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  • Pace will start vs. Arizona Sunday

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Tuesday, Sep. 07 2004

    Is Orlando Pace ready for some football? Mike Martz didn't hedge or hesitate
    when asked how long it would take Pace to get ready to play.

    "Four days," Martz said, without blinking.

    Call that the pragmatic answer. Because when Pace stepped onto the practice
    field Monday afternoon at Rams Park, four practices remained until the
    regular-season opener against Arizona.

    Ready or not, Pace will be in the starting lineup for Sunday's noon kickoff at
    the Edward Jones Dome. He will do so without the benefit of participation in
    the offseason conditioning program, minicamps or lighter spring workouts known
    as OTAs. He will do so despite missing all four exhibition games and 5 1/2
    weeks of work since the start of training camp July 28.

    So is four practices enough?

    "I guess it'll have to be," Martz said. "I think it is. We haven't changed what
    we do - the calls, the terms. ... So it's not like he just got here and is
    learning the offense."

    Pace ended his contract stalemate Sunday night by signing a one-year, $7.02
    million tender as the Rams' franchise player. To help entice Pace to report,
    the Rams gave him $1 million of that total in the form of a signing bonus.

    "We're all excited to have Orlando back," Martz said. "I know he feels good
    about being back, too."

    On that last point, we'll just have to take Martz's word for it. Pace declined
    to speak to reporters Monday.

    On the practice field, Pace appeared to be in better shape than last season,
    when he reported 4 1/2 weeks into camp.

    "He came into camp this year 16 pounds underneath what he did last year," Martz
    said. "He's obviously trained very well and has prepared himself to come to
    camp. Watching him out here in practice, he's a little rusty with some things,
    but he's a pretty unique individual."

    Pace is listed at 325 pounds on the roster but was probably closer to 345 or
    350 when he reported last season.

    On Monday, Pace was with the first unit from the outset, and took his regular
    turn with the starters throughout practice. There was no easing him in. During
    one-on-one pass-rush drills with the defensive linemen, Pace went up against
    Bryce Fisher and Anthony Hargrove.

    Hargrove got some penetration with an inside move his first time up against
    Pace. But the second time around, Pace flattened Hargrove like a pancake,
    drawing hoots and hollers from teammates.

    But overall, there was little fanfare surrounding Pace's return. It was pretty
    much another day at the office.

    If there was any ill will, or rough moments, related to Pace's absence, Martz
    said, "That's never remembered. ... It's just like an injury. Like I said
    before, it's like he just came off an injury list and is healthy to practice
    again. That's how you have to look at it."

    Besides, Martz keeps his nose out of business negotiations, or in this case,
    nonnegotiations. "That's his deal," Martz said. "I don't have anything to do
    with that. That's another world, one that I don't participate in."

    But Martz does know what Pace can do on a football field and what it means to
    have him back.

    "Guys like Orlando, you just can't find them," Martz said. "They're very
    important to us in what we do, in both running and passing. It just solidifies
    everything on the offensive side."

    Similarly for Pace's teammates, there are no hard feelings.

    "Hard feelings for what?" defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "C'mon man,
    he's going to be pancaking people on Sunday. At the end of the day, that's what
    this is all about.

    "I don't remember having one conversation about, 'Man, we're missing Big O. We
    need Big O.' So I can't say that it was something we were worried about. But
    I'll tell you this, seeing him walking into the locker room, instantly you feel
    a lot better. He's the best in the game."

    As for business, Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt said he
    would let the dust settle on the final roster cuts; let the team get started on
    the regular season; and then reassess how to close the wide gap between what
    the Rams have offered and what Pace is seeking in a long-term deal.

    "Nothing has really changed," Zygmunt said. "We'd like to do something. You
    can't just say forget about it. So we'll try and we'll see. Our intention has
    never wavered. We do want to sign him to a long-term deal. That's still our
    goal."

    For now, Pace earns that $7 million.

    "He's making more than I made in my whole career, so that's pretty good," said
    offensive guard Chris Dishman, an eight-year NFL veteran.

  • #2
    Re: Pace will start vs. Arizona Sunday

    Ah one good thing about living in this heat infested hell hole is I get two extra games a year on TV.

    Reborn

    Comment

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    • RamWraith
      Pace is still a no-show as season approaches
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Monday, Aug. 30 2004

      For those of you who had Monday in the "Orlando Pace" office pool, sorry, but
      thanks for playing.

      The Rams returned to work Monday for their first practice since the Washington
      exhibition game. Once again, they were without Pace, their five-time Pro Bowl
      left tackle.

      Many observers thought Monday would be the day, giving Pace two full weeks to
      prepare for the season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona. In fact, some team
      officials hoped Pace would report Sunday. That way, he could take his physical
      and sign his one-year, $7.02 million franchise tender, without missing any
      meeting time or practice time Monday.

      But none of the above happened.

      Pace has not participated in any organized team activities since the Rams'
      double-overtime playoff loss to Carolina on Jan. 10. As a result, he has missed
      all of training camp in Macomb for the third time in eight NFL seasons. And
      unless he shows up in the next day or two, he will miss the Rams' entire 2004
      exhibition schedule. The club leaves St. Louis on Wednesday for its exhibition
      finale Thursday night in Oakland.

      Pace has not returned several phone messages from the Post-Dispatch. But that's
      not surprising, considering he has not returned phone messages from coach Mike
      Martz and other members of the Rams staff.

      Pace hosted a party for team members at a midtown nightclub Friday after the
      Washington exhibition game, fueling speculation that he soon would report to
      Rams Park.

      "I have not talked to him," said Grant Williams, who has been manning left
      tackle in Pace's absence. "But I would expect him probably to come in
      (Tuesday). I know if I was in that situation, I would want to play in the last
      preseason game and get ready for the season.

      "And at the same time, I wouldn't want to jeopardize myself and miss the
      'install' and preparation for this game. You don't want to go into the Oakland
      game totally short-handed. You want to get a few reps and feel sort of
      comfortable. So I would think (Tuesday)."

      Williams said today's practice would feature the "installation" of whatever
      semblance of a game plan the Rams will have for the Raiders.

      If Pace follows the same game plan as last year, when he also balked at the
      team's franchise-player designation, he will report today. Last year, he
      reported two days before the team's preseason finale, and 12 days before the
      season opener. If he reports today, it will be two days before the preseason
      finale, and 12 days before the opener.

      Martz said he has gotten beyond...
      -08-31-2004, 06:41 AM
    • RamWraith
      Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams
      by RamWraith
      R.B. FALLSTROM

      Associated Press


      ST. LOUIS - Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace broke a three-day silence on his contract holdout Thursday, saying a lighter playing weight would help him get back into playing shape in time for Sunday's opener.

      Earlier this week Pace agreed to a one-year, $7.02 million contract as the team's franchise player, and he practiced for the first time Wednesday. He reported at 325 pounds, almost 20 pounds below last year, and believes that will offset the fact he's got only four practices to get ready.

      During the offseason, in addition to working out on his own, Pace largely eliminated fried foods from his diet and cut back on his soft drink intake.

      "I feel light years better than I did last year," Pace said. "I feel a lot quicker, a lot fresher. That was one of the elements I dealt with last year, just trying to get the weight down."

      After two workouts, the Rams have been pleasantly surprised by Pace's conditioning.

      "It looks like he's been here all camp, honest to goodness he does," coach Mike Martz said. "No mental errors and he's quick, he's physical.

      "At this time last year he was very sluggish and the conditioning was a factor for him."

      Martz said there's no question Pace will be ready for the opener.

      "If there was any doubt, if he was not in great shape or if he was sloppy and making mistakes out here, you'd have to consider otherwise," Martz said. "But it's clear in my mind, he's looked terrific."

      Pace, the first overall pick of the 1997 draft, has been a holdout in three of his eight seasons. He said there's been no backlash from teammates who went through two-a-days plus four preseason games.

      "Really the bottom line, and what matters most in this locker room, is how the guys feel," Pace said. "And they're happy to see me and they're happy I'm back on the team."

      Pace said a holdout was his only option when the Rams designated him as their franchise player for the second straight season. Now that he's signed the Rams and Pace's agents, the Poston brothers, can negotiate a long-term deal.

      Not that he's holding his breath, considering the sides were far apart the last time they talked.

      "Right now I'm not really focusing on next year," Pace said. "Whatever happens at the end of the season, hopefully I can sign a long-term deal. If not, we'll be sitting here talking about the same thing next year."

      After three holdouts, Pace remains steadfast in support of his high-profile agents. He also said the bottom line is these are his decisions.

      "I always have confidence in the people that represent me," Pace said. "They're professionals in what they...
      -09-09-2004, 04:26 PM
    • RamDez
      Pace wants a victory - and an agent
      by RamDez
      Pace wants a victory - and an agent
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Thursday, Jan. 06 2005

      Orlando Pace said Thursday that he still doesn't have an agent. But finding one
      will be at the top of his offseason to-do list.

      "After the season, I'm going to attack that pretty good," Pace said. "Probably
      the first week after the season."

      For now, Pace and the Rams are still working. Despite an 8-8 finish, the Rams
      qualified for the playoffs.

      "It was a goal of ours," he said. "We didn't have the season that we wanted to
      have. But obviously, we're here now. ... So we've got to go out and play our
      style of football, and try to get a win."

      Asked to assess his play this season, Pace replied: "It's tough to say. When
      you're 8-8, I don't think anybody's playing as well as they want to play. So
      obviously, I haven't played as well as I wanted to play."

      Even so, Pace was voted onto the Pro Bowl team at left tackle for the sixth
      consecutive season.

      "It feels good," Pace said. "Any time you're selected by your peers to be in
      the Pro Bowl, it's always an honor and a pleasure."

      Pace has played in only three of his previous five Pro Bowls, missing two trips
      to Hawaii because of injuries.

      Before the Rams' Dec. 19 game in Arizona, coach Mike Martz offered only
      lukewarm praise when asked about Pace's play.

      "He's playing pretty well ... but he can play better," Martz said at the time.

      Pace said Thursday he was unaware of Martz's comments.

      "I just try to go out and play," Pace said. "I understand we were going through
      a tough part of our season - not only myself. But I need to play better.
      Everybody needs to play better."

      The team played better in victories over Philadelphia and the New York Jets to
      qualify for the playoffs. After the Eagles game Martz singled out Pace, saying
      it might have been his best performance in two years.

      After being designated as the team's franchise player for the second year in a
      row, Pace skipped training camp for the second year in a row last summer. On
      Thursday, Pace disagreed with a reporter's suggestion that he may have missed
      the benefits of training camp more this year than in 2003.

      "Training camp is training camp," Pace said. "I don't think I missed it any
      more."

      When Pace fired agent Carl Poston just before the start of the 2004 season,
      hopes were raised that Pace could sign a multiyear contract with the Rams. But
      Pace couldn't say for sure Thursday if he'd be back in St. Louis next season.

      "It's up to the people...
      -01-07-2005, 01:11 AM
    • RamWraith
      Rams Notebook: Pace likes balanced approach of offense
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      Thursday, Aug. 03 2006

      Asked how his Monday went, Rams tackle Orlando Pace stroked his chin and
      replied, "Hmm ... what'd I do Monday?"

      The big man was kidding, of course. He missed both training camp practices
      Monday to be with his wife, Carla, for the birth of 8-pound 8-ounce Landon,
      their third son. They also have a daughter.

      "Monday was good," Pace said, dropping the act. "Everybody's healthy, so
      everything's fine."

      Pace, 30, is in the pink, too, as he prepares for his 10th NFL season. "I feel
      good," he said. "This is a fresh start, a new environment, new coaches,
      different schemes, different challenges. As players, the older you get, if
      you're in the same regime, sometimes you kind of get bored with it."

      It's not as if Pace needs a lot of extra motivation. After all, he's been a Pro
      Bowl selection the last seven years. Coach Scott Linehan said the 6-foot-7,
      320-pound Pace, the No. 1 overall selection in the 1997 draft, is the
      embodiment of what a left tackle in the NFL should be.

      "If you were going to make one of those LTs, he's what you're looking for,"
      Linehan said. "He does things you can't coach, but he's also a very coachable
      player who takes pride in his technique."

      Pace, in camp under his third head coach, said Linehan's approach differs
      widely from those of Mike Martz and Dick Vermeil. "It's a lot more physical,"
      Pace said. "We're really emphasizing the run, and we're going after it pretty
      good."

      Linehan has promised to balance the attack, which was decidedly pass-heavy with
      Martz at the controls. That sounds good to Pace.

      "I like the balance, where teams won't be able to come into the Edward Jones
      Dome and say, 'OK, they're going to pass the ball 50 times a game,'" he said.
      "I really enjoy knowing that we can pass and run."

      Pace, for whom early holdouts used to be the norm until he signed a seven-year,
      $52.9 million deal last year, never has been happier to be in training camp.
      While Carla is home with the kids, Pace is housed with his teammates at an
      Earth City hotel, not missing a wink.

      "I can sleep good at night," he said. "I planned this pretty good."

      Guarded optimism

      Pace had a new partner at left guard Wednesday, as rookie Mark Setterstrom
      shared first-team reps with Richie Incognito. Pace liked what he saw in the
      6-4, 314-pounder from Minnesota.

      "He's playing well; obviously, he was coached well in college," Pace said. "I'm
      really shocked...
      -08-03-2006, 05:21 AM
    • RamWraith
      Preseason wraps up without Pace
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      08/31/2004

      Another day at Rams Park, another day without Orlando Pace. But the absence of the five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tuesday signaled a milestone of sorts.

      Even if Pace shows up Wednesday, he almost surely won't play in Thursday night's final preseason game in Oakland.

      "We'd be irresponsible to stick him in a football game, I think," coach Mike Martz said. "He's got no practice time, and he's certainly not in any kind of hitting shape."

      Thus, Pace officially has missed all of the preseason for the first time. Even though he sat out large chunks of training camp last year and in 1997, his rookie year, he had arrived for the final preseason game both those seasons.

      The Rams would like to sign Pace, 28, to a long-term deal. But negotiations with his agent, Carl Poston, can't resume until Pace signs his one-year, $7.02 million tender as the team's franchise player and reports for work.

      Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson, who is also a Poston client, signed his tender Tuesday. That leaves Pace and Seattle offensive tackle Walter Jones as the only franchise players yet to check in.

      So far, Pace's teammates are taking his tardiness philosophically.

      "Whenever he gets here, he gets here. We don't say too much about it," guard Adam Timmerman said. "Hopefully he has a little bit of time to get ready and put himself in a position where he doesn't get hurt and is ready to play."

      But even if Pace arrives today, he won't have much opportunity to prepare for the regular-season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona. The Rams will practice Wednesday afternoon before leaving for the West Coast. No practices are scheduled for Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Tuesday is normally a day off during game week.

      Asked if Pace's absence frustrates him, Martz said: "Not anymore, because I don't worry about it. When he's here, he's here. Until then we've got Grant (Williams), who's playing well, and Scotty (Tercero).

      "Whatever happens, happens. But I'm happy with the guys that are playing
      -09-01-2004, 05:43 AM
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