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Thread: Adeyanju Ready for Opportunity
Adeyanju Ready for Opportunity
By Nick Wagoner
With injury comes opportunity and nobody knows that better than Rams defensive end Victor Adeyanju.
In each of his first three seasons in the league, Adeyanju has been a valuable reserve for the Rams defensive line and each year, inevitably one of the players starting ahead of him has suffered some type of an injury giving Adeyanju a chance to start.
During his three-plus year career. Adeyanju has started 25 of 43 games he’s played in. This year, things have been a bit different, though.
Adeyanju is again getting a chance by way of injury but it isn’t necessarily a starting role. When Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo announced Thursday that backup end C.J. Ah You would miss the rest of the season because of a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament, the focus immediately shifted to Adeyanju.
“It’s a chance for Victor to get in there and play around a little bit and then as the week goes along, we will try some different combinations and see if that is the best thing for us,” defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. “Right now, Victor will come in and I’m sure Victor will do a good job for us. He is a very diligent young man. He is a true professional so it will be his turn.”
Adeyanju has learned plenty about waiting his turn during his time in the league, never more so than this season.
Entering training camp as one of the more experienced defensive linemen on the team, Adeyanju found the adjustment to a new defensive scheme and coaching staff a bit difficult.
In Spagnuolo and Flajole’s defensive system, defensive linemen are asked to do a lot and play a variety of different positions. Although Adeyanju has experience playing inside and out, the assignments and techniques are different in this defense.
“I moved inside a little in years past but a new scheme, new coordinator, you have to learn a lot of things and learn a lot of techniques and things they work with,” Adeyanju said. “Initially it was a little bit difficult challenge getting your nose in the book and learning three or four positions. Now, I think everybody including myself has got it down pat.”
Adeyanju’s learning curve left him a bit behind the other defensive linemen and he became a victim of the numbers game, leaving him inactive for the first six games of the season.
Like any player, Adeyanju was disappointed that he was unable to do enough to get on the field.
“As a player and competitor it’s obviously very tough but you have to believe in the coaches and I feel like I am not better than anybody,” Adeyanju said. “If that’s the decision they have to make then I respect their decision. As a competitor it hurt but as a team guy I understood what it was and it’s a long season and I will get my opportunity eventually.”
That opportunity came for the first time this season in the Oct. 25 game against Indianapolis. Injuries to Ah You and James Hall created the chance and Adeyanju has slowly but surely been worked into the rotation.
Adeyanju admits that getting re-adjusted to the speed of the game was a bit difficult.
“The first game back I was (getting used to it),” Adeyanju said. “It was a little bit quicker but I have got some reps the past two games so I think I am ready and putting everything together. Practicing fast helps tremendously.”
Ah You got most of his work on special teams and played on defense in the Rams’ special nickel package in which they employ four defensive ends across the line.
Adeyanju will likely be asked to step into both roles according to Spagnuolo and it stands to reason that because of Adeyanju’s size, he would likely step into the middle of that nickel alignment next to Hall with Leonard Little and Chris Long on the outside.
Regardless of how he’s used, Adeyanju says he plans to make the most of his opportunity to play and prove himself all over again.
“That’s one of the things about this league,” Adeyanju said. “It’s a very dangerous sport; a lot of guys go down. You don’t wish that but that’s the name of the game. Every year I have been here, I’ve had the opportunity to play a lot of snaps so I know that when my time comes, I will give my best.”
THREE SPORT STAR: Fearful of what he was about to ask his father, Jordan Kent meekly approached dad Ernie a few years ago with a simple question.
Kent, who had already established himself as a dynamic athlete at the University of Oregon while playing basketball and running track, wanted to try out for football.
It was Kent’s junior year and he had always wanted to try the gridiron though he had zero experience. Kent already had a full plate and he didn’t get the reaction he’d hoped from his father Ernie, the basketball coach for the Ducks.
“He really wasn’t for it at the time,” Kent said. “He gave his blessing about a week later. He’s been one of my biggest fans since then.”
Kent signed a free-agent contract with the Rams on Tuesday after the team placed Keenan Burton on injured reserve with a knee injury.
The signing of Kent comes only about a month after he had his first tryout with the team. The Rams opted not to sign Kent at that time and he returned home to Oregon.
Since, he’s been working out every day and trying to stay in shape while he waited for a call to come from a team.
When his phone rang at about 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Kent was visiting a friend in Seattle. Although he had the foresight to bring packed bags with him, he couldn’t catch a flight that night and drove back to Oregon for a 6 a.m. flight Tuesday.
“I was excited and very thankful and grateful to be part of this organization,” Kent said.
Kent was a two-sport star at Winston Churchill High in Eugene, Ore., running track and playing basketball. That wasn’t enough for Kent when he got to Oregon, though.
“I always wanted to give it a shot,” Kent said. “I just didn’t want to be sitting there 10 years from now saying shoulda, woulda, coulda. I knew if I tried in college and it didn’t work out, I could say I tried it. Thankfully it worked out.”
It wasn’t easy for Kent to play three sports in college but he said he made the sacrifices necessary for it to work.
“You got to bed early and you don’t have much of a social life,” Kent said. “Honestly. It was a lot of fun. It was a season the whole year. You have some sacrifices but it’s a lot of fun doing all three.”
Kent spent most of the past year and a half shuttling between Seattle’s practice squad and active roster, contributing on special teams when he was active.
For the Rams, he could figure into the mix immediately on special teams but is still a bit of a project at receiver considering his limited experience in the game.
“In some ways; he’s a good size and he runs pretty well,” Spagnuolo said. “There is a lot we’ve got to find out; that is why we’ve got him in here. It was nice to get him in on a Wednesday and do some things. Just at this particular point right now it sure helped.”
BARTELL FEELING WELL: Rams cornerback Ron Bartell says he is feeling about as good as he has since the beginning of the season.
Hampered by a leg injury since the Green Bay game on Sept. 27, Bartell used the bye week to rest and get healthy. Like all players in the league, Bartell isn’t 100 percent at this point in the season but he’s closer than he’s been in a while.
And Bartell’s return to near full health couldn’t come at a better time. He was part of a secondary that did a solid job against the Saints’ dynamic passing attack last week and faces another tough challenge this week in the form of the Cardinals.
“I feel so much better than I did the past couple of weeks,” Bartell said. “That week off really helped. This is the best I have felt since about week 2 so hopefully it will continue.”
INJURY REPORT: The Rams wrapped up their week of practice on Friday with injury questions along the defensive line marking the injury report.
As expected, guard Richie Incognito is out this week because of a foot injury. Adam Goldberg will start in his place on the right side.
Defensive end Chris Long, who has battled a bone bruise in his knee this week, is listed as questionable after he wasn’t able to go full speed in Friday’s practice. He will likely be a game time decision.
“As I watched him a couple of plays there, it doesn’t look like he’s full speed,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll wait and see. We’ve got 48 hours.”
Defensive end Leonard Little (knee), James Hall (back) and defensive tackle Clifton Ryan (toe) are probable and should be ready to go.
Re: Adeyanju Ready for Opportunity
Hope Victor takes advantage of the situation. Everything I've read about the guy has led me to believe he's a solid individual. I hope he really takes full advantage of the opportunity.
Bartell has been solid through the injury. People want to dump on him, it's unfair. He's a big part of the reason the Rams played so well against the Saints and he will be a big part of their success going forward.
If the offensive line continues to play well on the inside without Richie, what are the odds he is brought back next season?
-11-20-2009 #3Mooselini Guest
Re: Adeyanju Ready for Opportunity
Man our entire defensive line has been banged up! Look at that!
Re: Adeyanju Ready for Opportunity
Victor should have been playing in place of Ah'you this year anyways, this is long over due.
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