Fisher is expected to be in the lineup Sunday in Miami
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Friday, Oct. 22 2004

Not only will Rams cornerback Travis Fisher return to game action Sunday in
Miami, he's expected to be in the starting lineup.

Fisher, a third-year pro, started 26 games in his first two seasons with the
Rams. He's been sidelined since Aug. 23, when he suffered a broken right
forearm in a preseason game at Kansas City. Fisher had surgery two days later
and was expected to be out three to four months.

But almost exactly two months later, he's "ready to go," coach Mike Martz said.
Fisher will team with Jerametrius Butler, with DeJuan Groce the No. 3
cornerback. "It gives us three outstanding corners," Martz said.

While the arm mended, Fisher hastened his return by staying in shape through
individual conditioning drills at first, and later in non-contact work at
practice. He participated in team drills for the first time this week.

"That made all the difference in the world conditioning-wise," Martz said. "If
it was some sort of a leg injury, we'd be looking at probably another couple,
three weeks. ... He's excited to play. He's prepared very well."

With Fisher's return assured, the Rams released safety Kwamie Lassiter. Dusty
McGrorty was moved up from the practice squad to take Lassiter's spot on the
53-man roster. McGrorty is an undrafted rookie from Southern Oregon, an NAIA
school. He's a running back by trade, but he's slotted for special-teams duty.

Lassiter is a 10-year veteran who was signed as a free agent on Sept. 21. He
played mostly in the dime package, recording 11 tackles. He also had three
stops on special teams.

Run defense improves


What do Atlanta's Michael Vick, New Orleans' Aaron Stecker and Seattle's Shaun
Alexander have in common? Each has rushed for more than 100 yards against the
Rams, who came into Monday night's game 29th in the 32-team NFL in run defense.

But if the stark turnaround vs. Tampa Bay was a true indicator, things could be
changing. The Rams limited the Buccaneers to 55 yards on 22 carries in a 28-21
victory.

"Going into the game, that concerned us the most, to hold up against the run,"
Martz said. "We've gotten better and better every week. The different things
we're doing defensively, our players are becoming much more familiar with now.
I think they're comfortable with it now."

New defensive coordinator Larry Marmie has tweaked some aspects of the scheme.
Plus, the defense has been adjusting to the free-agent losses of half its front
four of end Grant Wistrom and tackle Brian Young.

"This is the first time this unit has played together as a defensive front,"
tackle Ryan Pickett said. "We're jelling now."

San Francisco, the last-place team in the NFC West, collected only 58 rushing
yards against the Rams. But the Falcons, Saints, Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals
muscled up for a combined 681 yards on 122 carries, a gaudy 5.6 yards an
attempt. The Bucs didn't average even half that (2.5 yards) on its 22 rushes.

"It's one thing that we're really focusing on, improving on the run," said
rookie defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who is seeing increased action with
Tyoka Jackson (hamstring) sidelined. "We tried to come out and make a
statement, that we weren't going to let them run the ball. And we did that."

Harris is ailing

Kickoff returner Arlen Harris was listed as questionable on Friday's injury
report. Harris has what Martz termed a mild hamstring pull. ... Wideout Torry
Holt and strong safety Adam Archuleta shared the Snickers Hungriest Players
award, presented weekly for top performances in the Monday night game. Snickers
donated $1,000 to the St. Louis Rams Foundation in their honor.