Losing Doesn't Come Easy for QB

Rams rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't used to losing. While the Vikings like the look of Fitzpatrick, they are also hopeful they can pounce on a rookie.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will make his second career start Sunday against Minnesota, and the rookie seventh-round draft pick hopes this start goes better than his first. Last week against Washington, Fitzpatrick struggled at times with accuracy, although he did score the Rams' only touchdown on a 7-yard run. The outcome, a 24-9 defeat, was something he's not accustomed to experiencing.

"That's the first time I've lost in a long time," he said. "I didn't lose my senior year in college. I haven't felt that feeling in a while. It's not a great feeling. I'm ready to get out there and get a win."

Fitzpatrick was most disappointed with some poor throws, especially being wild high on sideline passes.

"The most frustrating thing for me last week was the fact that I just missed some throws that I know I can make and I have made before," he said. "Things are going to happen out there and not everything is going to be perfect, but the expectation I have on myself is that I'm going to be able to make throws when guys are open.

"I know I am going to make some mistakes, but my biggest frustration was just missing some throws. Throws that I know I can make, throws that I made before, especially on a couple of balls I threw high on the sideline."

There was also a botched handoff in the fourth quarter, when the Rams were down by only eight points. Fitzpatrick lost the handle, the ball bounced off running back Steven Jackson's leg and the Redskins recovered. Fitzpatrick insists it's now behind him.

"You have to move on," Fitzpatrick said. "The focus is now Minnesota. You kind of hold that inside. I felt like I did let some people down. I'm going to try to play a better game this week."

Of course, the Vikings have seen what others have done to the Rams in recent weeks, no matter who was at quarterback.

Said Minnesota defensive lineman Spencer Johnson, "Everybody is licking their chops. Definitely, definitely. It's a new situation (for Fitzpatrick). We're going to really try to get after him, especially up front. Get some pressure in his face and hope he makes some mistakes."

Whatever happens in the short term, it appears Fitzpatrick will only get better.

"I think you've got a kid that is mature beyond his years," Rams interim coach Joe Vitt said. "The game is not too big for him. He's athletic, accurate on the run, extremely smart, he's got good command of the system and the huddle. Our players have confidence in him, and obviously he has a tremendous upside to him."

Said Vikings coach Mike Tice, "I liked him coming out. I loved him coming out, and we talked about him two or three times during the draft. I'm big on Harvard guys. My center is a Harvard guy, or he was. He's also injured, Matt Birk. I like smart guys. I liked everything I saw on film about him. Matt Birk had high praise for him coming out. They got a good one. I think he's a very good, young prospect."


  • QB Jamie Martin, who was the third quarterback last week after suffering a concussion against Houston on Nov. 27, will be the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick this week against Minnesota.

  • CB Terry Fair was placed on injured reserve Thursday because of further problems with his neck. Fair was originally injured against Detroit in the preseason.

  • T Matt Morgan was signed to the roster from the practice squad Thursday and will be the backup tackle this week against Minnesota.

  • DT Brian Howard has missed two days of practice this week because of a concussion suffered against the Redskins and likely won't play this Sunday.

  • SS Jerome Carter, who struggled with his tackling last week against Washington, is on the injury report this week as probable with a foot injury. Carter will play this week, but is expected to back up Adam Archuleta, who is returning from a concussion.

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