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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Garrett, Groce Move to Forefront

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    About one year ago, Kevin Garrett and DeJuan Groce were rookies. Green as can be, the two young cornerbacks went through their first training camp with plenty of college pedigree, but little experience at the game’s highest level. They didn’t have to worry too much about stepping in and contributing on the field because of the presence of other talented corners Travis Fisher and Jerametrius Butler.

    On one play in the second quarter of the Rams’ second preseason game against Kansas City on Monday night, everything changed for Groce and Garrett. Fisher left the game after making a standard, everyday tackle, holding his right arm. It turned out the arm was broken and Fisher, who had four interceptions in 2003, could now miss the entire season. In an instant, Garrett was thrust into an unfamiliar role as the starting cornerback for the defending NFC Western Division champions.

    Fisher will have surgery Wednesday to get a plate put in his arm. He could miss anywhere from eight weeks to four months. Rams coach Mike Martz said Tuesday that he hopes to get Fisher back late in the season, but there are no guarantees. “No one really completely knows when we’ll get him back,” Martz said. “I think for us at this point, nobody really knows, so there is no sense in putting a time on it. It just gives somebody else an opportunity. That’s what they are here for.”

    Fisher’s absence leaves a gaping hole in the secondary that Garrett and Groce will attempt to fill. Groce sprained his left knee in practice on Aug. 18. He has not practiced since, but Martz said Groce would get back to workouts as early as Thursday. “We could possibly have him this week,” Martz said. “He will start running tomorrow. It’s a day-to-day thing. If he’s not ready, he’s not ready.”

    Garrett, meanwhile, appears ready to take his shot at the leading role. With Groce out of action, Garrett came in for Fisher and did a solid job in relief. Garrett was in a similar position to Fisher last year, when he missed valuable time with a fractured wrist. He played mostly on special teams in the nine games he appeared.

    Garrett is, perhaps, the fastest Ram. The second-year player out of Southern Methodist has had a strong camp, according to Martz. “Kevin had a better camp than I would have thought,” Martz said. “He had the furthest to go just in his skills and his background. DeJuan was a little more refined and I thought Kevin caught up. I was hardpressed to determine which one had the edge. That is good news.”

    If neither of the young corners can make the next step, there is one more option to replace Fisher. Aeneas Williams would probably be a pretty serviceable replacement considering he is likely to one day enter the Hall of Fame as one of the game’s all-time great cover men.

    Williams moved to safety a year ago and flourished with one of his best seasons, finishing with 113 tackles, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Martz said moving Williams back to his original position is unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility. “I would hate to move him,” Martz said. “You’d have to consider it if DeJuan wasn’t ready to go and Fish is out and some other things going on. I talked to him about it last night, the potential that it could happen in a desperate situation. We certainly don’t want to do that.”

    It wasn’t too long ago that Fisher and Butler were the young corners stepping up in to a new role and succeeding, for the Rams’ pass defense to continue to improve, it will need to happen again


  2. #2
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Garrett, Groce Move to Forefront

    I hate to have the guy I called out as being the one who will make headway this year get his chance like this, but that's the nature of pro sports. Step up when injury or playing time is required.

    Garrett will be ok in the secondary.

  3. #3
    elAcky Guest

    Re: Garrett, Groce Move to Forefront

    reminds me of the situation last year when we were all saying the same about fisher and butler... wonder what happened !!

  4. #4
    Aries51's Avatar
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    Re: Garrett, Groce Move to Forefront

    I feel pretty good about Garrett.I think he's gonna be a solid player.I'm still not sure what to think about Groce.Lets just hope these guys can stay healthy and injury-free through the remainder of the pre-season.
    ST.LOUIS RAMS:THE MOST FRUSTRATING TEAM IN THE NFL!!!

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