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Berlin makes the best of his time in the spotlight
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Aug. 05 2007
This is Brock Berlin's season. Right now.
Starting with Saturday's scrimmage and continuing with the preseason games,
which kick off Friday in Minnesota, Berlin must shine to have any chance of
wresting the Rams' third quarterback job from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"They're big; they've been big for me the past couple of years," said Berlin,
26. "It's good to get out there and play. You want to perform and do well, and
just have a good time."
The Rams were about as set at quarterback as any team in the league — Marc
Bulger at No. 1, veteran Gus Frerotte at No. 2 and Fitzpatrick coming back for
this third season at No. 3 — when Berlin signed as a free agent May 17. For
Berlin, who has been fighting unsuccessfully for an NFL roster spot for three
years, it's business as usual.
"Every year's a new year," he said. "This league is all about coming in and
proving yourself, and you've got to prove yourself every day. Each practice,
day in and day out, you work hard, give it your best, and let everything fall
the way it's supposed to."
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Berlin started his college career at Florida and
finished it at Miami. The Dolphins signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2005,
released him, then re-signed him in 2006 and sent him to NFL Europe. That
summer, Miami again cut him near the end of training camp. Dallas signed him
this past April but released him a month later.
On Saturday, Berlin turned in a stronger showing than Fitzpatrick, when 1,524
fans streamed into Rams Park for the only scheduled scrimmage of training camp.
Berlin completed six of seven passes for 42 yards, wasn't intercepted and
hooked up with tight end Mark Anelli for a 20-yard strike and the lone
touchdown of the workout.
Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round draft choice out of Harvard in 2005, hit on seven
of 14 passes for 77 yards. But he also threw an interception and twice had
problems with the exchange from center.
"I thought both of them did a few good things," coach Scott Linehan said. "It's
hard to say right now where those two stand."
Still, the Rams like Fitzpatrick's strong arm and heady approach, so it would
be a major upset if Berlin were to unseat him.
"Fitz and I have a great relationship," Berlin said. "Yeah, we're out there
competing for the same job. But we're also a team here, and we're trying to
make this team better."
HALL SITS ONE OUT
Fans who wanted to catch a glimpse of Dante Hall returning kicks and punts were
disappointed. Hall sat out the scrimmage with a sore hamstring.
"He should be ready to go by early next week for the first preseason game,"
Others on the sideline were wide receiver Lamart Barrett (shoulder), tight end
Joe Klopfenstein (hamstring), linebacker Tim McGarigle (hamstring) and tackle
Ken Shackleford (knee).
No one was injured during the scrimmage, and despite a heat index that reached
triple figures, only one player required an IV for rehydration afterward.
DRAFT BEATS HEAT
The scrimmage marked just the fourth full practice for linebacker Chris Draft,
who missed nearly a week with throat swelling caused by complications of
asthma. He reported no problems in Saturday's heat.
"I'm getting better. Today, I felt a lot stronger than I did the day before,"
Draft said. "It's a long training camp, so I'll have enough time to feel like I
really want to."
After the scrimmage, the players were free until meetings Sunday night.
Practice resumes Monday. ... A pair of undrafted rookies are working with the
No. 2 defense: linebacker Quinton Culberson and cornerback Darius Vinnett.
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