Parade of injured players gives Rams' rookie his big chance
Fifth-round pick replaces Leonard Little
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS --
Rookie Dustin Fry has watched the parade of offensive linemen march on and off the St. Louis Rams' active roster this season.
Now Fry finally is getting his chance.
Fry has been promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to fill the spot vacated by defensive end Leonard Little, who has been placed on injured reserve due to a torn ligament in his foot that will require surgery.
"When they kept bringing guys in, it was just, 'I guess I'm not ready yet,'" Fry said. "I guess by now either there was no one left out there or it's just my time. Hopefully, I've progressed well enough to where maybe I start to contribute."
Fry took some teasing from several of his teammates for having a swarm of reporters around his locker on Wednesday.
"You guys are killing me," Fry said. "I haven't played a down yet, so it doesn't feel any different. Nothing really changes in practice for me."
Fry, a fifth-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, said he was disappointed, but not surprised when he was cut at the end of the preseason.
"Of course you are disappointed, but I had a terrible training camp," Fry said. "It was pretty awful for me. I knew that."
Asked why he thought his training camp was so terrible, Fry said, "I felt like I wasn't playing my game. I don't know if I was out of my element or what. Everything seemed so different for me. It wasn't so much the physical part as it was the mental part where you have to think so fast. I struggled doing it. When I watched film every day, I kind of cringed. I knew I could play better, but I wasn't showing it."
The 6-foot-3, 314-pound Fry is working some at guard as well as center. He said he has never played guard, but he's feeling more comfortable at that position after working there as a member of the practice squad the last nine weeks.
"We drafted him for the reason he's going to be playing for us, probably sooner than we planned," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "We also thought that he could be a very good guard because he has a little more size and bulk to him."
Center Brett Romberg was able to practice Wednesday, but he wasn't working at his customary spot.
Romberg lined up at right guard, a position where the Rams have an opening since Richie Incognito underwent knee surgery earlier this week, during the early potion of practice that the media is allowed to watch.
Romberg sat out the Rams' Oct. 28 game against the Cleveland Browns due to a matching set of sprained ankles.
"We're going to keep our fingers crossed about Brett," Linehan said of Romberg, who had limited participation in practice on Wednesday. "He did enough today to count him as a possibility for this game."
If Romberg can't play this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, Nick Leckey would be another option at right guard.
By inserting Romberg into the lineup at right guard instead of center, the Rams would be able to maintain some continuity on their offensive line.
"Moving guys around is tough on these guys," Linehan said. "You work them together, they're communicating together. If we're just able to replace one position and leave four guys at the spot they played the last game, it would enable us to have, if there's such a thing, some continuity in there."
Linehan said the Rams will wait at least a week before deciding whether to place Incognito on injured reserve.
The Rams are waiting to see how Incognito's knee responds to surgery. He's expected to miss four to six weeks, but the Rams are desperate for bodies on their offensive line.
"It's not a real rosy picture for him to be back sooner than later," Linehan said.
Linehan termed wide receiver and return specialist Dante Hall's chances of playing this Sunday as favorable.
Hall, who has missed three games due to a high ankle sprain, was able to handle a full work load in practice on Wednesday.
"He looks closer to 100 percent than I expected," Linehan said.
Tight end Aaron Walker sat out practice on Wednesday due to a sprained shoulder he suffered during practice on Monday.