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Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

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  • Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line


    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS - It's been more than four months since Kyle Turley shut himself down for the season with another back injury, and the St. Louis Rams are still feeling the repercussions.

    The biggest hole on the offensive line has been Turley's vacated right tackle spot. Grant Williams has been beaten repeatedly in recent weeks, and he was burned for the sack that knocked quarterback Marc Bulger out of last week's 16-6 victory over the ***** with a sprained right shoulder.

    Now, it's up to unheralded Blaine Saipaia to help keep 39-year-old backup Chris Chandler healthy until Bulger returns, perhaps in two weeks. Williams was benched in the second half last week in favor of Saipaia, and coach Mike Martz has named Saipaia the starter for Sunday's game at Carolina.

    Saipaia has a tall order, trying to handle one of the NFL's best pass rushers. Julius Peppers has nine sacks, two off the league lead.

    "Blaine obviously understands the opportunity that's ahead of him," Martz said. "He has the athleticism to line up on the edge and block a guy like Peppers.

    "The experience is going to be a bit of a factor, so we need to help him. Hopefully we can settle in with Blaine."

    Saipaia came in on the Rams' off-day on Tuesday to study Peppers' moves.

    "He's a speed guy and does a lot of moves where he can transfer his speed to power," Saipaia said. "With his speed, he can catch a lot of people off-balance.

    "If I stay balanced and stay with him, I should be OK."

    Keeping Chandler in one piece is paramount for the Rams (6-6) considering the alternatives. The backups are rookie Jeff Smoker, a sixth-round pick, and well-traveled Jamie Martin, who had been unattached since being released by the Jets in October 2003.

    It's unclear which quarterback would be the backup this week. Martz was adamant about not using Smoker earlier in the week, given his lack of experience and Martin's rust, but later in the week hedged on his choice.

    Martz also said Smoker has picked up the offense faster than he had anticipated.

    "He's got a lot more in him, he's retained a lot more, and looks a lot more at ease with what we're doing than I would have thought," Martz said.

    Saipaia has one career start, at Buffalo on Nov. 21, when he also stepped in for a banged-up Williams. In that game, he played well initially but struggled against the pass rush and blitz in the second half.

    He expects to do better with his second chance.

    "I'm not so hyperactive now that I've actually had a chance to get in there and get some time," Saipaia said. "I'll give it the best shot I can, but I think I'll be a little more relaxed and focused.

    "I've definitely got to be on my game."

    Williams has a rotator cuff injury that has forced him to alter his technique, and also has an elbow injury.

    "When he sets he's got to turn and favor one arm, and that's when he gets beat," Martz said. "If he's healthy, he's fine. Unfortunately, he hasn't been healthy."

    As for Turley, he hasn't been seen around Rams Park all season. He left training camp on Aug. 1 and was placed on injured reserve in late August after reinjuring his surgically-repaired back early in training camp.

    Martz had difficulty reaching Turley while the tackle was visiting various specialists around the country, noting that he phoned him about 20 times without receiving a return call. So, this disappearance is nothing new.

    "I have no idea where he is, have no idea if he wants to play or can play," Martz said. "I have no idea about any of that. I have not seen him."

  • #2
    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

    Originally posted by RamWraith
    "I have no idea where he is, have no idea if he wants to play or can play," Martz said. "I have no idea about any of that. I have not seen him."
    Nor would I expect to see him any time soon, Coach.


    • #3
      Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

      In my opinion, given the combination of the loss of a very high level player at a critical position at a time when we were potential title contenders, coupled with a potentially devasting long and short term cap impact, makes this the single most adversely impactful injury in the history of the franchise (assuming he never comes back and we have to take a major future cap hit as a result).

      Can anyone think of a more impactful injury in the cap era? I guess one could argue that captain kurt never really recovered from the thumb he hurt against philly in game one of the 2001 season, but bulger has stepped up very effectively, whereas to date, turleys replacements have been one abomination after another.

      ramming speed to all,

      general counsel


      • #4
        Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

        Cap Question - for Capoligists:

        If Turley cannot play, can the Rams reach a medical settlement or do they eat all of his cap $$? Does that change if he retires, not that he would retire, if that is all the money he will ever make.

        Warner's injury was bad - right after the $6MM signing bonus. But, the loss of Turley has had a real ripple effect.


        • #5
          Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

          All I know is that if Turley retires, the Rams take an accelerated cap hit for the remainder of his bonus. That's really going to hurt, considering the Rams are already going to be eating $6.7M in dead money in 2005 for releasing Warner, and combine that with a high salary for Marshall Faulk and, if Pace doesn't sign a long-term deal, a high franchise tag value for Pace.


          • #6
            Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

            I say get what we can for this homewrecker. Get some stupid team to trade for him.


            • #7
              Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

              KFNS in St. Louis was reporting that Kyle Turley was going to begin his training regiment soon. Take it for what it's worth but if he comes back, that will be one less major hole we have to fill on draft day. Then we can really focus on defense.


              • #8
                Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

                When we are discussing cap problems for next year, lets not forget the uncertainty surrounding the leonard little situation.

                As for the acceleration and overall hit on an injury settlement, i have been trying to get an answer on that question from balzer for quite some time but he has not responded. Very, very relevant data.

                general counsel


                • #9
                  Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

                  I asked Barry Waller what Turley's cap hit would be if he retired, and he said that the Rams would make it official after June 1st to spread out the hit, which would cost $1.67 million "dead money" in 2005 and the remaining $5 million counting in 2006.


                  • #10
                    Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

                    "I have no idea where he is, have no idea if he wants to play or can play," Martz said. "I have no idea about any of that. I have not seen him."
                    I know he's on IR and doesn't necessarily have to be with the team...but this really bothers me. I mean he's still getting paid right? Don't you guys think he should at least be at the games since he's part of this team? I knew he was a "me-first" kind of guy and this is evidence of that.

                    Originally posted by RamTime
                    I say get what we can for this homewrecker. Get some stupid team to trade for him.
                    Couldn't agree more, RamTime.
                    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster


                    • #11
                      Re: Turley's injury keeps hurting Rams' offensive line

                      Nick, what if they make an injury settlement with him. does the reduced payout that turley takes reduce the cap hit on a dollar for dollar basis?

                      general counsel


                      Related Topics


                      • RamWraith
                        Rams ready to plug Saipaia in at right tackle
                        by RamWraith
                        BY STEVE KORTE

                        [email protected]

                        ST. LOUIS - As the St. Louis Rams' starting right tackle, Blaine Saipaia isn't exactly shivering in his cleats about the prospect of going against Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers.

                        "You have to respect the man, but just because you respect him doesn't mean you have to fear him," Saipaia said.

                        Saipaia (pronounced SY-puh-EE-uh) bounced around the NFL for four seasons before signing with the Rams on Sept. 8. He's been on the practice squads for the New Orleans Saints, the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders, waiting and hoping for the opportunity that he's now getting with the Rams.

                        "I am going to go out there and play like there is no tomorrow because there has been times in my career where there was no tomorrow," Saipaia said. "You have to cherish it every time you get to go out and play."

                        Saipaia is the Rams' fourth starting right tackle since Kyle Turley aggravated a back injury early in training camp.

                        Turley was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Martz said he's unaware of Turley's future plans because he hasn't heard from him.

                        "I have no idea where he is or whether he wants to play or can play," Martz said. "I have no idea about any of that. I have not seen him."

                        Martz complained about Turley failing to return his telephone calls a couple of weeks after the seven-year NFL veteran left training camp.

                        "He wouldn't answer any of my calls," Martz said. "I called him probably 20 times, and he never answered a call. I finally did talk to him, he was very short, very abrupt. He didn't want to talk, and that was it."

                        Asked if Turley might retire after the season, Martz said, "You're asking the wrong guy. You have to ask Kyle about that one."

                        Turley's absence has left a void at right tackle that the Rams have had trouble filling.

                        Grant Williams and Scott Tercero both struggled at times at the position. The two also were hit with injuries as Williams has battled shoulder and elbow problems and Tercero was lost for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

                        "I'm well-aware of that," Martz said of right tackle being a problem spot. "You look at the situation where everything else is settled and ready to go, and we're unsettled there.

                        "Hopefully, we can get settled in now with Blaine. He's going to struggle at times, but he is a tough guy who is competitive and he has great feet."

                        Martz said Saipaia has the kind of athleticism to be able to effectively block Peppers.

                        "He's a guy we looked at and felt like he was going to be one of our future starters here eventually," Martz said Saipaia. "Just when it was going to happen, I didn't know....
                        -12-10-2004, 03:59 PM
                      • Nick
                        Saipaia will have his hands full at tackle
                        by Nick
                        Saipaia will have his hands full at tackle
                        By Bill Coats
                        Of the Post-Dispatch

                        Forget about "Ocean's Twelve" and "Bridget Jones." The only film Rams tackle Blaine Saipaia watched this past week starred Carolina's Julius Peppers. The proper rating would be PG: plenty good.

                        "He does a lot of things well," Saipaia said. "He can chase the ball down, he's got great speed, he's got good power. He's just an all-around good player."

                        Although Peppers, who played basketball as well as football at the University of North Carolina, is in just his third NFL season, he already is regarded as one of the league's premier defensive ends. Job one for Saipaia on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte will be keeping the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Peppers away from quarterback Chris Chandler.

                        That's a daunting task for any right tackle: Peppers, the 2002 NFL defensive rookie of the year, has 28 career sacks. With nine this season, he ranks eighth in the league.

                        Compounding Saipaia's challenge is the fact that he's played in exactly five NFL games, with one previous start. That was three weeks in Buffalo, when he stepped in for the injured Grant Williams and received generally favorable reviews afterward.

                        Williams is out again with a shoulder problem, and coach Mike Martz seems committed to Saipaia for now - and perhaps for the long haul.

                        "I have great confidence in him," Martz said. "He's a guy that I looked at all year, throughout the season, and felt like he was going to be one of our feature starters here eventually. When it was going to happen, I didn't know. But he has the athleticism to line up on the edge and block a guy like Peppers, with his feet and his strength and all of those things."

                        Saipaia, a 6-3, 315-pound Colorado State product, said: "Obviously he's a good defensive end and I've got to really be on top of my game. But ... I just try not to put too much pressure on myself. If I can stay consistent and just use the proper techniques that the coaches have been drilling in our heads, it should work out."

                        Holt needs tickets

                        Rams wide receiver Torry Holt, a Greensboro, N.C., native who played at North Carolina State, had to round up extra tickets for Sunday's game. "Probably 20 to 25," he said. "It's always exciting going back home and playing in front of friends and family. I'm thankful for the opportunity."

                        Turley is a mystery

                        Saipaia, who signed Sept. 8 as a free agent, probably wouldn't be in the Rams' mix if not for the back injury that ended Kyle Turley's season before it began.

                        Turley, the Rams' starting right tackle last year after he was acquired in March 2003 from New Orleans, underwent back surgery in the...
                        -12-12-2004, 01:59 AM
                      • RamDez
                        Martz expresses some doubts about Turley's health
                        by RamDez
                        Martz expresses some doubts about Turley's health
                        By Bill Coats

                        Of the Post-Dispatch

                        MACOMB, Ill. - As training camp grinds on, the nicks and bruises are starting to pile up. Several Rams spent at least part of the time on the sideline Saturday, as the team resumed two-a-day practices.

                        Other than center Dave Wohlabaugh's recovery from hip surgery, none of the injuries appear to be serious. Yet concern is surfacing about offensive tackle Kyle Turley's back, which was operated on in the offseason and kept him on the sideline for minicamp in May.

                        On Tuesday, shortly after the players reported to Western Illinois University, Martz scolded those who questioned Turley's fitness. "Kyle's fine. I don't know where this stuff starts," Martz said. "Kyle's injury, that's been resolved for quite some time. He looks like he's in terrific shape."

                        On Thursday, Martz said, Turley sat out contact drills because he has some atrophy in a leg caused by numbness from the previous disc injury. Turley participated in Friday's single, full-pads practice, but he missed most of Saturday's drills, and Martz expressed some apprehension.

                        "Kyle's got some strain in his back. They're going to look at it through some pictures," Martz explained. He said there were no plans to return Turley, 28, to St. Louis for evaluation but was unsure how long Turley would be out.

                        Others limited by minor injuries were tight end Cam Cleeland (hamstring), linebacker Tommy Polley (sprained toe), defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (back spasms), safety Rich Coady (back spasms), offensive guard Ryan Schau (sprained back) and cornerback Robert Cromartie (hamstring).

                        Chandler says Martz runs unique camp

                        Seventeen-year veteran Chris Chandler has been to training camp with eight NFL teams. But he has never seen one quite like this.

                        Chandler, signed as a free agent in March to back up starting quarterback Marc Bulger, said Martz "challenges everybody mentally as well. The physical part of this camp is one thing, but just all the installation at night and all the stuff we put in every day for the next practice, it's a lot more than any other place I've even been. It's as much exhausting mentally as it is physically."

                        Which is saying a lot, because other than 42-year-old punter Sean Landeta, Chandler, 38, is the oldest among the 80 players in camp at Western Illinois University. Still, after four days of vigorous workouts, the 6-foot-4, 224-pound University of Washington product is showing no signs of advanced age. He has also proved that there's plenty of strength left in his arm.

                        Though Chandler is learning a new offensive system, Martz said he is adapting quickly. "You know that most everything you do with him, he's going to be able to absorb and retain,"
                        -08-01-2004, 06:29 AM
                      • Nick
                        Turley takes a parting shot at Martz
                        by Nick
                        Getting defensive
                        Turley wants to bring his intensity to DE position
                        Posted: Friday June 10, 2005 1:25PM;
                        Updated: Friday June 10, 2005 3:29PM

                        He was on his way to a gig, getting jacked up for a couple hours of shirtless skins-slapping -- and when you are the drummer for a band named Perpetual Death Mode, your biceps had best be prepared to do some serious throbbing.

                        "Oh, I'm gonna pound those things," Kyle Turley said in his typical, subtlety-deprived tone. "Our music is super heavy, super hard and super fast. It's bad-ass, man. And yeah, I've gotta take the shirt off, so I can show off my f---- abs."

                        Turley has been part of this death-metal-thrash quartet for several weeks now, and in case you're working up the courage to tell this long-haired, heavily tattooed rhythm-keeper to keep his day job, don't bother: Turley officially lost it on Monday, when the St. Louis Rams waived the former All-Pro tackle after he failed a physical.

                        Still ailing from the serious back injury that kept him out for all of the 2004 season, the 6-foot-5 Turley at one point shrunk down to 235 pounds during rehab, a process he says is still three to six months away from completion. He has since bulked up to 260 ("I've put on 30 pounds of solid muscle," he said) -- 50 pounds short of his listed weight going into '04, but buff enough to allow him to switch to defensive end, which would be quite a dramatic move for the soon-to-be-30-year-old.

                        "With my intensity and athletic ability, I think that would be a natural switch," Turley said in a phone interview on Thursday night. "I'm just as fast as almost all those [defensive ends] out there, and as athletic, or more, than half of them. And my tenacity supersedes all of that. There are a lot of guys at that position who have gotten paid that are a bunch of slaps, and I know I could do better than them."

                        If Turley seems a tad disdainful of his would-be peers, some back story is in order. As part of a 2003 Sports Illustrated package on offensive linemen -- for which he was the cover subject -- Turley told Josh Elliott he regarded his defensive-line counterparts as unintelligent drones, referring to them as "geraniums."

                        Now that he's intent on a switch, Turley is all about flower power.

                        "Because I played offensive line, I think that gives me an insider's advantage," he explained. "Believe me, I know what's happening on the other side of the football, and that should allow me to read and react in a way that the typical defensive lineman can't. I know what I would bring to that position, and a lot of coaches know, too."

                        What Turley would bring, first and foremost, is attitude -- which is why, despite his physical issues and purported baggage, I expect some NFL team to give him a chance. This is likely...
                        -06-10-2005, 03:29 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, 01:56 AM