Fisher, Brown Recovering Well
By Nick Wagoner
Three days after watching as cornerback after cornerback limped off the field in some degree of pain, the Rams secondary had a decidedly different look to it Wednesday.
But, just because starting cornerbacks Travis Fisher and Fakhir Brown did not do a great deal during Wednesday’s workout doesn’t mean that they won’t be available against Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday.
Officially, Fisher and Brown are listed as questionable for the NFC West Division showdown with the Seahawks. That means there is a 50/50 shot they will play, but both players indicated Wednesday afternoon that they were optimistic that they will be on the field at kickoff Sunday.
Brown missed last week’s game against Green Bay because of a sprained ankle. After testing it Sunday morning, Brown was unable to go against the Packers. Jerametrius Butler took his place on the roster and rookie Tye Hill started in his place.
Coach Scott Linehan said Brown participated in parts of Wednesday’s practice and Brown said he feels better now than he did a week ago at this time.
“It felt pretty good,” Brown said. “It’s just a day to day thing. Hopefully I can be back out there, though. Oh yeah, a whole lot better. They are taking care of it the best way they can.”
While Brown is remaining cautiously optimistic about his availability for this weekend, Fisher is feeling extremely confident that he will be ready to go after suffering a strained groin against the Packers.
“I am going to practice this week and I am going to play in the game,” Fisher said.
Taking Fisher at his word comes easier considering all he has been through in the past with injuries. At various points in his career, he has played with a broken jaw and a broken forearm.
Last year, Fisher had a groin problem that he continued to play on because he had grown accustomed to playing hurt. Fisher didn’t do himself or the team any favors by continuing to play on a bad groin last year.
In fact, Fisher says he learned a valuable lesson after injuring himself on a more permanent basis by trying to play through pain. After feeling the groin tighten up during the game, Fisher removed himself from the game so as not to make the situation worse.
“I had to use more smarts this time and come on out,” Fisher said. “I didn’t want to make a crazy decision by playing and costing the team so I came out.”
Fisher didn’t do much of anything in Wednesday’s practice as he worked on cardio and conditioning on the sideline.
With Fisher and Brown on the sidelines, the Rams used Hill and Ron Bartell as the top corners. Bartell eventually cramped up and went to the sidelines as well, causing Butler to enter the game.
At one point, things got bad enough that strong safety Corey Chavous had to slide over to the slot and play some nickel cornerback with Jerome Carter entering at strong safety. Chavous has made a habit of wearing multiple wristbands containing the various plays for him at the different positions he lines up at.
Although it appears both Brown and Fisher have a chance to play this week, Chavous was impressed with what he saw from the backups and has confidence that if that group needs to be called on again, it would be ready.
“I have been in some games like that before and the way those guys stepped up was huge,” Chavous said. “But I expect that. You have a guy like JB who has been a starter and played and made plays and Ron Bartell who has started last year. We shouldn’t be surprised. It’s kind of a luxury. The organization has done a good job of having a number of defensive backs who are quality starters whether a back up or a starting role.”
SMITH’S SURGERY: Soon after fullback Paul Smith’s eye injury, the Rams maintained hope that he would be able to return from the bye week after some rest.
Instead, though, the injury was worse than feared and Smith underwent surgery Tuesday on the fractures near his eye.
“We had somewhat of an optimistic view of when he would be back,” Linehan said. “We are still optimistic, but he had to have some surgery to correct the damage that was around his eye. It’s a pretty delicate thing there.”
Linehan said the surgery went well and Smith will likely be out for another three to five weeks. Madison Hedgecock will continue to start in Smith’s place.
ROSTER MOVE: Perhaps because of the injury worries in the secondary, but probably more because of the addition last week of linebacker/special teamer Isaiah Kacyvenski, the Rams released linebacker Jamal Brooks on Wednesday.
In his place, St. Louis brought back safety Dwaine Carpenter. Carpenter, of course, was with the team in training camp and on the roster the first four games of the year. He did not dress in any of those games, but is expected to backup free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.
HOMETOWN TEAM: Soon after Linehan settled in to St. Louis after being named head coach, he openly embraced the baseball Cardinals as his own. So, it wasn’t a huge surprise when Linehan broke out a signature red Cardinals hat before his weekly Wednesday news conference.
“It’s a great day to be a St. Louis fan in a lot of ways,” Linehan said. “We are certainly pulling for our beloved Cards.”
Over the summer, Linehan and his family attended a number of baseball games at the new Busch Stadium as he threw out the first pitch one night. He quickly developed a friendship with manager Tony LaRussa and the two are in regular contact with each other.
Linehan refuses to make a prediction on the Cardinals-Mets series, but says he will be following in hopes that the Redbirds can get back to the World Series.
“I make no predictions other than the Cardinals are going to win because their our Cards,” Linehan said. “I follow them. I don’t get to watch them. It’s one of those things where it’s just fun to be a fan in St. Louis right now.”