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Thread: Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

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    Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

    BY BILL COATS
    Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:25 am

    After starting for three seasons at South Carolina, Darian Stewart felt sure that he'd be taken in the NFL draft last year. But the seven rounds came and went without Stewart's name being called.

    He hasn't forgotten.

    "Being undrafted, I felt at that time that I should've been," said Stewart, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound safety. "So, a lot of teams missed out. Got to make them pay."

    And what better way than to earn a starting job with the Rams? Stewart hasn't done that yet, but he did practice with the first-team defense — in place of Craig Dahl — during practice Tuesday.

    "It went real well," Stewart said. "We'll just let it play itself out."

    Still, Stewart left no doubt that he wants the job.

    "Most definitely. It's something I'm working on," he said. "I'm never satisfied. So I feel like this year will be a good year for me."

    Last year was pretty good for Stewart, too, despite being left out of the draft. He beat the odds, made the team and appeared in 13 games.

    Stewart said he was a "nervous wreck" on roster cut-down days. When he survived the final cut, "It was a big relief," he said. "But you've still got a job to do. You have to continue to work to stay here."

    Stewart saw most of his action as a rookie on special teams. But late in the season he was worked in on defense, coming in on certain packages in passing situations.

    Stewart acknowledged that he was a bit overwhelmed at times during his rookie season. He was trying to learn both safety positions as well as his responsibilities on special teams.

    "It was a lot of stuff thrown at me. I had to stay up late at night studying," he said. "But this year, it's totally changed. It's slowed down for me a lot."

    The year of experience has paid significant dividends, Stewart said.

    "It's a big difference," he explained. "I'm very comfortable with the playbook. I've still got a lot of stuff to learn, but I've grown up a lot since last year."

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Stewart "has come a long way since his first year as a free agent and his head was spinning. Sometimes it still spins, but I think he's done a nice job.

    "My guess is that the rest of the team respects the way he plays. He still has a little bit of learning to do with the defense, but we do like the way he plays."

    And how does he play?

    "I'm a physical player," Stewart said. "I just do what my coaches need me to do." After a pause, he added with a smile, "So, who wouldn't like that?"

    INJURY UPDATES

    There was mixed news on the injury front Tuesday: Wide receiver Danario Alexander returned to practice after missing Monday's workout. But tight end Michael Hoomanawanui will be sidelined at least two weeks with a strained calf muscle that he sustained Monday.

    Alexander experienced swelling in his troublesome left knee and had an MRI exam Monday. "There's a little degenerative change in there, but no active injury," Spagnuolo said. "One option could be to go clean it out in there right now, but then that would set him back a couple of weeks. He decided he didn't want to do that, he wanted to fight through it.

    "I'll tell you one thing, he's a tough nut. He wants this thing bad. He's a competitor, and I respect him for that."

    Alexander reported that his knee "felt pretty good" Tuesday. "I got out there and caught a few balls. I went through the whole practice pretty good. No pain or anything," he said.

    Hoomanawanui is "going to be down for a little bit," Spagnuolo said. "It'll be a couple of weeks, (then) we'll see where it's at. At some point we'll start to evaluate it day to day."

    Defensive tackles Fred Robbins (back), Daniel Muir (ankle) and Jermelle Cudjo (back) also sat out practice, as did safety Mikail Baker (knee).

    RAM-BLINGS

    Today marks the official end of training camp and the last practice that is open to the public. It is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.


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    Re: Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

    The NFL landscape is littered with undrafted guys who fought their way onto rosters and have gone on to become stars. Let's hope that the Rams find their next one in Stewart!
    I believe!

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    Re: Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

    I like how Stewart plays. He always seems to play hard and is very good up in the box, either in run support or blitzing. I haven't seen enough of him in coverage to comment on his ability in that regard

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    Re: Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

    Defensive tackles Fred Robbins (back), Daniel Muir (ankle) and Jermelle Cudjo (back) also sat out practice
    Injuries?

    Or half price day at the Waffle House?

    I smell a conspiracy.
    "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

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    Re: Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Injuries?

    Or half price day at the Waffle House?

    I smell a conspiracy.
    Mmmmm... triple order of hash browns, ALLLLLLLL the way! Breakfast of champions!
    I believe!

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    Re: Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

    Can Hoomanawanui ever stay healthy? This thing is getting on my nerves now
    39WillRunYaOva likes this.

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    Re: Stewart looks strong at safety for Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by rNemesis View Post
    Can Hoomanawanui ever stay healthy? This thing is getting on my nerves now
    Me,too. Far bigger worry than DX at this point, with Fendi as the only depth at TE. I think The Rams were more hampered by the lack of reliable TEs than deep threats last year. I guess we have to have faith in McD finding a way to use the backs and rook possession guys to make defenses respect the short/intermediate passing game.Amendola will be a marked man this year; he can't do it alone with every DB/LB in the NFL trying to take his head off on every tackle, bless his bionic hobbit socks.

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