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Thread: Adeyanju in a Rush
Adeyanju in a Rush
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
For many years, Rams legend Deacon Jones was known for using the “cast” on his hand as a way to fight off offensive linemen and terrorize quarterbacks.
Current Rams defensive end Victor Adeyanju hasn’t drawn comparisons to the legendary Jones in terms of play but a quick glance at the giant white club adorning Adeyanju’s right hand might at least harken some memories.
Of course, using a cast or any other object as a weapon has long since been declared illegal but who’s to say what can happen in the heat of the battle.
“That’s technically illegal,” Adeyanju said. “Technically it’s illegal, but when the body’s moving, going crazy, somebody might get hit.”
Adeyanju suffered a broken right middle finger on July 27, an injury that kept him out for the balance of training camp. Adeyanju had surgery in St. Louis, getting three pins placed in the finger.
During Adeyanju’s rookie season, he sported a similar cast after breaking his forearm against San Francisco on Nov. 26.
“Victor for one thing, and I joked about it, played with a club before so it’s not new to him,” coach Scott Linehan said. “For a ‘D’ lineman it hinders you probably as it does any position, not being able to use your hands, but he’s gone through that before and he’s never slowed down. He’s so anxious to get onto the field that he came out right away and was effective. He really is one of our best run defenders and played well even with the cast on there.”
Soon after surgery, Adeyanju was already pushing to get back on the field. He spent much of his time lobbying line coach Brian Baker to return to practice as soon as possible.
Most players wouldn’t mind the chance to miss the bulk of training camp but Adeyanju wanted to come back. Entering his third season in the NFL, Adeyanju and many of his coaches believe he is on the verge of a breakout season.
He gained more weight and muscle in the offseason, up to 280 pounds. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and Baker have big plans for Adeyanju this season, working him at end on running downs and sliding him inside for some passing downs.
His hallmark talent remains that ability to stop the run as Haslett and Baker have both said on numerous occasions he’s one of the best run stopping ends they have encountered.
“Victor is a legitimate tough guy,” Baker said. “He’s always been our best run defending end, no matter what Leonard (Little) or James (Hall) might say. He’s the best against the run. He’s a machine. He was starting to get much better in the pass rush. Just because he’s gotten so much bigger, we can play him inside. The ability to move him around some was something we were really looking forward to and he was starting to embrace that and then the finger got broken.”
Adeyanju returned last week and participated in the preseason home opener against San Diego.
In that game, Adeyanju had a tackle and three quarterback pressures. It came as no surprise that Adeyanju had such success even with the relatively cumbersome cast on his hand.
There’s no doubting that Adeyanju is perhaps the team’s stoutest defender against the run but to become a complete player, he has put in the work to become an effective pass rusher.
As a rookie, Adeyanju had one sacks in 12 games and failed to bring down a quarterback in 15 games in 2007. Despite all of his run stuffing ability, Adeyanju hopes all of his hard work will pay off in the form of a breakout season in 2008.
“My first year, I got thrown into the fire and it was great for me,” Adeyanju said. “But it was the little aspects like ball get off, hand placement, pulling, just recognizing things really quick. You don’t get that. You have to do it on the run and I think I was able to back track a little bit to the basics and get the foot work, hand work and start visualizing and seeing things different than my first year.
“That’s a big emphasis, just not being one-dimensional all the time, reading keys quicker. I feel really comfortable and confident in that, I just have to make it happen on Sundays.”
For now, Adeyanju is re-adjusting to life in a cast. He says the process of getting it wrapped and put on before practice causes him to begin the process of getting dressed for practice earlier than the rest of his teammates.
“It feels like you’re carrying a baby, and you have to play,” Adeyanju said. “No, I’m teasing. Anything to get out. It’s kind of awkward and weird at first, but I’m just trying to get used to and adjusted to it. It gets kind of claustrophobic. Your hand’s in there and you’re like ‘I want to get it out,’ when it’s in there for like five hours. But, I really want to be out there with my team, and I have to be out there to get the reps. The only positive side is when I get my hand back, it’s going to feel even more wonderful.”
After the Rams used the second pick in the draft on end Chris Long and re-signed James Hall, Adeyanju found himself once again in limbo in terms of playing time.
But even in the short bursts of time he’s been healthy in this preseason, Adeyanju has been the most consistently dominant end on the team aside from Leonard Little.
When the season starts, it’s safe to expect Adeyanju will get plenty of opportunities to work in the rotation inside and out.
Adeyanju expects to lose the cast in the next two to three weeks, taking away any chance he has to use it to his advantage. But he’s OK with that and he will spend the rest of the preseason taking advantage of every opportunity he’s given.
“A lot of people don’t like the preseason, but for me, especially now, it’s like the building blocks of a foundation,” Adeyanju said. “I need to go through the reps mentally, hand placements, just so I know that when the season starts, I can be at my full potential.”
Re: Adeyanju in a Rush
If Chris Long continues to improve as we all expect. Then Little, Hall, Adeyanju and Long do begin to look like a very good quartet of DEs.
Re: Adeyanju in a Rush
Re: Adeyanju in a RushVictor is a legitimate tough guy,” Baker said. “He’s always been our best run defending end, no matter what Leonard (Little) or James (Hall) might say. He’s the best against the run. He’s a machine. He was starting to get much better in the pass rush. Just because he’s gotten so much bigger, we can play him inside. The ability to move him around some [is] something we [are] really looking forward to and he [is] starting to embrace that...”
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