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Notebook: Quarterbacks pass the test of friendship, camaraderie
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Friday, Nov. 03 2006
A year after passing for the second-highest yardage total in his 12 NFL
seasons, quarterback Gus Frerotte has yet to take a snap for the Rams. And if
he doesn't play at all in 2006, that's just fine with him.
"I tell (starter Marc Bulger) all the time he'd better not get hurt," Frerotte
said. "He's got to play the whole season."
Frerotte was kidding, sort of. "If I've got to go in, I go in," he said. "We're
all in it together."
But Frerotte, 35, is satisfied with his role as Bulger's backup and confidant,
as well as a tutor for second-year QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. "I'm having a great
time," Frerotte said. "It makes it a lot easier when you become good friends
with the other quarterbacks."
Bulger, Frerotte and Fitzpatrick have developed a tight bond. "The three of us
really get along, do stuff together," Frerotte said. "And no matter what
happens, we know that whoever is playing, we'd all be behind him and cheer him
Such camaraderie isn't a given in the NFL; ambition easily can intrude.
"That is a very good group, and it doesn't always work that way," coach Scott
Linehan said. "Sometimes it's more of a competitive environment, where people
are kind looking over their shoulder."
Linehan acknowledged he was concerned about the reaction when he brought in
Frerotte as a free agent. Linehan had been Frerotte's offensive coordinator for
the previous three seasons — two in Minnesota and last season in Miami.
"Initially, I'm sure there was some concern as to the agenda," Linehan said.
"Most quarterbacks know every week that they've got to play well to establish
themselves. Gus has been there; he doesn't need that. He wanted to help this
team by being a backup that we can win with if something ever happened to Marc."
Frerotte, who started 15 games for the Dolphins, throwing for 2,996 yards and a
career-high 18 touchdowns, initially helped Bulger adapt to Linehan's offensive
system. They continue to discuss strategy and approach regularly.
"Marc's played a lot; he knows what's going on," Frerotte said. "But we still
talk a lot, and I'm not afraid to tell him anything about what I see in a game."
While Bulger is busy at practice and during games, Frerotte has the time to
work with Fitzpatrick. "It's a big advantage for me," Fitzpatrick said. "He can
stand on the sideline with me and talk through different situations and
different experiences he's been through.
"He's been very successful in the league, so it's easy to listen to a guy like
Fire destroys Holt's high school
Torry Holt's alma mater, Eastern Guilford High in Gibsonville, N.C., was
destroyed by fire Wednesday. A number of Holt's family members, including
brother Terrence, a safety with the Detroit Lions, are graduates.
"It's tough, man. There were a lot of memories in that school," Holt said. "A
lot of my old teachers and coaches are still there. My love goes out to
everybody back in my community."
Linehan lauds Smith
The news that Michigan State coach John L. Smith won't be retained after the
season saddened Linehan. He worked for Smith at Idaho (1989-90 and 1992-93) and
Louisville (1999-2001) before coming to the NFL.
"He's a great coach, a great person, and he was a great mentor to me," Linehan
said. "I feel bad about it, and I have a couple of friends on that staff as
well. But he'll be working somewhere else ... and wherever that is, they'll be
lucky to get him."
Cornerback Travis Fisher turned his left ankle in practice Thursday. He was
listed as probable on the injury report. Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (hand)
remained questionable. ... Sunday's game has been sold out for weeks. It will
be televised locally on KMOV (Ch. 4).