James Laurinaitis Discusses Mini Camp

Rams rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis talked Friday about his fellow former Ohio State linebacker Larry Grant, on the extent of responsibilities in coverage for inside linebackers here, on if he is able to start watching other teams' film or still concentrating on the Rams playbook, and on if he just keeps cramming the playbook or does he get overloaded.

(On the meaning of his bracelet)
"We actually got these at Ohio State, but I saw a lot of guys here with them too. It just says, "I am grateful, thank you God." I've been publicly expressing my faith for awhile. When I was at Ohio State for three years I publicly expressed my following of Jesus Christ and I just like to remind myself I have this bracelet on. I have a lot to be thankful for. Just the opportunity to play in the NFL is such a privilege and to be able to remind myself just looking down. Even at practice just thank you for allowing me to be out here and trying to give all my glory to Him"

(On if he has connected with Coach Spagnuolo given his background in his faith)
"Not yet, I think with the way everything is we're so upbeat about football, football, football that we haven't been able to hit that. We had a chapel and a mass the last mini-camp we had when we went Sunday. Aneas Williams came in a spoke to us, which was awesome to be able to hear him speak. But I haven't really talked to coach about it, but I will as things get down the road. Right now, I'm trying to line up all these other guys so I don't get yelled at."

(On fellow former Ohio State linebacker Larry Grant)
"Larry is athletically, when he came over from junior college he was at mike backer and it was kind of me and him battling for the spot my sophomore year. And he's extremely talented. He's a guy that's hard working and knows a lot about football. He's a leader. He's been a leader when he was at Ohio State, he did his job. To see him here with me is awesome because he's helping me out with some things in the defense. I think with Larry you get a guy who's extremely good with his hands and he makes some plays. I think if he gets the chance to play football he's going to show some people that he's going to be pretty good linebacker."

(On if he and Grant have their communication down because they have played together before)
"Right, exactly. We're doing things here that we'd been used to doing at Ohio State. Staying after, watching film on our own, trying to get things down. When you have guys that are already comfortable with each other it gives you a head start communicating. But regardless you're going to have to be able to talk to these guys that you just met. Like everybody said, communicating, talking routes through coverages helps guys out, talking formation helps guys out, so there has to be a lot of communication amongst everybody."

(On the extent of responsibilities in coverage for inside linebackers here)
"There's a little bit of everything. It depends on what the play call is. There's times when you have to be in man, there's times you have to be in zone and you have to know where the safety's coming down. You have to know what certain checks are. There's certain checks in zone that we could make a call where only two guys are playing man and everyone else is playing zone. You have to know a lot of things. You need to be able to do it all, but it's nothing really different than what we did at Ohio State in regards to what I'll be expected to do coverage-wise. The system's a lot different, a lot more advanced and technical and a lot of checks. But I think as far as what they expect out of me, it's the same things we've been doing."

(On if the system is mostly advanced in the checks)
"I just think when you're in college there's coverage and sometimes it will be double calls and you'll be able to make adjustments, but every single formation there could be something else – another call to it. You can make the base call, but then depending on how many formations you can get, which is unlimited you could have a different responsibility on certain looks. It's just about knowing football really. If you know football and you know certain formations and you're comfortable within the defense and really study it, it makes it easy. But if you don't you're going to have a hard time picking it up."

(On what the thinking and reacting ratio is like now compared to the first mini-camp)
"A lot better than that first mini-camp. That first mini-camp I was just trying to line up at the front. I was not even paying attention to what the offense was doing. I was just running to the ball. Right now it's getting more of where I'm making calls, I'm communicating to the guys, getting comfortable and I'm starting to pick up on the offensive formation. Noticing little things in the wide receiver splits that gives you a way of whether it's a play action or what not. When you're able to get comfortable within the defense, then you can start paying attention to what the other guys are doing and I'm starting to make that transition now. "

(On if he is able to start watching other teams' film or still concentrating on the Rams playbook)
"We're learning the Rams playbook right now. I think some of the film that we've watched has been of the Giants defense and the stuff that we're running now. Just seeing the way that it's supposed to be run at a championship level. I think that helps when you look at those guys and the way ran the defense in the system. And us too in looking at film we definitely have a lot of talent here and we just have to be able to make plays like they did. Eventually here we'll find out what Arizona and Seattle and San Francisco are all about."

(On if he just keeps cramming the playbook or does he get overloaded)
"You just keep cramming. I think the first weekend was more like, ‘Okay, this is crazy. Let's just try to figure this out. Let's just take a step back," and really after that, I put more pressure on myself. I expect more out of myself. I think a lot of coaches knew the rookies were going to make mistakes because they're new to the whole system. And even some of the other guys are making mistakes because it's a new system for everybody. But for myself, I'm a perfectionist. So I went back and just tried to make notes. The more you write it over the more you drop formations, the more you actually see it and then when you make the mistake you don't make the same one next time. It helps out and it's slowing down now. I'm still making mistakes, I'm not perfect yet, but I'm trying to get there."


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