Barron makes an impression in early going
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Aug. 20 2005

Rest assured, Alex Barron wasn't resting during his 2 1/2-week absence from
Rams training camp.

"I wasn't chillin', like I could've been," said Barron, an offensive tackle
from Florida State who was the team's first-round draft choice (No. 19 overall)
in April. "I was concentrating on certain things, techniques that I needed to
work on."

While agent Roosevelt Barnes negotiated a five-year contract that, with
incentives, could net Barron as much as $11 million, his client was in
Tallahassee, Fla., working out. He had found out during the two minicamps here
that he had much to do to bring his game up to the NFL level, and he said he
applied that specific knowledge to his drills.

"I was limited, but I did the best I could," Barron said. Based on his first
week of practice with the Rams, that effort is being rewarded.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Barron has shown speed and toughness, assets that
weren't evident in the spring. He generally held his own in one-on-one battles
with the defensive linemen, displaying quick feet, obvious strength and
impressive balance.

And he didn't back down when high-strung defensive end Anthony Hargrove
challenged him about an hour into his first practice. Their skirmish escalated
into a full-scale brawl, with no clear-cut winner.

Overall, coach Mike Martz gave the youngster a passing grade but isn't ready to
move him to the head of the class.

"It's like you'd expect of a rookie who's missed a lot of camp," Martz said.
"Usually their best day is their first day, and then they kind of slide a
little bit. That's natural."

Barron, 22, wasn't dancing for joy, either. "It's been all right," he said.
"I'm just getting adjusted to certain things, trying to get a lot of things
done. But for the most part, it's been OK ... a great learning experience. I
feel as though I'm getting better each day."

Martz said Barron could expect to feel overwhelmed in the early going as he
tries to play catch-up. "We're going through so many things right now, his head
will get on a swivel about every third or fourth day," Martz said. "But
patience is required here. I'm very pleased with him, I'm glad he's here.
Ultimately, he's going to be a real good player. How long it's going to take, I
really don't know."

Barron probably will play about a half Sunday afternoon, when the Rams square
off against the Chargers in San Diego. He'll probably play at left tackle,
where he played most often in college. Martz wants him to get comfortable there
first after initially declaring him the starter-designate at right tackle.

Barron's 19-day, 21-practice holdout scuttled that plan. Now, veterans Rex
Tucker and Matt Willig are fighting for that job, although Barron eventually
will move to the right side, too.

"Wherever Coach puts me ... put me here, put me there, I'm just going to do
what I need to do," Barron said. "If he moves me - when he moves me - I'll do
my best to do what I need to do over there, too."

Timmerman will sit out

While Barron gets his first taste of NFL game action, veteran guard Adam
Timmerman will remain on the sideline for now. Martz said Saturday that
Timmerman, who had operations in the offseason on both shoulders and a foot, is
"just physically not quite back yet. And I don't know when that'll be, I really
don't. ... Until he's completely ready to go, it's just not worth the risk. He
wants to play, but he's not where he needs to be."

Blaine Saipaia will start at Timmerman's right guard spot, with rookie Claude
Terrell at left guard.

Others who won't suit up because of injuries are defensive tackle Ryan Pickett
(back) and linebackers Brandon Chillar (shoulder) and Louis Ayeni (calf).
First-team cornerback Jerametrius Butler is scheduled to undergo knee surgery
Monday and will miss the season.

Safety Adam Archuleta is expected to play after sitting out the exhibition
opener Aug. 12 vs. Chicago.