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Rams Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner Says He's 'Light Years' Ahead Of Last Year

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  • Rams Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner Says He's 'Light Years' Ahead Of Last Year

    Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner says he's 'light years' ahead of last year

    Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer

    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Lamarcus Joyner came to the St. Louis Rams with high expectations for himself in 2014.

    As a rookie projected to help at nickel cornerback, Joyner had every intention of stepping in and contributing right away. He'd come to St. Louis as a second-round pick from national champion Florida State and figured the adjustment would be tough but not too tough to overcome. He was wrong.

    "Definitely a humbling experience for me, both on the field, off the field, just a lot of things that come in this league," Joyner said. "Just adapting, learning the system. Coming from a successful year at the college level and you think you know everything and you just need to get adjusted."

    Like most rookies, Joyner didn't know what he didn't know. He found himself pressing too hard to make things happen and often got caught out of position. He picked up six penalties in 10 games, including a costly pass interference in a narrow week 3 loss to Dallas.

    After playing the nickel for eight of the first nine games, Joyner suffered a groin injury that kept him out for a few weeks. When he returned, E.J. Gaines had staked a claim to the nickel job and Joyner didn't play again until the final two weeks of the season and that only happened because Gaines suffered a concussion in Week 16.

    All told, Joyner finished with 37 tackles, a sack, two pass breakups and a healthy dose of disappointment. So he entered this offseason in search of ways to eliminate mistakes and stake his claim to a more permanent role.

    Apparently, Joyner's efforts have worked as he says coaches and teammates have taken notice of his improvement.

    "I definitely feel good but two witnesses are better than one, you know what I知 saying?" Joyner said. "So it doesn稚 matter what I think. It痴 about the organization.

    "From the words of the coaches, [it's] 'light years.' I feel good, I feel like I知 there mentally which is the most important part at this level. I知 already blessed with the God-given physical ability so I知 pretty caught up."

    During organized team activities (OTAs), Joyner says he feels like he's been doing more reacting than thinking, the sign of a player who has a better handle on what he's doing within the confines of the scheme. He also find himself firmly back in the mix to win the team's nickel corner job.

    "Wherever my coaches need me, I am to the point where I know a little more about the defense so nickel corner, safety, next man up is our philosophy," Joyner said.

    Joyner doesn't appear to have any direct competition for that nickel corner role but that could shift if the Rams decide to bump Gaines inside with Trumaine Johnson handling outside duties when the defense goes to sub-packages. Either way, Joyner believes that so long as he performs, he'll be on the field.

    "I feel like my approach is different," Joyner said. "That痴 probably coming from the more understanding I have. The more wisdom I have and just knowing what I知 doing. Instead of running out there like a blind dog in a meat house not knowing which way to go, I know what I知 doing so now I can pretty much contribute to the defense."

  • #2
    Re: Rams Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner Says He's 'Light Years' Ahead Of Last Year

    running out there like a blind dog in a meat house
    I like that. This kid can turn a phrase.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


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      Lamarcus Joyner Jumps Into Nickel Job With Something To Prove
      by r8rh8rmike
      Lamarcus Joyner jumps into nickel job with something to prove

      Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer

      EARTH CITY, Mo. -- For as long as he can remember, football came easy to St. Louis Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Until last season.

      The 2014 season just so happened to be not only Joyner's toughest year in football but also his rookie season in the NFL. That the two are one in the same is no coincidence.

      "It definitely was," Joyner said. "For a guy like myself who you are talking about little league, high school, college had success then had to come to the league and you see that everybody is just as good as you. It's not just 'I'm gonna go tie up my shoes on Sunday and compete.' You have to really prepare and [make] each day count. I didn't understand that coming into this game. It's a continuation of what I have to do to learn in this game."

      Little more than halfway through this preseason, Joyner must now hurry that process along. After losing cornerback E.J. Gaines for the season because of a foot injury, Joyner is no longer competing for the team's nickel corner job. It's his.

      "He's going to be our inside guy," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's improving every day. He's light years ahead of where he was last year. It was all happening really fast and it's starting to slow down for him. When he knows exactly what to do, he does it very well. We're counting on him to be effective in the slot, which means as a third corner, you're probably going to play 50-60 percent of our snaps."

      That Joyner is stepping into that role is really no surprise considering the Rams traded up in the second round in the 2014 draft to select him. In an ideal world, he would have embraced the role last season but a combination of mental miscues and injury issues kept him from solidifying that spot.

      As a rookie, Joyner played 10 games and 263 snaps, finishing with 37 tackles, one sack, a pair of pass breakups and six penalties for 41 yards. He was the team's primary slot corner for eight of the first nine games before a groin injury kept him out a few weeks. By the time he returned, Gaines had taken over in the slot with Trumaine Johnson handling outside corner duties when the Rams used their nickel package.

      When Joyner went back to watch the film in the offseason, he couldn't believe what he saw.

      "It was a disgrace, personally for me," Joyner said. "If I don't owe anyone, I owe myself better than what I was putting on tape out there so I didn't want to look like that guy anymore. So I went and got my mental aspect of the game better."

      Joyner's brutal honesty with himself let him know that it wasn't about being faster, stronger or more athletic than everyone else. His film study led him to the conclusion everyone in the NFL is a good athlete with those physical...
      -08-26-2015, 11:47 AM
    • MauiRam
      Rams' Joyner making progress going into Year 2
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      By Nate Latsch

      ST. LOUIS Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner described his rookie season as a 塗umbling experience after the team痴 OTA session on Thursday.
      泥efinitely a humbling experience for me, both on the field, off the field there痴 just a lot of things that come with this league, he said.

      The Rams second-round pick (No. 41 overall) in 2014 out of Florida State, the diminutive defensive back failed to make much of an impact for the team during his debut season.

      Drafted to man the nickel cornerback position in Gregg Williams aggressive defense, Joyner finished with 48 tackles, three passes defensed, one sack and one quarterback pressure in 10 games.

      Joyner struggled early on, came on after a slow start but was then sidelined by an injury. He returned for the final two games.

      What was the hardest part about his rookie campaign?

      笛ust adapting. Just learning the system. Just coming from a successful year at the college level and you think you know everything and you池e just on the wrong path, you need to get adjusted, Joyner said. 鼎oach (Gregg) Williams was a great example of molding me out of that and molding me into the young man I am now.

      What the 5-foot-8, 184-pound defensive back is now is a player who is far more aware of what he is doing in the Rams defensive scheme, a player fighting for snaps among the team痴 cornerbacks and a player who has earned some praise for his play so far during OTAs.

      的 feel like my approach is different and that痴 probably coming from the more understanding I have, the more wisdom I have and just knowing what I知 doing, Joyner said. 的nstead of running out there like a blind dog in a meat house and you don稚 know which way to go, I know what I知 doing, so now I can pretty much contribute to the defense.

      How much different does Joyner feel now within the defense than he was a year ago as a rookie second-round pick? Joyner said the coaches have used the words 斗ight years to describe the difference.

      的 feel great, I feel like I知 settled in, I知 there mentally, which is the most important part at this level, Joyner said. 的知 already blessed with the God-given physical ability, so I知 pretty caught up.

      Joyner said he is now at the point where is able to react to what is unfolding instead of having to think about what he should do.

      He痴 come a long way over the past year, a period of time with plenty of ups and downs for the second-round pick who helped Florida State win a national championship in his final season with the Seminoles.

      Joyner took some time after his rookie season to reflect and refocus.

      的 definitely got away and had to refocus and ask myself what it is about this game that makes me want to come to work every day and I came to the realization that I still love football,...
      -06-13-2015, 01:16 AM
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      Lamarcus Joyner was rated the NFL's best slot corner in Week 2 by Pro Football Focus. Keith Birmingham/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire 9:55 PM PT

      Alden Gonzalez ESPN Staff Writer

      THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- It was early in the second quarter last Monday, in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, when Lamarcus Joyner's left foot suddenly fell asleep. The third-year cornerback finished the Los Angeles Rams' stand on defense, then walked gingerly toward the sideline and noticed that his second toe would not move.

      He knew then that it was broken, but he also knew that no one else would.

      "I didn稚 really want to say anything to anyone because I knew the defense was depending on me," Joyner said. "We didn稚 have anyone else that ran nickel throughout the week, so I knew I just had to be accountable for the defense. I just kept my mouth closed and kept playing."

      Joyner finished that game, then played in the next one six days later, a 9-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks that was driven almost entirely by a supreme defensive effort. With a broken toe, the 5-foot-8, 184-pound Joyner matched up against the great Russell Wilson and was ultimately rated the best slot corner of Week 2 by Pro Football Focus. He spent 35 snaps in the slot, third-most in the NFL, and allowed only three catches for 18 yards on six targets.

      Joyner didn't even bother with a splint.

      "I just strapped on my cleats and I played, man," he said. "I knew that was an important game for us."

      Joyner thought back to 2014, when the Rams moved up in the draft to select him 41st overall out of Florida State.

      "All that kind of stuff just ran through my mind," Joyner said. "This organization made a lot of sacrifices for me so that I could fight through something like this if I'm able to still go."

      Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Joyner's toughness was "why we drafted him." The pain, Joyner said, was "bad" throughout Sunday's game. But secondary coach Dennard Wilson talked him through it.

      薦very time he said, 糎e need you, it just gave me the strength," Joyner said. "It gave me the strength to fight through the pain."

      Joyner plans to play again against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. He'll be returning to his home state, 280 miles north of his hometown of Miami and 160 miles east of his college campus. Family will be there, but he doesn't anticipate spending much time with them.

      "This is a business trip," he said.

      Joyner has "no doubt" he will continue to play through his broken toe.

      "It痴 getting better," he said. "We have the best training staff, I think, out of all 32 teams. [Head athletic trainer Reggie Scott] and...
      -09-21-2016, 09:52 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      E.J. Gaines eager to play in exhibition after year away from game action
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      By Gary Klein
      August 17, 2016

      Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines could be on track to play in Saturday night痴 exhibition against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum.

      Gaines sat out last week against the Dallas Cowboys because of a hamstring strain. He took some first-team reps Tuesday and is expected to take more Wednesday.

      After missing all of last season because of a foot injury, he is eager to get back onto the field during a game.

      的t will definitely be a big step for me in my rehab process, getting out there and getting live reps and hitting people, he said of Saturday痴 exhibition. 的t痴 been a full year.

      Gaines started 15 games in 2014 but was injured during training camp last year and was sidelined after surgery. He took part in off-season workouts in Oxnard but was not cleared for full football activity until training camp.

      的t felt like more than a year, he said of the rehabilitation process. 的t felt like five years.

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      Joyner and Sensabaugh gave up touchdown passes against the Cowboys....
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    • Rambos
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      IRVINE, CALIF. They can forget about you quickly in the NFL. Take E.J. Gaines, for instance.

      A sixth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Missouri, Gaines was a pleasant surprise for the Rams as a rookie.

      He started 15 games, recorded 105 tackles and posted a team-high 14 pass breakups. And he had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He played so well that he made the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team, and was ahead of Trumaine Johnson on the depth chart a year ago at this time in what figured to be a tight battle at cornerback.

      But the competition was over before it really started. Gaines suffered a season-ending foot injury about a week into camp. Johnson regained the starting job, tied for the NFC lead with seven interceptions and will make $13.9 million this season as the Rams franchise player.

      Who knows what would致e happened had Gaines stayed healthy. Maybe he would致e retained the starting job, and Johnson wouldn稚 be making all that money.

      溺an, that痴 God痴 work, ain稚 it? Gaines asked, laughing. 的知 excited for him. I知 glad that he proved himself last year and had a great season. I知 excited 団ause I think he痴 gonna do the same thing. I致e talked to him and his head痴 on the same level as last year.

      Gaines and his teammates have done their part to make sure of that, teasing Johnson about his big contract.

      添ou know, everybody gives him a little (grief), Gaines chuckled. 滴e痴 the 閃oney Man in the corner room now. So that痴 what we call him.

      As for Gaines, he痴 determined to make sure nobody forgets about him this season. It痴 almost a year ago to the day that Gaines suffered a fractured foot during practice at the team痴 Earth City facility in the St. Louis area.

      鄭ugust 3, 2015, Gaines said. 的値l never forget the day, so I知 just trying to get past that. It was one-on-ones, and I just cut on it wrong coming out of a break. It was a freak accident.

      He had surgery a week later, with two screws inserted in the mid-foot area; one of which still is in there. Mid-foot injuries can be tricky and take a while to heal.

      的 tried to just focus on the positive, Gaines said. 的 knew if I worked hard and got back mentally and physically I壇 be fine. And the coaches, they pushed me over the offseason. So I致e just got to thank them for that having the confidence in me.

      During practices in June, Gaines still was very much in rehab mode. He壇 get in a practice rep here and there, but that was about it.

      A Kansas City native who was first-team in both the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences while at Mizzou, Gaines wasn稚 given full medical clearance until a few days before the now-Los Angeles Rams reported for training camp Friday.

      He excelled in his conditioning tests and got off to a good start in training camp over the weekend at the University
      -08-02-2016, 01:04 PM