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Thread: Barron Begins Crash Course
Barron Begins Crash Course
Monday, August 15, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
While the lights were out at Rams Park this weekend because of a power failure, a trio of offensive line instructors was spending its time trying to help the lights come on in the head of rookie tackle Alex Barron.
As most Rams enjoyed their Saturday afternoon off after their win against Chicago on Friday night, the offensive line’s newest arrival was getting acquainted with his new coaching staff.
No other players were present at Rams Park as offensive line coaches John Matsko and John Benton and Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater gave Barron a crash course in everything from technique to the offense to foot work.
For the better part of the day, Matsko, Benton and Slater took turns drilling Barron on different things. Matsko did an hour on pass protections, Benton handled run blocking and Slater drilled technique. Then, the trio went through it again. It was a quick, tireless introduction to training camp.
“They did a great job working with me this weekend,” Barron said. “The other guys were off. I just got a little extra work in during the days. It helped out a great bit. It caught me up to some of the things that had been going on in camp, some new plays, different techniques and stuff.”
Barron’s work was cut short by a loss of electricity that occurred around 4 p.m. Saturday. But by that time, Barron had already dived in head first. It brought the teaching session to an abrupt halt, but it was Barron’s first crack at working out in St. Louis after a two-week holdout.
Barron continued the workouts through the weekend, but he still has a ways to go. Barron played left and right tackle at Florida State, but it was more of a strongside versus weakside type of change than making the permanent move to the right side. That seemed to give him an advantage coming in, but Matsko said it is natural for Barron to be uncomfortable when he is so used to being the left tackle.
“I like him if he has got a chip on his shoulder,” Matsko said. “Mentally, he was very sharp when he was here. The challenge that he had came when he was on the right side was being dominant with the left hand when he was in pass protection.”
That all goes back to technique and that was an area Barron struggled with at the team’s mini-camp in June. Barron looked somewhat lost on the right side and got beaten repeatedly in pass rush drills. After each practice, Barron looked worn down and tired.
“I think it might have had something to do with the combination of being in the situations he was in and working with the ones and the multitude of plays he was trying learn and then trying to master the technique,” Slater said. “I think it was the combination of all of that more than anything else.”
But the rookie was much improved in his first practice Monday morning. Working at his more natural left tackle spot, Barron held his own in the morning workout and even got a few repetitions with the first-team offense when Orlando Pace was out.
Barron looked much more natural Monday morning than at any point during the mini-camp. He handled himself fine in pass rush drills and didn’t look nearly as run-down after the session.
While Barron fared well in his first practice, coach Mike Martz said he did not pay too much attention to his late-arriving first-round choice. In what Martz did see, though, he said Barron wasn’t too bad.
Still, that isn’t enough to have Barron on the right side where he was projected to play right after the draft. Martz said Barron will probably remain at left tackle, at least for the time being.
“We have got two right tackles over there,” Martz said. “We have got (Rex) Tucker and Matt Willig as two veterans that are ready to play. They are both playing very well. He has got a long ways to go to learn how to play yet. When he gets to the point where he can play and he is ready to play then we’ll make a decision on what he does.”
That doesn’t mean that Barron won’t eventually slide over to the right side. St. Louis didn’t use the 19th pick in the draft to take a backup left tackle so once Barron gets acclimated it makes sense that he would compete for the starting job with Tucker, Grant Williams and Willig.
“They are all going to compete for that spot,” Matsko said. “Right now there is such a gap that we are just trying to get him some confidence and get him going in our system. He will compete for that spot when his time is ready.”
The Rams hope that time is sooner than later, but Barron is well aware of how much work is ahead of him considering how far behind he was when he came in. Despite the fact that Barron got a crash course, he is still not up to speed.
Matsko said the Rams have most of their offense installed and Barron missed out on most of that. But Slater thinks that Barron has the ability to catch up in short order.
“It hurts to be late to camp, especially an offensive linemen when so much of what you do is based on your skill level and getting hold of your technique,” Slater said. “There is no doubt that he is behind, but just watching him today and this weekend you can tell he is going to catch up pretty quick.”
The lights came back on at Rams Park around 5 p.m. Sunday, meaning they were out for about 24 hours. Barron won’t learn everything that fast, but the sooner the better for an offense that has been searching for stability at right tackle.
“We’ll see on Sunday. I am just here taking this all in. They are doing a great job of working with me, trying to prepare me and things like that. Hopefully I can put it all together and be successful.”
-08-15-2005 #2Tony Soprano Guest
Re: Barron Begins Crash Course
This makes more sense.. I read the other post first.
Barron is praticing at Left Tackle because he wasn't making the grade at Right Tackle. He's behind the game and not ready to compete at all on the Right - not even against the Journeymen that we have on the Right side. The plans from the draft have been scrapped for the time being.
Looks like exactly what Martz said earlier, we're moving on, we don't see him being able to contribute this year..
"St. Louis didn’t use the 19th pick in the draft to take a backup left tackle"
TRUER WORDS WERE NEVER SPOKEN!
Last edited by Tony Soprano; -08-15-2005 at 11:20 PM.
Re: Barron Begins Crash CourseOriginally Posted by Tony Soprano