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  • Rams Notebook

    Thursday, September 30, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    A series of injuries and recoveries will alter the look of the Rams for this week’s game against San Francisco.

    Coach Mike Martz announced the additions and subtractions to the injury list Wednesday. Some of the news was good, but not all of it was positive.

    Starting left guard Chris Dishman, who hyperextended his knee in the game against New Orleans, is listed as questionable for Sunday’s tilt. He sat out Wednesday’s practice and will probably be limited for most of the week, Martz said. Dishman had an MRI on the knee earlier this week and it revealed no damage.

    “There was no damage to the capsule or the ligaments or the muscle,” Martz said. “It was just a strained capsule, so we should be able to get him back in short order. Just how soon, I don’t know. How much he can do this week, he will probably be limited.”

    Running back Arlen Harris suffered a strained hamstring in the game against the Saints and is listed as questionable. Martz said Harris should be ready to go against the *****.

    Linebacker Tony Newson has a grade two-ankle sprain and he is questionable also.

    On the bright side, cornerback DeJuan Groce and linebacker Trev Faulk are expected back from injuries. Groce sprained his knee against Atlanta and missed the Saints game. Faulk has battled a hamstring injury since preseason, but tore it in the season opener against Arizona.

    Groce’s return means that Aeneas Williams will return to free safety after spending a game at his original cornerback position. Groce will likely start opposite Jerametrius Butler at corner and Williams will replace Rich Coady, who started in his old spot last week.

    KENNEDY UPDATE: Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who missed the preseason and the first three games of the regular season because of a broken ankle, had it evaluated in Charlotte, N.C. on Wednesday.

    Kennedy was the Rams No. 1 draft pick in last year’s draft (No. 12 overall), but struggled in his rookie season. He showed signs of improvement early in training camp, arriving with improved strength and better conditioning. That improvement was stunted, though, when Kennedy injured the ankle.

    “We should have a pretty good idea now of how far away he is and when we can get him back,” Martz said. “He has done a pretty good job of keeping his weight down, for a guy that is big naturally it’s kind of natural to let your weight get away from you. He has worked out real hard.”

    Kennedy’s original diagnosis had him out for eight to 12 weeks, which could put him back sometime in October at the earliest.

    QB CONFUSION: There is a little uncertainty about who is going to start at quarterback for San Francisco this week. *****’ coach Dennis Erickson said in a conference call Wednesday that Ken Dorsey is the likely starter, but Martz said he expects Tim Rattay to get the nod.

    Rattay was the opening game starter, but suffered a separated right (throwing) shoulder and missed the past two games. He is attempting to make it back in time for the game against the Rams, but might not be ready according to Erickson.

    “Hopefully he (Rattay) can get healthy, but Ken is the quarterback at this point,” Erickson said.

    Dorsey said he was unsure of his status, but he made it sound like Martz is going to be correct with his assumption.

    “I’m not sure, that’s something that coach is going to address,” Dorsey said. “We are just kind of plugging along. I think if Tim’s ready to go, he’ll go.

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  • RamWraith
    Dishman gets a double dose of knee trouble
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    11/17/2004

    In nearly two decades of football, dating to his pre-high school days in Cozad, Neb., Chris Dishman never had suffered a significant knee injury. Now, it's two in two months.

    Dishman, an eight-year NFL veteran who signed with the Rams as a free agent Aug. 5, will be sidelined four to six weeks with a complete tear of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Dishman, who had started five games at left guard, was injured in the third quarter Sunday in the Rams' 23-12 victory over Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "I was locked up with a guy that I was going against, and he came into the side of my leg," Dishman explained. A series later, he re-entered the game.

    "I braced it up, and I thought I could do it," he said. "I went out and tried to make an adjustment on a linebacker, and at that point I knew something was wrong in there, because my knee kind of flopped out the side."

    An MRI exam Monday revealed the damage. No surgery is planned.

    Veteran Tom Nutten played left guard the rest of the game and is expected to start Sunday, when the Rams (5-4) square off with the Buffalo Bills (3-6) at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Rams' last regular-season game is Jan. 2, so Dishman could return this season.

    "If we're fortunate enough to be in postseason play, he should be back by then," coach Mike Martz said. "That's still a ways down the road, but ... he'd play right now if we asked him to."

    Dishman, 30, missed two games after hyperextending his right knee Sept. 26 against New Orleans. "It still isn't 100 percent," he said. "And then I go out there and do this. So I've kind of been a gimp."

    The offensive line was thinned further when it was determined that guard/tackle Scott Tercero would have shoulder surgery this week and miss the remainder of the season. Tercero, who also had been playing with a broken left hand, started four games at left guard.

    "Scotty Tercero was playing so good, I can't stress that enough," Martz said. "He's an exceptional offensive lineman. That's a big-time hit on our part. I can't be more pleased with him."

    Illness hits Faulk

    When running back Marshall Faulk showed up Wednesday at Rams Park, Martz threw him out.

    "He's got that flu bug. He was going to come and practice, and (I told him), 'Go home, go to bed,'" Martz said. "He's been down for a couple of days. He came in and got some medicine, got the game plan and went back home."

    Martz reported that Faulk was improving. "He feels a lot better. He was really bad" Tuesday. As much as anything, Martz wanted to keep Faulk away from his teammates.

    "We've got a...
    -11-18-2004, 06:06 AM
  • RamWraith
    Coady Strong at Safety
    by RamWraith
    Friday, October 8, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Rich Coady made the most of his opportunity against San Francisco on Sunday night.

    Coady has spent most of his career rotating as the backup free safety, backup strong safety, and coming in on nickel and dime packages. After making his first start at free safety against New Orleans in week three, Coady appeared to be relegated back to a reserve role.

    That was the case until it became evident that strong safety Adam Archuleta, a close friend of Coady’s, started battling back spasms. Coady stepped in to his friend’s place and played one of his best games.

    Coady made 10 tackles, falling one short of his career high and added a forced fumble against the *****. That effort earned him the team’s defensive player of the week honors.

    The ever-humble Coady said he couldn’t take all of the credit for his strong performance.

    “When you get all 11 guys playing well, it makes it easier,” Coady said. “A lot of the stuff that I did well is a direct result of everyone else being in their gap and doing what they’re supposed to do.”

    With Archuleta limited because of continued back problems and the return of cornerback DeJuan Groce imminent, Coady is set to start at strong safety again this week.

    Coady said he is used to shuttling between the two safety spots, but he feels more comfortable at one.

    “I do feel a little more comfortable at the strong,” Coady said. “That’s what I played in college and that’s where I have gotten most of my starts in the NFL. To me it doesn’t really matter, it’s just about being on the field.”

    Coady started at strong safety for Texas A & M for three seasons, earning All-Big 12 Conference honors his senior season. He spent his first three seasons with the Rams before going to Tennessee for a season. He signed with Indianapolis the following season, but the Rams traded a seventh round choice for him before last season.

    The uncertainty of whether he is going to start doesn’t bother Coady much anymore, as he has embraced his role as the utility guy. He has grasped the old “one play away” cliché as his personal mantra and it has paid off.

    “Every week I go in and prepare like I’m going to start,” Coady said. “Whether coach tells me I am going to start on Monday for the following Sunday or five minutes before the game, it’s not going to change how I prepare.”

    INJURY REPORT: There was little change to the injury report on Thursday.

    Cornerback Travis Fisher (broken forearm) and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (broken foot) are listed as out. Left guard Chris Dishman (sprained knee) and linebacker Tony Newson (ankle) are questionable. Kennedy has resume light running, but there is no immediate timetable on his return to practice.

    Probable for the Rams...
    -10-08-2004, 07:10 PM
  • RamWraith
    Anderson playing Vick
    by RamWraith
    R.B. FALLSTROM

    Associated Press


    ST. LOUIS - Seldom-used St. Louis Rams defensive back Dwight Anderson has a very big role this week in practice. On the scout team offense, he's playing the part of Michael Vick.

    Anderson, an undrafted rookie free agent, sees time primarily on special teams and he's been inactive the last two weeks. But according to coach Mike Martz, he's best suited to mimic the dangerous Atlanta Falcons quarterback heading into Saturday's NFC playoff game.

    Martz said Anderson was actually the choice of defensive coordinator Larry Marmie. He kept the defense on its toes - just what his coaches wanted.

    "He really does have speed and quickness, unusual speed," Martz said. "You could see him running around out there, it was pretty good.

    "He does a nice job."

    -----

    KENNEDY IMPACT: One defensive lineman who wasn't chasing Anderson in practice on Wednesday was Jimmy Kennedy, who has soreness in the right foot he broke in training camp. Kennedy missed half the season with the injury and the Rams for a time had considered placing him on injured reserve.

    But Kennedy is expected to return to practice on Thursday and Martz expects the team's 2003 first-round pick to make an impact on game day. He's listed as probable.

    "They say we'll have him for the rest of the year, but it's going to be sore for him," Martz said. "It's not an issue for him so I'm not going to worry about it."

    Kennedy will be making his sixth straight start on Saturday. He had one of the big defensive stops late in last week's 27-20 first-round victory over the Seahawks with a 6-yard sack of Matt Hasselbeck.

    "I had no idea that he would come back and play as well as he has," Martz said. "I thought he'd help us but he's done more than that."

    -----

    MOSS FACTOR: Martz gives the thumbs-down to the Randy Moss mooning situation, although he understands.

    It has been reported that Moss' pantomime act after catching a touchdown pass for the Vikings last week was in response to Packers' fans mooning the opposition team bus.

    "If you've ever been on that team bus pulling out in Green Bay, what's said to you and thrown at you, I've never been in a situation so brutal and rude and crude as that place," Martz said. "Oakland can't hold a candle to this place.

    "In Oakland if they don't like you they'll stick you with a knife or shoot you. Here, they're just rude and crude."

    ----

    ROAD WOES: Last week's victory at Seattle raised the Rams' road record to a still abysmal 3-6. Martz' solution, even when the Rams were a perfect 8-0 in the regular season in 2001, is to not mention it.

    "Who cares?"...
    -01-13-2005, 02:04 PM
  • RamWraith
    'Bear' is set to return Sunday against Patriots
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    11/04/2004
    As far as Rams coach Mike Martz is concerned, defensive tackle Jimmy "Bear" Kennedy is ready not only to play Sunday against New England, but also for a new nickname.

    "'Griz' might be a better name for him now," Martz said. "Looks like the bear came out of hibernation."

    Kennedy, the team's first-round draft pick (No. 12 overall) in 2003, has been sidelined since suffering a broken right foot Aug. 5 in training camp and having surgery five days later. Kennedy has been practicing this week, displaying noticeable increases in speed and explosiveness.

    "It's unbelievable how well he's practiced," Martz said. "He is so strong right now ... just incredibly strong. He had gotten much stronger from last year, but the time that he's had off, he's worked like a maniac in the weight room. He's started to reap the rewards of all that."

    Kennedy's play has removed virtually all doubt about whether he will suit up when the Rams (4-3) square off against the Patriots (6-1) at the Edward Jones Dome. "Oh, he's going to play," Martz said. "He's had too much success out here in practice and done too well not to play. We couldn't block him."

    The one caveat, Martz said, is how Kennedy's foot responds to the increased work. "I can't see anything in practice these three days that would tell you that he can't play, unless he says his foot's just too sore," Martz said.

    Kennedy, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound Penn State product, was eager to rebound from a disappointing rookie year, in which he saw limited action in 12 games. In an interview at camp in Macomb, Ill. - before he was hurt - Kennedy acknowledged that "going out there every game and just standing on the sideline was definitely frustrating. But it was a learning experience. I looked at it as a redshirt year."

    Kennedy, who has been unavailable for comment this week, would provide valuable depth behind starters Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis. Undrafted rookie Brian Howard is the only other defensive tackle on the roster, and ends Tyoka Jackson and Anthony Hargrove occasionally move inside.

    Injury update

    Jackson (hamstring), linebacker Brandon Chillar (hamstring), tight end Cam Cleeland (ankle), running back/kick returner Arlen Harris (hamstring), linebacker Robert Thomas (ankle) and offensive tackle Grant Williams (neck and shoulder) were listed as probable on Thursday's injury report. All practiced and are expected to play Sunday.

    Cleeland, who was injured Monday in practice, returned a day earlier than expected and "didn't look any worse for wear," Martz said. "There was no limp, so I think he's fine. He took all the snaps in that package that we use him in."

    Wide receiver Dane...
    -11-05-2004, 04:22 PM
  • RamDez
    Bulger Among the Best at Quarterback
    by RamDez
    Bulger Among the Best at Quarterback
    Saturday, October 2, 2004


    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer


    Lost in all of the worries and warts in St. Louis’ past two games is one extremely encouraging development.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger has emerged as one of the league’s best quarterbacks, ranking third in passing yards (915) and seventh in rating (94.7). After a solid outing against Arizona in the opener, Bulger had a good game against Atlanta. This past weekend against New Orleans his effort showed he could be making the move to the next level.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said Bulger is starting to embrace his role as a leader of the team.

    “He has always had that moniker, if you will, of being a guy that would do whatever it takes to win the game, that’s just part of it,” Martz said. “Making a great throw, moving around, scrambling, whatever it takes to win a game and having the presence of mind to do that is very important. I know he is quiet, and you don’t know him like I do, but he’s very competitive and tough.”

    Bulger threw the ball all over the field against the Saints, hitting passes long and short, racking up 358 passing yards and a touchdown. The yardage total was the third highest of his career, but it was what he did with his legs that made him stand out.

    On a play that could someday be remembered as one of his defining moments, Bulger darted up the seam of the New Orleans’ defense to score from 19 yards out and give the Rams the lead with 28 seconds to play.

    “I think he is playing exceptionally well,” Martz said. “His decisions, his check-downs, taking off at the end of the game and getting the ball in the end zone, he is getting better, better and better. I’m very pleased with him.

    “There has been significant progress over the first few games. I really thought in the first few games, the stress that we talk about wore on him a little and maybe it did. But he has been shaking that off really well, and he’s on his way now. I’m very impressed with how he has played.”

    TER’IN IT UP: Scott Tercero emerged in the preseason as one of the Rams’ most valuable players.

    Tercero was drafted in 2003 as a guard out of California, but since arriving in the NFL, he has become the utility man of the offensive line. He spent time in the preseason at tackle with Orlando Pace gone and Kyle Turley hurt. Then, Adam Timmerman and Chris Dishman battled some injury problems, causing Tercero to move back to guard. He has also spent some time in practice at center.

    All of that paled in comparison to the task he was handed on Sept. 26. Dishman left the New Orleans game with an ankle injury and Tercero stepped in. The Saints’ defensive line came after him with everything it had and Tercero held up.

    “He really did a good job,” Martz said. “I was so pleased with him. He was able to pass things...
    -10-02-2004, 11:40 PM
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