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Opportunity knocks for Rams' rookie lineman
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
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.”
Re: Opportunity knocks for Rams' rookie lineman
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