No announcement yet.

Rams' O-line gets outstanding rating

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rams' O-line gets outstanding rating

    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. "I thought I might be a little winded, but surprisingly I felt pretty good," he said. "I really wasn't breathing too hard out there. I got in a rhythm with those guys, and everything worked out well."

    More than well, according to Dishman, who spent his seven previous seasons with the lowly Cardinals. "It's nice to play next to a shut-down tackle like that," Dishman said. "He knows this game and this system so well, it makes my job just that much easier."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Offensive Line Gives Strong Opening Act
    by RamWraith
    Monday, September 13, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Patchwork. Pieced together. Makeshift. Pick an adjective and the Rams’ offensive line was called it during the preseason. As the injuries mounted, the questions about the unit became as big as the men who played on it.

    With one regular season game down and a win on its record, St. Louis answered many of those questions with a resounding response. The starting group consisted of Orlando Pace (left tackle), Chris Dishman (left guard), Andy McCollum (center), Adam Timmerman (right guard) and Grant Williams (right tackle), playing its first game together.

    Finishing with zero sacks leading to 272 passing yards and a piledriving effort in the trenches that resulted in 176 rushing yards, the offensive line did more than jell, it dominated.

    After struggling with a trio of turnovers in the first quarter, the Rams decided to put it on the line, ramming (no pun intended) the ball down Arizona’s throat, leading the way to a 17-10 win at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday. The win was St. Louis’ first victory in an opener since it beat Philadelphia in 2001.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he was more than pleased with the dominance of his offensive line.

    “I told our staff today that I felt like this is probably the best performance of an offensive line since I’ve been here,” Martz said. “Anytime you rush for those kind of yards and don’t give up any sacks, that’s a pretty exceptional day for any offensive line.”

    On the surface, it seemed like it would be difficult to put the line together in time to have any kind of continuity entering the regular season. Somehow, someway, the Rams made it work.

    The injury bug hit early when right tackle Kyle Turley left camp with back problems. Pace was absent on the other side because of a contract stalemate, leaving the Rams without either of their top-flight tackles. To make matters worse, center Dave Wohlabaugh struggled with a nagging hip injury, forcing left guard Andy McCollum to slide back to his center position.

    The only sure thing was Timmerman, who was forced to play through pain in his shoulder, just so the group could have some kind of consistent presence. Instead of crying over their losses, St. Louis got proactive, seeking help in the form of available free agents and looking within its own roster for possible help.

    Williams, who has been a steady hand in his time with the team, manned Pace’s position admirably, even playing on a badly sprained ankle. Scott Tercero was the utility man of the group, sliding between the two tackle spots and left guard at various times. In his second year, Tercero came of age, providing the Rams with a valuable commodity off the bench.

    Aside from the homegrown talent, St. Louis went shopping and found a high school football coach in Nebraska. Chris...
    -09-13-2004, 03:19 PM
  • RamDez
    O Line in trouble ?
    by RamDez
    O-line components are out of sync as Rams camp nears
    By Bill Coats

    Of the Post-Dispatch

    When the Rams assemble Wednesday morning for their first training camp practice, the offensive line will be far from intact: Left tackle Orlando Pace will be absent, center Dave Wohlabaugh will be on the sideline, and right tackle Kyle Turley will be trying to chip away rust.

    "We've got a lot of work to do," coach Mike Martz said.

    No area is of greater importance for the Rams. Without a solid line, the team will be hard-pressed to produce the kind of numbers that led to a 56-24 regular-season record and four playoff appearances over the last five years.

    That's not to suggest that this year's unit won't perform effectively. But with Pace embroiled in another contract dispute, Wohlabaugh still experiencing hip pain after offseason surgery, and Turley recovering from a back operation that kept him out of minicamp practices and has limited his workouts, the O-line is in flux as the team heads for Western Illinois University in Macomb.

    Here's a look at each of those situations:

    Pace missed the first month of camp last year before reluctantly signing a one-year, $5.73 million tender as the club's franchise player. He again has the franchise tag, but his agent, Carl Poston, has been negotiating with Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt on a multiyear contract.

    Martz said he expects Pace, a reigning All-Pro, "to be at camp probably a little sooner than he was last year. I think he understands the effect it has on this team. And also, no matter how hard he thinks he's training, it's not the same. It takes awhile to get going."

    Wohlabaugh started all 17 games last season despite the nagging hip problem. Martz said the Rams would be cautious with the nine-year NFL veteran and wait for the discomfort to ease.

    Turley, the team's major offseason acquisition in 2003, improved steadily, particularly with his pass-blocking, after struggling early in the season. "Kyle brings a toughness and a nastiness," offensive line coach John Matsko said. "And he's got tremendous leadership. Kyle leads by performance; he does his talking with his headgear, elbows and shoulder pads."

    Beginning his second year in the Rams' system should be an asset for Turley. "Normally, it makes a big difference," Martz said. "It's an advantage coming into camp that he's had this stuff, but also, he's missed an awful lot in the offseason. . . . It won't be easy for Kyle. It's not going to be like getting on a bike again; it just doesn't work that way."

    Veteran Adam Timmerman returns at right guard. With Wohlabaugh out, Andy McCollum moves to center from left guard, and Andy King, a second-year pro from Illinois State
    -07-25-2004, 12:56 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams offensive line serves and protects in exhibition win
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Aug. 28 2004

    Group recovers against Washington after a difficult outing Monday in loss at
    Kansas City.

    If the Rams' Scott Tercero never reads or hears the term "patchwork offensive
    line" again, he'll be a happy man.

    "I don't think they should use that," said Tercero, who has been playing right
    tackle with the first unit. "Everyone's tired of hearing 'patchwork offensive
    line.' Yeah, we have a couple of young guys playing, but with time, experience
    comes. And I think we're doing really well."

    It was hard to argue with Tercero after the Rams' 28-3 preseason victory over
    the Washington Redskins on Friday night at Edward Jones Dome. The Rams'
    offense, which totaled only 584 yards and mustered just 17 points in the first
    two exhibition games combined, broke out for 435 yards against the 'Skins.

    Perhaps as significant, the line kept quarterbacks Marc Bulger, Chris Chandler
    and Jeff Smoker out of harm's way, for the most part. The Redskins recorded one
    sack just four days after the Kansas City Chiefs dropped Rams QBs four times.

    "If you look across the board, there's nothing to be embarrassed about; those
    (offensive linemen) are a good group," Bulger said. "I don't know of any group
    that can just come together in a week and play great, especially against the
    package of blitzes that Kansas City had. They've had a little more time
    together, and they're going to be fine."

    With first-team tackles Orlando Pace (contract dispute) and Kyle Turley (back
    injury) out and incumbent center Dave Wohlabaugh (hip injury) released, the
    only remaining starters on the line are guard Adam Timmerman and center Andy
    McCollum, who played left guard last season.

    Plugging the holes have been Tercero, tackles Grant Williams and Greg Randall,
    and guards Chris Dishman and Andy King. Randall and Dishman were signed as free
    agents after training camp began, and guard Tom Nutten, a Rams starter for four
    years, was summoned out of a one-year retirement a week ago.

    Dishman, an eight-year veteran who has been starting at left guard, carried a
    heavy load Friday because Nutten suffered a toe injury in the first half.
    Dishman, who has shed 20 pounds but still weighs 354, said the extra work was

    "It was good to see where I was at to (prepare to) play a full game; I felt
    pretty good," said Dishman, who also had retired before the Rams called. "There
    were a couple of long drives and my conditioning was better than what I thought
    it would be. Not as good as I'd like it to be, but it'll get there."...
    -08-28-2004, 05:51 AM
  • 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, 01:32 AM
  • RamWraith
    With no Big O, Rams linemen 'have to suck it up'
    by RamWraith
    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,"...
    -08-31-2004, 03:09 PM