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Thread: Kennedy puts best foot forward
Kennedy puts best foot forward
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Thursday, Nov. 11 2004
For Jimmy Kennedy, half a loaf is better than none. A broken foot in training
camp sidelined him for seven games. But after making his 2004 debut in Sunday's
40-22 loss to New England, he seems determined to make the most out of the
remainder of the season.
"It's always great to be back on the field," said Kennedy, the Rams'
first-round draft pick in 2003. "It's just tough to come out with this loss."
Unofficially, Kennedy was in for 25 plays at defensive tackle against the
Patriots, spelling starters Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis. Kennedy dropped
Corey Dillon for a 1- yard loss four plays into the game, and finished with
Beyond the tackling stats, Kennedy got penetration on a few other plays, and he
displayed good hustle trying to chase down Patrick Pass from behind on a
19-yard run in the fourth quarter. All in all, it was a solid performance.
"I expected to be out there more," Kennedy said. "Ryan, D- Lew, we're all
first-rounders. We all want to be out there on the field. I was on the sideline
saying, 'Bill, let me get some action.'"
Bill Kollar is the team's defensive line coach.
"I found that when I was moving around, the foot wasn't bothering me," Kennedy
said. "But when I was sitting, my foot just started to relax and it was
starting to throb. It was hard to get the blood flowing in it again."
After the game, Kennedy said the foot was throbbing a little, but added, "It's
nothing I can't handle."
Coach Mike Martz liked what he saw of Kennedy against the Patriots, and what he
saw Wednesday and Thursday at Rams Park.
"This week in practice, he's been exceptional," Martz said. "It's thrilling, it
really is, for me to see him come from where he was last year to the point
where I think he is right now. I really am anxious to see him on Sunday
(against Seattle). ... Everything about Jimmy is moving in the right
The same couldn't be said at this time last year. At the end of last season,
Martz questioned Kennedy's commitment to becoming a good NFL player. He said
Kennedy had a lot of growing up to do.
For the most part, Kennedy put in the time last offseason in terms of weight
training and conditioning. Following the foot injury, which occurred Aug. 5 in
a joint practice session with the Chicago Bears, Kennedy got up close and
personal with strength and conditioning coach Dana LeDuc.
"I'd rather be on the field than in the weight room with 'Duke,' " Kennedy
said, half-joking. "He gets it out of you."
Martz has commented on several occasions about how much stronger Kennedy has
gotten in the weight room since the injury. But Kennedy says it isn't as if he
suddenly discovered how to lift weights.
"Not at all," he said. "I think I'm the same strength as I was since high
school and college. I just think it took this injury for these guys to see how
strong I am. It was one-on- one every day with the strength coach, and he saw
my strength go up."
In addition, being allowed to play at a heavier weight has helped. Kennedy
played at about 305 pounds last season under Lovie Smith, who was a stickler
for leaner linemen. Under new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie this season,
he's at 325 pounds, which is closer to his college weight at Penn State.
Kennedy is stronger in spirit as well as body since the injury.
"When I broke my foot, I asked God all the time - 'Why me?'" Kennedy said. "But
I was able to sit back and go to the meetings, and still learn from a lot of
the veterans. ... I think I found a new love for this game."
But three tackles don't make a career, and Martz is curious to see if Kennedy
"You make three or four really good plays and you feel like you've got to
recover and re-charge your batteries a play or two," Martz said. "It doesn't
work like that. We all know that. The intensity level's the hardest thing to
Re: Kennedy puts best foot forward
I can't wait to see the Grizzly Bear get some more action out on the field. We all know the kind of talent Jimmy Kennedy holds, and as his foot heals more and he maintains that positive attitude toward the game, he'll only get better. I won't be surprised when I see him starting at the end of the season.
He took the right message when Martz called him out last season, and I hope the rest of the players do the same this week.
Re: Kennedy puts best foot forward
Getting Kennedy more playing time may be part of Martz's strategy to shake things up on defense. Getting him into the rotation could really make a difference by keeping the line fresh. We all know he's got the size. Let's hope he can make a difference plugging up those holes and getting penetration. It should be fun to watch.
Re: Kennedy puts best foot forwardFollowing the foot injury, which occurred Aug. 5 in a joint practice session with the Chicago Bears, Kennedy got up close and
personal with strength and conditioning coach Dana LeDuc."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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