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St. Louis Rams' Thaddeus Lewis looks to find his place

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  • St. Louis Rams' Thaddeus Lewis looks to find his place

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/11/2010

    Of the three quarterbacks who took part in the Rams' rookie minicamp last week, only one passed for more than 10,000 yards in college. And it wasn't Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

    Thaddeus Lewis piled up 10,065 yards through the air in his four seasons as Duke's starter under coach David Cutcliffe, a noted developer of quarterbacks.

    Lewis was invited to the NFL scouting combine but wasn't drafted, his 6-foot height the probable deterrent. Still, the Rams had checked out Lewis during his senior season and signed him to a free-agent contract.

    According to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Lewis showed at the recent three-day minicamp that the team made a wise move.


    "I thought Thad did a terrific job," Shurmur said. "He's obviously been trained as a quarterback in a passing style, and I thought he showed up well. He's got some talent."

    Bradford and veteran A.J. Feeley — not necessarily in that order at this point — appear to be in place as the Rams' top two quarterbacks. After the release last week of Mike Reilly, who spent the last month of the 2009 season with the team, the only other QBs on the roster are Lewis and Keith Null.

    Because of injuries to Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, Null, a sixth-round draftee last year, started the last four games of his rookie season. He's probably in line for the No. 3 job — but could face a challenge from Lewis.

    "I like (Lewis') command in the huddle, and he throws the ball well," coach Steve Spagnuolo said after the five-practice minicamp. "He's got some things about him. I think he's a pretty interesting guy right now."

    A dual threat quarterback at Miami Lakes High in Hialeah, Fla., Lewis got scholarship offers from Duke, South Florida, Texas Christian and Pittsburgh.

    "I took all four of my visits, and Duke is the place I felt most comfortable at," Lewis said. "They gave me the opportunity to come in and compete for the starting job."

    An added bonus was the presence of Cutcliffe. He tutored both Manning brothers in college, first Peyton at Tennessee, where Cutcliffe was offensive coordinator, and later Eli at Mississippi, where Cutcliffe was head coach.

    "That's his pride and joy, the two Manning brothers," Lewis said. "He'd show you old film of them and just let you know what he expects out of you. He'd also tell you that you could be as good as those guys if you work as hard as those guys."

    Lewis became Cutcliffe's starter on the third series of his first game as a freshman. Over four seasons, he completed 61 percent of his passes while throwing for 67 touchdowns, with 40 interceptions. Lewis' passing-yards total is second in Atlantic Coast Conference history to the 13,484 amassed by North Carolina State's Philip Rivers, who now quarterbacks the San Diego Chargers.

    The three-day draft was trying for Lewis. "I didn't know what to expect, to be honest," he said. But he refused to become overly concerned as the rounds clicked by.

    Cutcliffe "always told me you can't worry about the things you can't control," Lewis said. "And that's one thing I couldn't control, getting calls from teams."

    Finally, the Rams dialed his number, during the seventh round. "They said, 'Do you want to come in as a free agent?'" Lewis said. "So, this was the team that gave me my shot, and I feel loyalty to this program."

    Unlike Bradford, who took many of his snaps in the shotgun formation at Oklahoma, Lewis ran a pro-style system at Duke. "So it's not too hard to adjust" to the Rams' offense, Lewis said. "Just the terminology is a lot different."

    Next up is the start of organized team activities May 18 at Rams Park. "I'm going to just take it one day at a time, one step at a time," Lewis said. "I just want an opportunity to compete, an opportunity to get a shot at the NFL. Hopefully it works out for the best."

    After a pause, Lewis laughed and added, "Hey, maybe I could be Sam's backup. Who knows?"

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  • sosa39rams
    Player Profile: Thaddeus Lewis
    by sosa39rams
    Duke football coach David Cutcliffe is widely regarded as one of the finest quarterback tutors in the country. He’s the man who once provided guidance to future Hall of Fame signal caller Peyton Manning.

    Cutcliffe passed those same lessons on to his latest pupil, Rams rookie Thaddeus Lewis. In his four-year career with the Blue Devils, Lewis went on to set or tie every major passing record in school history.

    And for all of his success, Lewis was trained in a pro style offense more along the lines of the NFL than the spread offenses that run rampant in college football these days.

    In other words, when Lewis signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent on April 26, he was about as NFL ready as a quarterback can be.

    “It helped me a whole lot,” Lewis said. “I wasn’t fazed at all coming out to these practices because he makes his practices up tempo and fast. The transition was great so that part wasn’t hard at all. It’s just learning the language. The language is different. You have to forget everything you learned in college. Pretty much, the route concepts and running plays are the same. The defenses never change. They add a few things to it but it’s pretty much the same.”

    Make no mistake, for as much preparation as Lewis was able to have for his move to the game’s highest level, there’s only so much you can do. That’s why Lewis came to St. Louis with his eyes and ears wide open and his head on a swivel.

    “It’s demanding more of you on this level than in college,” Lewis said. “As a quarterback, there are a lot of things you need to know as a rookie that you have to learn on the fly. You have to learn pretty quick in college but the transition has been pretty smooth. The coaches have done a great job with us but putting time in off the field also helps.”

    Considering his pedigree and his performance in college, it might come as a surprise that Lewis went undrafted last April.

    While Duke is known for its prowess on the basketball court, Cutcliffe has restored some respectability to the program with the help of Lewis as the cornerstone quarterback.

    From the moment he arrived in Durham as a freshman out of Hialeah Miami Lakes High in Florida, Lewis made his presence felt. He started the final 11 weeks of his true freshman season.

    By the time his four years were complete, Lewis had left a lasting impression on Duke football fans.

    All told, Lewis established or matched 54 schools records including career completions (877), passing yards (10,065) and passing touchdowns (67) while playing in 47 games. A two-time second team All-ACC selection, Lewis was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award as a senior when he threw for 3,330 yards and 20 touchdowns. His 10,065 passing yards rank as the second-highest career total in ACC history.

    With numbers like those and the training Lewis had...
    -07-17-2010, 09:20 AM
  • Zacharync
    Thad Lewis
    by Zacharync
    Hello all,

    I am new to the board and writing to get some feedback from Rams fans on how you think Thaddeus Lewis' chances are of making the team.

    I am a big Duke football fan(haha I know) and Thad was a true pleasure to watch play in Durham.

    I saw he had a decent outing this past weekend and I would appreciate some feedback.

    Obviously SB is the man and the plan but I hope Thad will get a shot to make the team.

    Thoughts?
    -08-16-2010, 03:50 PM
  • sbramfan
    D' Lewis
    by sbramfan
    Just my thoughts on D' Lewis:

    I've never been a big fan of picking up free agents from teams that have an entire good unit s because you can't be sure the player is a stand-out. Guys like Kim Herring and Jamie Duncan who, while they were on defenses that were awesome, it was their supporting cast that made them not only look better, but actually be better, since other players were getting the focus or double teams, etc..

    But when you put those guys on another team, they look average at best. It seems a lot safer to get a guy who stands out on a poor unit, because he'll only be that much better with other players to compliment him.

    Point being, D' Lewis is starting to look better now because the players around him are now making things happen, which also opens doors for him. So whether he has atually got better or not, the play of the rest of the front 7 is a great thing for all of them.
    -09-25-2005, 07:28 AM
  • Truth
    Ray Lewis Available???
    by Truth
    Just read a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune saying that Ray Lewis is looking to be traded. Ravens won't re-negotiate his contract, so he wants out.

    I know he's not the same Ray lewis he was a couple of years ago, but what a leader on the defense. I'd take him in half a heartbeat if we could get him. I wouldn't sell the farm, but I'd certainly look at what we might have to offer for him.
    -02-22-2006, 02:06 PM
  • THOLTFAN81
    Ray Lewis
    by THOLTFAN81
    I really want the Rams to sign him. Given he is asking for a lot of money but he brings more then any linebacker you will see in a Rams uniform for the next five years. He is a freak player, and not only that he is an emotional leader who can ignite a defense with his mouth. The Rams got the emotional coach that isn't afraid to yell and isn't passive, lets get that leader on defense.
    -02-27-2009, 12:16 PM
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