BY STEVE KORTE
News-Democrat

ST. LOUIS - The job of No. 2 running back for the St. Louis Rams
currently belongs to Tony Fisher.

Despite an unsuccessful attempt to trade for Michael Bennett and the
signing of Moe Williams, Rams coach Scott Linehan said Fisher, signed
as an unrestricted free agent from the Green Bay Packers during the
offseason, has proven that he's capable of being the No. 2 running
back behind starter Steven Jackson.

"I think Fish has really shown that he's our No. 2 legitimate back
right now," Linehan said. "Moe will be competing with him. (Fisher)
certainly brings a lot of things to the table.

"He wears a lot of hats. He can be your No. 2 back, he can be your
third-down back, he can be your first-down back in passing situations.
He can go in on all the special teams and excel. He's excellent in a
lot of the perimeter receiver-type things that you do with a running
back. He's got a lot of value in all phases of our offense."

Fisher raced around the right end for a 46-yard run in the Rams'
intrasquad scrimmage Saturday.

"My offensive line did a great job, and I was able to bounce outside,
get down the sideline and pick up a nice chunk of yards," Fisher said.

Fisher, who spent the previous four seasons with the Packers, said
he's been pigeonholed as a third-down specialist even though he rushed
for 91 yards on 17 carries and 96 yards on 25 carries in two games
during his rookie season in 2002.

"That's the story line of my career from people who don't know much
about me," Fisher said. "All they know is that I did a bunch of
third-down stuff for Green Bay.

"When I was a rookie, I had an opportunity to start, and I had two
games I had (almost) 100 yards. I've been there filling in as the No.
2 back when called upon. It's just up to me to continue to work hard,
and whatever obstacles stand in my way, I know what I have to do to
overcome them."

Fisher, whose known for his between-the-tackles running style, showed
a surprising burst on his long run during the scrimmage.

"Some people look too much into that 40 (time), and the 40 doesn't
really mean anything in terms of football," Fisher said. "It's whether
or not you can play this game. I feel that I am more than capable of
playing this game."

Smith is starter at fullback

Paul Smith has jumped ahead of Madison Hedgecock on the Rams' depth
chart at fullback.

"Paul's the No. 1 fullback," Linehan said. "There's still very good
competition between him and Madison. He has a little more experience
there than Madison."

Linehan responded with one word, "Toughness," when asked for Smith's
best attribute.

"He comes out everyday, and first of all, he goes about his business
and plays football with his pads on," Linehan said. "That's what you
want to see in a fullback. A fullback's role is a thankless job and he
comes out everyday and he tries to put it right on the numbers and put
a guy on his back.

"Plus, he has the ability to catch the ball. He runs well enough to be
a very, very good special teams player. He excelled in that role for
Detroit the last couple of years."

The 5-foot-11, 237-pound Smith found out he'd been promoted to
first-string offense Friday.

"It made my whole year," said Smith, who spent last season with the
Detroit Lions. "I'm happy for the opportunity, and hopefully I run
with it and do well."

Smith had one catch for four yards during the scrimmage.

"It's not about your stats," Smith said of playing fullback. "What
your running back does and his stats, you kind of take pride in that.

"If he is doing well, that means you are doing well. That's kind of
how you have to treat it. I guess a fullback is kind of like a
glorified offensive lineman."

Linehan said he plans to start having Hedgecock, who started seven
games last season, working in more of an H-back role.


Quick hits

The Rams got a scare when safety Jerome Carter lay on the ground
motionless after a collision.

Carter got up after a couple of minutes, and walked off the field. He
was back playing defense a short time later.

"I think he got the wind knocked out of him," Linehan said. "Sometimes
when you get that knocked out of you, it's almost like you're knocked
out for a while, until you catch your breath. He's just fine."

After the scrimmage, Linehan gave his players off until they had to
report for meetings tonight.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said he was going to go see the move
"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," while offensive lineman
Larry Turner said he was going to use the time off to catch up on his
sleep.

Milwaukee Brewers coaches Robin Yount, Mike Maddux and Dale Sveum
attended the scrimmage.