Barron gets put on left side in debut at practice - PD
Barron gets put on left side in debut at practice
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Monday, Aug. 15 2005
Nineteen days and 21 missed practices into training camp, first-round draft
pick Alex Barron finally made his practice debut Monday for the Rams. The twist
is that he lined up at left tackle, not right tackle, during both of the day's
workouts at Earth City.
Why left tackle?
"Because we don't have anybody over there," coach Mike Martz said.
Starter Orlando Pace tried to practice Monday morning but couldn't finish when
his thigh injury acted up. Grant Williams, the usual backup at left tackle,
isn't quite ready for a full practice because of a back injury.
So, will Barron eventually return to the right side?
"No," Martz bristled. "We've got two right tackles over there. (Rex) Tucker and
Matt Willig are two veterans that are ready to play, and they're both playing
very well. So (Barron)'s got a long ways to go to learn how to play yet. When
he gets to the point where he can play, and he's ready to play, then we'll make
a decision on what he does."
So much for any "welcome to the NFL" speech by the head coach. For now, Barron
is down on the depth chart and far removed from the position he was drafted to
play at No. 19 overall.
Martz later softened and clarified his stance, saying Barron would be at left
tackle for the immediate future. But overall, the Rams head coach treated
Barron's long-awaited first practice like it was no big deal.
When asked how Barron looked Monday morning, Martz replied bluntly: "I have no
idea. I'm looking at a lot more than (him). He did a couple nice things. He's
getting into it. We'll look at the (practice) tape and see how he did. But I
really couldn't comment on it, because I really don't know."
A couple of months from now, if Barron is opening up holes for Steven Jackson
and protecting Marc Bulger at right tackle, his absence from camp in late July
and early August will be ancient - and inconsequential - history.
For now, the fact that Barron missed 21 full-squad practices, several
special-teams practices and the preseason opener against Chicago is still fresh
on Martz's mind, and it's not a pleasant memory.
In addition, Martz and several others at Rams Park were dumbfounded that Barron
couldn't make it to St. Louis in time for practice Thursday after agreeing to
terms on Wednesday afternoon.
Following his first training camp practice, Barron shrugged off his late
"I was here Thursday," Barron said. "I just got here Thursday evening because
that was what time my flight was scheduled."
Similarly, Barron played down his absence from more than two weeks of camp:
"That's just the business side of negotiations and football. I'm here now,
happy to be here, trying to get some work in."
He also declined to attach any great significance to his presence on the
practice field Monday morning.
"It was just practice," he said. "I know I hadn't been here and what not, but
it was just practice."
However, what occurred late in Monday afternoon's workout didn't exactly
qualify as "just practice."
Barron and always-energetic defensive end Anthony Hargrove got into a heated
scuffle following a sequence in which Barron was trying to block Hargrove.
Center Andy McCollum rushed to Barron's defense, and before you knew it, most
of the team was pushing and shoving in the center of the field. Martz ended
practice about 20 minutes later.
The Rams' public relations department refused to make Barron available to
reporters following the afternoon practice.
That was Day One for Barron. Although Barron arrived Thursday night, he
couldn't practice until Monday because the team played a preseason game Friday
and didn't practice Saturday and Sunday. Nonetheless, Barron hardly has been
idle since signing his contract.
"We met all day Saturday, all day Sunday and then (Monday) morning at 7,"
assistant coach John Matsko said. "John Benton, Jackie Slater and myself, we
just took turns, one hour at a time."
Matsko and Benton are the Rams' offensive line coaches. Slater, a Hall of Fame
offensive tackle, is helping with the offensive line during training camp.
"I went an hour (with Barron) on pass protections," Matsko said. "John went for
an hour on the runs, and Jackie worked an hour on technique - run and pass. And
we just kept the rotation going."
All of this work was done in the Rams' indoor practice facility. The coaches
set up chairs on the field to simulate defensive fronts for run- and
pass-blocking. The work continued even after a severe storm Saturday knocked
power out at Rams Park for 24 hours.
"It was all right for a while, but it started getting dark," Barron said. "When
it got dark, there wasn't anything we could do about it, so we had to leave."
If nothing else, the weekend cram session got Barron prepared to practice
"He's missed a lot," Matsko said. "Really, we've had our whole offense in for
two weeks. The reaction to all the different things that can happen to him;
that's what he's missed. The experience of putting your hand down on the ground
and reacting to what you see."
Even so, the plan is to play Barron the entire second half of Sunday's
preseason game in San Diego. At left tackle.
Re: Barron gets put on left side in debut at practice - PD
Well that makes for some interesting reading.
When your in the dog house, man, your in the dog house LOL