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Bruce wants some wins, but asks for no breaks

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  • Bruce wants some wins, but asks for no breaks

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce was quick to correct a questioner who sought to compliment him on his "good start" this season. "We're 1-2," Bruce shot back. "That's not a very good start."

    Point made. Individually, however, Bruce is putting up big numbers. At age 31, he tops the NFL in receptions (25) and receiving yards (348). Teammate Torry Holt, the league leader in both categories last season, is fourth in catches (22) and seventh in yards (282).

    "We get receivers that come into camp and they go three plays in a row and they're staggering back to the huddle. They want somebody to come in a relieve them," coach Mike Martz said. "Isaac and Torry, they don't come out of the game. And they don't take any breaks. Whether it's a run or a pass, they go down the field as fast as they can go.

    "The conditioning and the tough athlete it takes to do that is pretty extraordinary. Not everybody can do that, obviously. But both of these guys, and particularly Isaac, do it."

    Bruce, an 11-year veteran out of Memphis State, had eight catches for 134 yards, both team highs, in Sunday's 28-25 overtime loss to New Orleans. He threw a key block on quarterback Marc Bulger's 19-yard touchdown scramble that put the Rams ahead in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

    "He's such an unselfish player," Martz said.

    Archuleta is probable with sore hamstring

    Strong safety Adam Archuleta was added to the Rams' injury report Thursday with a sore hamstring. He's listed as probable for Sunday night's game against the ***** (0-3) in San Francisco.

    Middle linebacker Robert Thomas, nursing a mild ankle sprain, rested for a second consecutive day. He is also probable.

    "We're trying to take it easy on that ankle," Martz said. "If you do too much on it, it's going to be puffy and swollen most of the week. We'll let him get a lot of reps" today.

    Chris Dishman (knee) is questionable, so Scott Tercero again worked with the first unit at left guard. With Arlen Harris (hamstring) also questionable, Furrey and rookie Dwight Anderson returned kickoffs Thursday in practice.

    Kennedy's foot has already healed

    Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy returned from a surgeon's examination in North Carolina on Wednesday with good news: The broken bone in his right foot that was operated on in early August has healed, and he should be back earlier that the initial mid-November forecast.

    "He's been completely cleared to resume football activities," Martz said. "He's going to start running next week. He's two weeks away, probably, from having some contact, where he'll really to press and drive off that thing. But it's healed very quickly, and he's much further along than you'd anticipate."

    Kennedy, the team's first-round draft choice last year, said: "Everything's good. Now it's just about get used to running and putting weight on it and fighting through the soreness."

    Martz praised Kennedy's conditioning during his layoff, in addition to his offseason work in the weight room. "He's really improved his strength remarkably," Martz said. "When he got injured, he was just beginning to learn how to play inside and do the things that we want him to do. So who knows what he'll do? It's up to him."

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  • Rambos
    Bruce Doubtful for Sunday
    by Rambos
    Wednesday, September 28, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    It’s a sight that no coach would like to see, but as receiver Isaac Bruce and running back Steven Jackson stood on the sidelines watching practice Wednesday afternoon, Mike Martz could take a little bit of solace in the fact that it isn’t Sunday.

    Bruce is listed as doubtful and Jackson is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Giants. Jackson suffered a chest injury late in the second quarter of last week’s game against the Titans and Bruce followed by suffering a toe injury minutes later.

    The injury to Jackson didn’t appear to be as severe as the one to Bruce, for Jackson returned to the game while Bruce did not. Simply because Bruce knows his body better than anyone and is a veteran, he will be given every chance to finds his way on to the field in New York.

    “It’s kind of how he feels,” Martz said. “The capsule was not torn. There was nothing torn, just swollen. We’ll just see where he is. Now Isaac could line up on Sunday and play without…it’s just where he is. We’re not going to worry about it right now.”

    In other words, Bruce doesn’t necessarily need the three practices this week to get ready for a game and thus his judgment will be trusted by the coaches when Sunday rolls around.

    “If it wasn’t Isaac, then you have to really watch him and rep him,” Martz said. “If Isaac’s ready to go, he’ll be ready to go, but I’ll talk to him everyday and see how he is.”

    If Bruce is unable to play, Kevin Curtis will take his spot in the starting lineup with Shaun McDonald moving up to the slot as the third receiver. Curtis is well aware of the situation, but he doesn’t want anyone to think that he is trying to replace Bruce, just fill in during the interim.

    “I’m not trying to be Isaac,” Curtis said. “Those are some huge shoes to fill. I know I’m not Isaac. I go out and do my job. Basically I have a job and I try to do it. I can’t try to perhaps be Isaac when I’m out there and do it as he would do it, because that’s Isaac Bruce. I’m just going to my best and do my job.”

    If Curtis does the job of filling in for Bruce as well as he did last season, the Rams won’t miss much of a beat against the Giants. Curtis filled in when Bruce was out because of a groin injury during the playoffs and had his best game as a pro.
    Curtis has seven catches for 128 yards and a touchdown in that game, giving him the confidence to know that he can compete as a starter in the NFL.

    “It helps me a lot,” Curtis said. “Last year toward the end of the year when Isaac was banged up, I knew I was going to come in and play. I knew that I could play and to go in and do some things last year and do a good job gave me confidence that I could do it. I know I can do it, I just have to trust in that and go out and play ball.”

    As for...
    -09-28-2005, 08:25 PM
  • RamDez
    Decision on injured Bruce will be made at game time
    by RamDez
    Decision on injured Bruce will be made at game time
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Jan. 14 2005

    Wide receiver Isaac Bruce took part in a light practice Friday at Rams Park
    and continued to be listed as questionable, meaning he has a 50 percent chance
    of playing tonight when the Rams meet the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC

    Bruce entered last week's game against Seattle with hip and hand injuries and
    suffered what was listed as a groin injury. When first asked about Bruce on
    Friday, Rams coach Mike Martz said he would decide before game time whether
    Bruce would play, then sounded as if he was leaning toward playing him.

    "We'll see how he's doing," Martz said. "I think he's going to be fine, but
    we'll just check him out before the game and make sure. He's got a small muscle
    strain in his stomach, which is something I'm sure he'll probably play with.
    I'm not overly concerned about it, but we'll see at game time. The smart thing
    was to keep him out (of practice)."

    Bruce got limited work in practice all week. He did a few things Friday, but
    the Rams' final workout of the week lasted only an hour. About 15 minutes of
    the session was devoted to special teams. Even during offensive and defensive
    team periods, the work was done only at about two-thirds speed.

    Bruce was unavailable for comment after practice. Actually, all players were
    unavailable. On a tight schedule, the Rams left in buses for Lambert Field and
    the flight to Atlanta about an hour after practice Friday afternoon.

    Kevin Curtis normally is Bruce's backup, and he had several catches Jan. 2
    against the New York Jets in Bruce's spot after Bruce suffered a bruised hip.
    If Bruce is sidelined or limited against the Falcons, Dane Looker would get on
    the field in four-wide-receiver sets.

    Other injuries
    Martz was more certain in all but ruling out defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson,
    who also was listed as questionable with a sprained ankle.

    When asked if Jackson would play, Martz said, "Probably not. That's a high
    ankle sprain."

    Though guard Tom Nutten aggravated his injured left knee in practice Thursday,
    Martz sounded as if he expected him to play. Nutten was listed as probable
    Friday and took a regular turn in practice wearing a knee brace.

    "These are significant injuries, and he continues to play and play well," Martz
    said. "He's there for us. He's always been there for us."

    Nutten has a torn medial collateral ligament in the knee, a non-surgical

    Other Rams on the injury report included running back Arlen Harris, listed as
    questionable because...
    -01-15-2005, 02:46 AM
  • RamWraith
    Fiercely competitive Bruce off to best start ever
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Salter
    Associated Press

    One of the last of the original Rams is showing no signs of age.

    Isaac Bruce began the season with four consecutive 100-yard games, becoming the first NFL player ever to do so at the start of the season. The streak ended in Sunday's improbable come-from-behind 33-27 overtime win in Seattle. Still, Bruce led the Rams with six catches for 78 yards, including a 27-yard catch-and-run that set up the game-tying field goal, rallying the Rams from a 17-point deficit in the final six minutes.

    Not bad for a receiver who turns 32 next month and who broke in with the Rams -- the Los Angeles Rams -- in 1994, a year before they moved to the Midwest. Only Bruce and punter Sean Landeta remain from that team.

    Bruce on Thursday waved off any questions about his strong start. But his teammates and coaches are impressed. Coach Mike Martz cited a strict offseason workout that keeps Bruce in prime condition.

    "Just the way he works," receiver Shaun McDonald said. "He's out there working like he hasn't caught a pass in the NFL. I think that's what keeps him on top."

    Bruce is the Rams' all-time leading receiver in all major categories -- receptions (726), receiving yards (10,987) and touchdowns (69). Already this season he has moved passed Terance Mathis, Gary Clark and Keenan McCardell into 17th place on the all-time receptions list. He's also moved past Stanley Morgan and Clark to 13th place on the career receiving yards list.

    The four-time All Pro has 38 catches for 528 yards, both second in the league. His 13.8-yard average per catch is also among the league leaders.

    Martz said Bruce's fierce competitiveness sets him apart.

    "He's probably as good a competitor as I've ever been around and it's never wavered," Martz said. "He just has such great passion for playing this game and playing that position and winning."

    Bruce has also been helped by the added attention the Rams' other Pro Bowl receiver -- Torry Holt -- gets, especially after Holt caught 117 passes for 1,696 yards in 2003. In fact, Holt caught more catches for more yards than Bruce each of the previous three seasons. This season, Holt has 30 catches for 363 yards.

    Bruce began the season with nine catches for 112 yards in a 17-10 win over Arizona. He had eight catches for 102 yards in a 34-17 loss at Atlanta, and eight for 134 yards in a 28-25 overtime loss to New Orleans. He caught seven passes for 100 yards in a 24-14 win over San Francisco.

    NOTES: Martz said guard Chris Dishman, special teams standout Trev Faulk and defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson are all questionable for Monday night's game against Tampa Bay. Dishman sprained his right knee Sept. 26 in a 28-25 overtime loss to New Orleans. Jackson and Faulk have hamstring injuries. ......
    -10-15-2004, 05:12 AM
  • RamWraith
    Versatile Coady proves valuable for defense
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Two decades ago, the Cardinals had a "secret weapon" in Jose Oquendo, so dubbed by broadcaster Mike Shannon for his ability to fill in effectively at several positions. Now the Rams have their own version.

    Utilityman Rich Coady will make his third start in a row Sunday when the Rams (2-2) travel to Seattle to face the NFC West-leading Seahawks (3-0). For the second week in succession, he'll replace ailing Adam Archuleta (back) at strong safety. Two weeks ago, Coady filled in at free safety for Aeneas Williams, who made a one-week return to cornerback.

    "We're fortunate to have" Coady, coach Mike Martz said. "This is a message to all the other players. It's like Marc Bulger: He's the third quarterback (in 2002), and all of a sudden by midseason he's starting. Those guys, when they weren't playing, they weren't wasting time."

    Coady, a Texas A&M product who had a total of six starts in his five previous NFL seasons, gets most of his playing time with the Rams as an extra defensive back in the nickel and dime alignments. But he said he's learned to gear his readiness for all possibilities.

    "Every week I go in and I prepare like I'm going to start. I go through the film like I'm going to start," he explained. "So whether the coach tells me that I'm going to start on Monday for the following Sunday's game or five minutes before the game, it's not going to change how I prepare."

    Whatever system he uses, it seems to work: Coady was named the Rams' defensive player of the week after collecting 10 tackles, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit in Sunday's 24-14 victory in San Francisco.

    "I think everyone on defense played well. And when you get all 11 guys playing well, it makes it easier," Coady said. "A lot of the stuff that I did well was a direct result of everyone else being in their gap and doing what they were supposed to do."

    The task looming for the Rams this week should be considerably stiffer. Whereas the winless ***** are near the bottom of the league in several statistical categories, Seattle is hovering near the top, particularly on defense. The Seahawks are No. 1 in total defense (242.3 yards a game) and scoring defense (4.3 points). Plus, they're rested after a bye week.

    "When you watch them on film, they really play mistake-free football," Coady said. "They don't turn the ball over, they don't have assignment gaps, they're not giving up free sacks, they're not running the wrong routes. ... You don't go 3-0 in this league unless you're doing something right, and they're doing everything right."

    Groce is ready

    With the Rams short of defensive backs Sunday, the temptation to rush cornerback DeJuan Groce...
    -10-08-2004, 07:05 PM
  • RamDez
    Bruce showing that career has gone deep
    by RamDez
    Bruce showing that career has gone deep
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Sep. 16 2004

    Georgia Frontiere made a rare practice appearance Wednesday afternoon at Rams
    Park. She spoke briefly with coach Mike Martz and president of football
    operations Jay Zygmunt. But when practice was over, guess who she walked off
    the field with? Why, Isaac Bruce.

    Some around the NFL seemingly have forgotten that Bruce exists. But not the
    Rams' team owner.

    "She's always been great to me," Bruce said. "She's been great to my family
    from the first day I met her in Los Angeles. After I was drafted, she sent my
    mother a bouquet of flowers, and told my mother she'd take care of me. And
    she's held true to that."

    Bruce has held up his end of the bargain. Four Pro Bowls; 1996 NFL leader in
    reception yards; two-time team MVP; game-winning catch in Super Bowl XXXIV;
    career club leader in both catches and reception yards.

    He's steadily moving up the NFL's career charts as well, ranking 15th in
    reception yards (10,573) and 19th in receptions (697).

    "Yeah, (the numbers) mean a lot," Bruce said. "Especially once I'm done
    playing. But I don't see that happening any time soon."

    At times, coaches, scouts, fans, and the media have short memories. Some would
    tell you that NFL stands for "Not For Long." But for those thinking Bruce, at
    age 31, was approaching the twilight of his career, he delivered this simple
    message through his play last Sunday against Arizona: Think again.

    Bruce caught nine passes for 112 yards against the Cardinals, including the
    game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.

    "It was a whole lot of fun," Bruce said. "It was pretty much how we scripted
    it. It put us a game up in the division. We come out and start off on a winning
    note, and expect a carryover."

    For the first time since his hamstring injury years (1997-1998), Bruce dipped
    below 1,000 yards receiving last season. An ankle injury cost him one game, and
    limited him in the regular-season finale against Detroit.

    With Torry Holt seemingly becoming more entrenched as the Rams' go-to wide
    receiver, there were questions about whether Bruce's skills were in decline.
    Not to the extent of questions concerning teammate Marshall Faulk, but
    questions nonetheless.

    "Him and Marshall, I get a kick out of people saying they're not the same, and
    they've lost speed," Atlanta coach Jim Mora said Wednesday, on a conference
    call with St. Louis reporters. "They haven't lost anything. They're great
    athletes. They're great competitors. They take care of their bodies." ...
    -09-15-2004, 11:08 PM