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With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'

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  • With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'

    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Tuesday, Aug. 31 2004

    Rams guard Adam Timmerman got pinned to a wall by an anxious mob of reporters
    Tuesday afternoon.

    "So," a media guy asked, "is Orlando here?"

    "Haven't seen him," Timmerman said. "Have you guys seen him?"

    Uh, no.

    So the Orlando Pace saga marches on. The unsigned "franchise tag" player was a
    no-show at Rams Park on Tuesday morning, so the offensive line continued making
    do without him.

    The line also must muddle along without '03 center Dave Wohlabaugh and '03
    right tackle Kyle Turley, veteran blockers who didn't make it back from major
    offseason operations in working condition.

    Timmerman has soldiered on with a bum shoulder. Tackle Grant Williams has been
    playing on a sore ankle. Left guard Chris Dishman is hobbled by a minor ankle
    injury and back-up right guard Tom Nutten is recovering from a toe injury.

    Scott Tercero? He has played both tackle spots and guard this preseason, after
    taking exactly zero snaps as a rookie.

    The offensive line has done admirable work under tough circumstances. Whether
    they'll be ready for the season opener, whether O.P. will be in the lineup by
    then . . . well, we'll just have to see how it goes.

    "We kind of joke about it," Timmerman said. "Whenever he gets here, he gets
    here. We don't think too much about it.

    "I guess all of us, in the back of our minds, we figured that some time this
    week he would be here. I was kind of thinking, back in camp, that there was no
    guarantee that he would be here. That's just the way it works."

    Since the media didn't have Pace to chat with, reporters quizzed Timmerman
    about the harm a holdout can do to an offensive lineman.

    "Speaking from my own experience, I would need some time, at least, to get my
    timing down, stuff like that," he said. "He'll have to decide that for himself.
    Hopefully, whenever he gets here, he'll have a little bit of time to get ready
    and put himself in a position where he doesn't get hurt."

    Timmerman has never seen a fellow offensive lineman hold out for this long.

    "Not this far," he said. "We have, what, two days left?"

    Pace's holdout, combined with the demise of Wohlabaugh and Turley, has forced
    Rams coaches to shuffle players. Dishman and Nutten came out of retirement.
    Andy McCollum moved from guard to center.

    Williams has played both tackle spots and Tercero has moved all over the line,
    as needed.

    "This does make it a little trickier," Timmerman said. "In the past, we've had
    four guys in place and maybe just rotated one guy in. We've had to shift a lot
    of guys because of the injuries.

    "But it's been good. The guys who have stepped in have done a good job. Scotty
    has stepped in and gotten great experience. Down the road, hopefully we don't
    need it, but it'll be valuable if we need it.

    "The guys who are here just have to suck it up and do the job. For the most
    part, they have."

    The unit hasn't had the normal opportunity to build chemistry and get in sync.

    "Offensive rhythm is kind of a weird thing," Timmerman said. "The very week
    before, everything can be working perfectly. The next week it can be out of
    sync just a little bit. I think we're heading in the right direction. I think
    we've had one of our better training camps in terms of preparation."

    Rams Nation can only hope he's right.

  • #2
    Re: With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'

    Pace will sign. Dishman/Tercero will hold the LG spot down admirably. McCollum is a better C than Wohlabaugh. Williams is only a minor step down from Turley.

    The line will be fine.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


    • #3
      Re: With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'

      I know the players understand he's trying to get his own money, but I can't believe the lineman would be happy with him.


      • #4
        Re: With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'

        Originally posted by DJRamFan
        I know the players understand he's trying to get his own money, but I can't believe the lineman would be happy with him.
        I would think Bulger would be the most ticked with him.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


        • #5
          Re: With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'

          Originally posted by HUbison
          I would think Bulger would be the most ticked with him.
          And he probably gets more ticked each time he has to crawl out of the crater that the defender just created...

          This space for rent...


          Related Topics


          • RamDez
            Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape
            by RamDez
            Rams' revamped offensive line takes shape
            By Jim Thomas

            Of the Post-Dispatch

            MACOMB, Ill. - It may not be a pretty picture, but the news that offensive tackle Kyle Turley (four weeks) and center Dave Wohlabaugh (three months) will be out for extended periods at least clarifies the situation on the Rams' offensive line. Namely, that . . .

            The left guard job is Andy King's to lose. Unless he plays himself out of the spot, he will open the regular season in the starting lineup.

            Tackle Grant Williams probably gets moved to the starting job at right tackle whenever left tackle Orlando Pace shows up and is deemed ready to play.

            And more than ever, the Rams will rely on the Donut Bros. - Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman - to keep the offensive line anchored and focused.

            "Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman have really done an outstanding job of leading our offensive line," line coach John Matsko said. "Adam is extremely consistent in his run blocking and pass protection, and he's very good in space - in his pulling and getting out there on his screens.

            "Andy's very, very sharp on the calls. And the calls are very, very automatic to him. He reacts to what he sees as quickly as anybody."

            McCollum played left guard last season but was switched back to center last spring after Wohlabaugh's hip surgery. Center hardly is a new position for McCollum - he started 52 regular-season and postseason games for the Rams there from 2000 through 2002.

            "I definitely like having Andy back there," Timmerman said. "Not that Dave was bad at it, but Andy has been in the system longer, and Dave was new to it last year. So I think Andy's a little bit sharper on (line calls) and just communication. We're totally on the same page."

            Wohlabaugh left camp last week for further evaluation of his right hip, on which he had surgery for a torn labrum March 5. The recommendation is that he continue to rest and rehab the hip for another three months. Even before Wohlabaugh rejoined the team Thursday, watching the Chicago game from the sidelines, Rams players knew his return to action wasn't imminent.

            "I'm no doctor, but Dave looks like he's a long ways from (playing)," Timmerman said. "He's not exactly getting in a stance yet, and that's a long way from playing football."

            Ditto for Turley, who aggravated a back condition the first few days of training camp and hasn't been in Macomb since. The recommendation on Turley is that he let the back rest and "calm down" for the next four weeks. That takes the Rams right up to their regular-season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona.

            For the second camp in a row, Williams has been keeping the left tackle spot warm while Pace skips Macomb in a contract
            -08-14-2004, 02:32 AM
          • RamWraith
            Injuries disrupt offensive line play
            by RamWraith
            By Jim Thomas
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            Tuesday, Dec. 21 2004

            When it comes to offensive line continuity, the Rams are finding out how the
            other half lives.

            With rare exceptions since the move to St. Louis in 1995, the Rams have sent
            out their five starting offensive linemen at the start of every regular season
            and watched those five guys perform nearly every Sunday.

            In the first nine seasons of Rams football in St. Louis, the normal starting
            five up front answered the bell 95 percent of the time. In 2003, the Rams
            started the same five blockers in all 17 games, from the season opener against
            the New York Giants to the playoff loss against Carolina.

            And now comes the 2004 season, a trainwreck from the start in terms of
            offensive line injuries.

            "I don't think I've seen a season like this, where we've had that many injuries
            at different positions," right guard Adam Timmerman said. "I've maybe seen one
            position where we've had to use a couple of guys."

            But nothing like this. When rookie Larry Turner started last Sunday in Arizona,
            he became the ninth offensive lineman to start for the Rams this season. That's
            the most line starters in any one season since the franchise moved here. And
            there are still two games to play.

            The only season remotely similar was the '02 campaign, a season in which the
            team finished 7-9. That season, left tackle Orlando Pace missed Games 4-6 with
            a calf injury and Games 13-15 with a hamstring injury. Left guard Tom Nutten
            missed the final five contests of that season with a broken leg. Backup tackle
            Grant Williams suffered season-ending ankle and leg injuries in Game 6 against

            As for 2004:

            Turner, Blaine Saipaia and Scott Tercero have all made their first
            NFL starts.

            Tercero went on the season-ending injured reserve list Nov. 16 because of
            a shoulder injury. Kyle Turley, who was supposed to be the starting right
            tackle, was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 28 after aggravating a back
            injury that had required surgery last spring. Dave Wohlabaugh, who was supposed
            to be the starting center, was released on Aug. 18. He couldn't pass his
            physical at the start of training camp following offseason hip surgery.

            Williams will need cleanup shoulder surgery once this season is
            completed. Timmerman may need surgery on both shoulders. Tercero already
            has undergone surgery.

            Rams offensive linemen have missed 42 games because of injury.

            Almost in desperation, the Rams coaxed guards Nutten and Chris Dishman out of
            retirement in August. But Dishman already has missed seven games because of ...
            -12-22-2004, 05:34 AM
          • RamWraith
            Two 'peas in a pod' are mainstays
            by RamWraith
            By Jim Thomas

            Since the start of the 1999 season and the amazing run to the Super Bowl XXXIV title, the Rams haven't played a single game without the Donut Bros. - Adam Timmerman and Andy McCollum.

            In fact, right guard Timmerman has started all but one game - regular season and postseason - over that span. Over the same period, McCollum has started 98 of 112 regular-season games and nine of 10 playoff contests - mostly at center.

            But both players were banged up last season. Both players are in their mid-30s. And in case you haven't noticed, there's a new coaching staff in town, with its own ideas about personnel.

            So while it's difficult to imagine a St. Louis Rams offensive line without McCollum and Timmerman, coach Scott Linehan broached that very subject at the start of training camp last week.

            "We've got some guys who are towards the end of their career, with Andy and Adam," Linehan said. "We're certainly glad to still have them, but we also know that there are some young guys that have been brought here for a reason, and they're going to be pushing for starting roles. So everybody knows they've got to play at a high level to keep that spot."

            All of which sounds very much like a challenge.

            "(Linehan) hasn't been around us, and doesn't know what we're all about," said Timmerman, who turns 35 next month. "So I think there is kind of a proving period. We have to come out and re-prove ourselves so he knows what you're all about; so he knows that you're tough and you can do the assignments, and do them better than anyone behind you."

            McCollum, who turned 36 last month, says he always comes to training camp with that mindset.

            "You've got to prove yourself every year," said McCollum, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland in 1994. "You've got to make sure that you show everyone that you're the man, the best man for the job."

            In the opening days of camp, McCollum has been backed up by Larry Turner at center. Behind Timmerman at right guard is Claude Terrell, who started 10 games at left guard a year ago.

            "The interior of our offensive line will be a very highly contested battle to see who we end up with on the 10th," Linehan said, in reference to the Sept. 10 season opener against Denver. "I don't foresee anything unusual happening, but if somebody steps up and plays good, you reward people with performance by moving them up the depth chart."

            At face value, it may be a jolt when the head coach pronounces you near the end of the line, but Timmerman shrugged off the notion.

            "Well, I probably could have told him that I'm closer to the end than to the beginning,...
            -08-01-2006, 05:58 AM
          • Nick
            Rams' O-line gets outstanding rating
            by Nick
            Rams' O-line gets outstanding rating
            By Bill Coats
            Of the Post-Dispatch

            If Rams tackle Orlando Pace had been asked to fill out the Post-Dispatch's Rams report card after Sunday's season-opening 17-10 victory over Arizona, he wouldn't have hesitated in giving the offensive line high marks.

            "It'd have to be an A-plus," Pace said, flashing a broad smile. Coach Mike Martz agreed. Noting that the Rams piled up 176 rushing yards and that quarterback Marc Bulger wasn't sacked, Martz said the unit "was outstanding. They did a terrific job."

            Pace, a Pro Bowl selection each of the past five years, skipped training camp and all four preseason games in a contract dispute. He was on the field at Rams Park for the first time last Monday, a day after signing a one-year, $7.02 million tender as the team's franchise player.

            Six days and just four practices later, he was at the forefront of a near-seamless performance by the O-line. "They more than just held their own, they were outstanding," said running back Marshall Faulk, who rushed for 128 yards on 22 carries.

            "We love running the ball; it kind of keeps the game going and takes the pressure off the quarterback," right guard Adam Timmerman said. "You're not sitting back there in pass protection all day; that gets old."

            Consistently given plenty of time to set up, Bulger connected on 23 of 34 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. "Will I get sacked this year? Sure, but for them to play this well from the get-go was nice," Bulger said.

            The line was in turmoil for most of training camp. Pace wasn't in attendance, and then center Dave Wohlabaugh (hip) and right tackle Kyle Turley (back) were ruled out for the season. Andy McCollum moved from left guard to center, leaving Timmerman as the only returning lineman still in the same spot as last season.

            After a number of auditions, the Rams decided on veteran Chris Dishman - who'd been talked out of retirement - as their left guard and journeyman Grant Williams as their right tackle. When Pace finally showed up, all the pieces were in place. On Sunday, the group aced its first big test.

            "Everybody kept questioning this O-line, but we knew when we got 'Big O' in and the way we have experience up there that we were going to get some things done right," Dishman said. "I don't know what the film's going to look like, but it seemed like it went pretty well."

            Timmerman said the line "made a statement" vs. the Cardinals. "I think for the most part we looked pretty good," he said. "We have some hard-working guys, and we really just put it out there."

            Pace, who reported about 20 pounds under his preseason weight of a year ago, said his offseason conditioning paid off....
            -09-12-2004, 10:54 PM
          • RamWraith
            Timmerman sees age creep up on him
            by RamWraith
            By Bill Coats
            Sunday, Dec. 10 2006

            Late in the third quarter Nov. 19 at Carolina, Rams guard Adam Timmerman went
            down in a 6-foot-4, 300-pound heap when an inadvertent kick in the side
            fractured three of his ribs. He missed one play.

            "They're still a little sore," Timmerman reported this past week. "You've got
            like 12 (ribs per side), though, from what I hear. It's only three."

            He has been getting two numbing shots on game days, one a couple of hours
            before kickoff and another at halftime. "It only lasts so long," he explained
            during a break in preparations for Monday night's contest against the Chicago
            Bears at the Edward Jones Dome.

            Coach Scott Linehan said that Timmerman and Adam Goldberg again would rotate at
            right guard, as they did Sunday against Arizona. It will mark Timmerman's 184th
            regular-season game in a row, an eye-popping run that dates to 1995, his rookie
            season with the Green Bay Packers.

            For offensive linemen, who have few measurable statistics, durability is a
            valued commodity. "It's really our only thing," said Timmerman, 35. "And I've
            played through a lot, especially the last few years. Before that I don't know
            if you call it blessed or luck, but I just didn't get the injuries, for
            whatever reason."

            The South Dakota State product's first 10 NFL seasons also brimmed with
            highlights. Timmerman played in four Super Bowls two each with the Packers
            and Rams and was selected to two Pro Bowls.

            In 2004, Timmerman was on the field for every snap despite injuries to both
            shoulders and a foot that required offseason surgeries. Last year, he shrugged
            off a nasty bout of lower-back pain to become one of only five Rams to start
            all 16 games.

            "No matter if he's banged-up or healthy, feeling good or feeling bad, he's
            always out there battling," rookie guard Mark Setterstrom said. "That's
            inspiring to me as a young guy."

            Still, Timmerman emphasized that he's careful not to allow his determination to
            stay on the field override his dedication to the Rams.

            "If I felt like me not playing was better for the team, I would do that," he
            said. "Or if Coach thought that, I'd hope he would just tell me and that's the
            way it'd go. It'd be no problem either way."

            Health concerns

            After his physical difficulties the last two years, Timmerman was pleased that
            his 12th NFL season was perking along relatively pain-free. "I was actually
            feeling pretty good until this little rib issue," he said.

            Timmerman acknowledged that as the...
            -12-10-2006, 06:11 AM