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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Fitzpatrick a Play Away

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Rare is the occasion when you will ever see Ryan Fitzpatrick doing something half-hearted or lacking enthusiasm.

    When the Rams run windsprints, Fitzpatrick is always one of the first two done. When they sit in meeting rooms, Fitzpatrick enthusiastically soaks up as much information as possible. When he has to play the role of Peyton Manning in practice, he studies the quarterback’s mannerisms and makes it eerily realistic.

    “I’ve been an effort guy, sort of the underdog guy my whole life,” Fitzpatrick said. “The thing that’s got me here is hard work so there is no way I’m going to stop doing that now.”

    Now as in the time where Fitzpatrick has been bumped up to the team’s No. 2 quarterback. Now as in the time where Fitzpatrick is one play from being the team’s starting quarterback in his rookie season out of Harvard.

    In fact, Fitzpatrick might get the first playing time of his young career even if starter Jamie Martin remains healthy throughout the game. When starter Marc Bulger aggravated a shoulder injury against the Cardinals on Sunday, Martin moved back into the starter’s role with Fitzpatrick bumped back up to No. 2.

    But Martin suffered bruised ribs and took his share of hard shots in that game, leaving Fitzpatrick on the verge of getting on the field sooner than later. Fitzpatrick took some repetitions with the first-team offense Wednesday and is preparing himself for the possibility of his first regular-season action.

    “I’d like to say it doesn’t change at all, but obviously there’s the extra focus because you are really only one play away,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think I will be getting a few reps here and there in practice which is something I normally won’t get.”

    While Fitzpatrick hasn’t played in a regular season game, he did show plenty of potential with some shining moments during the preseason. Fitzpatrick was 17-of-32 for 324 yards and three touchdowns for a rating of 106.8 in four preseason games and also showed a penchant for being able to escape trouble and make plays with his quick feet.

    Although he hasn’t played with the top unit yet, Fitzpatrick has already made a good impression on receiver Torry Holt.

    “We know he has a very strong and live arm, a very big arm,” Holt said. “We know that he can run outside of the pocket, he can make guys miss and he has a tremendous amount of speed. He has some moves there too. That we do know about him. I haven’t had the chance to play with him in the ball game and tell you what he is like in the huddle and all of that stuff.

    “Watching him, he seems to have some poise. You can tell he has played some football and he’s played some good football. Coming from Harvard we assume he’s a smart kid. I think his potential and his best football is years ahead of him. By him being here and seeing how Marc and Jamie and those guys work and seeing how this offense works on a day to day basis is going to benefit him.”

    Fitzpatrick quickly became a favorite of coach Mike Martz because of his combination of intelligence, thirst for knowledge and toughness. His teammates and coaches say Fitzpatrick is always looking for a way to grasp the offense, asking questions regularly and going about his business like a grizzled veteran.

    “I think when you are the No. 2, especially in my case being young, the coaches pay a little more attention to me rather than the other way around,” Fitzpatrick said. “I am fascinated with this offense and I am trying to learn it as quick as I can and as well as I can. I plan on paying as much attention this week as I always have.”

    Of course Fitzpatrick doesn’t want anything to happen to Martin, but if given the chance, he intends to make the most of it.

    “You are always excited at the opportunity to play,” Fitzpatrick said. “Hopefully everything goes well and Jamie goes in and throws for 300 yards and we win the game. But if something happens and I do have to go in I am definitely going to try to seize the opportunity.”

    SMOKER BACK IN ST. LOUIS: Quarterback Jeff Smoker has spent most of this year bouncing back and forth between St. Louis and various cities. Whether for a visit or a short stay with a team, Smoker has been all over the map.

    This week’s travels have brought him back to St. Louis for his third stint with the Rams. After the injury to Bulger, the Rams signed Smoker from Philadelphia, where he was on the Eagles’ practice squad.

    Smoker was released in the final round of cuts before the regular season and was brought back after Bulger’s first shoulder injury against the Colts on Oct. 17.

    HOSPITAL NEIGHBORS: Guard Blaine Saipaia and safety Adam Archuleta spent Sunday night as neighbors in a local hospital after suffering concussions during Sunday’s game against Arizona.

    Saipaia said Wednesday that he was feeling groggy, but OK and that he probably won’t be playing this week.

    “More than likely,” Saipaia said. “I don’t think they will suit me up at all.”

    Saipaia suffered his concussion on a kickoff return that led to him taking a helmet to helmet shot. He was taken from the game on a cart and said he has never taken a blow as bad.

    “Not where I decided to take a nap on the field,” Saipaia said. “It was kind of a bruise to your pride. I guess it was just one of those things. He just caught me at the right angle and got me down.”

    Archuleta is also likely to be out this week. Interim coach Joe Vitt said Monday that Archuleta even played a couple of series after suffering his concussion. Jerome Carter will get the start in his place.

    WARNER’S RETURN: Based on his performance against the Rams on Sunday, Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

    Warner, in his first return to St. Louis since his release, threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns in the Cardinals’ 38-28 win at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Surprisingly, Arizona was unable to get the double play as safety Adrian Wilson didn’t win the defensive version of the award. Chicago cornerback Nathan Vasher won that award for his pair of interceptions against Carolina.

    INJURY REPORT: The injury list has grown exponentially one week after it returned to almost normal standards.

    Archuleta, Bulger and Saipaia are listed as out for this week. Cornerback Travis Fisher (groin) is doubtful. Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (toe) and cornerback DeJuan Groce (concussion) are listed as questionable.

    Vitt said Groce will be out this week, though, and Groce didn’t practice Wednesday.

    Running back Marshall Faulk (knee), defensive end Leonard Little (ankle) and guard Claude Terrell (toe) are probable. Archuleta, Bulger, Saipaia, Fisher, Atogwe, Groce and Faulk missed part or Wednesday’s entire workout.


  2. #2
    chris_johnson's Avatar
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    Re: Fitzpatrick a Play Away

    Good reading. Thanks

  3. #3
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    Re: Fitzpatrick a Play Away

    I just want to see Ryan play.Good or bad he needs the reps. if hes gonna be our future.Now is the time to get him rolling
    My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild

  4. #4
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    Re: Fitzpatrick a Play Away

    Quote Originally Posted by psycho9985
    I just want to see Ryan play.Good or bad he needs the reps. if hes gonna be our future.Now is the time to get him rolling

    Couldn't agree with you more! Vitt should get him in there with a game plan he can execute and then turn him loose!!


  5. #5
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    Re: Fitzpatrick a Play Away

    He had a good preseason and if we're up by a bunch (unlikely, I know) against Houston then I think we should bring him in and give him some playing time. Our last two QB's have come from nowhere maybe we'll have a third

  6. #6
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    Re: Fitzpatrick a Play Away

    i just don't see harvard as our future. martz seem to be the only one really high on him. there is a reason he was a 7th round pick. but if jamie martin is doing horrible i would like to see ryan get a chance. he loves to throws deep.

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