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Fisher will be back in the lineup Sunday for Rams
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS - Travis Fisher, who has been sidelined since the preseason because of a broken forearm, will be starting at cornerback for the St. Louis Rams on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Martz said Fisher's forearm has healed sufficiently to allow him to regain the starting spot that he held for 15 games last season.
Martz said Fisher along with Jerametrius Butler and DeJuan Groce gives the Rams unusual depth at cornerback.
"I think it gives us three outstanding corners," Martz said. "Travis has played so well for so long, and he's such a physical player, that (he helps) us against the run."
Martz said Fisher was able to keep his legs in shape as his forearm healed.
"That made all the difference in the world as far as conditioning," Martz said. "If it was some sort of a leg injury, we'd be looking at a couple-three more weeks."
Fisher will be playing his home state of Florida on Sunday. He was born and raised in Tallahassee, Fla., and he played college football for Central Florida.
Running back Dusty McGrorty got a big surprise this week when Martz sought him out during practice.
"Coach Martz came up to me yesterday in practice and said, 'Make sure you pay attention to our offense because we're going to bring you up this week and you may get you some reps in practice,'" McGrorty said. "That got me fired up. I got into my playbook a little more last year."
McGrorty has been signed from the practice squad to the Rams' active roster because running back Arlen Harris has a hamstring problem that kept him out of practice on Thursday and Friday.
Martz thinks McGrorty, the NAIA all-time rushing touchdown leader with 75 during his career at Southern Oregon, has a lot of promise.
"I really like him," Martz said. "I think he is a terrific ballcarrier, I really do. He can play both positions, fullback and halfback. He is a bulldog. I would imagine he is going to be a heck of a (special) teams player."
McGrorty said he wouldn't shy away from busting up the wedge on kickoff or punt coverage.
"I'd love to go down there, anything I can contribute to help the team win," McGrorty said.
McGrorty said going from a small college to the NFL, especially with the Rams' complex offensive system, has Coming from a small college, McGrorty said the NFL experience has been difficult.
"It's a little overwhelming at first, but it's starting to sink in," McGrorty said. "It's a life that I never thought I'd be living right now."
The Rams cut safety Kwamie Lassiter to make room on their roster for McGrorty.
Lassiter played in four games this season for the Rams. He had 11 tackles.
Man in the middle
Rookie Brandon Chillar will start at middle linebacker in place of an injured Robert Thomas for a second straight week.
Chillar had never played middle linebacker -- he was an outside linebacker at UCLA -- prior to the Rams' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.
"It's a different beast," Chillar said of playing middle linebacker. "It's a different perspective. You're right in the middle of everything. It's a lot of fun."
Chillar had six tackles against the Buccaneers.
"He's taken to it so well; he's a smart guy," Martz said of Chillar. "He's just a natural inside there. I am very surprised that he has taken to it as he has."
Chillar said he was surprised early last week when the Rams' coaching staff told him he'd be playing middle linebacker.
"I just rolled with it," Chillar said. "When you're a rookie, you have to roll with anything that comes your way, so I just got my nose in the playbook."
As the middle linebacker, Chillar had to make the defensive calls for the rest of the linebacking unit against the Buccaneers.
"I got some help from Tommy (Polley) and Pisa (Tinoisamoa)," Chillar said. "I did mess one call up, but I did pretty well for the most part."
Rooting for the Redbirds
Rams rookie running back Steven Jackson predicted that the St. Louis Cardinals will win the World Series in six games over Boston Red Sox.
"It's going to be a tough," Jackson said. "Boston has some hitters -- (David) Ortiz and (Manny) Ramirez. Both teams have a lot of offense, a lot of firepower, so it's going to be some great games."
Jackson said he didn't play baseball growing up in Las Vegas, Nev. "It's too hot in Vegas," he said.
Me: I expect Marmie to take more chances with Fisher at CB. Probably more blitzing with man-on-man coverage. We'll see what kind of DC Marmie will be once he gets Fisher and Kennedy back. The defensive players should be accustomed to his schemes by the second half of the season.
Chillar has the kind of size at linebacker that I think the Rams really need. Hopefully he can develop into a linebacker who can take on and shed blocks.
Re: Fisher will be back in the lineup Sunday for Rams
Best wishes, Travis.
I hope he's really healed well enough to play a partial game.
Re: Fisher will be back in the lineup Sunday for Rams
I'm excited to see what Chillar can do as a middle linebacker. Between he and Thomas, I hope we've found someone we can count on as a starter.
In terms of Fisher, I can't help but wonder if he's being rushed back because of an injury to Butler. I guess we'll find out. I'm pumped to see him back in the secondary again.
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