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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Fisher injury gives Hill extended shot at starting spot

    R.B. FALLSTROM
    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS - Getting a starting assignment is no huge news for Tye Hill, the St. Louis Rams' first-round pick. He's already been in the lineup three times, twice due to injuries and a third because the team opened a game in a nickel package.

    On Sunday, though, Hill takes over for what should be an extended stay. He replaces Travis Fisher, who was placed on injured reserve with a broken right forearm, when the Rams (4-5) play at Carolina.

    "You never want to get a starting spot the way I got it," Hill said Wednesday. "I feel for him, my heart goes out to him.

    "But at the same time it's time for me to emerge and really be what they drafted me to be."

    Hill, the 15th overall pick, made his first start against the Packers at right cornerback when Fakhir Brown was out with an ankle injury, and started the next week against the Seahawks when Brown was still gimpy. He also started last week at Seattle when the Rams opened with five defensive backs.

    "I think he's improved weekly," Linehan said. "He's a great competitor and he's had to overcome ups and downs, as all rookies do, and I think he's done a great job of that."

    On Sunday, he'll try to help control the Panthers' Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson. Coach Scott Linehan said at times Hill will be on his own, given the Rams' woes on run defense.

    Seattle's Maurice Morris had 124 yards rushing last week against St. Louis, after Larry Johnson had 172 yards and LaDainian Tomlinson piled up 183 in the previous two weeks.

    "You've still got some other things you want to stop," Linehan said. "I'm sure they're going to try to attack us with the running game, and if you put too much attention on one player that'll backfire."

    Hill said he'll prepare with extra time in the video room.

    "I wouldn't be surprised if I'm in the game plan this week," he said. "I have to really know what I'm doing and it's going to take a lot of film study and a lot of confidence to play with these guys."

    Hill said he's played like a rookie from a mistake standpoint, but without the jitters.

    "I'm definitely in a comfort zone," he said. "I've never really felt like I was out of place or anything like that."

    He spoke like a veteran discussing the occasional big plays that have victimized him.

    "At cornerback, you win some and lose some," he said. "The thing is you try to win more than you lose, and that's definitely what I'm looking forward to doing."

    The Rams also will have a replacement starter at left tackle with Adam Goldberg, acquired in an offseason trade from the Vikings, stepping in for injured Orlando Pace. Goldberg also started at left guard against the Lions on Oct. 1 when Pace was out with a concussion and 13-year veteran Todd Steussie moved to left tackle.

    "We'll have a good game, and we'll lead this offense, and the offense will be productive," Goldberg said.

    The coaching staff decided against moving right tackle Alex Barron, the team's first-round pick last year, to Pace's left side. Steussie will stay at left guard, where he's more comfortable at this stage of his career.

    "I'm more well-suited to a phone booth than I am to a big open pasture," Steussie said. "That's just the reality of some of the things that have diminished as I've gotten older."

    Pace has been placed on injured reserve and will undergo surgery for a torn triceps muscle in his left arm on Friday. The recovery time is estimated at six months.

    "He's a great player and he can be a shutdown guy against the best rushers in the league," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "Unfortunately for whoever comes in behind him, they're going to attack him.

    "If you're behind a guy that's that good, people are going to come after you."


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is offline Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Fisher injury gives Hill extended shot at starting spot

    Hill is going to have some growing pains - all young CBs do. But this experience will be invaluable for him. I have every expectation that he'll be a starter on opening day in 2007.

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    ImJohnWayne is offline Awaiting Email Conformation
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    Re: Fisher injury gives Hill extended shot at starting spot

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Hill is going to have some growing pains - all young CBs do. But this experience will be invaluable for him. I have every expectation that he'll be a starter on opening day in 2007.
    That is exactly what we need. If Hill can become a legitimate NFL starter by 2007 it will fill a big defensive need for our team without having to dip into free agency or a middle to high draft pick. I am perfectly happy with Brown/Hill. Will give us the chance to focus on other holes in our D.

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    Nick's Avatar
    Nick is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Fisher injury gives Hill extended shot at starting spot

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Hill is going to have some growing pains - all young CBs do. But this experience will be invaluable for him. I have every expectation that he'll be a starter on opening day in 2007.
    I agree. But in the meantime, please give the guy some safety help. :x
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