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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Laurinaitis more at ease this season ..

    Second-year linebacker says he's comfortable
    BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis has time to sweat the details a little more in his second season in the NFL.

    "It's not going to be such a whirlwind like last year with trying to learn the whole defense," Laurinaitis said. "I know it a lot better, but there is always little details. You can always learn more. What I was learning in defensive strategy last year I can now flip to, 'What is the offense trying to do us?'"

    Laurinaitis, a second-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, set a Rams record for most tackles by a rookie with a 144 last season.

    He is only the second rookie in team history to lead the Rams in tackles. The other was Pisa Tinoisamoa, with 123 tackles in 2003.

    "He's been a great addition," Rams defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. "My hat's off to Billy (Devaney) and (Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo) on drafting him, and actually getting him where we got him because he's a first-round guy, as far as we're concerned.

    "We put a lot of management skills on him. We expect a lot from him. He knows it, and the thing I just love about the guy is that he works at it. He'll be better this year than he was a year ago. We need him to be. He is a pro when it comes to his preparation and attention to detail. Hopefully, he'll have a long and illustrious career here."

    Laurinaitis' father, Joe, a former professional wrestler, said his son has always done his homework prior to playing games.

    "In high school, he had a three-ring binder almost as thick as the Rams' playbook, and he would evaluate and chart every play that he watched the other team run on film," Joe Laurinaitis said.

    Joe Laurinaitis is in St. Louis dog-sitting for his son.

    "I have two Rotweilers, and I don't want them to be in the house all the time, so he's letting them out," James Laurinaitis said. "My mom and my sister will come down at a later date."

    "All I've been doing is pooper-scooping his lawn for him," Joe Laurinaitis said. "What's wrong with this picture?"

    Joe Laurinaitis also has been attending the Rams' training camp practices.

    "He loves watching," James Laurinaitis said. "He loves being a dad. If he could get on the sidelines, he'd be right next to coach watching every single thing."

    Joe Laurinaitis was training for a tryout with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL when he was given the chance to pursue a professional wrestling career. He would take the stage name of "Animal" and become half of the famous "Road Warriors" tag team.

    "At that time, I was already benching over 500 (pounds) and weighed maybe 260 (pounds)," Joe Laurinaitis said. "Football was my first love."

    James Laurinaitis said his father no longer gives him playing tips. He leaves that up to the Rams' coaching staff.

    "He doesn't give any advice anymore," Laurinaitis said. "He doesn't say anything anymore. He's just sitting there proud. He's a very proud father."

    That doesn't mean that the elder Laurinaitis is a wallflower all the time, especially when it comes to watching his daughter, Jessica, a highly touted defenseman, play ice hockey.

    "I went to a summer hockey game, and he's the one dad in the stands still yelling at the refs complaining about the calls," James Laurinaitis said. "I'm like, 'It's summer hockey for these girls.' He's that dedicated. He wants the best for my sister and the best for me."

    James Laurinaitis is one of four linebackers from Ohio State with the Rams. The others are: Bobby Carpenter, Na'il Diggs and Larry Grant.

    Pity rookie linebacker Josh Hull, a seventh-round draft pick out of Penn State.

    The Ohio State linebackers have renamed Hull "Little Joe" after Penn State coach Joe Paterno and "Kitty Cat" after Penn State's Nittany Lion mascot.

    "We always growl when he comes around," James Laurinaitis said. "I don't know if you've ever been to a Penn State game, but they have that sweet lion roar, so we like to imitate that whenever he comes around. That's the advantage of having four Ohio State guys on the team. You can kind of poke fun at him a little bit."

  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Laurinaitis more at ease this season ..

    gotta love Son of Animal.

  3. #3
    sosa39rams's Avatar
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    Re: Laurinaitis more at ease this season ..

    Man oh man. He is just so impressive. Everything he did last year was fantastic and his work ethic and dedication are just off the charts. I truly believe next year he will be a top 10 linebacker.

  4. #4
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Laurinaitis more at ease this season ..

    Benching over 500 lbs.....Yeah he's an animal alright!

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