet most of the players understand. It's just the business side of football that they all are part of. If he shows up soon all should be forgiven.

    - tim

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

      But what if there is a blown coverage in the first regular season game due to his inexperience at playing with the rest of the line, and that cause Marshall or Bulgar to be out for an extended time? You got to think that AZ's right DE is just loving this hold out...

      Get your BUTT on the team O...
      This space for rent...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

        Normally I'd agree, but Pace had such a great year last year after holding out that I'm confident he'll be the same Orlando.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

          Yea, he had a great first game of the season......... mmmmm, no wait .... thats the game that Warner got the ****e kicked out of him, yea, thats the one.

          __________________________________________________________
          Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

            I don't remember any of those sacks coming from OP's side. If I do recall, that bum rush came up the middle. In fact, it came up the middle all year long.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

              Originally posted by RamDez
              Yea, he had a great first game of the season......... mmmmm, no wait .... thats the game that Warner got the ****e kicked out of him, yea, thats the one.
              Really? See, I thought it had more to do with the three guys on the line who were new to either the team or their position that season. Hmm, perhaps not. :tongue:

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                Originally posted by txramsfan
                I don't remember any of those sacks coming from OP's side. If I do recall, that bum rush came up the middle. In fact, it came up the middle all year long.
                You're right, and now that McCollum is back at C the middle should look better.
                The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                  Thats the way I remember it. The other guys were all watching the lards back so ended up giving up the sacks. Also, remember that Pace spent most of the time checking his uniform still fitted ;)

                  __________________________________________________________
                  Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                    I do seem to recall Pace recovering one of Warner's fumbles. That should count for something.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                      The way I saw it, Pace looked like he spotted a rather large leg of lamb rolling across the field and jumped on it pronto ............. ufortunatly for him, it was the football ;)

                      __________________________________________________________
                      Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                        Think we could get Pace and BernieM to say hello to the Clan during the Bash? I know you would absolutely LOVE that boss.....

                        LOL

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                          Hey, I am just trying to put over another perspective you know

                          __________________________________________________________
                          Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                            Originally posted by RamDez
                            The way I saw it, Pace looked like he spotted a rather large leg of lamb rolling across the field and jumped on it pronto ............. ufortunatly for him, it was the football ;)
                            Must have sucked when he bit into it, then.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Letters to Gordo: On Pace for disaster?

                              You know what, I dont think he noticed

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                              Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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                              • RamWraith
                                Fans pile on Pace and Postons
                                by RamWraith
                                BY JEFF GORDON
                                Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
                                09/02/2004

                                Online Columnist Jeff Gordon

                                The Rams went to Oakland without Orlando Pace to play the Raiders. On the advice of his agents, the Poston brothers, the All-Pro left tackle is taking his holdout to the max.

                                So the protests from the citizens of Rams Nation continue pouring into the "Letters to Gordo" bin. Here is another sampling:


                                * * *

                                "Pace has a couple things to gain. He gets to miss training camp. Isaac Bruce has said he doesn't think he needs training camp and wouldn't go if he didn't have to. Pace is living Bruce's dream. Almost everyone agrees that the preseason is too long.

                                "And as the franchise player, not showing up for camp is Pace's only bargaining chip. If the Rams want Pace in camp they need to work out a deal with him. That's Pace's only leverage. I know Pace is a big dude but he can't play three positions at once . . . "

                                -- Steve Dietrich


                                GORDO: Trouble is, he can't bargain for a new deal until he signs the "franchise player" tender. So his holdout almost precludes him from negotiating a long-term deal before this season. It pushes the process back another year and prevents him from banking a signing bonus of, say, $17 million. This tactic didn't work last summer and it isn't likely to work this summer, either.

                                As for Pace being but one player, that's true – but he is demanding superstar, team-leading, anchor-of-the-unit dollars. He is the cornerstone of the unit. His absence makes every other player's job harder.


                                * * *

                                "Most NFL players hate training camp, and when it comes to linemen, they are lazy. If you check most 'holdout' negotiations, they are settled on the last week or two before the start opening of the season. Why? The player works at his own pace and when they arrive, they are still three to four weeks away from 'playing shape.'

                                "Don't defend these guys by saying they are working hard on their own. They don't. The prima donnas of the league do what they have to do until the season starts, and they get into shape on the team's time, not their time."

                                -- David Carriger, Florence, N.J.


                                GORDO: You're right about playing shape. Pace may have skipped some work, but he is putting himself at risk for injury. He also stands to diminish his effectiveness. If this holdout leads to injury or poor play, then he will hurt his negotiating power. He won't set any new records for long-term deals if he scuffles through a sub-par 2004 season.


                                * * *

                                "Orlando has the worst agent in football. Why doesn`t the press try incessantly to contact Pace, putting pressure on him?"

                                -- Warren Bartold


                                GORDO:...
                                -09-03-2004, 09:11 AM
                              • Nick
                                Teammates suffer while Pace -- with nothing to gain -- sits out
                                by Nick
                                Teammates suffer while Pace -- with nothing to gain -- sits out
                                BY JEFF GORDON
                                Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
                                Wednesday, Aug. 25 2004

                                We all understand the NFL is a business, and a nasty one at that.

                                The franchises are enormously profitable. Franchise values escalate yearly. The folks that own these franchises are very, very rich.

                                Nobody should begrudge players for getting whatever they can out of the game, for as long as they can physically last.

                                But there comes a point when a football player has to become a teammate, too, and consider the needs of the men he will line up with when the real games
                                start.

                                Orlando Pace is well past that point with the Rams. By refusing to report to training camp, he literally put his fellow Male Sheep in harm's way the past two weeks.

                                Therefore, O.P. has become a terrible teammate.

                                In his absence, tackle Grant Williams has played with an ankle injury because the Rams need experienced offensive linemen to play preseason games. He has played in pain, risking further injury.

                                In Pace's absence, Adam Timmerman has played with a shoulder injury for the same reason. Chris Dishman has rushed back into the fray, still huffing and puffing, after his un-retirement.

                                And Pace? He stayed out of camp, despite having nothing to gain by refusing to sign his franchise tag tender.

                                Nobody should begrudge players who put themselves first, since the NFL quickly discards athletes once they lose value. But a player who puts himself THAT far ahead of his team . . . well, you have to wonder how he will ever move forward with the group.

                                The Rams can't negotiate a long-term contract with Pace until he signs that tender and reports to work. The longer he waits to sign the tender, the less likely a deal can be struck before the season.

                                Obviously the Pace Camp is frustrated by this whole "franchise player" designation, a piece of the collective bargaining agreement that inevitably creates hard feelings.

                                Getting tagged year after year would aggravate any player eager to bank the staggering signing bonus that would come with a new long-term deal.

                                Then again, a player can't expect to get a long-term deal from a competitive deal while making outrageous demands. A player can't expect to reach a long-term agreement unless his agents -- in this case the Poston brothers -- fit those requests within the salary cap framework of the team.

                                Pace expressed some willingness to do just that during the spring, but then went back into hiding while his representatives held firm.

                                The Rams have done a marvelous job managing their salary cap. Jay Zygmunt is a master at it. His creativity has allowed the Rams to keep many top players while remaining competitive year after year after year....
                                -08-25-2004, 02:09 PM
                              • Nick
                                Pace finally with Rams, but is he ready to commit?
                                by Nick
                                Pace finally with Rams, but is he ready to commit?
                                By Jeff Gordon
                                Online Sports Columnist
                                Monday, Sep. 06 2004

                                Rams coach Mike Martz remained on the high road Monday after wayward tackle
                                Orlando Pace finally rejoined his team.

                                Reporters wondered about lingering hard feelings from Pace's protracted
                                holdout, the third of his career in St. Louis.

                                "It's never remembered," Martz said. "That's his deal and I don't have anything
                                to do with that. That's another world that I don't participate in."

                                Yeah, well, fans want to participate in that world. So does the media.

                                And Pace's teammates might have some thoughts on the latest holdout, too,
                                should his camp-long absence affect the caliber of his play.

                                There is only one way that this issue goes away: If Pace plays at his
                                accustomed all-pro level from Week 1 on this season. If he stays healthy, opens
                                holes for Marshall Faulk and protects Marc Bulger's backside, then nobody will
                                have a beef with O.P.

                                But if he struggles for a few weeks while trying to regain his game
                                conditioning and bearings . . . we'll, let's just say the controversy will roar
                                on.

                                This is a pivotal season for the Rams. Many experts believe the team is
                                teetering these days, just a key injury or two from starting a slide back to
                                mediocrity.

                                The loss of veteran offensive linemen Kyle Turley and Dave Wohlabaugh
                                compromised the offensive line. Chris Dishman came out of retirement to fill
                                one hole and journeyman Grant Williams will try to fill the other.

                                Even with a healthy, fully-prepared Pace, there were going to be questions
                                about this offensive line this year. So if Pace's performance is lessened by
                                his boycott, then Martz may have a crisis on his hands.

                                It is impossible to evaluate the offensive line until it faces real defensive
                                game plans and real action. This unit has suffered rocky starts in the past,
                                most recently with last season's fiasco at Giants Stadium.

                                Will it happen again? If it does, the blame will fall squarely on Pace.

                                I can certainly understand Pace's frustration with having to work under the
                                "franchise player" tag year after year. But he shares some responsibility for
                                his predicament.

                                If he wants a long-term commitment from the franchise, he needs to structure
                                his market-setting demands so that they fit into the team's salary cap
                                structure.

                                Also, HE has to make a commitment to the TEAM. It's a two-way deal. If he wants
                                to be paid as one of the franchise's cornerstones, then he needs to become one
                                of the franchise cornerstones.

                                The team must pick and chose...
                                -09-07-2004, 12:20 AM
                              • Guest's Avatar
                                Its time for RamTime’s annual *****ing about Pace
                                by Guest
                                Yep it’s that time of year again when we collectively wonder if Pace is team player or not. It looks as if this year will tell a lot. Since he “fired” his agent and Walter Jones has signed there really is no reason for Opie to hold the Rams hostage and should sign a deal before free agency. We shall see but don’t hold your breath because I still maintain the he’s lazy and hates camp enough that he would trade not having to participate in spring training for holding his team hostage. It’s time people start calling this like it looks and stop giving him the benefit of the doubt.

                                Left tackle for sale, abada abada abada Left tackle for sale.... Step right up and feast your eyes on this massive specimen. That's right for 8 million dollars he can be yours for a whole year ahm minus the off season and uhm minus training camp, and uhm minus most of the pre season... abada abada abada Left Tackle for sale....
                                -02-25-2005, 03:07 AM
                              • Nick
                                How long is too long for Pace and the Postons?
                                by Nick
                                Just thinking out loud here after watching a disappointing Outside the Lines (see General NFL Talk), but the more I thought about the situation, the more I began to wonder...

                                How long is too long when it comes to waiting for Pace and the Postons to reach a reasonable long term contract with the Rams?

                                Obviously with the increasing amount of the franchise tag on Orlando Pace, as well as other players who we might want to retain using that tag, we can't tag Pace year in and year out. This is the second year in a row the tag has been placed on Pace, and while Orlando's comments in March were optimistic about a long-term deal being done this fall, we've yet to see or hear anything from him that would indicate that's still the case.

                                So for a moment, let's assume that Pace signs the tender during the preseason and once again fails to sign a long-term deal. At what point do the Rams begin to look for a viable replacement at left tackle, thus marking the beginning of the end of their dealings with Pace and the Postons? Does such a point exist?

                                Personally, I think that if the Rams and Pace can't reach a long-term deal by next spring when the time to franchise Orlando comes again, the Rams should begin considering alternative answers for the left tackle position. I'll be the first to tell you that Pace is one of the most valuable offensive linemen in the game, but the Rams cannot afford to be held hostage like this for many more seasons. Plus, I believe in the 2005 draft, there will be a number of good (not elite, but very good) tackle prospects, guys like Alex Barron or Jammal Brown, who may not be able to play as well as Pace, but should be very adequate and efficient players. Also, it's hard to tell who might be available in free agency, too.

                                The bottom line is I don't see the Postons bending to lower demands, and I'm not convinced that Pace is going to give them the boot any time soon. As much as the Rams may want to continue tagging Pace year after year (I think an interview with Zygmunt alluded to this), I don't think that's going to be an option after another season or two.
                                -08-09-2004, 01:01 AM
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