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  • Williams, Tercero Ease Concerns

    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 effusive praise from Martz in recent weeks for his versatility, adaptability and team-oriented attitude.

    Tercero said he is still getting used to playing again after so much time off, but is ready to take advantage of his chance, no matter where on the line it is.

    “It’s hard not playing for a while and coming back into it,” Tercero said. “When you’re sitting around not playing, it’s not very fun. Wherever I play the best at and wherever the team puts me at, I’ll be happy playing there.”

    Although Pace has yet to report, the consensus is that it will happen within days. It might seem as though Williams and Tercero wouldn’t want Pace’s return, so they could play, but both said they are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the “Big O.” Nobody more so than Williams.

    “I would expect him to come in, probably tomorrow,” Williams said. “All you can do is work hard. If you get an injury, that’s part of the deal or if an All-Pro tackle comes in and you can’t play, then that’s part of the deal too. You have to be glad from a team standpoint that you have an All-Pro tackle.”

    INJURY UPDATE: Linebacker Trev Faulk and guard Chris Dishman did not participate in Monday’s practice. Faulk had some slight hamstring tightness and sat out for precautionary reasons. Dishman rolled his ankle against Washington and had some swelling, according to Martz.

    Running back Lamar Gordon continued his recovery from ankle surgery, as he practiced and did team drills for the first time in weeks.

    Cornerback DeJuan Groce (knee), guard Tom Nutten (turf toe), tackle Jeremy Phillips (neck) and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (broken foot) sat out also.

    BACK TO WORK: The Rams resumed practice Monday afternoon after a couple of days off. The time was much needed after St. Louis played two games in five days.

    The practice was held outdoors behind what Martz called the “Great Wall of St. Louis.” The “wall” is actually a large net attached to some poles. Martz said the wall was put up after a few practices at the outdoor facility because they caught someone filming practice from the corner window of the Residence Inn across the street.

    The game against the Raiders is the final preseason contest before the Sept. 12 season-opener.

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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
  • psycho9985
    On Grant Williams
    by psycho9985
    Williams Starts Healthy
    Monday, August 1, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer
    Grant Williams had perhaps his most difficult season in the NFL a year ago. He struggled to block pretty much anyone, suffered myriad injuries and took the blame for most of the Rams’ offensive problems.
    But here he is on the fifth day of training camp lining up with the first team at right tackle again and hoping that an offseason spent gaining weight and recuperating from a series of injuries will be enough to help him get back to a productive level.
    Coach Mike Martz said Williams did all of the right things in the offseason.
    “Right now, Grant Williams is our starting right tackle because he deserves to be,” Martz said. “He came back almost 30 pounds heavier. This guy played with one arm last year and had no business playing. (He) played 25 pounds lighter than what he is right now, took a lot of criticism (and) played as hard as he could. He’s what we had (and) never made an excuse. Thank goodness we had him. Right now is the best he has felt physically since he’s been in the NFL, so he’s going to have his opportunity to have that position.”
    What Williams did last season wasn’t much. In fairness, he was not healthy and underweight for most of the season. Still, when quarterback Marc Bulger injured his shoulder against San Francisco causing him to miss a pair of games, many pointed the finger at Williams.
    When asked about his struggles last year, Williams can’t help but take responsibility for what happened.
    “Well, some of those sacks were me,” Williams said. “I can’t help it, per se, if I am hurting. They did give me the option of bowing out and getting surgery and I didn’t want to do that. As long as I could play, I wanted to try and play so I did what I could.”
    Williams played most of last season around 290 pounds, awfully low for a guy who is 6’7. That low weight made Williams vulnerable to the bull rush, a maneuver many teams took advantage of with larger defensive ends.
    Because of Williams’ shoulder and elbow problems, pass rushers also had success blowing past him if they chose not to use the bull rush. Williams took the offseason to correct both of those problems and is in better shape now than he was at any point last year.
    After declining to have surgery last season so he could help the already-banged up offensive line, Williams did have to undergo the operations in the offseason. Williams finished the season with a torn labrum and rotator cuff tear in his right shoulder. The rotator cuff injury was an old tear from his days as a pitcher. The surgery cleaned those injuries up and he also had bone chips cleaned up from his left elbow.
    Although Williams isn’t the most physically imposing tackle on the roster, he does have an intricate knowledge of the system. Williams’ hold on the starting job isn’t set in stone, but he said he will do whatever it takes to hang on.
    ...
    -08-01-2005, 05:00 PM
  • RamWraith
    Where's Pace-SI
    by RamWraith
    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...
    -08-30-2004, 03:07 PM
  • RamWraith
    A. Williams' injury was well-kept secret
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Nov. 15 2004

    If President George W. Bush is looking for new Cabinet members who can keep a
    secret, perhaps he should consider Aeneas Williams. The Rams' free safety was
    injured some three months ago in training camp, but ... who knew?

    Not even Rich Coady, who was told at Saturday's walk-through that he'd be
    starting in Williams' place the next day against Seattle. Coady, who needed an
    IV before kickoff because of a bout with the flu, said, "It really didn't
    change anything that I did, except that I played more snaps on defense."

    Williams, 36, was injured in the Rams' scrimmage with the Chicago Bears on Aug.
    7 in Macomb, Ill. The "stinger" has affected his neck and shoulder, and is
    especially bothersome when he takes on ballcarriers. With Seattle expected to
    lean on Shaun Alexander, the NFL's No. 2 rusher, coach Mike Martz decided that
    it would be a good time to give Williams "a bit of a break."

    Williams described his malady as "a significant injury. I'm the type I won't
    say anything, I'll keep going. But we needed to get somebody in there that can
    play, if they're going to be a big running game. ... Coach thought Rich would
    do a good job, and he did."

    Williams had been in the lineup for 210 of 212 games in his 14-year NFL career,
    and he started again Sunday - but only because the Seahawks opened with three
    wide receivers, and Williams hustled out as an extra defensive back. He was in
    for about 30 snaps, mainly as the nickel back, and he made a crucial play in
    the 23-12 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.

    With the Rams leading 20-12 in the fourth quarter, Williams tracked down
    Alexander from behind after a 35-yard run and punched the ball free. Coady
    pounced on it at the Rams' 9-yard line.

    "You can see that we need him on the field. He makes plays," Coady said.
    "Whether he plays one play in a game or he plays 70, he's a special player, and
    he makes plays to help us win the game."

    Tinoisamoa is promoted

    The play of linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa has prompted Martz to make a departure
    from how he normally deploys his captains.

    Williams and running back Marshall Faulk are captains "in perpetuity," with
    quarterback Marc Bulger (offense), end Tyoka Jackson (defense) and kicker Jeff
    Wilkins (special teams) designated as captains for the season. Then a sixth
    captain has been added each game, based on the previous week's performance.

    But not anymore. Martz has tagged Tinoisamoa as the sixth captain for the rest
    of the season. Tinoisamoa, a second-round draft pick, last...
    -11-16-2004, 06:42 AM
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