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    RamWraith's Avatar
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    It's so far, so good as Lewis sets sights on staying healthy

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/11/2004

    MACOMB, Ill. - As Rams training camp grinds along, the injury list fluctuates, sometimes brimming with names, other days identifying only a few relegated to the sideline. Often just as important is the players who haven't shown up among the wounded.

    Defensive tackle Damione Lewis is in that category, which ranks as a significant development. Lewis has participated in every practice, from start to finish, as he attempts to nail down the starting spot that Brian Young held before signing with New Orleans in the offseason as a free agent.

    A broken foot in 2001 and an ankle sprain last year cost Lewis 11 games during his three-year career and perhaps are the primary reasons he hasn't achieved the potential the Rams saw when they drafted him in the first round (12th overall) in '01.

    Living up to such lofty expectations, though, isn't paramount in Lewis' mind. "That doesn't even bother me," he said. "Every time I'm on the field, I've got something to prove. It's just the competitive part of it." Mainly, he just wants to stay on the field.

    "That's been the biggest thing since I've been here," said Lewis, 26. "I just want to be healthy, and I tried to work in the offseason to do what I need to do to stay healthy for the whole year. That'd be a big deal for me."

    And for the Rams. Without Young and defensive end Grant Wistrom, who went to Seattle as a free agent, two holes in the front four need to be plugged. So far, Bryce Fisher is manning Wistrom's right-end spot. And Lewis is holding down things inside, alongside Ryan Pickett. Pro Bowl defensive end Leonard Little handles the left end.

    Coach Mike Martz said the 6-foot-2, 301-pound Lewis has "had a real good camp. He had a good practice (last Saturday) against the Bears, good pass rush. That inside pass rush is so hard to find, and he looks like he's got some of that going for him."

    Tinoisamoa notices a difference this year

    For Pisa Tinoisamoa, the road from the University of Hawaii to the NFL All-Rookie team traveled through Macomb, where a year ago he was one of training camp's most pleasant surprises. Tinoisamoa, the Rams' second-round draft pick in 2003, quickly proved that he deserved a spot in the lineup at outside linebacker.

    It didn't stop there. Tinoisamoa, 6-0 and 235 pounds, started every game. He collected 121 tackles, making him the first Rams rookie to lead the team in that category. At camp this year, he said he feels like a grizzled veteran.

    "I'm just having a lot more fun because I know what I'm doing," he said. "Last year, it seemed like everything came at once, so it was kind of hard. But now it's moving a lot slower, I'm picking up things a lot faster, and that makes it easier. It just makes me feel more secure. I don't have to worry when I'm on the sideline, 'What do I have to do? Where do I line up?' ..."

    Ram-blings

    Martz said the Rams had received reports on the recent injury evaluations that tackle Kyle Turley (back) and center Dave Wohlabaugh (center) have had. Martz indicated that he wanted to talk to both players before commenting publicly on the contents of the reports. ... Martz turned down what he termed "serious lobbying" by guard Adam Timmerman and defensive end Tyoka Jackson to allow the veterans to leave Macomb for St. Louis on Wednesday night.


  2. #2
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: It's so far, so good as Lewis sets sights on staying healthy

    With all the negative stuff clouding the offense, the defense is seemingly quiet this offseason. Which is good news for us as fans. The defense is going to either win it or lose it for us, and if this unit can stay healthy look out.

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    Re: It's so far, so good as Lewis sets sights on staying healthy

    TX, I was originally worried about our D-line. You are right, it has been relatively quiet on the D side of the ball; and that usually is good. Now, with injuries & holdouts, I am more concerned about the O-Line. I hope your D is up to the task and quietly takes charge of this team while the O develops a line. Damn how I have waited a long time for the season to return. Pre-season or not, tonight the fun begins again. Go Rams...



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    Re: It's so far, so good as Lewis sets sights on staying healthy

    Coach Mike Martz said the 6-foot-2, 301-pound Lewis has "had a real good camp.
    I knew he looked bigger! When I was at camp, Lewis, Pickett & Kennedy happened to be side-by-side-by-side signing autographs. I knew Pickett & Kennedy were in the 320s but Lewis was still listed at 280. But to look at them they all looked very similar, there certainly wasn't a 40 pound difference, a 15 pound difference maybe. But while Grease & Kennedy looked a little chubby, Lewis looked muscular. He must have seriously hit the weight room. I've never been a fan of D-Lew, but I am looking forward to eating every bad word I've said about him.
    Quote Originally Posted by TxRamsfan
    The defense is going to either win it or lose it for us, and if this unit can stay healthy look out.
    Tx, these guys are going to make some serious noise this year (as long as we stop the run). If our line can plug the interior, the back 7 are going to have a field day! Man, crank it up. Let's get this season rolling! :ramlogo: :ramlogo:
    "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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