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  • Fisher will be back in the lineup Sunday for Rams

    http://www.belleville.com/mld/bellev...ts/9994798.htm

    BY STEVE KORTE
    [email protected]

    ST. LOUIS - Travis Fisher, who has been sidelined since the preseason because of a broken forearm, will be starting at cornerback for the St. Louis Rams on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

    Martz said Fisher's forearm has healed sufficiently to allow him to regain the starting spot that he held for 15 games last season.

    Martz said Fisher along with Jerametrius Butler and DeJuan Groce gives the Rams unusual depth at cornerback.

    "I think it gives us three outstanding corners," Martz said. "Travis has played so well for so long, and he's such a physical player, that (he helps) us against the run."

    Martz said Fisher was able to keep his legs in shape as his forearm healed.

    "That made all the difference in the world as far as conditioning," Martz said. "If it was some sort of a leg injury, we'd be looking at a couple-three more weeks."

    Fisher will be playing his home state of Florida on Sunday. He was born and raised in Tallahassee, Fla., and he played college football for Central Florida.

    McGrorty promoted


    Running back Dusty McGrorty got a big surprise this week when Martz sought him out during practice.

    "Coach Martz came up to me yesterday in practice and said, 'Make sure you pay attention to our offense because we're going to bring you up this week and you may get you some reps in practice,'" McGrorty said. "That got me fired up. I got into my playbook a little more last year."

    McGrorty has been signed from the practice squad to the Rams' active roster because running back Arlen Harris has a hamstring problem that kept him out of practice on Thursday and Friday.

    Martz thinks McGrorty, the NAIA all-time rushing touchdown leader with 75 during his career at Southern Oregon, has a lot of promise.

    "I really like him," Martz said. "I think he is a terrific ballcarrier, I really do. He can play both positions, fullback and halfback. He is a bulldog. I would imagine he is going to be a heck of a (special) teams player."

    McGrorty said he wouldn't shy away from busting up the wedge on kickoff or punt coverage.

    "I'd love to go down there, anything I can contribute to help the team win," McGrorty said.

    McGrorty said going from a small college to the NFL, especially with the Rams' complex offensive system, has Coming from a small college, McGrorty said the NFL experience has been difficult.

    "It's a little overwhelming at first, but it's starting to sink in," McGrorty said. "It's a life that I never thought I'd be living right now."

    The Rams cut safety Kwamie Lassiter to make room on their roster for McGrorty.

    Lassiter played in four games this season for the Rams. He had 11 tackles.

    Man in the middle


    Rookie Brandon Chillar will start at middle linebacker in place of an injured Robert Thomas for a second straight week.

    Chillar had never played middle linebacker -- he was an outside linebacker at UCLA -- prior to the Rams' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

    "It's a different beast," Chillar said of playing middle linebacker. "It's a different perspective. You're right in the middle of everything. It's a lot of fun."

    Chillar had six tackles against the Buccaneers.

    "He's taken to it so well; he's a smart guy," Martz said of Chillar. "He's just a natural inside there. I am very surprised that he has taken to it as he has."

    Chillar said he was surprised early last week when the Rams' coaching staff told him he'd be playing middle linebacker.

    "I just rolled with it," Chillar said. "When you're a rookie, you have to roll with anything that comes your way, so I just got my nose in the playbook."

    As the middle linebacker, Chillar had to make the defensive calls for the rest of the linebacking unit against the Buccaneers.

    "I got some help from Tommy (Polley) and Pisa (Tinoisamoa)," Chillar said. "I did mess one call up, but I did pretty well for the most part."

    Rooting for the Redbirds

    Rams rookie running back Steven Jackson predicted that the St. Louis Cardinals will win the World Series in six games over Boston Red Sox.

    "It's going to be a tough," Jackson said. "Boston has some hitters -- (David) Ortiz and (Manny) Ramirez. Both teams have a lot of offense, a lot of firepower, so it's going to be some great games."

    Jackson said he didn't play baseball growing up in Las Vegas, Nev. "It's too hot in Vegas," he said.

    Me:
    I expect Marmie to take more chances with Fisher at CB. Probably more blitzing with man-on-man coverage. We'll see what kind of DC Marmie will be once he gets Fisher and Kennedy back. The defensive players should be accustomed to his schemes by the second half of the season.

    Chillar has the kind of size at linebacker that I think the Rams really need. Hopefully he can develop into a linebacker who can take on and shed blocks.

  • #2
    Re: Fisher will be back in the lineup Sunday for Rams

    Best wishes, Travis. :helmet:

    I hope he's really healed well enough to play a partial game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Fisher will be back in the lineup Sunday for Rams

      I'm excited to see what Chillar can do as a middle linebacker. Between he and Thomas, I hope we've found someone we can count on as a starter.

      In terms of Fisher, I can't help but wonder if he's being rushed back because of an injury to Butler. I guess we'll find out. I'm pumped to see him back in the secondary again.

      Comment

      Related Topics

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      • RamWraith
        Rams cornerback trying to recapture form after injury
        by RamWraith
        R.B. FALLSTROM

        Associated Press


        ST. LOUIS - The first hit was the worst part of Travis Fisher's comeback. After being out since the preseason with a broken right forearm, the St. Louis Rams' cornerback thought he had broken it again.

        "It was aching real bad," Fisher said Wednesday. "You can't help but notice it when it's hurting."

        It ended up being just a scare for the third-year player, who made it through the entire game against the Dolphins two weeks ago. That game ended up helping him shake off some rust and he'll be trying to shake off more on Sunday against the Patriots.

        "I think anytime you take a blow and break a bone, it's a setback," Fisher said. "It's going to be hard. But I'm getting there."

        Fisher, a second-round pick in 2002, was out more than two months after being injured Aug. 23 against the Chiefs in the next-to-last preseason game. So any struggles were understandable, especially considering that he only had a few practice days to prepare.

        "I felt like I could go out there and make some plays," he said. "I made a couple and I missed a couple. Those are gone and I'm working hard in practice on the things I messed up on."

        Coach Mike Martz said he probably rushed Fisher back to action, considering how long he'd been sidelined. He was anxious to get him on the field and solidify a secondary that's been banged-up much of the season.

        Fisher started 29 games the last two seasons, and last year he tied for the team lead with four interceptions. But his arm, which still is held together with a plate and screws, is not yet 100 percent.

        "I was remiss in not spelling him in that game in Miami," Martz said. "That's a coaching error on my part. He is absolutely, I think, a top-flight cornerback."

        Fisher ran and lifted weights for three days with the rest of the team last week, and on Monday he looked like a different player to Martz.

        "He had conditioned really well but still it's different than playing the game," Martz said. "He's there now, I believe."

        Fisher said the most difficult part of coming back is executing the fundamentals that become rote over time. He's a former high school sprint champion in Florida, so reacting to the pace of the game has been less of a factor.

        While Fisher was out, DeJuan Groce started four games at his right cornerback spot. Jerametrius Butler, the regular at left cornerback, started one game there when Aeneas Williams was moved to cornerback, and Kevin Garrett also started one game.

        Now, the shuffling is over.

        "I bring a lot to the game," Fisher said. "I go out and try to make something happen and I just love playing the game."

        Notes:@...
        -11-04-2004, 03:07 PM
      • RamWraith
        Fisher's injury puts secondary in tough spot
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        08/24/2004

        After bumpy rookie seasons, cornerbacks DeJuan Groce and Kevin Garrett felt much more at home in their second NFL training camp.

        "You can see that confidence building in them," secondary coach Perry Fewell said last week, before the team broke from Macomb, Ill. "I think they're much more comfortable and not as anxious as they were a year ago."

        That confidence and "comfort" will be put to the test after Travis Fisher suffered a fractured forearm in Monday's preseason game in Kansas City. Fisher is scheduled to have surgery today.

        Immediately after the game, coach Mike Martz indicated that Fisher could be lost for the season. He softened that stance somewhat on Tuesday, but it's clear Fisher is out for an extended period.

        "No one really completely knows when we'll get him back," Martz said. "You can be very optimistic and talk about eight to 10 weeks, and then very pessimistic and say three to four months. ...We're not going to put him on IR (injured reserve) at this point."

        But the bottom line remains the same. Fisher, an up-and-coming cornerback, will be hard to replace - and Groce or Garrett will be the replacement. "They've both had very good camps," Martz said. "In fact, Kevin had a better camp than I would have thought. He had the furthest to go, just in his skills and his background. He didn't have the discipline.

        "DeJuan was a little bit more refined. And I thought Kevin caught up pretty good in camp. In fact, I was hard-pressed to determine which one had the edge."

        Groce normally is Fisher's backup, but Garrett has stepped into that role since Groce suffered a knee injury last week in Macomb. The injury occurred while Groce was planting in coverage against Torry Holt.

        Martz said Groce is close to coming back, but may not be ready to go until the preseason finale Sept. 2 in Oakland.

        "I think the swelling is out of the knee pretty good at this point," Martz said. "It's not as sore. ... It's a day-to-day thing. But if he's not ready, he's not ready."

        Even after Fisher's injury, the Rams don't want to rush Groce back against Washington on Friday, or against Oakland. It's the regular-season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona that counts.

        "Everything is about getting ready for that opener, and that's what we have to keep in mind," Martz said.

        Groce was the team's third cornerback last season, and occasionally got thrown into some tough situations - like that start against Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and the Pittsburgh Steelers in October when Fisher was sidelined with a strained groin.

        "I got thrown into the fire sometimes last year," Groce said. "Having...
        -08-25-2004, 05:40 AM
      • RamDez
        Fisher is expected to be in the lineup Sunday in Miami
        by RamDez
        Fisher is expected to be in the lineup Sunday in Miami
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Friday, Oct. 22 2004

        Not only will Rams cornerback Travis Fisher return to game action Sunday in
        Miami, he's expected to be in the starting lineup.

        Fisher, a third-year pro, started 26 games in his first two seasons with the
        Rams. He's been sidelined since Aug. 23, when he suffered a broken right
        forearm in a preseason game at Kansas City. Fisher had surgery two days later
        and was expected to be out three to four months.

        But almost exactly two months later, he's "ready to go," coach Mike Martz said.
        Fisher will team with Jerametrius Butler, with DeJuan Groce the No. 3
        cornerback. "It gives us three outstanding corners," Martz said.

        While the arm mended, Fisher hastened his return by staying in shape through
        individual conditioning drills at first, and later in non-contact work at
        practice. He participated in team drills for the first time this week.

        "That made all the difference in the world conditioning-wise," Martz said. "If
        it was some sort of a leg injury, we'd be looking at probably another couple,
        three weeks. ... He's excited to play. He's prepared very well."

        With Fisher's return assured, the Rams released safety Kwamie Lassiter. Dusty
        McGrorty was moved up from the practice squad to take Lassiter's spot on the
        53-man roster. McGrorty is an undrafted rookie from Southern Oregon, an NAIA
        school. He's a running back by trade, but he's slotted for special-teams duty.

        Lassiter is a 10-year veteran who was signed as a free agent on Sept. 21. He
        played mostly in the dime package, recording 11 tackles. He also had three
        stops on special teams.

        Run defense improves


        What do Atlanta's Michael Vick, New Orleans' Aaron Stecker and Seattle's Shaun
        Alexander have in common? Each has rushed for more than 100 yards against the
        Rams, who came into Monday night's game 29th in the 32-team NFL in run defense.

        But if the stark turnaround vs. Tampa Bay was a true indicator, things could be
        changing. The Rams limited the Buccaneers to 55 yards on 22 carries in a 28-21
        victory.

        "Going into the game, that concerned us the most, to hold up against the run,"
        Martz said. "We've gotten better and better every week. The different things
        we're doing defensively, our players are becoming much more familiar with now.
        I think they're comfortable with it now."

        New defensive coordinator Larry Marmie has tweaked some aspects of the scheme.
        Plus, the defense has been adjusting to the free-agent losses of half its front
        four of end Grant Wistrom and tackle Brian Young. ...
        -10-23-2004, 01:50 AM
      • RamWraith
        Groce set for slot as defender
        by RamWraith
        Opportunity came with Butler's injury
        BY STEVE KORTE
        News-Democrat

        ST. LOUIS - Cornerback DeJuan Groce doesn't see himself as one of the new guys on the St. Louis Rams' starting defense going into the team's season opener against the San Francisco ***** on Sunday.

        Groce started four of the first six games last season after Travis Fisher suffered a broken forearm in the preseason.

        Groce has became a more permanent fixture in the Rams' starting lineup this season after Jerametrius Butler went down with a season-ending knee injury early in training camp.

        "I'm just taking all my learning experiences from last year out there with me this year," Groce said. "Last year, I had to start the first regular season game. I just have to go out there and play. I'm just going to take everything I learned from Aeneas (Williams), Fish and J.B. onto the field."

        Fisher thinks Groce will be able to handle the pressure of being a full-time starter.

        "DeJuan has been here, he got a lot of playing time last year," Fisher said. "He has really improved his game and I think all of the players, as well as the coaching staff, have a lot of confidence in him."

        The ***** have two young receivers in Brandon Lloyd and Arnaz Battle.

        Lloyd, a former University of Illinois standout, had 43 catches for 565 yards and six touchdowns last season.

        Battle had eight receptions for 103 yards to go along with a punt return for a touchdown and 16 special teams tackles last season.

        "(Lloyd) is more of a deep threat, and Arnaz is more of an over-the-middle man," Groce said. "He'll catch it and take the hit over the middle."

        Coaching comrades

        Rams coach Mike Martz and San Francisco ***** coach Mike Nolan served together as assistants on Norv Turner's Washington Redskins coaching staff in 1997 and 1998.

        Martz was the quarterbacks coach, while Nolan was the defensive coordinator.

        "Mike has always had a great deal of leadership," Martz said. "He's a calm personality who exudes confidence, a very sharp individual. He just demands a great deal of respect automatically when you meet him. He has that sort of air about him, a very intelligent guy. He does a great job."

        The respect between Martz and Nolan is mutual.

        "On a personal level, I really enjoy Mike," Nolan said. "He's very witty. He has a dry sense of humor, and I think he is a very good guy. On a professional level, I think he has a very good mind for football, which is evident in what he has done there in St. Louis. I have a lot of respect for Mike as a coach and a person."

        I am the Wahlroos

        The Rams' renewed emphasis on special teams probably played a part in linebacker...
        -09-10-2005, 06:49 AM
      • RamDez
        Another Young Gun: Rookie Chillar is poised to start at linebacker
        by RamDez
        Another Young Gun: Rookie Chillar is poised to start at linebacker
        By Bill Coats
        Of the Post-Dispatch
        Saturday, Sep. 11 2004

        The Rams have made a habit of starting rookie linebackers: Tommy Polley in
        2001, Robert Thomas in 2002 and Pisa Tinoisamoa in 2003.

        That trend should continue Sunday in the regular-season opener against Arizona.
        Brandon Chillar, the team's fourth-round draft pick in April, is expected to be
        in the lineup.

        Ironically, he's manning the spot Polley held for the past three seasons.

        Chillar started the last three preseason games and graded out well.

        "He just doesn't make mistakes," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "The way he times
        and gets through people and gets to the ball, head in front, outstanding
        tackler, does not make mistakes, gets lined up right, takes on blockers ...
        he's just a refined player for a guy that young."

        When they strap on the helmets for real, though, Chillar anticipates a
        noticeable difference.

        "I expect it to be a lot faster," he said. "I think the guys are going to be a
        lot more hungry. Every yard's going to count. I've tried to prepare myself the
        best I can. Once I get out there, I'll just have to adjust."

        NFL rules kept Chillar, 21, out of the Rams' full-squad minicamp in May because
        his senior class at UCLA hadn't yet graduated.

        So he arrived in Macomb, Ill., on July 27 "a little bit behind the 8-ball,"
        linebackers coach Joe Vitt said.

        Chillar made up for it by diving into the playbook.

        "That was the advice I got from the older guys, to get into your playbook, that
        the fastest way to get off the field is making mental errors," he said. "The
        mental preparation I do, I take that real serious."

        First, Tony Newson supplanted Polley on the No. 1 unit early in camp. A week
        later, Chillar nudged Newson aside and has stayed there since.

        "We knew that he was going to be extremely physical and that he had courage,"
        Vitt said. "What's surprised us is his range and his athleticism. ... He's got
        a good grasp of what we're doing with our regular package.

        "He's got a long way to go, as he knows. But he's easily coached. He takes to
        hard coaching, and he wants to be good."

        Chillar is the first NFL player of Indian descent.

        His father, Ram Chillar, left his native India in November 1974, settling in
        Southern California.

        He soon became an NFL devotee.

        "I didn't know anything about U.S. football," his dad said. "But the first game
        I saw, I liked it, even though I didn't know what they were doing. I liked the
        action,...
        -09-12-2004, 01:04 AM
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