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Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

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  • Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams


    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 do and they have to get the most for their clients.

    "Hey, they work for me. That's the bottom line."

    Pace joins a line that has been a source of concern all summer. The other tackle, Kyle Turley, is on injured reserve after reinjuring his surgically repaired back early in training camp. Center Dave Wohlabaugh was released following hip surgery when he was unable to pass his physical.

    Only Pace and right guard Adam Timmerman remain in the same positions from last season.

  • #2
    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

    LT: Orlando Pace
    LG: Chris Dishman
    C: Andy McCollum
    RG: Adam Timmerman
    RT: Grant Williams

    Can anyone tell me why this can't be a very solid O line for the Rams?


    • #3
      Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

      Originally posted by AvengerRam
      LT: Orlando Pace
      LG: Chris Dishman
      C: Andy McCollum
      RG: Adam Timmerman
      RT: Grant Williams

      Can anyone tell me why this can't be a very solid O line for the Rams?

      [NFL Analyst]

      Um... um... because Kyle Turley's injured... and... Dave Wohlabaugh's injured... and... I have to memorize new names... and.... AAAAAHHHH!!!

      [/NFL Analyst]


      • #4
        Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

        I read Martz's hype about Pace and chuckled to myself. As the coach of a primadona he's obligated to stroke him. I remember that Pace was unprepared last year and I don't think he'll walk out on the field this weekend and be 100%, or as prepared as Martz is making him sound. I'd hate to see Bulger get injured because Pace screws up, but that is what I'm worrying about. And as lowly as the Cards are, I gotta think that their DEs know how poorly prepared Pace is.


        • #5
          Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

          As poorly as Pace was prepared? Break out the TiVo or the VCR tapes and watch Pace. It wasn't his fault. That bum rush came up the middle, not at the LT position.


          • #6
            Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams


            Pace - Poor Conditioning (talented nontheless)
            Dishman - A washout from AZ
            Mc Collum - Already a 2nd String Center
            Timmerman - Dough Boy take 2. A tough blocker, but long in the tooth.
            Williams - A washout from the Patriots (Belichick did not want him).

            Other than that.... I would say the line should be barely adequate. Given the age of some of these guys and lack of foot-speed and quickness with maybe one exception, I can think of a lot of reasons for Bulger to wince. Overall,

            2 first stringers
            2 second stringers
            1/2 washouts depending on how you view it..... not good! :disappoin


            • #7
              Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

              Originally posted by AvengerRam
              LT: Orlando Pace
              LG: Chris Dishman
              C: Andy McCollum
              RG: Adam Timmerman
              RT: Grant Williams

              Can anyone tell me why this can't be a very solid O line for the Rams?
              Bottom line: There is no reason!
              I love the fact that the "experts" have condemned this line to the lowest bowels of blocking hell. Nick nailed it on the head...
              Originally posted by Nick
              Um... um... because Kyle Turley's injured... and... Dave Wohlabaugh's injured... and... I have to memorize new names... and.... AAAAAHHHH!!!
              I can actually hear Berman's voice and Salisbury's voice saying those exact words in my head.

              This is a decent line. In fact, I like this line better than last year's line.
              04 Orlando Pace vs. 03 Orlando Pace - He says he's quicker now and he was All-Pro last year
              04 Chris Dishman vs. 03 Andy McCollum - Dishman is a bigger stronger body that will be harder to push around and Dishman will not be having to report the blocking schemes to his center as McCollum had to last year
              04 Andy McCollum vs. 03 Dave Wohlabaugh - Wohlabaugh did not pick up on the schemes as quickly as hoped and it showed. McCollum knows them inside and out
              04 Adam Timmerman vs. 03 Adam Timmerman - a year older, but no significant difference
              04 Grant Williams vs. 03 Kyle Turley - an underestimated above average tackle with a big heart takes over for an overrated above average tackle with a big mouth

              I think the line is better and will enjoy saying so at the end of the year when the "experts" have to eat their words.
              The more things change, the more they stay the same.


              • #8
                Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

                He's coming in lighter and he thinks this will help him get ready for the game? That's what we needed all along, a lighter O line....NOT!

                I can't believe we are throwing good money at this man. And for what? What message did we send to other swollen-headed players and what does it say about our team and coach? He's not gonna get us there. He can't. It never was and never will be dependent on him.


                • #9
                  Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

                  He's 325 lbs. Not exactly a waif.


                  • #10
                    Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

                    Originally posted by JellyOpal
                    never was and never will be dependent on him
                    I hate to say it, but, yes, that O-line is dependent on Pace. Until we get a left-handed QB, our LT covers the blind-side. And the difference between Pace and any other lineman on our team at covering that blind-side is astronomical.

                    Can we win w/o him? Yes, but I'd rather not try.
                    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


                    • #11
                      Re: Pace Proves a Pleasant Surprise to Rams

                      I think this line will be more producetive that last year and help out with a solid ground game that will improve the overall offense. All you nay sayers take note. the O will be more effecent this year. :ramlogo:
                      JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS

                      "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
                      Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


                      Related Topics


                      • RamWraith
                        Pace Enjoying Offseason Work
                        by RamWraith
                        By Nick Wagoner
                        Staff Writer

                        Orlando Pace doesn’t remember where he was at this time last year. The one place he knows he wasn’t was Rams Park for the team’s veteran mini-camp.

                        “I probably was working out, just hanging out with my kids. I’m not much of a golfer, so I was probably just chillin’ at home,” Pace said.

                        For the first time since 2002, the Rams’ All-Pro left tackle is attending the team’s veteran mini-camp. Pace missed each of the past two mini-camps because of a contract stalemate.

                        Armed with a new seven-year, $52.9 million deal and the title of team captain, Pace seems rejuvenated. Soon after signing the long-term contract, Pace received a call from coach Mike Martz telling him that he was going to be a captain.

                        The decision to make Pace a captain was easy for Martz.

                        “Just the tempo of which he does things, he is just a great role model for the entire offensive line,” Martz said. “We have some guys that are first-time starters and first-time here. He’s a terrific role model (for them).”

                        Pace’s long and winding road from the first pick in the 1997 draft to six-time Pro Bowler has brought many achievements, but he has never been a team captain before. Pace left Ohio State a year early after winning the Lombardi Trophy as the best offensive lineman two years in a row. Because of his early departure, Pace never led the Buckeyes, as Ohio State reserves that honor for seniors.

                        Of course, Pace was not a captain in recent seasons because he wasn’t around. Without a long-term deal in place, the Rams placed the franchise tag on Pace in each of the past three seasons.

                        The past two years, Pace has not attended any of the mini-camps or training camps because of the franchise tag. In his efforts to get a long-term contract done, he chose to stay away.

                        The time missed didn’t hurt Pace’s performance much, as he still made the Pro Bowl both years. There was, however, a noticeable difference in Pace’s performance last season. Pace admitted on the day he signed his contract that he didn’t play up to his all-world potential last year and an offseason of normal training would probably rectify that.

                        Now, Pace knows he has a chance to be at his absolute best next year, a scary thought for opposing defenses.

                        “I think sometimes what gets lost in holding out is you don’t have a chance to work on your game as much,” Pace said. “I think just being here in the offseason gives you a chance to work on your game and really try to hone your skills.”

                        Last season was particularly difficult for Pace, not only because of his uncertain contract status, but also because of the revolving door next to him at left guard and on the other end at right tackle.

                        Both of those problems seem to be solved, though, as St. Louis signed Rex Tucker to operate next to Pace...
                        -06-04-2005, 02:35 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

                        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, 12:11 AM
                      • RamWraith
                        Pace Preparing for Big Things
                        by RamWraith
                        Saturday, July 28, 2007

                        By Nick Wagoner
                        Senior Writer

                        As Orlando Pace made the short haul from his St. Peters home to the team hotel to report for training camp Thursday, he took a little bit of time to reflect on where he’s been and where he’s headed.

                        With a long term contract extension long since done and his most serious injury essentially healed, Pace had no worries upon his arrival at training camp.

                        “This is something new the past couple of years,” Pace said. “I was just thinking about that on the way here.”

                        Last season was a bit of a career crossroads for the Rams’ All Everything left tackle. Entering his 10th season in the league, Pace had long since established himself as one of the best left tackles in the league and, perhaps, ever.

                        For the first time in years, Pace had a contract completed and was in training camp the entire time and he felt as good as ever. But all of that quickly changed.

                        In Week 2 against San Francisco, Pace suffered a concussion that caused him to leave the game. He played through the lingering effects the next week against Arizona, but sat out against Detroit the following week.

                        Just when Pace thought he had put that behind him, he suffered the worst injury of his career, tearing his left triceps on Nov. 12 at Seattle. Two days later, Pace was put on injured reserve, which officially put him out for the season and brought an end to his streak of seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances.

                        “That was tough,” Pace said. “It’s just one of those things. In football, you’re going to have injuries like that. I’ve been really fortunate to be healthy enough in my career to have that string going. Hopefully, this season I’ll start it up again.”

                        Soon after the surgery, Pace had surgery on his arm so that he could begin his rehabilitation as soon as possible with the intent on being able to participate in the team’s June minicamp near full strength.

                        Pace was initially taken aback by how long his recovery time was going to be as doctors estimated it to take about six months to get back where he needs to be to compete at the NFL level.

                        So Pace did his best to get back to rehabbing as early as possible, a process made more difficult by the fact that he was unable to really lift weights like most offensive linemen should.

                        Although he was injured, Pace made it a point to stay around the team as much as possible and tutor the younger linemen that were filling in. By the end of the season, that unit had come together and some of the younger players credited Pace for their development.

                        That’s a role Pace says he will continue in this season.

                        “This being my 11th year and know what the left guard situation is like, I am one of the veterans out there and I have to be a leader out there,” Pace said. “I’m really excited...
                        -07-28-2007, 06:32 PM
                      • RamWraith
                        Pace dismisses retirement talk
                        by RamWraith
                        By Jim Thomas
                        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                        Friday, Oct. 26 2007

                        Is he retiring? Everybody in his family has asked. Several of his friends, too.

                        It's a fair enough question. Orlando Pace has been in the NFL for 11 seasons.
                        He turns 32 on Nov. 4. But now he has suffered season-ending injuries two years
                        in a row.

                        So ... ?

                        "I'm going to come back and play," Pace told the Post-Dispatch. "I will play.
                        Initially, (retirement) crosses your mind. You think, 'Man, I can't go through
                        another year like this.'"

                        But like many players, Pace wants to leave the game on his own terms. In fact,
                        he's adamant about it.

                        "I have a lot of pride in wanting to do that," Pace said. "I've done a lot of
                        good things in the league, and I want to continue to do more. I don't want to
                        have an injury force me out, or somebody else telling me: 'You can't play

                        "So that's the one thing that really drives me, and that's going to drive me to
                        play another couple years, hopefully."

                        Following this season, Pace will have four years remaining on a seven-year,
                        $52.9 million deal he signed in March 2005. Starting with the 1999 season, Pace
                        was selected to seven straight Pro Bowls. But the trips to Hawaii came to an
                        abrupt halt last season for the former No. 1 overall draft pick from Ohio State.

                        A torn left triceps injury against Seattle on Nov. 12 ended Pace's 2006 season.
                        He was punching out with his left arm, blocking former Rams teammate Grant
                        Wistrom, when that injury occurred.

                        The nightmare was revisited last month on another innocent-looking play in the
                        Rams' opener against Carolina. Late in the first half, Panthers defensive
                        tackle Kris Jenkins came at him on a running play. Pace thought the Panthers'
                        Mike Rucker was going to loop around to the inside, but that never happened.

                        "So I kind of just stuck my (right) hand out on Jenkins," Pace recalled. "I
                        don't even think I hit Kris that hard. It was one of those freak things."

                        Pace felt his right shoulder pop. He thought it was dislocated. At worst, he'd
                        miss a week or two, get fitted for a brace and return to action. Or so Pace

                        "But once they got the MRI back, it was bad," Pace said.

                        He had suffered a torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum in the shoulder. His
                        season was over even as it had barely gotten started, and Pace would need

                        "I was really excited about playing," Pace said. "I remember the night before
                        the (Carolina) game, just being happy to be back out there. And then that
                        happens. It's almost like your world is crushed a...
                        -10-26-2007, 06:09 AM
                      • RamFan_Til_I_Die
                        Pace wants to go out on his own terms
                        by RamFan_Til_I_Die
                        Pace wants to go out on his own terms

                        Left tackle has been hindered by injuries for last two seasons

                        BY STEVE KORTE

                        MEQUON, Wis. --St. Louis Rams left tackle Orlando Pace could have walked away from football after suffering two serious injuries over the past two seasons.

                        He is financially secure, and his legacy in the NFL is already assured with seven straight Pro Bowl appearances, two Super Bowl appearances and one NFL championship in 11 seasons.

                        So why did Pace, 32, return for his 12th season in the NFL?

                        "I want to be able to walk off the field on my own terms and not with a doctor by my side," Pace said.

                        When Pace came off the field holding his arm against his side late in the first half of the season-opener against Carolina Panthers last season, it was a deflating moment for the Rams' entire team.

                        "Left tackles are hard to come by, and he's one of the best of all time," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "It's hard to come by guys like that, and you miss them when they are gone. You can't really replace them."

                        Pace missed the rest of the 2008 season as he underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder. He'd missed the final eight games of the 2007 season because of a torn triceps muscle in his arm.

                        "There is luck involved in this game, and Orlando has had bad luck the last two years," Linehan said. "Generally, luck doesn't stay bad. I think he's really worked hard getting himself in the best shape that he has been in for a long time. You can worry all day about injures and things happening in games, but you just have to think positive and know we have better days ahead."

                        Pace has been cleared medically to practice, but the Rams are being cautious about bringing him up to full speed in training camp. He hasn't taken part in any one-on-one blocking drills.

                        "I knew they were going to work me in slow, so this is what I expected," Pace said. "I'm getting used to tackling and hitting again, getting my body ready."

                        Pace said he's still learning to trust that his surgically repaired shoulder will hold up.

                        "The tough thing about practicing now is mentally being willing to throw my arm in the there and use it without even thinking about it," Pace said.

                        Just having Pace on the practice field has been uplifting for his teammates.

                        "Physically, it is kind of self-explanatory," Rams center Brett Romberg said of the impact of having Pace back at left tackle. "But, when you are a defensive end on the other side of the ball who is going to go against a legend like Orlando, it's a little more mental work.

                        "Whether Orlando is a 100 percent or 80 percent, he is going impose some kind of...
                        -07-28-2008, 11:02 AM