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Defense benefits from Fisher's progress at end position
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Friday, Sep. 17 2004
If Bryce Fisher's second game as the Rams' first-team right defensive end is as
good as his first, Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick might have to be at his
elusive best to keep No. 94 away Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Fisher was designated the team's defensive player of the week after collecting
10 tackles and a sack for a 16-yard loss in the season-opening 17-10 victory
over Arizona. "Bryce has made significant progress," coach Mike Martz said.
"When you look back to where he was last year and where he is right now ... I
think that part of it is obvious."
After free agent Grant Wistrom grabbed Seattle's whopping offer in the
offseason, the competition for his right end spot seemed to be wide open. In
addition to Fisher, Erik Flowers and Sean Moran figured to have a shot. And
when third-round draft pick Anthony Hargrove stole the show at rookie minicamp,
he shoved himself into the mix, too.
But Fisher, 27, was atop the depth chart when training camp opened July 27, and
he's stayed there. The 6-foot-3, 272-pound Air Force Academy graduate was
pleased, but hardly overwhelmed, with his play against the Cardinals.
"I think I did some good things, and there were some plays that I didn't do as
well on," he said. "But I think I did OK for my first game on opening day."
Fisher was Buffalo's seventh-round draft choice in 1999, but he had a two-year
active-duty commitment to the Air Force to fulfill before beginning his NFL
career. He played in 13 games with the Bills in 2001, then was waived in '02.
The Rams claimed him, and he played in 20 games, with one start, over the past
Backing up Wistrom and left end Leonard Little was taxing because the two
positions are "completely different," Fisher explained. "I had a hard time
remembering who I was. Now, I just have to concentrate on being a good right
end. That's my goal."
Fisher said his style differs significantly from Little's. "He's a speed
rusher, up the field, around the corner. I'm more of a hands, bull-rush kind of
guy," Fisher said. More like Wistrom, he noted.
"What Grant brought to this team was a lot of intensity, a lot of effort; he
chased all over the field," Fisher said. "He really set an example as to how to
work. And I'm trying to raise my game to that level."
Wait ends for Newson
After a strange few weeks, during which he went from deep reserve to starter to
being cut, linebacker Tony Newson will suit up Sunday for his first "real" NFL
game in two years.
"It's still fresh: '02 in Oakland," Newson said, recalling the most recent of
his two regular-season appearances with Kansas City. The Chiefs released Newson
after the 2003 preseason, and he was out of football until he signed with the
Rams as a free agent March 15.
Now, he calls himself "a seasoned rookie. I'm still a real young cat, and I've
got a lot of learning to do." Newson figures to get most of his work Sunday on
special teams, but as one of just five healthy linebackers, he could get a few
plays on defense, too.
"I'm pretty excited to be on an active roster and get a chance to actually
play," Newson said. But not too excited. "No, because if I get too excited, I
might tire myself out. I just need to stay focused."
Tinoisamoa is ready
Despite dislocating his right shoulder last Sunday, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa
practiced all week and is excited to go against Vick. Sort of.
"I don't know if it's 'excited,'" Tinoisamoa said, laughing. "When you put on
the film ... Vick is all over the place. He's got so much speed, and he's such
a gifted and talented athlete."
Tinoisamoa will wear a harness in an effort to keep his shoulder in place.
"They say it could pop out again, but ... pop it right back in, tape it up, rub
some dirt on it and get back out there and play," he said. "That's what I plan
on doing, honestly."
Third-team quarterback Jeff Smoker spent the week portraying Vick on the scout
team. "I did everything but throw lefthanded," said Smoker, a rookie from
Michigan State. "I ran the nakeds and bootlegs. He's got a big, strong arm, so
I was trying to throw as hard as possible all the time."
Smoker acknowledged, though, that he couldn't quite emulate Vick's speed. Asked
how his 40-yard dash time would compare with Vick's, Smoker said, "A couple of
10ths behind." With a roll of the eyes, he added, "That's putting it mildly."
After a 24-hour hiatus, rookie safety Jason Shivers is back with the Rams.
Shivers, the team's fifth-round draft choice out of Arizona State, was released
Thursday to make room on the roster for Newson.
Shivers cleared waivers and was re-signed Friday afternoon. He has been placed
on the practice squad
-09-18-2004 #2AugustaRamFan Guest
Re: Defense benefits from Fisher's progress at end position
OOppss! He's BBAAAACCKKKK!!
May he is not a "tool" after all!
PS -I am glad he's back - a real physical force. Now he has the time to get his mental side of the game in order.
Re: Defense benefits from Fisher's progress at end positionFisher was designated the team's defensive player of the week after collecting 10 tackles and a sack for a 16-yard loss
They're coming to you Leonard...hold your ground and get a piece of theirs.
They're going away from you Bryce...get your track shoes on and get across that line.
Re: Defense benefits from Fisher's progress at end positionAfter a 24-hour hiatus, rookie safety Jason Shivers is back with the Rams.
-09-18-2004 #5Mercclass Guest
Re: Defense benefits from Fisher's progress at end position
Did Wistrom even play for the Seahawks last week? I'll be interested to know who ends the year with better stats between the two.
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