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  1. #1
    RamsFan16's Avatar
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    Notebook: Changes give Kennedy a new outlook, and a new position

    Notebook: Changes give Kennedy a new outlook, and a new position
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    06/11/2006

    Rams defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy breaks away from a block by Jason Fisk (left) in a defensive linemen's drill.
    (CHRIS LEE/P-D)

    Jimmy Kennedy used to crawl into bed with the noisy rebukes of defensive line coach Bill Kollar still ringing in his ears. These days, Kennedy sleeps peacefully and wakes with a smile on his face.

    "It's a different environment," Kennedy said. "When you love coming to work every day, it just makes your job that much more fun."

    Fun was an emotion rarely enjoyed by Kennedy, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle, during his first three years with the Rams. His play didn't support his status as a first-round draft choice (No. 12 overall), due at least to some degree to his oil-and-water relationship with the leather-lunged Kollar.

    "I'm not bashing the guy, because I know what he was trying to get out of me," Kennedy said. "But ... his teaching technique isn't for everyone."

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    Kollar is gone now, along with former head coach Mike Martz and most of the rest of his staff.

    "It's like a new start," said Kennedy, who is penciled in as the starting nose tackle.

    "He has a heck of a work ethic that I didn't know he had," new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "I wasn't one of his staunchest supporters coming out of the draft, to be honest with you. And he knows that. But he's changed me from what I've seen.

    "The guy works hard, and he has more speed than I realized. He's smart, he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, and he listens. ... He's going to be a heck of a player."

    Nose tackle is a new position for Kennedy, 26. Ryan Pickett, who signed with Green Bay as a free agent in March, manned that spot the past four seasons. Kennedy started five games alongside Pickett in 2004 and the first nine last year before losing his job to Damione Lewis, who also left as a free agent.

    "The nose tackle spot, you have to be powerful first, and then react," said Kennedy, 26. "You're getting double-teamed, and it's an adjustment. I have to figure out my reads. I'll get better at it as time goes on."

    Back in the game

    Six months after a serious injury threatened his career, linebacker Dexter Coakley is rehabbed and re-energized.

    "I'm able to get out there on the field and compete and do everything that everyone else is doing," Coakley, 33, said Saturday during a break in the full-squad minicamp at Rams Park. "I'm still not 100 percent, but I'm very encouraged."

    Coakley, brought here last year as a free agent, suffered a dislocated ankle and a broken left leg Dec. 4 against Washington. He'd missed only one game in eight previous seasons with Dallas.

    "To go through a season like last year and then the rehab, it was a new situation for me," said Coakley, who is backing up Pisa Tinoisamoa on the weak side. "It was tough, challenging. But I just kept the faith, kept plugging along, and I got better."

    Coakley wondered only briefly whether his career might be finished. "You think about it," he said. "But I didn't want to go out like that."

    Ram-blings

    Minicamp will wrap up with a short practice Sunday morning. ... Offensive linemen Orlando Pace and Todd Steussie missed the afternoon practice because of calf tightness. .. Running back Fred Russell stayed home Saturday with a stomach virus. ... Linebacker Trev Faulk is sitting out minicamp as he recovers from offseason back surgery. ... The team has hired former NFL quarterback Cary Conklin to fill one of two vacant positions on the scouting staff.

    RamsFan16

  2. #2
    tim
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    Re: Notebook: Changes give Kennedy a new outlook, and a new position

    sounds like he's using kollar as an excuse for being worthless since he was drafted.

  3. #3
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    Re: Notebook: Changes give Kennedy a new outlook, and a new position

    I dunno. When every defensive lineman we draft underperforms, you have to ask yourself whether it might be the coaching. And look at how many of our defensive linemen we would have liked to resign left for other teams over the last couple years...Wistrom, Fisher, Pickett. Sure, some of them were paid more than we could afford, but none of them seemed that eager to stay, either.

  4. #4
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    Re: Notebook: Changes give Kennedy a new outlook, and a new position

    On one hand, I've never been a Kollar fan. He is (IMO) the most overrated position coach in the history of football. On the other hand, as a professional, Kennedy needs to rise above his situation, in this case poor coaching.

    This year will tell a lot, but I'm going back to the prediction well one more time on this one. Here it goes (again).......assuming he's healthy, Kennedy will be one of the top DTs in the league this year.
    "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

  5. #5
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    Re: Notebook: Changes give Kennedy a new outlook, and a new position

    I never understood why Kollar was given such an easy pass by the local media until this past season. It never made sense to me. Heck, they even made fun of people on KFNS for callers who questioned his abilities to get the most out of the players.

    Just look at Little. Guy has tremendous talent and speed and he's never learned a move except the speed rush from the outside. How many years does it take to learn a move to the inside? Hargrove was doing the exact same thing. I expect an improvement along the entire line.

  6. #6
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    Re: Notebook: Changes give Kennedy a new outlook, and a new position

    This article just makes me realize how glad i am that marmie is gone. I shudder to think that he was actually our d coordinator...

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