By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Aug. 06 2005

As Rams coach Mike Martz scanned the capacity-plus crowd that turned out at
Washington University for Saturday night's practice, he expressed hope that the
fans went away satisfied.

"It was a pleasant surprise; we didn't expect all these people," Martz said. "I
hate to disappoint them by not being in pads and having a lot of collisions,
but we're trying to get ready for the season the best way we know how without
losing guys.

"But they had a chance, I think, to see some things."

One of the things the 4,655 attendees might have glimpsed during the 1-hour,
45-minute workout at Francis Field was a possible shift in the order at
quarterback. With backup Jamie Martin nursing a groin injury and the presumed
No. 3 QB, Jeff Smoker, struggling early in training camp, rookie Ryan
Fitzpatrick took the majority of the snaps with the second team.

"I'm glad with all the work I can get," said Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round draft
pick from Harvard.

Fitzpatrick said quarterbacks coach John Ramsdell told him "about 5 minutes
before the start of practice" that he would be with the No. 2 unit. "But that's
the thing about the backup quarterbacks in the NFL: You have to be ready to go
at any time," Fitzpatrick said.

Martz called the practice - the team's first venture away from Rams Park since
camp opened July 28 - "a dress rehearsal. I was very pleased with some aspects
of it and very disappointed" with others.

Specifically, a ragged showing by the offense irked Martz. A team of NFL
officials was present, and eight false-start penalties were called, including
four on the first team. "Absolutely ridiculous," Martz growled. "You can't have
that. I'm very upset about that. We're way better than that."

A spirited performance by the defense - first and second units - gave Martz
something to smile about, however. Defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who snagged
two interceptions, and the linebacker corps were particularly impressive, Martz

Fitzpatrick had a blunder or two; he and starting quarterback Marc Bulger
combined to throw five interceptions. Nonetheless, Martz gave the rookie a
glowing review.

"He was outstanding," Martz said. "We gave him a lot of things to think about
and didn't really prepare him for this. I was very pleased with his demeanor
and his control of the situation ... very pleased."

Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this