He's not Kurt, Steve or Eli, but pretends to be in practice
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Last week, he was Kurt Warner. This week, he has been Steve McNair. Next week, he'll be Eli Manning.
Meet Ryan Fitzpatrick, budding impersonator.
In his role with the Rams' scout team, Fitzpatrick apes the opposing team's quarterback in practice.
The idea is to give the defenders as authentic a look as possible at the upcoming offense.
Fitzpatrick, a rookie from Harvard, is adjusting to the assignment. "I'd never really been involved with the scout teams at all through high school or college," he said. "But it's fun to get out there and get reps."
When cast as Warner, Fitzpatrick stayed mostly in the pocket. As the ersatz McNair, "I did a little bit more running, a little bit more scrambling this week," Fitzpatrick said. "It's mostly schemes and what the plays call for. But sometimes there are little things they want me to mimic that the quarterbacks do."
Storm of memories
As Hurricane Rita closed in on the Texas-Louisiana coast, on the heels of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, difficult memories resurfaced for Rams defensive end Anthony Hargrove.
Last August, the Hargrove home in Punta Gorda, Fla., was destroyed by Hurricane Charley. His family, including his girlfriend and their 15-month-old son, escaped injury. Hargrove left training camp in Macomb, Ill., briefly to help with the cleanup, and he brought two of his four brothers to St. Louis to live with him.
As Rita approached, Hargrove said: "I just try to be a comfort to everybody if they have any family in the area. I'm kind of preparing them for what might happen."
Barron may suit up
Don't be shocked if first-round draft pick Alex Barron is in uniform Sunday for the home opener against Tennessee.
Barron, inactive for the first two games, has been backing up Blaine Saipaia at right tackle, and even took some reps with the first team this week.
"It's a little different now that it looks like I'm back on the right side," Barron said. "I was on the left side for a long time, and it's kind of like starting over a little bit. I'm trying to get some extra study in."
Coach Mike Martz had projected Barron, a Florida State product, as the starting right tackle shortly after the draft in April. But Barron missed the first 2 1/2 weeks of training camp because of a contract dispute and fell far behind.
"I feel as though I'm catching up a little bit," Barron said. "But I'm not as far along as some other guys on the line. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can."
Big plays without Little
The Rams rank third in the 32-team league against the run, in sharp contrast to last season, when they wound up 29th. Stout play by defensive tackles Ryan Pickett, Jimmy Kennedy and Damione Lewis has been part of the equation.
"It feels good to not have everyone depend on (end) Leonard (Little) to make plays every time," Kennedy said. "Now, on third down, they aren't just screaming, 'Go Leonard!'"
Receiver Dane Looker missed practice Friday with the flu. ... Former Lutheran North High standout Robert Douglas, a rookie fullback from the University of Memphis, is on the Titans' practice squad. ... Defensive coordinator Larry Marmie was awarded a game ball after the win at Arizona. Marmie held the same position with the Cardinals before joining Martz's staff last year.
Re: He's not Kurt, Steve or Eli, but pretends to be in practice
Mr. Harvard is getting plenty of chances to use his brain and think like other QBs, big name QBs. That has got to be good for him and the team. He seems to be learning fast. Good job Fitz.