Opportunity knocks for Rams' rookie lineman
By Bill Coats
Thursday, Nov. 08 2007

As a procession of free agents poured into Rams Park in a desperate effort to
fill holes on the injury-ravaged offensive line, rookie Dustin Fry bided his
time on the practice squad.

“When they kept bringing guys in, I was like, ‘Well, guess I’m not ready yet.
Just keep working hard and you’ll get ready,’” Fry said Wednesday. “I guess by
now either there was no one left out there or it was just my time.”

Fry was promoted to the 53-man active roster Tuesday, the same day guard Richie
Incognito underwent knee surgery in Birmingham, Ala. If Incognito winds up on
injured reserve, he’ll join fellow O-line starters Orlando Pace (shoulder), who
went down in the season opener, and Mark Setterstrom (knee), hurt in Week 3.

Massive shuffling ensued; the Rams used 14 different line combinations in eight
games before turning to Fry, a fifth-round draft pick. Not that he was
surprised. Fry acknowledged that a “terrible” training camp performance shoved
him far down the depth chart.

“It was pretty awful for me, and I knew that,” he said. “I don’t know if I was
out of my element or what. It just seemed so different, trying to learn a new
system. It was just the mental game, having to think so fast, and I struggled
with it. . . .

“When I watched film every day, I cringed, because I knew I could play better
but I wasn’t showing it.”

At that point, the practice squad became a desirable destination. “I was just
hoping to be able to stay around,” Fry said. “I was happy to still be a part of
the team.”

The 6-foot-3, 314-pound Fry was a center at Clemson, but coach Scott Linehan
likes him better at guard. “He has a little more size and bulk to him,” Linehan
said. “He’s a little bit bigger than what we’re playing right now at the right
guard spot.”

Though he’d never played guard, Fry was amenable to the move. “I’ve been
playing it a lot on practice squad and I kind of got real comfortable there,”
he said. “I enjoy playing guard.”

Still, Fry emphasized that he’s very much a work in progress.

“I really feel like I’ve got to work even harder now to prove that I’m supposed
to be on the 53-man roster, to be not just a guy where, ‘OK, we ran out of
guys, so we’ve got to bring you up,’” he said. “My goal was to get on the
53-man. My next goal is to play in games, and my next goal is to be a starter.
There’s a long way to go. This is just the next step.”
Go get em Dusty !!!