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  • Pisa Learning fast


    MACOMB - St. Louis Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa was a fast learner as a rookie last year.

    "You know, I caught a ride this time," said Tinoisamoa, a second-round draft selection last year who was in such a hurry to get to camp he wound up getting a speeding ticket.

    "If anything, that's what I learned - just ride with someone else," he laughed, noting his trip to Macomb this year with fellow linebackers Robert Thomas and rookie Brandon Chillar proved uneventful.

    Tinoisamoa's rookie season in the NFL, however, was anything but uneventful. He led the Rams in tackles with 121, including two sacks, and had three interceptions, a fumble recovery, four forced fumbles and nine quarterback pressures.

    After spending most of the offseason working out on his own in San Diego, Tinoisamoa says he has much greater personal expectations this year.

    "I expect a lot of change from last year," Tinoisamoa said. "I feel mentally sharper than last year, so from that aspect I think I've become a better player. I think I'm going to contribute to the team a lot more."

    Coaching-wise, Tinoisamoa says he hasn't seen much of a change since defensive coordinator Lovie Smith left to become head coach of the Chicago Bears and Larry Marmie replaced Smith. Marmie, a close friend of head coach Mike Martz, is expected to keep a similar style that emphasizes pursuit.

    "It's not a change because we've still got the same personnel and we've still got the same principles that he (Smith) taught us," Tinoisamoa said. "And we keep that in mind when we play."

    But he said new linebackers coach Joe Vitt, who replaced Bob Babich, is a lot louder.

    "He's very loud, and that's good, because if I don't know what I'm doing, I'm sure that he'll tell me to do it,'' Tinoisamoa said.

    "He brings that enthusiasm to the game. Whenever you're feeling down, he'll make sure that you'll get back up. It's a great addition to our team. I know Joe brings a lot of knowledge to the game."

    Tinoisamoa says he is excited about the prospect of returning to a linebacker corps that has most of the same personnel from last year's 12-4 team.

    "I'm very excited, because I think we've become more aware of each other and we understand each other a lot better," he said. "So I think it's only going to help us a lot more.

    "And I think we're going to need it, especially with the mix-up (personnel changes) in the D-line."

    Tinoisamoa claims to be physically faster than third-year linebacker Tommy Polley but adds, "Mentally, I think his mind process is at a lot faster speed."

    A former standout at Hawaii, Tinoisamoa says he is a lot more relaxed this year.

    "I think it's because I know what I'm doing now," he said. "Last year I was just trying to line up. I was doing everything else right by pursuing to the ball, but as far as getting my job right - being in the right position - I didn't do that very often, not as much as I should have.

    "So I took it on myself to get mentally stronger and try to get my job down. Mentally I wanted to challenge myself and get better in that aspect because I felt like that was my weakness last year.

    "I feel like I did it. We've got to wait until the games come up to see how it all pans out."

    The first preseason game is coming up in a little more than a week, when the Bears play at St. Louis on Aug. 12. And Tinoisamoa is disappointed Bears' Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher, out with a hamstring injury, won't be able to play in it or in their scrimmage this weekend at Macomb.

    "Brian Urlacher's a great linebacker," Tinoisamoa said, noting he thought he might learn something from watching him. "I was anxious to see him live."

    But he agreed probably not all of his teammates shared his disappointment.

    "Not having him out there, I'm sure Torry (Holt, wide receiver) and those guys won't miss him too much," Tinoisamoa said.

  • #2
    Re: Pisa Learning fast

    "You know, I caught a ride this time," said Tinoisamoa, a second-round draft selection last year who was in such a hurry to get to camp he wound up getting a speeding ticket.
    lol ... speeding to camp, getting tickets.

    "I think it's because I know what I'm doing now," he said. "Last year I was just trying to line up. I was doing everything else right by pursuing to the ball, but as far as getting my job right - being in the right position - I didn't do that very often, not as much as I should have.
    I like Pisa. He may have been making rookie mistakes, like not being in the right position, but he had plenty of speed and good pursuit ability to make up for these mistakes.

    Pisa :redface: :ramlogo:


    • #3
      Re: Pisa Learning fast

      Pisa Tinoisamoa is one of my favorite defensive players, and I think he has the skill to be a future Pro Bowler. I love this guy. He's got so much energy and seems really positive. I really think he's going to become the leader on this linebacker group.


      • #4
        Re: Pisa Learning fast

        Originally posted by NickSeiler
        Pisa Tinoisamoa is one of my favorite defensive players, and I think he has the skill to be a future Pro Bowler. I love this guy. He's got so much energy and seems really positive. I really think he's going to become the leader on this linebacker group.
        Have you ever seen an interview with this guy? He's always smiling, always polite, always real up-beat. How does a guy so nice lay the shots that he does on Sunday afternoons?
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


        • #5
          Re: Pisa Learning fast

          My next jersey birthday present...
          This space for rent...


          • #6
            Re: Pisa Learning fast

            Great story...I love Pisa's enthusiasm.
            Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster


            • #7
              Re: Pisa Learning fast

              I'm going to go out on a limb and predict Pisa will have a Pro- Bowl year. I love the guy's attitude. :ramlogo:

              Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


              • #8
                Re: Pisa Learning fast

                He seemed to really play well last year and I look for that to continue. He's a stud and is doing great so far.


                Related Topics


                • RamWraith
                  Losses gnaw at Tinoisamoa
                  by RamWraith
                  By Bill Coats
                  ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                  Rams Tinoisamoa
                  Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa confers with interim coach Joe Vitt last month in Houston.
                  (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

                  In a corner of the steamy, cramped visitors quarters at the Metrodome, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa slumps in front of his locker. His Rams teammates buzz about, quietly preparing for the flight back to St. Louis.

                  Tinoisamoa just sits, his back to the room, staring into nothingness. While others are showered and dressed, Tinoisamoa still is in full uniform. Even his wristbands remain in place.

                  Finally, after several more silent minutes, Tinoisamoa struggles to his feet and for help in tugging his No. 50 jersey over his shoulder pads.

                  Tinoisamoa, 24, never has been a good loser. He used to respond with his fists - at 18, he served a four-month jail sentence for his involvement in a fight in which a man was seriously beaten.

                  Scared straight, he learned to apply his aggression on the football field. Coach June Jones brought him to Hawaii when other colleges backed off, concerned about Tinoisamoa's gang activity in his hometown of Vista, Calif.

                  "He had some tough times in high school," Jones said. "But he's a good kid. . . . And the guy is a player. He's smart, and he's got the charisma all the great ones have."

                  The Rams took Tinoisamoa in the second round of the 2003 draft, and coach Mike Martz named him a starter at weakside linebacker on the first day of rookie minicamp.

                  Undersized at 6 feet 1 and 235 pounds, Tinoisamoa compensates with 4.6 speed and an uncommon relentlessness.

                  "He gets to the ballcarrier with a bad attitude," fellow linebacker Trev Faulk said.

                  Tinoisamoa became the first rookie to lead the Rams in tackles, with 121. He had 145 last season, again a team high. He's atop the list this year, too, with 112.

                  "It's not a potion I take or anything," Tinoisamoa said. "I've just got a great will. I want to be around the ball; I know that's where the action is."

                  Tinoisamoa was left standing when the Rams decided to overhaul the linebacker position after last season. Tommy Polley left as a free agent, and Robert Thomas was traded to Green Bay.

                  The moves jolted Tinoisamoa a bit but didn't dent his confidence.

                  "It's just the NFL, I think," he said. "I don't take it personal, and I don't look at it as anything I'm excelling at. I don't say, 'Oh, well, that's all right. I'm doing well because I'm still here.' I want to be successful as a team."

                  When free agents Dexter Coakley and Chris Claiborne arrived, Tinoisamoa figured that adjusting to the newcomers would be a significant challenge.

                  "But it's just a scheme, and everyone's...
                  -12-18-2005, 05:59 AM
                • RamWraith
                  Tinoisamoa trains gently to avoid a repeat of 2006
                  by RamWraith
                  By Bill Coats
                  ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                  Friday, May. 18 2007

                  Given a choice, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa would toss aside the red "do not
                  touch" jersey he's forced to wear during organized team activities and dive
                  head-first into the action at Rams Park.

                  But after an injury-plagued 2006 season, Tinoisamoa knows better.

                  "It's rough, man; I'm not accustomed to this. But I'm trying to be smart about
                  it," said Tinoisamoa, who is recovering from major surgery on his right
                  shoulder. "I hated sitting and watching, so my goal this year is to get
                  stronger each game and finish out the year."

                  The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Tinoisamoa was a second-round draft choice in 2003 from
                  Hawaii who earned a starting spot as a rookie in training camp and led the team
                  in tackles each of his first three seasons. A former teammate once marveled at
                  Tinoisamoa's ability to "get to the ball with a bad attitude."

                  Tinoisamoa didn't miss a game during than span, but his luck ran out last year.
                  It started with a dislocated elbow in Week 2 at San Francisco that sidelined
                  him for two outings. Subsequently, he injured his shoulder and broke both

                  He struggled through 11 games before his season finally ended Dec. 14, when he
                  was placed on injured reserve. He sat out the last three contests and finished
                  with a career-low 47 tackles — barely a third of his career average of 133 per

                  The spate of injuries concerns Tinoisamoa, who doesn't want to be labeled

                  "I can't say that it's not in the back of my head," he said. "But that's why
                  I'm working so hard to try to get back and get back right."

                  Tinoisamoa's shoulder problems began with a dislocation in the 2004 season
                  opener. The shoulder popped out several more times that year, and he underwent
                  surgery in the offseason.

                  This time, surgeons basically had to rebuild the shoulder.

                  "That's why it's taking me a little bit longer," explained Tinoisamoa, who said
                  the doctors have told him he'll be ready for full contact when training camp
                  starts in late July.

                  "Adversity's part of my life, something that I've always had to deal with," he
                  said. "So this is just one of those things I've got to face head-on and defeat.
                  ... I'm slowly integrating different drills and regimens. Hopefully, it keeps
                  getting better and better. It feels good."

                  Although the Rams won their last three games with Dexter Coakley filling in on
                  the weak side, coach Scott Linehan said Tinoisamoa's absence was felt.

                  "When Pisa was in there ... things seemed...
                  -05-18-2007, 04:29 AM
                • MauiRam
                  Tino working on tackling bad habits ...
                  by MauiRam
                  Tinoisamoa works on shedding bad tackling habits
                  By Jim Thomas
                  ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                  Wednesday, Aug. 08 2007

                  It sounds funny considering he led the Rams in tackles in each of his first
                  three NFL seasons. But Pisa Tinoisamoa is learning how to tackle again.

                  During the offseason, as he reviewed his performance on game film, Tinoisamoa
                  didn't like what he saw. "My tackling was horrible. It was horrific," he said.
                  "And I kind of prided myself on bringing guys down. And then as far as taking
                  on blockers, I felt really soft at the point. I wasn't using my hands as much
                  because I didn't trust 'em."

                  He didn't trust them because as Tinoisamoa's nightmarish 2006 season
                  progressed, there wasn't much on his upper body that still worked. Hand, elbow
                  and shoulder problems sidelined Tinoisamoa for five games — the first contests
                  missed by the linebacker as an NFL player. Even when he was on the field, the
                  avalanche of injuries forced Tinoisamoa to compensate in various ways in terms
                  of tackling form. Predictably, as his tackling form suffered, so did his

                  The result was a career-low 47 tackles, about one-third of Tinoisamoa's yearly
                  average in his previous three NFL seasons.

                  Surgery has repaired the shoulder. "It was dislocated and the muscle was torn,"
                  he said. "So what they did is reattach it to the bone and make sure that I do
                  have that strength and that function when my arm goes overhead or when my arm
                  is extended."

                  Down time in the offseason, plus a lighter workload in spring drills and
                  minicamp, also helped Tinoisamoa heal in general. Throw in an altered approach
                  to diet and training and Tinoisamoa is re-energized entering his fifth NFL

                  In the past, Tinoisamoa said, "I didn't really take care of myself as much as I
                  should have. I kind of took things for granted, that it didn't matter what
                  happened to me. I felt like I could take on the world and still be all right."

                  Tinoisamoa spent his offseason eating better and putting in more time in the
                  weight room. He has done specific types of exercises to strengthen the muscles
                  around his elbow and shoulder.

                  "To make sure that when it comes to game time, I can trust that they're going
                  to hang in there tight," he said. "I can just go ahead and play and perform and
                  know it's strong."

                  Despite the heat and the rigors of training camp, Tinoisamoa has kept his
                  weight above 240 pounds this summer. He played last season at about 235.

                  "And it was a bad 235," he said. "It was really soft. So I definitely got a lot
                  stronger this year."...
                  -08-08-2007, 01:26 AM
                • MauiRam
                  Finding Pisa Mind
                  by MauiRam
                  Finding Pisa Mind
                  Sunday, May 11, 2008

                  By Nick Wagoner
                  Senior Writer

                  As if walking the fine line between reckless and fearless wasn’t difficult unto itself, imagine sprinting across that line with no regard for your health all the while have a giant chip attached to your shoulder.

                  Now picture running across that line at a high rate of speed only to be met in the middle by guys who outweigh you by 50, sometimes even 100 pounds.

                  At 6’1 and a weight normally between 235 and 240 pounds, this is the internal struggle that manifests physically every season for linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa.

                  And for the past three seasons, without fail, Tinoisamoa has suffered a variety of injuries. Of those injuries, some were minor and Tinoisamoa was able to play through them (such as the shoulder he continually dislocated and played through in 2005). Others were season ending as Tinoisamoa found himself on injured reserve, bringing his seasons to an abrupt ending each of the past two seasons.

                  “This is my self analyzation,” Tinoisamoa said. “Mentally, I had this huge chip on my shoulder saying you are not big enough to play this game so everything I did I tried to do it full speed. I was hitting guys two times bigger than me way harder than I needed to; it was just reckless at times. There was no need to do a lot of the things I did but I did it.”

                  For his first three seasons in the NFL, Tinoisamoa did those things better than just about anyone else. Maybe he was undersized but his hustle, desire and fearless approach to the game helped him rack up 121, 145 and 134 tackles in his first three years.

                  By the end of the 2005 season, Tinoisamoa had cemented a reputation as a relentless tackler unafraid to take on any blocker. Despite taking as many crushing blows as he dealt, Tinoisamoa played every game that trio of seasons.

                  Tinoisamoa suffered a dislocated left elbow in the second game against San Francisco on Sept. 17. He re-injured it two weeks later. That injury cost him just two games and Tinoisamoa figured it was minor bump along the way.

                  On Oct. 11, Tinoisamoa received a contract extension that solidified his role as one of the defensive leaders and made him one of the most well compensated players in the league.

                  After returning and playing in five games, he suffered a sprained right shoulder on Dec. 3 against Arizona and a broken right hand on Dec. 11 against Chicago. He had broken his left hand in a practice on Oct. 25. Tinoisamoa was placed on injured reserve three days later and played in a total of 11 games.

                  After recovering from the hand, shoulder and elbow injuries, Tinoisamoa figured he would add some weight in the offseason. He was sick of hearing the undersized comments and figured some added weight could help him hold up for a full season again.

                  -05-11-2008, 04:29 PM
                • RamWraith
                  Tinoisamoa In It for the Long Haul
                  by RamWraith
                  By Nick Wagoner
                  Senior Writer

                  Everything Pisa Tinoisamoa knows about football contract negotiations comes from his knowledge of the movie “Jerry Maguire”.

                  Following that method, many would think Tinoisamoa would be all about having someone “Show him the money,” but that isn’t who he is and that’s never been what he’s about.

                  So, in a league where midseason contract extensions are a rarity, it’s no surprise that a player who is in many ways exceptional, signed a five-year contract to stay with the Rams only months before hitting the free agent market.

                  Of course, Tinoisamoa was a little surprised when the Rams approached his agent Mike Sullivan during the season to try to get something done.

                  “It really did to be honest,” Tinoisamoa said. “We heard from them about two to three weeks ago. I’m surprised. I don’t know. I watch “Jerry Maguire” a little bit, but it took him the whole year. I figured it would be awhile. Three weeks later (my agent) is telling me we have a great deal.”

                  For Tinoisamoa, though, a great deal has little to do with monetary compensation though a player who has led his team in tackles in each of his first three seasons and in many ways been an inspirational leader for his teammates and coaches will be well compensated. All he wanted was the opportunity to continue building on the foundation of a career he began with the Rams when they drafted him in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft.

                  All Tinoisamoa wanted was the chance to continue playing with the team that drafted him. After an offseason in which the Rams showed a renewed commitment to defense by signing the likes of defensive tackle La’Roi Glover and linebacker Will Witherspoon, Tinoisamoa saw the direction the program was headed.

                  With that in mind, Tinoisamoa likes what he sees in the future for the defense, particularly at linebacker where he, Witherspoon and Brandon Chillar form a young corps with a tremendous upside.

                  “That would be great,” Tinoisamoa said. “It’s something I envision and that’s why I told my agent I like the situation I was in. We knew we could have gone to the free agent market and got loads of dough, but that wasn’t what was important to me. It was important to win and be with a great group of guys who are getting better. We have that.”

                  In his three-plus seasons with the Rams, Tinoisamoa has racked up 424 tackles, six sacks, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 53 games. It goes without saying that Tinoisamoa is a talented player, but it might be his intangibles that make him the type of player that receives a lucrative contract extension in the middle of a season.

                  There are few players in the league who have played through injuries as well and as consistently as Tinoisamoa. Two seasons ago, he suffered a separated shoulder on eight occasions...
                  -10-12-2006, 10:33 AM