Thursday, April 7, 2005

LeSueur takes first NFL steps

(Editor’s Note — The following feature story on Jeremy LeSueur of Holly Springs is printed from


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - For the rare rookie, the first NFL season is one that sees potential realized within weeks. For most, it’s about the vacillations between success and frustration.

But there was no rookie season for Jeremy LeSueur to work through the pebbles and bumps that line a young player’s road to NFL success. Those first experiences in the regular season are still yet to come; all LeSueur got out of the 2004 season was a stint on injured reserve.

For many players, the development leading into the second year is crucial. But for LeSueur, who in effect will take his first NFL steps this year, it’s important - but not necessarily vital - that he contribute.

“I think that if he develops, it will be very good for us. I hesitate to say that it’s key,” defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. “He’s a talented young player. Sometimes it takes more than one year.”

Through the offseason and training camps, LeSueur showed enough to engender his defensive boss’s confidence.

“First of all, he’s a good football player,” Coyer said. “We were able to see it in training camp. He has instincts. He can tackle. He’s competitive. He’s got good size.

“Training camp was very positive. As a young corner, there were times he struggled. But there were times he played well, too.”

A sports hernia forced LeSueur to injured reserve and ended his season before it began, sending him into the process of rehabilitation and away from the daily intricacies of the defense.

All that will change soon enough.

“Each day will be a grueling experience for him,” Coyer said. “He has physical tools; he’s big and tough. He’s got a competitive nature about him. It gives him a chance.”

“Potential” is the word that crosses Coyer’s lips most often when he recently discussed LeSueur. The potential to become a solid NFL contributor, the potential to grow and live up to the expectations of a third-round pick, and the potential of a player who, at 6-feet and 197 pounds, was big enough to start at safety in addition to cornerback at the University of Michigan.

“The more you can do (the better),” Coyer said. “It’s like anything else. You try to arrive at a place where he’s comfortable, where he fits into how you’re going to play.

“But a kid with size that can cover some is very valuable to you, whether it’s at safety or at nickel. He’s got long arms, so he’s valuable that way. And the fact that the guy will hit you opens up avenues. It’s a plus for him, really. He’s able to be evaluated in a couple of different circumstances.”

He also comes into 2005 prepared - by four years at Michigan and last year’s camp experiences.

“He knows how to play, like most Michigan kids,” Coyer said. “They have a feel for how to play the game. He’s well-coached and well-taught.”

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