Fisher stands out in battle of the backups

In the battle for back-up running back, rookie Tony Fisher made himself heard.<p> The undrafted rookie out of Notre Dame signed with the Packers in the spring and has been an impressive surprise at training camp. Saturday, he finally got the chance he was waiting for to take the field in the NFL.<P>

Fisher led rushing with 55 yards on nine carries. Half of that came on his break-through 28-yard gain in the opening minutes of the third quarter.

"I was impressed with Fisher. He's run like that in practice and he continued that in the game," Packer GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "The only thing is he wasn't doing that against their first defense, he was doing it against their second defense, so it wasn't a great barometer, although they do have a good second defense . . . I thought he ran extremely well."

Fisher gained nine yards on his first carry for an apparent first down, but a holding call on receiver Robert Ferguson negated the play. So Fisher got the penalty yardage and the first down back on his next chance, bursting up the middle for the 28-yard gain.

"It felt good. It kind of reminded me of being back at college," said Fisher who gained more than 1,800 yards and scored 15 TDs in his Notre Dame career. "Being the first time I had that break, I wanted to turn it into a touchdown, but I have to remember that I'm not always going to be the fastest guy out there. "I felt pretty good considering it was the first time I played in the NFL or an NFL game. Other than dropping that one pass, I feel like I had a pretty good game today," Fisher said. Fisher also caught one pass for four yards, but it wasn't the one he caught that stands out.

"The only mistake he made, he took his eyes off a check-down and dropped it from Doug (Pederson)," Sherman said. "He turned his eyes upfield, dropped the pass and he should have pulled that in. But he ran extremely well and he broke a long one against a blitz they ran . . . So I thought he did, for an undrafted free agent trying to make a football team, he did all he could do today and he just has to build on that."

Fisher also added a 22-yard kickoff return to his totals.

In the derby to play second-string to starting back Ahman Green, Fisher got a better look at his competition during the preseason opener. Rondell Mealey gained 26 yards on 10 carries and scored a one-yard TD. His touchdown capped the Packers'first scoring drive as he dove into the left corner of the end zone with 13:32 remaining in the first quarter.

Herbert "Whisper" Goodman gained 15 yards on three carries including a 7-yard run. Jason Brookins had one carry for 2 yards. Ki-Jana Carter did not play due to a sore Achilles tendon.

"He has a 'hot'Achilles, we're just trying to let that heal up," Sherman said. "There wasn't a need for him to play. We kept him dressed in case we ran out of guys, if he had to play, he'd play, but I wanted to hold him back as long as I could."

After the game, Green assessed his backups.

"I think it went well. It was great to see Tony Fisher go out there and run hard, (Jason) Brookins in his first year in the offense go out there and run hard, Green said. "I think Rondell (Mealey) showed that he can handle taking a lot of plays in a row, because sometimes they give me a spell, you've got to be ready to go five, six, seven plays in a row.

"It's good to see that because then you know that they know what they have to do, and under pressure they didn't panic," Green said. "We've got three more preseason games and all they can do is get better from here."


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