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  1. #1
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    Cool Fisher, Lewis Impact Line

    Fisher, Lewis Impact Line
    Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    While the Rams’ offensive line was busy dominating Arizona’s front four, St. Louis’ defensive line was taking care of business as well.

    The group helped hold the Cardinals to 260 yards and came up with big plays repeatedly to help St. Louis earn a 17-10 win Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. The win got the Rams’ season off on the right foot, making them 1-0 for the first time since 2001.

    Most of the defensive questions entering training camp revolved around the losses the Rams suffered on their front line. Defensive end Grant Wistrom departed for a big-money contract in Seattle and tackle Brian Young headed for New Orleans, where he got “Big Easy” money.

    Instead of spending major dollars for replacements like their NFC brethren, the Rams stayed home and promoted the backups. A pair of defensive ends, who traveled similar paths to the team, improved in training camp and made the team. Joining them was an unheralded third-round choice who proved to be one of the camp’s shining stars.

    Bryce Fisher entered camp at the top of the depth chart in Wistrom’s former position, opposite sackmaster Leonard Little. Facing fierce competition from former first-rounder Erik Flowers and impressive rookie Anthony Hargrove, Fisher fought off the challenge and earned the job. After a 2003 campaign in which he had 47 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles, Fisher didn’t disappoint against Arizona.

    He finished with 10 tackles, a quarterback pressure, a deflected pass and a sack in the first quarter that resulted in a 16-yard loss.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said it doesn’t matter who you ask, that is the kind of performance you want from that position.

    “By anybody’s standards for a defensive end that’s a terrific afternoon,” Martz said.

    Damione Lewis, Young’s replacement at tackle, faired just as well as Fisher in the season opener. Lewis was solid in the middle, making one of the game’s biggest plays. On third-and-10 from the Arizona 35, the Cardinals appeared poised to make one final run at tying the game. Lewis promptly thwarted that opportunity bursting through the offensive line as if shot out of a cannon and dropping quarterback Josh McCown for an 8-yard loss. In addition to the sack, Lewis posted six tackles.

    Martz said the defensive line elevated its game at the right time.

    “I thought Damione played very well,” Martz said. “The whole defensive line did a nice job in there.”

    MORE ON MARSHALL: Marshall Faulk proved to the league that he has plenty left, but Martz has been singing his praises all along. Faulk’s 22-carry, 128-yard performance wasn’t his greatest statistically, but the way he got his yards impressed the head coach.

    Martz said Monday that Faulk appears poised to have a huge season.

    “Marshall was just outstanding,” Martz said. “This is the best he has been at this time in the season since he has been here in my opinion. I thought he was exceptional, just outstanding.”

    PLAYING IN PAIN: Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa and cornerback Jerametrius Butler played solid games against Arizona, but it was their courage to play through injuries that made them stand out.

    Tinoisamoa separated his right shoulder after a huge hit on receiver Bryant Johnson to break up a pass on the first play of the second quarter. He went to the locker room, had the shoulder popped back in to place and put on a harness. Tinoisamoa returned to the game soon after.

    Butler dislocated two fingers, but also continued to play, finishing with six tackles and a pair of passes defensed.
    Martz said those are the kinds of players he wants around.

    “I think it says a lot about character and how important it is,” Martz said. “They are very unselfish players and they understand how important they are to this football team. I think that says a lot about (them).”

  2. #2
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Fisher, Lewis Impact Line

    How about that sack from Damione Lewis! That was a shocker!

  3. #3
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Fisher, Lewis Impact Line

    Pickett also was stuffing the line, forcing the RB's to turn outside. Our containment outside has to be better, but the Cardinals didn't really burn the Rams up the middle much so I have to take that as a very positive outcome.

  4. #4
    majorram's Avatar
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    Re: Fisher, Lewis Impact Line

    Pickett had an excellent game, maybe this will be his year, now that he is fully healthy and yes ZigZag that Lewis sack shocked me too!!!!! thats two in three years not bad :redface:

    steve :ramlogo:

  5. #5
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    Re: Fisher, Lewis Impact Line

    Quote Originally Posted by Martz
    “I think it says a lot about character and how important it is,” Martz said. “They are very unselfish players and they understand how important they are to this football team. I think that says a lot about (them).”
    For once, I couldn't agree with him more. Tyoka had some inspiring words in pre-season and now you have key players demonstrating inspiring action. Combine that with the Da_Man Lewis showing the flash of brillance expected and the D could very well be ready to build on last year's highlight moments.

  6. #6
    sbramfan Guest

    Re: Fisher, Lewis Impact Line

    It actually works out just right in the timeline, as Pickett and Lewis are just now getting up to speed from their rookie years a few years back. Would've been nice to have Kennedy make some progress this year, which he apparently was, but credit the FO with getting these guys and getting by the last couple years with guys like Zgonina and Young, etc...

    With Flowers as a former 1st round pick, we've got a ton of 1st rounders on the D line.

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