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  • Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

    Curtis shows he's ready to contribute
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/08/2004





    MACOMB, Ill. - Guess who was the last player to finish signing autographs at Hanson Field following Saturday's Rams-Bears scrimmage?

    Marc Bulger? Isaac Bruce? Aeneas Williams? Torry Holt?

    Not even close. Would you believe it was Kevin Curtis?

    That's what he gets for scoring a highlight-reel touchdown on a 35-yard run and catch from rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker.

    "My arm's a little sore," Curtis joked Saturday, finally making his way to the Brophy Hall locker room area nearly half an hour after the scrimmage.

    Curtis may have writer's cramp, but at least his right leg's not nearly as sore as it was last season. Curtis finally appears to have put his broken fibula behind him.

    "This is big for me," Curtis said. "I missed a lot of camp last year before I broke my leg, so it's good to get out there and get a lot of reps."

    Curtis, a third-round draft pick from Utah State in 2003, missed a couple of weeks early in training camp a year ago with a quadriceps muscle injury. He was just rounding into form, and flashing his defense-stretching speed, when he suffered the broken leg in a preseason game at Buffalo. Curtis had caught a 66-yard touchdown pass earlier in that game.

    After the injury in Buffalo, Curtis thought he'd be sidelined four to five weeks. But the bone never seemed to heal properly, making Curtis' rookie season a wash. He appeared in only four games - all around midseason - and caught four passes for 13 yards.

    "It definitely dragged on a lot longer than I'd hoped for," Curtis said.

    The broken bone never re-connected, Curtis said. "I don't know if it was because I was on it too early, or if it was how I broke it. But I was playing on it all year, practicing and that.

    "We tried to let it just rest, see if it could heal up on its own. But it'd been so long, that they felt like they needed to put a plate in there just to keep it stable so the bones could heal."

    As a result, Curtis had a second operation last February - nearly six months after the initial injury and surgery. A permanent plate was inserted in the leg, with six screws to keep it in place.

    "The bone is pretty much completely healed," Curtis said. "That's not going to give me any problem."

    He may have some additional discomfort related to scar tissue for the next several months, but the worst is behind him.

    "I'm feeling pretty good," Curtis said. "With two-a-days, we kind of got the camp legs going. We're running a lot. So yeah, it's a little sore. But nothing that's really slowed me down too much."

    Curtis certainly didn't look slow on his TD catch against the Bears. And in the practices leading up to the scrimmage, he had looked quicker and smoother.

    Ask coach Mike Martz if Curtis looks as good as he did last year at this time and Martz says there's no comparison.

    "He's better," Martz said. "He's much more refined. Certainly, as you can see, he's got his speed back."

    Curtis ran in the low 4.3s in the 40-yard dash before the injury, and he feels like he'd be close to that if timed today.

    "I think I could get in the 4.3s somewhere," Curtis said. "I don't feel quite as strong in my legs as I did before the injury, but that's just something that'll come back with time."

    The biggest difference in terms of Curtis' development is his knowledge of the offense.

    "Last year, I was kind of drowning trying to learn things," he said. "I feel like I have a lot better grasp of it. I've still got a lot to learn. But I definitely feel way ahead as far as the playbook."

    The challenge now will be cracking the top four in the Rams' wide receiver rotation, something that won't be easy. Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt obviously are givens in the starting lineup. Dane Looker seems firmly ensconced at No. 3 after a 47-catch, three-touchdown campaign in '03.

    That leaves Curtis, fellow '03 draft pick Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey fighting for the No. 4 spot. They'll all make the team. But whoever comes out of training camp at No. 5 and No. 6 simply won't play much.

    "I don't worry too much about it," Curtis said. "We've got a lot of good guys that can play, so I feel like we can all contribute in a way. Wherever I fit into that, I'll just kind of wait and see where they want to work me in - and do what I can to contribute."



    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Re: Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

    I love our receivers, let's hope they all stay healthy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

      It's great that Curtis and McDonald are playing well. I have been thinking that it's Curtis' job to lose, but they keep talking about how much McDonald has improved..

      And Furrey sure did make the most of his opportunitylast year.

      ...very interesting. I can't wait to watch how these guys do in pre-season to see who goes out there and wins the job. I'm kinda pullin' for Curtis.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Curtis shows he's ready to contribute

        This is one of those hidden strengths that separates the Rams from the rest. Sure our 1 and 2 receivers are at the top of the game, but I would put our 3 through 6 receivers even further ahead of any other team's 3 through 6. Now I know what you're saying, "it doesn't matter because how often does the 3 through 6 get on the field?" With Martz, it matters. The 3 receiver in this system is a starter and the 4 in this system is like a 3 in more conservative systems. Not to mention, with injury, you never know when a 3 or 4 is going to have to become a 2 or 3. Just ask Miami. Plus when you spread the field, you cause mismatches. If your reserve receivers aren't noteworthy, it does you no good to expose your QB with a spread offense.

        We may have our question marks, but I'm glad receiving depth isn't one of them.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.

        Comment

        Related Topics

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        • RamWraith
          Curtis Emerging Quickly
          by RamWraith
          Tuesday, November 15, 2005

          By Nick Wagoner
          Senior Writer

          It wasn't Jose Fuentes' fault that he didn't know who Kevin Curtis was when Curtis' sister mentioned to the Utah State quarterback that her brother was his teammate.

          Sure, it might be out of the ordinary for a quarterback to be unfamiliar with a teammate, particularly a teammate playing a position (wide receiver) that requires a good rapport with the quarterback.

          But Fuentes' familiarity or lack thereof with Curtis wasn't much different than what Curtis has grown accustomed to for most of his life. The list of those who couldn't pick Curtis out of a lineup is probably long enough to stretch from South Jordan, Utah to, say, London.

          By now, Curtis is used to the lack of recognition and he is fine with that. After all, he never gave much thought to one day playing in the NFL so his status as the Rams' third receiver is fine by him.

          "I think when you play that walk-on kind of underdog role you probably do catch people off guard," Curtis said. "They might not be expecting much from you. It's not like I am trying to go out there to prove anything to anyone, but it's a matter of playing football and being a competitor. I just want to be a competitor and win. That's what I love most about playing the game."

          Of course, Curtis' ability to fly under the radar is rapidly disappearing. Now in his third season in St. Louis, Curtis has embraced a larger role because of a toe injury to Isaac Bruce.

          At nearly every stage of his life, Curtis has found a way to eventually earn his due recognition and this year is no different for the Rams' breakout star.

          Splitting Wide

          Curtis' football playing days started like any normal kid's would. His mother wouldn't let him play until he was mature enough to take the physical punishment that goes with playing the game.

          It didn't take long for Curtis' Pop Warner coach to see what the undersized Curtis' biggest gift was. Curtis played quarterback in his youth football days, but not in the traditional sense of the position.

          Essentially Curtis was a running back playing quarterback. He would take the snap, look for a hole and run as fast as he could until he got into the end zone. Curtis enjoyed that position well enough, but his speed would clearly be better utilized at Bingham High in a different capacity.

          Curtis moved to receiver when he entered high school, but he made what little reputation he had as a defensive back, playing cornerback and free safety. Curtis estimated that he probably caught about 10 passes in his entire high school career, so the thought of moving on to college was not going to be easy.

          Although Curtis had displayed some talent defensively and had speed to burn, he didn't draw much attention. It seemed to Curtis that...
          -11-16-2005, 05:35 AM
        • RamDez
          Rams wide receiver stands out, no matter the color of his hair
          by RamDez
          By Jim Thomas
          Of the Post-Dispatch

          08/27/2005


          Well, he did it again. Rams wide receiver Kevin Curtis showed up for training camp this season with his hair bleached white as snow.

          "I'm not really sure what the logic is behind it," Curtis said. "I did it a couple years ago. I do it every once in a while in the summer. I don't know why.

          "My brother's girlfriend did it. One day she was at the house, and I just said, 'Hey, bleach my hair.' She actually got married like three weeks later to my little brother. It took some convincing. She didn't want me with bleached hair in the wedding. I was bored, I guess."




          With the regular season just two weeks away, the bleach is growing out.


          "I kind of cut a little bit away each time I get a haircut," Curtis said. "Eventually, it'll all be out."

          And none too soon, given the amount of ribbing Curtis takes at Rams Park for the bleached look. Some call him Eminem, for the rapper. Old schoolers call him Billy Idol, for the punk rocker.

          On the football field, everyone calls him fast. Well, at least everyone who knows his game. Some people, opponents included, are still surprised by his speed.

          "I think so," Curtis says. "Last year was my first year to really get out there playing. So no one really knows who I am. . . . So I can surprise people. It's all the better for me."

          The Rams drafted the native of Murray, Utah, in the third round out of Utah State in 2003. A broken fibula in his right leg limited him to four games, with four catches, as a rookie.

          After a slow start a year ago, Curtis closed with a rush. With Isaac Bruce ailing late in the season, Curtis caught 17 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown in the Rams' final three games, a period encompassing the regular-season finale against the New York Jets and playoff games against Seattle and Atlanta.

          "I happened to get in there a little more when Isaac was hurt," Curtis said. "I definitely grew a lot in those last games, especially the postseason.

          "Those playoff games, it's a whole different atmosphere. I know that Seattle game, first quarter, I was kind of going blank on a few plays. I kind of had to calm down, settle down. As the game went on, I was able to kind of get back into my game. But that kind of experience helped me so much as a player."

          So did his 57-yard touchdown catch the following week in Atlanta. In an otherwise forgettable 47-17 loss to the Falcons, Curtis scored the Rams' first touchdown on a pass from Marc Bulger.

          What made that play most memorable was the fact that Curtis was being chased by rookie Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Hall, reported to be the fastest player that year at the NFL Scouting Combine,
          ...
          -08-28-2005, 02:41 AM
        • Nick
          Curtis, McDonald Make Rams More Dangerous - Wagoner
          by Nick
          Curtis, McDonald Make Rams More Dangerous
          By Nick Wagoner
          Senior Writer

          Ever since the 1999 Rams emerged on the scene as the “Greatest Show on Turf,” they have been known for their two outstanding receivers.

          The combination of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt might be one of the best the league has ever seen over a five-year span, but the dynamic duo might be on its way to becoming the NFL’s most explosive barbershop quartet.

          Ask anyone around Rams Park these days the biggest reason for optimism heading into this season and the answer will invariably involve the myriad possibilities of the offense. Those possibilities might not be so endless were it not for the emergence and development of the perfect compliments to the St. Louis version of Batman and Robin.

          Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald didn’t just arrive on the scene last season; they ran through it like world-class sprinters hopped up on Red Bull. Ask the Seattle Seahawks what they remember about their first meeting with the Rams last season and Nos. 83 and 84 will probably be mentioned followed by a slew of words that aren’t suitable for print.

          “I am real excited about the receivers, Kevin (Curtis), (Shaun) McDonald, everybody,” coach Mike Martz said. “It brings back a lot of memories from some of the guys we had in the past. They are just playing now. That’s when it’s fun is when you can come out here and do something and they know exactly what to do. You just start moving guys around in stuff we haven’t done in a while. You give them some creativity in their shifts and their moves and they are just like robots. They line up in man to man coverage and have different ways on a particular route to beat a guy.”

          In fact, the memories came rushing back to Martz so quickly that he goofed up on one of the opening days of training camp, asking “Trent” to take the team out of the huddle. Of course, by Trent he was referring to Trent Green, but he was actually talking to quarterback Marc Bulger.

          Excuse Martz if he is having flashbacks to the days when Az-zahir Hakim and Ricky Proehl flanked Bruce and Holt in catching passes from an accurate quarterback with a quick release. Substitute Curtis and McDonald for Hakim and Proehl and Bulger for Green and the ingredients are in place for an offensive tour de force in St. Louis.

          The Rams spent the better part of a year waiting for Curtis and McDonald to get with the system. Unfortunately, both suffered through miserable, injury-plagued rookie seasons.

          Curtis played in four games in 2003, missing the first five games of the season with a broken fibula. McDonald played in eight games, but suffered a thumb injury that kept him out for four weeks. Those injuries didn’t necessarily keep Curtis and McDonald out for the whole season, but they might as well have.

          The injuries even slowed down Curtis and McDonald...
          -08-18-2005, 01:59 PM
        • HUbison
          Curtis, McDonald Make Rams More Dangerous
          by HUbison
          Curtis, McDonald Make Rams More Dangerous

          By Nick Wagoner
          Senior Writer

          Ever since the 1999 Rams emerged on the scene as the “Greatest Show on Turf,” they have been known for their two outstanding receivers.

          The combination of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt might be one of the best the league has ever seen over a five-year span, but the dynamic duo might be on its way to becoming the NFL’s most explosive barbershop quartet.

          Ask anyone around Rams Park these days the biggest reason for optimism heading into this season and the answer will invariably involve the myriad possibilities of the offense. Those possibilities might not be so endless were it not for the emergence and development of the perfect compliments to the St. Louis version of Batman and Robin.

          Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald didn’t just arrive on the scene last season; they ran through it like world-class sprinters hopped up on Red Bull. Ask the Seattle Seahawks what they remember about their first meeting with the Rams last season and Nos. 83 and 84 will probably be mentioned followed by a slew of words that aren’t suitable for print.

          “I am real excited about the receivers, Kevin (Curtis), (Shaun) McDonald, everybody,” coach Mike Martz said. “It brings back a lot of memories from some of the guys we had in the past. They are just playing now. That’s when it’s fun is when you can come out here and do something and they know exactly what to do. You just start moving guys around in stuff we haven’t done in a while. You give them some creativity in their shifts and their moves and they are just like robots. They line up in man to man coverage and have different ways on a particular route to beat a guy.”

          In fact, the memories came rushing back to Martz so quickly that he goofed up on one of the opening days of training camp, asking “Trent” to take the team out of the huddle. Of course, by Trent he was referring to Trent Green, but he was actually talking to quarterback Marc Bulger.

          Excuse Martz if he is having flashbacks to the days when Az-zahir Hakim and Ricky Proehl flanked Bruce and Holt in catching passes from an accurate quarterback with a quick release. Substitute Curtis and McDonald for Hakim and Proehl and Bulger for Green and the ingredients are in place for an offensive tour de force in St. Louis.

          The Rams spent the better part of a year waiting for Curtis and McDonald to get with the system. Unfortunately, both suffered through miserable, injury-plagued rookie seasons.

          Curtis played in four games in 2003, missing the first five games of the season with a broken fibula. McDonald played in eight games, but suffered a thumb injury that kept him out for four weeks. Those injuries didn’t necessarily keep Curtis and McDonald out for the whole season, but they might as well have.

          The injuries even slowed down Curtis...
          -08-02-2005, 10:00 AM
        • RamWraith
          Curtis has become valuable weapon
          by RamWraith
          By Kathleen Nelson
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          Wednesday, Jan. 12 2005

          Since Az-Zahir Hakim departed after the 2001 season, the Rams have been on a
          mission to find a receiver with the speed and route-running ability to make him
          a deep threat.

          Kevin Curtis also knows a thing or two about missions, speed and routes, which
          make him a good fit.

          Curtis caught four passes for a career-high 104 yards in the Rams' 27-20
          victory Saturday over the Seattle Seahawks, earning the honor of offensive
          player of the game. The week before, Curtis stepped in when Isaac Bruce
          suffered a hip injury, catching six passes for 99 yards in the Rams' victory
          over the Jets in the regular-season finale.

          Rams coach Mike Martz said the ingredients for success in the NFL were apparent
          from his first exposure to Curtis, via tapes of his performances at relatively
          obscure Utah State.

          "You put the tape of Kevin on and the first thing you'd say was 'Wow!'" Martz
          said. "He was running by everybody. And then the run after the catch, he was
          making guys miss. You had to go back and look at stuff again. I'm not sure I've
          ever seen anybody in college that fast. Guys that fast usually don't get in and
          out of cuts as well as some of the other guys. But he does."

          In just his second season, the speedy Curtis, 26, has taken his time finding
          success in the NFL. He played for two years at Snow (Utah) Junior College,
          earning scholarship offers from BYU, Hawaii, Eastern Washington and the
          University of Kentucky. Instead of jumping at one, though, Curtis put his
          football career on hold to serve on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of
          Latter-day Saints in 1998 and 1999.

          "I guess I kind of felt it was something I had to do," Curtis said. "It was
          hard from a football standpoint to pause and turn down scholarships that aren't
          going to be there when you get home, but I thought it would be in my best
          interest."

          His travels took him to London for two years. He packed a football, he said,
          but kept it tucked in a corner of his room.

          "You represent the church full-time, teaching the gospel and doing community
          service," he said. "You get all sorts, no matter where you go. There were many
          that were not so receptive and some that were."

          He spent what little free time he had on a brief morning workout. On his day
          off, he would join in a pickup game of the British version of football with his
          fellow missionaries and people they had befriended.

          "Part of the reason I considered not going was that I would lose speed and
          strength, but it came down to what...
          -01-13-2005, 04:39 AM
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