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Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

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  • Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

    Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Aug. 26 2004

    When Jimmy Kennedy was 6 months old - and already 49 pounds - his mother, Mary Darby, scribbled a prophecy across the back of his baby picture. "One day you're going to be somebody special," she wrote.

    One could argue that Kennedy indeed has become somebody special.

    He was raised by a single mom, who successfully overcame the demons of crack cocaine, in a rough neighborhood in Yonkers, N.Y. He completed a degree - with a 3.2 grade-point average - from Penn State in four years, earning All-America honors. In addition, he became the 12th overall selection and the Rams' No. 1 in the 2003 NFL draft.

    But Kennedy wants more, and he's beyond frustrated that his path to that goal has been blocked. Kennedy, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle, desperately wants to prove that he has what it takes to be a successful player with the Rams. He said he wonders sometimes why reaching that objective has been so difficult.

    "I'm not the most religious person, but I believe that everything happens for a reason," said Kennedy, 24. "My mom tells me all the time, 'God has a plan for you. There's a reason why. He didn't bring you this far to be a failure now.'"

    After struggling through a discouraging rookie season, in which he saw limited action in 12 games, Kennedy said, "I worked my butt off" in the offseason. He was making strides in the early days of camp in Macomb, Ill. "He's still got a lot of work to do, but he's getting better every day," veteran defensive end Tyoka Jackson noted then. "He's a much better player than he was at this time last year."

    A pop in Kennedy's right foot brought a sudden halt to his progress. "I wanted to come out here and prove that I should've been a first-rounder. I know I was contributing, I was starting to come on," Kennedy said. "And then to have it end before it begins ... it's just tough."

    It ended Aug. 5, barely a week into camp. Kennedy suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal, and he had surgery Aug. 10. He's expected to be sidelined until at least late November.

    "I never broke a bone playing football, and for me to do it on just a plant play in one-on-ones, I find that interesting," Kennedy said, ruefully. He acknowledged that although he's "trying to stay positive," he's having difficulty.

    "It's definitely a tough thing to deal with," Kennedy said. "It's hard watching the guys out there. I think that's the toughest part, just feeling like I'm not a part of the team, not being out there contributing."

    Kennedy, who is wearing a walking boot on the foot, said that when the wound from the surgery heals, he'll begin cardio workouts in a swimming pool. Meanwhile, he's been doing heavy lifting in the weight room and trying to stay patient.

    "I'm getting stronger," he said. "I definitely feel my body changing, my body fat going down. I'm trying to make myself the best I can be so when I do get back on the field, I can contribute more."

    Rams cut guard

    Guard Jason Lenzmeier, an undrafted rookie from New Mexico, was released. NFL rosters must be pared to 65 players by Tuesday. ... A VH1 crew visited Rams Park on Thursday to get film for a 30-minute special on Nelly, the rapper from St. Louis. Nelly is a devoted Rams fan and a suite-holder at Edward Jones Dome.

  • #2
    Re: Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

    If he really wanted to be a contributer to the team's success, he would have acted like a pro player last year. It was only after he realized he sucked, that he got motivated. Based on his performance - he has earned the "bust" title thus far. He sounds as pathetic as Clinton did when the proof forced him to admit his Lewinski affair.


    • #3
      Re: Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

      Regardless, he sees it, let's see if he does anything about it.


      • #4
        Re: Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

        He was a kid who got bad advice and went in to his rookie year with skewed expectations. Ever since then he's done nothing but work to get better. Assuming no permanent problems from the injury, this guy will be a contributor on the frontline next season.

        On a sidenote...
        When Jimmy Kennedy was 6 months old - and already 49 pounds
        :rolleyes: Are you kidding me? As any parent will tell you, that is one huge baby.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


        • #5
          Re: Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

          My son weighs less than that at 6 years!


          • #6
            Re: Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

            Av, are you saying you're not grooming your son to be a tackle for the Rams?


            • #7
              Re: Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

              Well, considering that I weigh about half of what Pace weighs, I'd say not.


              • #8
                Re: Kennedy wants to prove he's not a No. 1 bust

                Originally posted by AvengerRam
                Well, considering that I weigh about half of what Pace weighs, I'd say not.
      , AV, is that before his post-breakfast, pre-mid-morning snack, doughnut run or after?
                The more things change, the more they stay the same.


                Related Topics


                • RamWraith
                  Kennedy puts best foot forward
                  by RamWraith
                  By Jim Thomas
                  Of the Post-Dispatch
                  Sunday, Aug. 07 2005

                  Nearly a year ago to the day, on Aug. 5, 2004, Rams defensive tackle Jimmy
                  Kennedy planted during a practice drill against the Chicago Bears, made a cut
                  and felt something pop.

                  Kennedy, the No. 12 overall draft pick in 2003, had fractured the fifth
                  metatarsal in his right foot. After a disappointing rookie season, it looked
                  like Year 2 was down the tubes as well and that Kennedy was on his way to being
                  a first-round bust.

                  Surprisingly, Kennedy now says that the foot injury was "good for me."

                  In fact, he added: "I think that's the best thing that ever happened to me
                  since I've been a Ram, is me breaking my foot."


                  "It allowed all the attention to be on me," Kennedy said. "And I needed that.
                  In terms of rehab, it allowed the coaches to say, 'Damn, this dude really
                  works.' Because when you come out of college, you get labeled."

                  For Kennedy, that label included having weight problems, not always running to
                  the ball, and being something less than a workout warrior.

                  In Kennedy's mind, it wasn't a case of him suddenly discovering the weight
                  room. He claims his upper body strength was always there - it's just that Rams
                  coaches simply noticed it once he was sidelined.

                  "You just don't start going in the weight room and throwing up X amount of
                  weights with reps," Kennedy said. "You've got to work up to that over years.
                  You know what I'm saying?"

                  At the time of the injury, the Rams considered putting Kennedy on the injured
                  reserve list, which would have ended his season. In fact, Kennedy wanted to go
                  on injured reserve after seeing Jason Sehorn struggle to come back from a
                  similar injury.

                  "Coach (Mike) Martz said, 'No, we want you to play (in '04),'" Kennedy said.
                  "It's something I had to fight through."

                  Turns out Kennedy missed only the first seven games of 2004. Despite
                  experiencing soreness in the foot, he played well enough to start the Rams'
                  final five regular-season contests.

                  "It just really worked out good that we didn't put him on IR," defensive line
                  coach Bill Kollar said. "When he came back off of that injury is when he really
                  started to turn the corner."

                  The momentum gained by playing the second half of last season, coupled with a
                  strong offseason in the weight room, has Kennedy poised for a breakthrough
                  campaign in 2005.

                  "It's probably the most dramatic change in any football player that I've ever
                  been around in one year," Martz said. "From...
                  -08-08-2005, 05:01 AM
                • VegasRam
                  Waggoner on Kennedy - 7/30
                  by VegasRam
                  By Nick Wagoner
                  Senior Writer wrote:
                  Kennedy Poised for Breakout
                  Saturday, July 30, 2005

                  When Jimmy Kennedy arrived in St. Louis in 2003, he came with a confident swagger, the kind of attitude of a player ready to make a difference on the Rams’ defensive line.

                  Well, those plans didn’t exactly go accordingly. Kennedy played in 13 games, making just 10 tackles. He wasn’t in good playing condition and his production reflected it. Simply put, Kennedy wasn’t ready for the rigors of the NFL and he didn’t know how to put in the work to get there.

                  Coming out of Penn State, it was easy for a player of Kennedy’s stature to stand up and talk about his ability, but with his poor performance on the field, that confident swagger turned into a lifeless reticence.

                  Along with Kennedy’s loss of confidence, the coaching staff also lost confidence in him. Kennedy went into a shell, barely speaking with the media and wondering about his future in the NFL.

                  Oh how far he has come. No, Kennedy hasn’t earned a Pro Bowl berth or any other honors, but the confidence is back and Kennedy is clearly one of the most improved players on the field.

                  “Last year I was more nervous (entering camp),” Kennedy said. “But this year, after offseason was over, I just put my hand in the dirt and said ‘Who can stop me?’

                  “It’s going to happen, especially out there in practice because I see those guys in practice every day. It’s about how you bounce back from that after a loss, after you go out there and beat somebody, you can’t let your head go into the clouds and think I have arrived because I haven’t. I have a long way to go.”

                  The turning point for Kennedy’s resurrection is easy to find. After a somewhat difficult start to last year’s camp, he broke his foot and was left to face another setback. Kennedy had put in some work in the weight room in hopes of bouncing back from his difficult rookie season, but the foot injury could easily have been the last straw.

                  The injury forced Kennedy to make a decision about his future, not just for the season, but also for his career.

                  “When I broke my foot it allowed me to say ‘if this is over, would I be happy with my career,” Kennedy said. “I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. Also, it allowed the coaches to see how hard I worked. When I broke my foot, (strength coach) Dana LeDuc was seeing how hard I worked in the weight room. Coach Martz and those guys saw how hard I was working on getting back. Right now I am just a different player because I have the coaching staff as well as my teammates backing me up.”

                  Kennedy did indeed choose to get back to work in an effort to become the type of player he and the Rams believed he was coming out of college. Though he couldn’t participate in drills or play for most of the season, Kennedy focused his efforts on the weight room.
                  -07-30-2005, 01:43 PM
                • RamWraith
                  Kennedy puts best foot forward
                  by RamWraith
                  By Jim Thomas
                  Of the Post-Dispatch
                  Thursday, Nov. 11 2004

                  For Jimmy Kennedy, half a loaf is better than none. A broken foot in training
                  camp sidelined him for seven games. But after making his 2004 debut in Sunday's
                  40-22 loss to New England, he seems determined to make the most out of the
                  remainder of the season.

                  "It's always great to be back on the field," said Kennedy, the Rams'
                  first-round draft pick in 2003. "It's just tough to come out with this loss."

                  Unofficially, Kennedy was in for 25 plays at defensive tackle against the
                  Patriots, spelling starters Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis. Kennedy dropped
                  Corey Dillon for a 1- yard loss four plays into the game, and finished with
                  three tackles.

                  Beyond the tackling stats, Kennedy got penetration on a few other plays, and he
                  displayed good hustle trying to chase down Patrick Pass from behind on a
                  19-yard run in the fourth quarter. All in all, it was a solid performance.

                  "I expected to be out there more," Kennedy said. "Ryan, D- Lew, we're all
                  first-rounders. We all want to be out there on the field. I was on the sideline
                  saying, 'Bill, let me get some action.'"

                  Bill Kollar is the team's defensive line coach.

                  "I found that when I was moving around, the foot wasn't bothering me," Kennedy
                  said. "But when I was sitting, my foot just started to relax and it was
                  starting to throb. It was hard to get the blood flowing in it again."

                  After the game, Kennedy said the foot was throbbing a little, but added, "It's
                  nothing I can't handle."

                  Coach Mike Martz liked what he saw of Kennedy against the Patriots, and what he
                  saw Wednesday and Thursday at Rams Park.

                  "This week in practice, he's been exceptional," Martz said. "It's thrilling, it
                  really is, for me to see him come from where he was last year to the point
                  where I think he is right now. I really am anxious to see him on Sunday
                  (against Seattle). ... Everything about Jimmy is moving in the right

                  The same couldn't be said at this time last year. At the end of last season,
                  Martz questioned Kennedy's commitment to becoming a good NFL player. He said
                  Kennedy had a lot of growing up to do.

                  For the most part, Kennedy put in the time last offseason in terms of weight
                  training and conditioning. Following the foot injury, which occurred Aug. 5 in
                  a joint practice session with the Chicago Bears, Kennedy got up close and
                  personal with strength and conditioning coach Dana LeDuc.

                  "I'd rather be on the field than in the weight room with 'Duke,' " Kennedy...
                  -11-12-2004, 05:29 AM
                • RamWraith
                  Move to nose tackle is task for Kennedy
                  by RamWraith
                  By Jim Thomas
                  ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                  A part of Jimmy Kennedy was surprised by the news last offseason. But at the same time he understood why the new Rams coaching staff wanted him to make the switch to nose tackle.

                  Namely, there was nobody else.

                  Ryan Pickett was gone, signing a free-agent deal with Green Bay. And La'Roi Glover, a free-agent pickup from Dallas, wasn't really a nose tackle. That left Kennedy, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2003 draft out of Penn State.

                  "Once they picked 'Glove' up, they told me they were going to slide me over to nose (tackle)," Kennedy said. "I was surprised by it. But it made sense to me the way they delivered (the news) to me. I'm a bigger guy. And La'Roi is a proven Pro Bowler."

                  You wouldn't think moving a couple of feet over on the

                  defensive line is a big deal, but in the NFL it is. Nose tackle is the blue-collar position of the defensive line.

                  "They do more of the grunt work," Kennedy said. "You're the anchor of the defense for the most part. You have to go out there, take on the double teams, and make the guy behind you look great."

                  The other defensive tackle position, generically called the "3-technique," is more of the glory spot. The "3-technique" lines up between the opposing team's offensive guard and tackle and is counted on to shoot that gap.

                  This is the first time Kennedy has played the nose, in the NFL or college. By the numbers, Kennedy has 38 tackles and is on pace to top his career high of 53 stops last season. But nose tackle is the one position on defense where statistics don't necessarily reflect effective play.

                  "When you play the nose, you've got to eat up that center-guard (double team)," coach Scott Linehan said. "If you can take up two players, someone else is going to benefit — Will Witherspoon and the linebackers.

                  "It seems like you're pounding your head against the wall. There's a little reality to that, too. The guys who embrace that and do the best job at playing nose guard don't get a whole lot of production. You don't see a lot of tackles."

                  Kennedy — and the Rams' run defense — gets in trouble when he reverts to his old role and plays more like a "3-technique" instead of a nose tackle. What the Rams need from Kennedy is the dirty work: eat up blockers and let the linebackers clean up behind him.

                  But old habits apparently are hard to break. Too often, Kennedy turns sideways to go around a block, trying to make a play upfield. That leaves the middle of the field open, leading to some big runs against the Rams.

                  "At times it can get frustrating because I'm not running around making all those plays," Kennedy...
                  -11-24-2006, 05:07 AM
                • RamWraith
                  Catching Up and Moving Ahead
                  by RamWraith
                  Wednesday, August 17, 2005

                  By Cynthia Hobgood
                  USA Football

                  St. Louis Rams rookie tackle Jimmy Kennedy grew up fending for himself on the tough streets of Yonkers, his mom worked two jobs, and he was heading down the wrong path when his football coach turned his life around.

                  When Kennedy met Coach Tony DeMatteo in 9th grade gym class, Kennedy had been placed in special education classes because he was struggling in school. He was reading at a fifth-grade level. Kennedy had been cut from the 7th grade and 8th grade football teams because he was "too slow and too small," and was in desperate need of a family, not a gang.

                  Now Kennedy, 23, proudly stands at 6'4", 320 pounds, sporting a college degree in rehabilitation services with minors in African-American studies and sociology from Penn State University, and plans to work with kids who come from exactly the life he did.

                  Kennedy credits DeMatteo, who he considers a father figure, for sending him down the right path away from the gang life and towards a new focus on education and athletics. From encouraging Kennedy to play football and study hard, to making sure he was eating properly, DeMatteo was ever present.

                  "He was definitely important. He is the reason I'm here playing in the NFL today," Kennedy said. "My mother worked two jobs and wasn't home a lot. Coach D found out I wasn't eating regular dinners. I'd eat cereal or maybe cook once in a blue moon. So he started taking me to his mother's house up the block, and we'd eat dinner there a couple nights a week."

                  DeMatteo is proud of his former player mostly because he graduated in four years with a college degree and a 3.2 GPA.

                  "Jimmy Kennedy is very special to me only because he got his degree," DeMatteo said. "He is a perfect example of someone who wants to teach and a person who wants to learn. You put those two together, and you can do anything."

                  After working his way out of special education classes and graduating from high school, Kennedy arrived at Penn State. By his own account, he had some catching up to do in terms of academics, but Kennedy was determined to leave Penn State with a college degree. Along comes another mentor; Penn State Coach Joe Paterno's wife.

                  "In my first year at Penn State, I had to work extra hard because I felt I was behind," Kennedy said. "Mrs. Paterno tutored me that year. I learned time management, how to balance football with school life, and not to wait until the last minute to study for a test."

                  Given his experience, Kennedy believes very strongly that kids need to focus on getting a college degree, no matter how skilled an athlete they are.

                  "My motto is football doesn't last forever. God forbid, if something happens and my career is cut short, I...
                  -08-18-2005, 05:02 AM