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Thread: Barron Aces First Exam
Barron Aces First Exam
Monday, October 3, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
Sure, Michael Strahan was able to walk away from Giants Stadium with a victory against the Rams on Sunday afternoon. But don’t necessarily chalk up a win for him against rookie right tackle Alex Barron.
Barron made his first NFL start at right tackle against the Giants on Sunday and looked good in the process. In fact, Strahan did not beat Barron for any sacks on the day and he held up well for four quarters.
Making Barron’s debut even more impressive was the fact that he had to pass protect a team-record 63 times in the game. Of course Barron got help from the tight ends and fullbacks, but even when he was isolated against Strahan, he did well.
“I thought the rookie right tackle was outstanding in the game,” coach Mike Martz said. “For his first performance to go against somebody like Strahan and then have the success and play as well as he did and keep his composure, I thought he was outstanding in this game. I was very, very pleased with him, which is comforting for us because I think under that kind of pressure we have not yet had a guy step up to the plate and perform like that. I think we are starting to settle in on some of those things on the offensive line.”
The soft-spoken Barron rarely seems to let anything bother him. He said he had little to no nerves before his first start and didn’t think much about Strahan before the game.
“I just stayed in my room, focusing on certain things,” Barron said. “I was just getting ready and preparing for the game.”
Even when Strahan took a couple of verbal jabs to try to get him rattled, Barron did not respond. He simply went about his business.
Late in the game, when Barron could have struggled since he hasn’t played a full game since college, he might have been at his best.
“I felt like I was OK toward the end of the game,” Barron said. “Some guys had told me that that happens sometimes in NFL games that at the end you tend to get a little more tired. Most of these guys were pretty experienced so they knew what was going on.”
It appears that Barron might have finally solidified the right tackle spot that has long been a weakness. After the game, even Strahan was impressed with Barron’s performance.
As Barron made his way toward the bus, Strahan took him aside and gave him some advice. That kind of respect is only earned in the NFL and Barron earned it by passing his first big NFL exam.
WILLIAMS DONE: Tight end Roland Williams was taking part in a homecoming of sorts in New York (he attended Syracuse), but that happy homecoming became a heartbreak with about 7 minutes left in the first quarter.
Williams caught the pass in the flat for a gain of 2 yards, but was swiped away at the legs by Giants’ defensive back Curtis Deloatch. Williams stayed on the ground for a while before he was carted off the field.
As Williams left the field, he gave the crowd thumbs up, but that doesn’t appear to be an indication of much. Martz said after the game that Williams is probably done for the season because of a dislocated knee.
“He’s done, I’m sure,” Martz said after the game. “Unless they can glue it together somehow.”
The loss of Williams combined with the inactivity of Brandon Manumaleuna left Madison Hedgecock and Jeff Robinson to handle all of the tight end/fullback duties.
Martz confirmed Monday what he presumed to be true Sunday.
“I think you are well aware that Roland dislocated the knee which means it’s a very severe injury,” Martz said. “The biggest concerns at the time were the vessels to the leg so that there is no damage. They checked him out last night and made sure that was OK and he has got some obvious cruciate – anterior, posterior, all that stuff – he will have to have a major repair of the knee. He’s done for the season.”
Former Ram Cameron Cleeland is expected to be in town tonight and could be signed soon. Manumaleuna missed Sunday’s game because of a sprained left knee and Martz said his status for this week is uncertain.
Cleeland spent the previous two seasons with the Rams, including last year when he had seven catches for 57 yards. His return comes at a coincidental time with Seattle coming to town.
Most people’s last memory of Cleeland was the 17-yard touchdown catch he made to give the Rams the lead against the Seahawks in the NFC Wildcard round.
But it is Cleeland’s knowledge of the offense that makes his arrival important for a team in desperate need of help at tight end.
“I’d love to have him back on this team,” Martz said. “I know what he can do; he makes a lot of plays for us as you guys have all seen in the past. We are going to bring Cam back and go from there.”
Cleeland will probably sign tonight, assuming he passes a physical and is prepared to play. That status is unknown until his arrival, though.
REVERSE REVISITED: Martz said after the game that he wasn’t sure why Marshall Faulk wasn’t in at running back on the reverse. He said Monday that it was just a matter of confusion.
“He just came out and by the time he got out we couldn’t get him back in,” Martz said. “It was just one of those things that happen. We still should be able to execute the play. It’s a convenient excuse for me. I can blame somebody else that way.”
The play, which called for the running back to pitch the ball to receiver Shaun McDonald on a reverse resulted in a fumble inside the 10 that cost the Rams possession and ended with a 14-point swing that the Rams couldn’t overcome.
After the game, Steven Jackson said he thought about running the ball himself and picking up the first down or perhaps a touchdown, but decided against it. Martz said that Jackson does have the freedom to run the ball and isn’t tied into anything on that play.
More than anything, Martz was angry with himself for even sending that play in the game at that stage of the game.
“That reverse down there, I kick myself in the butt for calling the play on the 5 yard line and there are probably a million other things we could do, but then again if you execute it scores, so who knows?” Martz said. “When you are in a game like this, you do anything you can to get the lead back and win it. I think if we go down and not fumble that ball you don’t know what happens. You just can’t stop playing as we all know from the Seattle game a year ago.”
NO HURRY FOR FURREY: Free safety Mike Furrey insisted Friday that he has little to no interest in playing receiver against after converting in the offseason. But a rash of injuries at the position Sunday prompted him to tell Martz if he needed some help at the position he would be willing to go in.
Martz said that the offer was tempting, but Furrey wasn’t ready to do some of the things they needed him to do at the time. That won’t be repeated again this week, though, with Isaac Bruce’s status still in doubt. Martz said the team will have some things ready for Furrey to play receiver should the situation arise where he is needed.
“Mike can come in and do a good job there,” Martz said. “I know he can play X, he remembers that position. We will carry about 30 plays in for him if it ever got to that from this point on. We were going to do it last week, but I still would not have used him in that situation because there are a lot of things we are doing that he is not familiar with.”
HODGES STRUGGLES: When punter Reggie Hodges earned the team’s special teams player of the week award for his outstanding performance against Arizona in week two, it appeared that the punting problems that plagued the Rams last season were gone.
Hodges’ kicks in that game were high, majestic boots that made returns almost impossible. But Hodges has reverted to the inconsistent rookie status that he had in the preseason in the past couple of weeks. He punted just twice against the Giants, but neither punt exactly brought rain.
He averaged 34 yards on the kicks with a long of 39. Both were low line drives that allowed for return chances. Martz said Hodges’ problems might be mechanical, but he isn’t sure yet.
“Normally with Hodges it just goes back to how he is dropping the ball,” Martz said. “It’s as simple as that. We will go back and look at that, but I would suspect that has something to do with it.”
Re: Barron Aces First ExamAs Barron made his way toward the bus, Strahan took him aside and gave him some advice. That kind of respect is only earned in the NFL and Barron earned it by passing his first big NFL exam
Re: Barron Aces First Exam
What is best about Barron, is that when Pace gets to old we can slide Barron right into the left spot
-10-04-2005 #4STLRAMSFAN Guest
Re: Barron Aces First ExamOriginally Posted by RamWraith