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Thread: Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

    Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark
    21 hours ago • By Joe Lyons

    Lamarcus Joyner’s football mantra — Everybody has a plan until they get hit — was forged on the sandlots near the Victory Homes projects in Liberty City, one of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s rougher neighborhoods.

    Joyner, a gifted defensive back from Florida State selected by the Rams in the second round of the recent NFL draft, started playing football with his older brothers and their friends. He was put to the test early and came away with a toughness and an edge that prevails to this day.

    “That’s just something that I’ve learned in life,’’ he said. “Just from the background I come from, the area I come from, you always have the kids around the neighborhood who think they’re the baddest and the toughest until they get hit back.’’

    The second-youngest of Rose Joyner’s five children, Lamarcus saw and dealt with more than his share of tough times as a youngster in the projects. But after vowing never to disappoint his mother, he stuck to a plan of using education and football as his escape.

    “I’ve been running away from that place all my life, which is why I do what I do on the field and in the weight room and the way I respect people,’’ the 23-year-old said. “I just kept my faith in the Lord. ... To add on to what he has already given me with my ability, I just added the extra work and listened to the great men in my life.

    “To be here, far from where I come from, there’s no better feeling. It’s a dream come true.’’

    For their part, the Rams feel similarly blessed to have Joyner, a talented and versatile defender who also can return kicks.

    “We’re really excited about him,’’ Rams coach Jeff Fisher said during a draft-day news conference. “He’s just an outstanding player. He played all over their defense. He played outside, he played in the slot, he played high, he blitzed, so he’s a plug-in day one nickelback.

    “Typically, the nickel is aligned on the slot or around the line of scrimmage. He’s very, very aggressive, tackles well (and) he’s an outstanding blitzer.’’

    And Joyner, a hitter who plays bigger than his 5-foot-8, 182-pound frame would suggest, seems a perfect fit for the attack-minded scheme employed by new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

    “I think I fit great in this defense,’’ Joyner said. “I love the mentality of Gregg Williams. He’s a very aggressive coach and I’m a very aggressive player. I think I’m a guy who can have an impact.’’

    After three seasons commuting across town to Southwest High to escape his neighborhood, Joyner finished his prep career at perennial private-school power St. Thomas Aquinas and was named USA Today national defensive player of the year.

    As the top-rated cornerback prospect in America, Joyner had scholarship offers from virtually every major program in the country and chose Florida State. There, he didn’t miss a game over four seasons and started the final 40, including 27 at safety in 2011 and 2012, then 13 last fall after a shift to cornerback.

    “People will shoot me for (saying) it, but he’s like Ed Reed in that he has great instincts, he has great range,’’ then-Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops said during Joyner’s junior season. “And maybe physically there are better guys, but when you put it all together (they are) pretty doggone good football players, with the passion, the instincts, the ability to be coached and the ability to make big plays.’’

    When Stoops, Joyner’s mentor, left after the 2012 season to become head coach at the University of Tennessee, Joyner considered an early exit to the NFL.

    But as part of the first recruiting class of Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher, Joyner stuck it out and continued to thrive at cornerback under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

    A key player and team leader last season for the 14-0 national champions, Joyner led the squad in sacks (5½) and was second in tackles (69). He also posted career bests in tackles for loss (seven) and forced fumbles (three) while intercepting two passes and defending four others.

    As a Seminole, he averaged more than 24 yards a return on 52 kickoffs.

    After nine defensive backs were selected in the opening round of the draft, the Rams sacrificed a fifth-round pick to move up three spots to nab Joyner 41st overall.

    “He was clearly the guy that we identified and we suspected that there was a team ahead of us that had interest in him, so we had to get above them,’’ Fisher said. “We didn’t want to lose him.”

    Joyner was flattered by the Rams’ decision to move up.

    “That was so special,’’ he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, all these great guys on the board, there’s so much talent that these guys could have picked from.’ I felt as though they made a sacrifice for me and I’m good with returning favors. I’m going to give all my heart, all my soul, to this organization.’’

  2. #2
    Mikey's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

    Thanks for the link Nick. There have been a few articles/interviews I've seen of this kid and like what they've shown us. He's gonna be huge in this defense and can't wait to see it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

    Fisher drafted this kid to leave the forum of welts and bruises. He's a hitter with cover skills, more the former then the latter.

    Look at Joyner from the Squawks/49whinner point of view. They have 6 divisional battle its a tough over all schedule and there is the playoffs...lastly football is as much an attrition game as one of having the right players at the right time. The last element is directly at odds with itself, for it is hard to have the right players at the right time when many are injured.

    If your a WR and you just had your bell rung the previous play, how likely are you willing to self yourself in the next? And that is what I think Fisher and G. Williams are saying to the rest of the division. And that is the make up of the Rams strategy...crush you with the front 7 and punish you with the remaining 4. The net affect is to encourage teams to attempt to run the ball rather then drop back their QB and throwing it, having two potentially disasters happening at either end of the play

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    Re: Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

    ...A perfect fit for the attack-minded scheme employed by new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. - Article
    Really, really like this rookie. From listening to a couple of interviews and checking a few highlights, he seems like having excellent skills, determination, and character.

    Rooting for LJ, for sure. - -

  5. #5
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

    You gotta love the kid's attitude. I just hope his slight structure holds up at the next level.
    RealRam likes this.
    "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

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

    I'm a big fan of this pick, so really hoping this pans out! Good luck to him
    RealRam likes this.

  7. #7
    KoaKoi is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams' Joyner eager to make his mark

    little man wrecking ball.... sounds like the perfect replacement for Finnegan.

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