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Martz praises Curtis' performance
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
As compliments go, coach Mike Martz laid a big one on Kevin Curtis this week when he lumped him in the same class with fellow Rams wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.
"I think he's on a par with (them); I really do," Martz said. "I think those three are very comparable receivers. I think right now, he's at that level."
Curtis, a third-year pro from Utah State, was having none of that.
"I've done very little compared to those guys. I've got a lot to prove to be up in that status," he said. "It's a nice thought, though."
Curtis has a point: Bruce and Holt - both four-time Pro Bowlers - have combined for 1,294 receptions, 19,909 yards and 119 touchdowns. Curtis' career totals are 36 catches, 434 yards and two touchdowns.
Martz has a point, too: Curtis gained more yards (369) than any Rams wideout over the past four games of the 2004 season, and he's leading again this preseason.
In two games, Curtis has seven catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Holt has caught five passes for 80 yards and a TD. Bruce has five receptions for 58 yards, with no scores.
Part of Curtis' production can be tied to Martz's design. At San Diego, where Curtis had four catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, Martz said he "went out of the way to make sure we got (Curtis) the ball, put him in a position to make big plays, to see where he is, to make sure that when we start the season, he's ready to go."
Curtis, 27, collected the bulk of his real estate in the 36-21 loss to the Chargers when he hooked up with rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for a 78-yard score in the final two minutes.
"I felt bad because I wish I would've kept the ball for him, his first touchdown and all," Curtis said. "I just dropped it in the end zone."
Instead, Fitzpatrick tried to "reward" Curtis. "The guy tried to give me a $50 bill for catching and scoring," Curtis said. "I thought about it. I held onto it for a minute, and then I gave it back to him. I said, 'I don't want your money.' "
One of Curtis' top assets is his breakaway speed, which is enhanced when he isn't bothered by a chronic case of shin splints. He has been pain-free this summer, as Martz has throttled back on the physical demands in the preseason.
"It makes a big difference; I feel a lot better," Curtis said. "I'm definitely healthier than I've been in a long time."
Martz said: "His speed is really, truly remarkable. And all the raw techniques ... the refinement of that position has been completed for him. Now, it's just how you use him and where to use him."
That's the ticket, Ron
The Rams are sending rookie cornerback Ron Bartell home. But it's not what you might think.
Bartell was born and raised in Detroit, where the Rams will play the Lions on Monday night at Ford Field. Bartell has received upwards of 30 requests for ticket requests from friends and family. "I don't know if I'm going to be able to get all those," he said. "It's crazy."
He's trying to avoid dipping into his wallet for the tickets. "It's a lot more than I'm willing to pay," said Bartell, a second-round draft pick from NCAA Division I-AA Howard University. "I might have to go to the bank for that."
Despite the possible expense, Bartell said he was eagerly awaiting the nationally televised contest. "It's always exciting to play a game and go test yourself against other receivers in the league," he said. "To do it at home and on Monday night, I couldn't ask for any better opportunity."
The team practiced outside Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 9. The 2-hour, 15-minute session ended with a series of sprints around the outside of the fields. It wasn't punitive, Martz emphasized.
"This is by design; this is our scheduling," he said. "If we did this three weeks ago, it just wouldn't be right. This is the time to do that stuff. It's time to go. ... We're just trying to step it up now."
With the first round of cuts just five days away, Martz assured that he'll notice anyone who tries to take a breather.
"They can cut themselves in practice pretty easily," he said. "I watch everything that they do. There isn't anything I don't see. Honest to goodness, there's nothing that passes me by, either out here on the field or on tape. I'll watch everything.
"Some of these young kids from college, they feel like if they're on the back side of something; it doesn't matter. They just won't be here this way. This is the business of the elite. This is the elite playing an elite game."
Blaine Saipaia worked out with the first team at left guard with rookie Claude Terrell, who struggled versus the Chargers, moving to the No. 2 unit. ... An MRI exam of tight end Roland Williams' knee showed no structural damage. The sprain could keep him out of Monday night's game. ... A sore toe kept defensive end Tyoka Jackson out of practice. ... Linebacker Brandon Chillar (shoulder) suited up for the first time in a week.
Re: Martz praises Curtis' performance
I Think Mad Mike Went A Little Overboard With That Compliment,grouping Curtis With Ike And Holt,maybe Someday But Thats Way Down The Road.
Re: Martz praises Curtis' performance
Agreed john, but its a nice thought. I wonder if fitz handed out $50 every time he threw a td at harvard?
Also, i like sapaia with the first unit. good experience for him.
ramming speed to all