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  1. #1
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    Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    LB James Laurinaitis

    April 25, 2009


    (On how it feels to be a Ram)

    ďItís a little bit surreal right now. Iím just happy to say Iím finally in the NFL.Ē



    (On if he has any regrets going to school for his senior year since he was projected to go in the first round of last yearís NFL Draft)

    ďNo, not at all. I got to experience so many great things this year as a senior. Being a part of the first Ohio State team to beat Michigan five times in a row and Senior Day and being a two-time captain. Just things that I wouldnít have been able to accomplish if I would have left early. To me itís always been more about relationships and experiences and I donít regret it at all.Ē



    (On why he wanted to be a Ram so bad)

    ďItís awesome; itís a great feeling. Just because I know a few guys on the team, Larry Grant, was a guy I played with at Ohio State. Chris Long, I met Chris on the whole award tour last year and what a good guy that kid is. And both called me already and are excited and I think we have a great future. I think we chance to turn things around and be able to do some good things in that conference.Ē



    (On where he sees himself fitting in the Rams defense)

    ďI havenít even thought about that. Iíll hopefully go in and contribute in any way possible really. Whether itís special teams, starting, whatever it is I donít know. Iím just in such a whirlwind right now that I havenít even thought about that yet. But Iíll play wherever they want me to and contribute the best way that I can.Ē



    (On what goes through his mind when other teams that have shown interest in him make another selection)

    ďYou canít take anything personal I say. But the first thing that goes through your mind is that whatever happens, happens and itís gonna all work out in the end. Itís mostly about what you do once you get picked and not, you know, this whole process a lot of guys get picked early and then they are out of the league four or five years later, so you have to be able to set new goals and have dreams and really work hard to accomplish those things. Thatís what Iím trying to do and itíll be exciting to have a new fresh start here in St. Louis.Ē



    (On if he thinks the middle linebacker position is his best position and where heís most comfortable)

    ďYeah, I love playing the middle. I think middle is a thing I succeed at pretty regularly and itís just where Iíve been comfortable the last three years. Unfortunately, at Ohio State Iíve taken some ďWillĒ as well because thereís a lot of defenses where the Mike-backer is actually more at the Will-backer, so Iíve been able to play a little bit of both. But like you said, Iíve played ďMikeĒ and Iím used to it and if thatís where Coach wants to put me then thatís where Iíll be absolutely happy to play.Ē



    (On if he thinks there is a better opportunity to play middle linebacker with the Rams that there might have been with another team)

    ďI donít know if I would say that. I think on every team thereís going to be competition and thereís going to be battles for every rookie that comes in, so Iím not going to say that thereís a better opportunity. I know St. Louis has guys that are veterans and are great football players, so Iím not going to say that I have a better opportunity. Iím just excited to go work and get to know my new teammates and coaches and all that and hopefully try to fit in well.Ē



    (On how he describes the physical part of his game)

    ďI think physically Iím a guy thatís able to make plays. I play within the system, Iím very disciplined. At Ohio State we had a system where we did a lot of zone pressuring, a lot of side-to-side lateral movement stuff and thatís the way I kind of play and Iím not going to have my own agenda, Iím going to play with whatever coach tells me to do. I think Iím going to be able to make a lot of plays, I think Iím a three-down linebacker, I can play all three downs and I can cover the pass well and Iím excited to show everybody really what I can do.Ē



    (On if he had an idea that the Rams where targeting him)

    ďYeah, I had an idea that St. Louis wanted me pretty bad. As the Draft was kind of unfolding and I saw myself still there and Rey (Maualuga) still there, I was thinking to myself that the closer I got the bigger the opportunity there was for me to land in St. Louis, so I was definitely excited. I thought that they really wanted to grab me and Iím happy that it was able to work out.Ē



    (On what he thinks he needs to work on and become an NFL caliber linebacker)

    ďI think thereís a lot of things that all rookies need to work on. First, learn the whole system. I definitely like to consider myself a student of the game and I have that perfectionist mentality where I donít want to ever think that Iím good enough or Iíve made it. So, I think mostly things just to work on are to just to understand the game of football more. I think sometimes people focus on the little physical things when really the mental part of the game can take you so far.Ē



    (On how he got the feeling the Rams where interested in him)

    ďThe first workout I did with a team was with St. Louis and so I knew that they were interested right away. And my agent Tom Condon had kind of been telling me that they had a dire need for a middle linebacker and they were looking at one good. So if I was still around late in the first round, they were looking at a trade in or possible if I slid, be expected to be snatched up by St. Louis.Ē



    (On if he had a chance to spend time with Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo during the process)

    ďYeah, definitely, like you said Coach is known for his defense. Iím just excited to see what kind of player I can become in his scheme and see what we can do as a team. We have some good pieces in there and hopefully weíre able to turn this thing around and win some good games.Ē



    (On if he has any knowledge of St. Louis)

    ďSt. Louis knowledge, not really. One thing I know about St. Louis is, obviously, the Rams, Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues; being a hockey guy growing up. And Nelly, I guess you can say Nelly. He made St. Louis popular. But thereís really not that much I know about St. Louis. I guess when I think about it I think of obviously the Rams and the history there. But besides that Iím excited to obviously find out more and move there as soon as possible.Ē



  2. #2
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    Excellent Q&A. I'm totally sold on this youngster! Smart, physical, disciplined and dedicated. A STEAL!

    Ex Buckeye LB and Steelers coach Dick LeBeau was hoping Laurinaitis would 'slip' to Pittsburg's 32nd selection. Ha! I'm so glad he "slipped to the Rams".

  3. #3
    invisiblehorns314 Guest

    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    I don't think he's gonna be a definate starter from day 1. He's gonna challenge Chris Draft for the Mike, Draft could win jus off experience. And later ddown the rd...(a couple games) James will probably start. Depending on how fast he picks up the schemes and stuff. But this was my second MLB on the board. Curry being first. Overall...great day so far. We get us a decent DT, WR, and a couple rotation guy for depth and look out.

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    I would say that, whether he is a steal or not, I have seen enough of him in the last 4-5 years at Ohio State to know that whether he starts game 1 or not, when he picks up the game, he is going to be a vital part of the defense for this team.

    He gets better and better. He is one of those defensive players, that when your team needs that turnover, or shift in momentum, he creates it. He will force that game changing fumble on the tailback, or drop back and slip between a receiver and a quarterback for that interception to turn the game on end. He does all these things like he says, "within the system." Because when you stay within the system, and you do your whole job, without cheating up, or trying to accomplish your own agendas, you succeed as a whole.

    Defensive schemes are designed to succeed. If everyone does their individual job, you will win. He is a remarkable talent, an amazing linebacker, and an even better leader. I think where the difference between the two available linebackers at #35 comes in is; Laurinaitis is a cleaner, more polished linebacker, who is a more established and vocal leader on the field. He commanded the team and demanded attention from the offensive lines. He covers the pass better, and is a sure-thing-tackler. There is no one in the draft who tackles better. Curry may have been a physical specimen and better overall MLB, but the one thing I can say is that Laurinaitis is still the better tackler. That goes a long way. Maybe not enough to make him the #1 LB, but it will mean the world to our team.

    Rey (Ray?) was a good Linebacker. But, he was also one of 3-4 good linebackers at USC. The whole defense fed off itself, and thus, made each individual unit look better than they may have been. I think when you have such a good defense, a person in the right place can get alot of spotlight, and I think if you change that scenery to your average or "even" playing field, that person may taper off. Whether he would have been a better pick or not, I still feel that James was a better linebacker, and I think that will come to light in the following years.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    I have a feeling we are going to saying "after every Cinci game" I cant
    believe we passed on Ray.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    Sounds like a good one, very glad we got him!

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    I like this kid. His attitude and enthusiasm are fantastic. He has a work ethic that mirrors his attitude. He was also an NHL prospect. So, I'd expect excellent balance and hand/eye coordination. The fact that he lives 10 miles from me doesn't hurt either. ;-)
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

  8. #8
    Ramblin` Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    you just gotta love young guys like J-Lau...just like when we drafted Chris Long last year,im very proud to say he`s a Ram now.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    Amen to that brother...

    I just get this feeling, you know...that after every Cincy game, we're all going to be sitting there thinking, "I'm glad we didn't draft THAT guy!"

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Excellent Q&A. I'm totally sold on this youngster! Smart, physical, disciplined and dedicated. A STEAL!

    Ex Buckeye LB and Steelers coach Dick LeBeau was hoping Laurinaitis would 'slip' to Pittsburg's 32nd selection. Ha! I'm so glad he "slipped to the Rams".
    Nice interview despite the fact he never mentioned the "CLANRAM" even once!

  11. #11
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    Re: Rams Q-&-A: LB James Laurinaitis

    Look at all this young, eager to learn & hungry talent we have on our "D"..

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