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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

    Curtis shows he's ready to contribute
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/08/2004





    MACOMB, Ill. - Guess who was the last player to finish signing autographs at Hanson Field following Saturday's Rams-Bears scrimmage?

    Marc Bulger? Isaac Bruce? Aeneas Williams? Torry Holt?

    Not even close. Would you believe it was Kevin Curtis?

    That's what he gets for scoring a highlight-reel touchdown on a 35-yard run and catch from rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker.

    "My arm's a little sore," Curtis joked Saturday, finally making his way to the Brophy Hall locker room area nearly half an hour after the scrimmage.

    Curtis may have writer's cramp, but at least his right leg's not nearly as sore as it was last season. Curtis finally appears to have put his broken fibula behind him.

    "This is big for me," Curtis said. "I missed a lot of camp last year before I broke my leg, so it's good to get out there and get a lot of reps."

    Curtis, a third-round draft pick from Utah State in 2003, missed a couple of weeks early in training camp a year ago with a quadriceps muscle injury. He was just rounding into form, and flashing his defense-stretching speed, when he suffered the broken leg in a preseason game at Buffalo. Curtis had caught a 66-yard touchdown pass earlier in that game.

    After the injury in Buffalo, Curtis thought he'd be sidelined four to five weeks. But the bone never seemed to heal properly, making Curtis' rookie season a wash. He appeared in only four games - all around midseason - and caught four passes for 13 yards.

    "It definitely dragged on a lot longer than I'd hoped for," Curtis said.

    The broken bone never re-connected, Curtis said. "I don't know if it was because I was on it too early, or if it was how I broke it. But I was playing on it all year, practicing and that.

    "We tried to let it just rest, see if it could heal up on its own. But it'd been so long, that they felt like they needed to put a plate in there just to keep it stable so the bones could heal."

    As a result, Curtis had a second operation last February - nearly six months after the initial injury and surgery. A permanent plate was inserted in the leg, with six screws to keep it in place.

    "The bone is pretty much completely healed," Curtis said. "That's not going to give me any problem."

    He may have some additional discomfort related to scar tissue for the next several months, but the worst is behind him.

    "I'm feeling pretty good," Curtis said. "With two-a-days, we kind of got the camp legs going. We're running a lot. So yeah, it's a little sore. But nothing that's really slowed me down too much."

    Curtis certainly didn't look slow on his TD catch against the Bears. And in the practices leading up to the scrimmage, he had looked quicker and smoother.

    Ask coach Mike Martz if Curtis looks as good as he did last year at this time and Martz says there's no comparison.

    "He's better," Martz said. "He's much more refined. Certainly, as you can see, he's got his speed back."

    Curtis ran in the low 4.3s in the 40-yard dash before the injury, and he feels like he'd be close to that if timed today.

    "I think I could get in the 4.3s somewhere," Curtis said. "I don't feel quite as strong in my legs as I did before the injury, but that's just something that'll come back with time."

    The biggest difference in terms of Curtis' development is his knowledge of the offense.

    "Last year, I was kind of drowning trying to learn things," he said. "I feel like I have a lot better grasp of it. I've still got a lot to learn. But I definitely feel way ahead as far as the playbook."

    The challenge now will be cracking the top four in the Rams' wide receiver rotation, something that won't be easy. Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt obviously are givens in the starting lineup. Dane Looker seems firmly ensconced at No. 3 after a 47-catch, three-touchdown campaign in '03.

    That leaves Curtis, fellow '03 draft pick Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey fighting for the No. 4 spot. They'll all make the team. But whoever comes out of training camp at No. 5 and No. 6 simply won't play much.

    "I don't worry too much about it," Curtis said. "We've got a lot of good guys that can play, so I feel like we can all contribute in a way. Wherever I fit into that, I'll just kind of wait and see where they want to work me in - and do what I can to contribute."





  2. #2
    DJRamFan Guest

    Re: Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

    I love our receivers, let's hope they all stay healthy.

  3. #3
    sbramfan Guest

    Re: Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

    It's great that Curtis and McDonald are playing well. I have been thinking that it's Curtis' job to lose, but they keep talking about how much McDonald has improved..

    And Furrey sure did make the most of his opportunitylast year.

    ...very interesting. I can't wait to watch how these guys do in pre-season to see who goes out there and wins the job. I'm kinda pullin' for Curtis.

  4. #4
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

    This is one of those hidden strengths that separates the Rams from the rest. Sure our 1 and 2 receivers are at the top of the game, but I would put our 3 through 6 receivers even further ahead of any other team's 3 through 6. Now I know what you're saying, "it doesn't matter because how often does the 3 through 6 get on the field?" With Martz, it matters. The 3 receiver in this system is a starter and the 4 in this system is like a 3 in more conservative systems. Not to mention, with injury, you never know when a 3 or 4 is going to have to become a 2 or 3. Just ask Miami. Plus when you spread the field, you cause mismatches. If your reserve receivers aren't noteworthy, it does you no good to expose your QB with a spread offense.

    We may have our question marks, but I'm glad receiving depth isn't one of them.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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