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  1. #1
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    QB catches on fast

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, May. 01 2005

    Normally, when a college player gets drafted late in the seventh round - No.
    251 overall to be exact - there's little cause for excitement.

    But when the position is quarterback, the team is the Rams and the head coach
    is Mike Martz, well, it's worth a closer look. Over the past eight NFL seasons,
    with the Rams and the Washington Redskins, Martz has had a hand in developing
    three Pro Bowl quarterbacks.

    Marc Bulger was a sixth-round draft pick; Trent Green entered the league as an
    eighth-rounder; and Kurt Warner went undrafted. So as nerve-wracking as draft
    weekend was for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, St. Louis was the ultimate
    destination under those circumstances.

    "Yeah, just the history of the guys that Coach Martz has taken under his wing
    and then coached to be great quarterbacks, I was real excited when I heard St.
    Louis was going to call my name in the draft," Fitzpatrick said.

    He was actually on the phone with Miami, which wanted to sign him as an
    undrafted free agent, when his "call-waiting" clicked. It was the Rams on the
    other line, telling him they were about to draft him.

    "It was certainly worth the wait," Fitzpatrick said. "I was real excited to
    share that experience with my family to be drafted, have my name come up. And I
    couldn't have ended up at a better place."

    Never mind that he was taken with a compensatory pick just six picks before the
    end of the entire draft.

    "My whole life I've been an underdog," Fitzpatrick said. "I was recruited and
    offered a scholarship to only one I-AA school - Eastern Washington. No I-A
    schools came knocking at my door."

    Well, California and Northwestern were "recruiting" him - but as a walk-on.
    Which seems surprising given the fact that Fitzpatrick set 12 school records
    and one state record at Highland High in Gilbert, Ariz. Fitzpatrick ended up at
    that noted Eastern football factory of ... Harvard. "Academics was always
    something that was important to me and my family, and something that was always
    stressed," Fitzpatrick said. "So I think that's one of the main reasons I did
    end up at Harvard."

    He will earn a degree in economics later this spring. On the football field,
    Fitzpatrick earned the Asa S. Bushnell Award after the 2004 season as the Ivy
    League's most valuable player. As a senior, he passed for 1,986 yards and 13
    touchdowns and rushed for 448 yards and five TDs.

    More important, Fitzpatrick said, "I didn't lose to Yale my four years at
    Harvard. That's one way they say that you'll be remembered, so it was a pretty
    good accomplishment for me."

    Not many Harvard players get drafted. Most recently, Seattle linebacker Isaiah
    Kacyvenski was taken in the sixth round in 2000. Nonetheless, the response to
    Fitzpatrick's selection was, uh, muted at Harvard Yard.

    "Harvard's a very humbling place," Fitzpatrick said. "All my teammates knew
    that I was drafted. I think a lot of the other athletes at the school knew that
    I was drafted. But other than that, you go to class, you sit with the 15 other
    kids and your teacher, and a lot of them have no idea."

    At least Fitzpatrick picked up one new fan over the weekend in Martz.

    "I'm very impressed with him," Martz said. "I don't know if I've ever been
    around a quarterback that absorbed what we've done with him out there as
    quickly as he did."

    Martz can be very tough on quarterbacks, particularly young quarterbacks. There
    was that sideline brow-beating of Joe Germaine during the Governor's Cup
    preseason game with Kansas City in 2001. In 2003, Martz threw Kirk Farmer out
    of the huddle in training camp.

    But Fitzpatrick made it through the entire rookie minicamp without even getting
    yelled at. During one practice, Fitzpatrick even got - gasp! - a pat on the
    back from Mad Mike.

    "He's a guy that I wouldn't yell at," Martz said. (Note to readers: Clip and
    save.) "He's just different. He is different."

    For one weekend, at least, Fitzpatrick proved to be a quick study.

    "It's funny, because you come out of college and you think you learned it all,"
    said Fitzpatrick, who was arm-weary Sunday after throwing hundreds of passes
    over five practice sessions.

    "My (pass) drops are sound. I've been doing it for 10 years now. I got here,
    and it's like everything's wrong. A lot of it is. There's a lot of things that
    I need to clean up and correct in my drops. They're really good teachers, and
    they know what they're talking about."

    Then there's the not-so-little matter of the Rams' playbook.

    "I've never seen a playbook that big," Fitzpatrick said. "I think I dropped it
    when they gave it to me, it was so heavy."

    Truth be told, the playbook Fitzpatrick was given Thursday was the Cliff Notes

    And he thought Harvard was tough.

  2. #2
    psycho9985 Guest

    Re: QB catches on fast

    I would like to see that playbook and have just one hour to skim through it to have a better Idea of what these rookies are going through,not to mention the 2nd and third,and sometimes fourth year players. Maybe we could get Dez to talk to Martz and we could have some kind of contest,and whoever wins gets to see the playbook:tongue:

  3. #3
    moklerman Guest

    Re: QB catches on fast

    I'm excited that the Rams have a qb that is catching on so quickly. The fact that he's an Ivy-leaguer probably lends to his mental capability but I'm even more impressed that he's made it this far without being chewed out by Martz. I'm anxious to see if he's got any physical skills to go along with his mental one's this preseason. So far, the (in)ability to pick up the playbook is the only thing that holds back potential qb's for the Rams.


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