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News » St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-08-14

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-08-14

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-08-14
It's no secret the key to the Rams' hope for productivity on offense is a healthy offensive line. Last season, left tackle Orlando Pace, left guard Mark Setterstrom and right guard Richie Incognito missed a total of 40 games. Center Brett Romberg also was sidelined by injury.

Enter free-agent left guard Jacob Bell. Enter new line coach Steve Loney, who replaced Paul Boudreau. Coach Scott Linehan tried to hire Loney when he was named Rams head coach in 2006.

There have been injuries in camp, with Setterstrom bothered by a knee injury and Romberg unable to snap for a while because of a hand injury. But backups have played with more confidence, especially Adam Goldberg, who has taken a lot of snaps at left tackle with Pace being brought along slowly.

Goldberg is glad to be reunited with Loney, who was his coach in Minnesota.

Said Goldberg, "(He's) a really positive influence. He's an outstanding coach, not only X's and O's and football wise, but he'll make you a better person and a better player. He's a great influence to be around. He's always lifting you up."

Rams center Nick Leckey was coached by Loney in Arizona, and Leckey did a solid job filling in when Romberg was out.

Leckey is a player coaches always seem to try to replace, but he won't let them.

Said Linehan, "Nick is just one of those guys we can always count on. If (Mark) Setterstrom is out, we move Richie (Incognito) to guard and Romberg's hand hurts, Nick steps in and takes all the reps and never says a word. He really relishes that role and knows that is his role so we can always count on him."

Goldberg likes the way the line is coming together in camp. "We feel really good. We feel like we have a balanced attack developing here. Our run game is looking real good. It feels like we're jelling no matter who gets plugged in there. Our offensive line is playing really well. I think that's a testament to how well we're coached as a group. Our communication is great. Everybody knows what to do; what's expected of us."

When camp opened, Romberg and Incognito were competing for the center job. But when Setterstrom injured his knee early in camp, Incognito moved to right guard where he played last season when he was healthy, and Romberg was alone at center.

But then Romberg bruised his hand, making it difficult to snap, so Leckey replaced him, with Incognito staying at right guard.

Loney said there's still time to evaluate things with the season opener four weeks away.

"Right now, and I've told everybody at every position, don't worry so much about who's first string, second string," Loney said. "Because the '2s' and '1s' are getting nearly the same amount of reps, and I evaluate every practice film and go through things.

"Everything in our business is performance based."

Loney noted that the best unit will play when the season opens against the Eagles on Sept. 7

"I've told them it doesn't make any sense to have one of the five best

offensive linemen standing on the sideline with me," Loney said. "So we will find a way of having the five best offensive linemen start against Philadelphia. That's all in the evaluation."

CAMP CALENDAR: The Rams break camp Aug. 14.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 15, 2008

Torry Holt Name: Torry Holt
Position: WR
Age: 32
Experience: 10 years
College: North Carolina State
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