Bartell Back in Full Effect ..
By Brian Stull
Last year, Ron Bartell signed a new 4-year, $28 million contract to remain with the Rams. In doing so, he accepted the responsibilty and expectations that came with it.
"I thought I started to take more of a leadership role the last couple of games (of 2008)," Bartell said after inking the deal. He also cited a conversation with former Ram Corey Chavous about stepping up.
"He pretty much told me that a lot of guys have respect for what I'm doing, so it may be time for me to step up more and be more of a vocal guy. I'm not really big on 'rah rah' and all of that, but I try and lead by example. When they invest this kind of money in you, I think it's your duty to take a leadership role on this team."
Bartell did just that through training camp and preseason.
Unfortunately, Bartell injured his thigh early in the year and was forced to sit out Week 4 against San Franscisco. Treatment and limited reps in practice helped the muscle strain, but Bartell had to contend with the injury the rest of the season and it affected his speed and ability to cover.
"It was tough last year," admitted Bartell. "I tried to battle through it--maybe I should've taken a different route, but it is what it is. I never once complained and didn't have the season I wanted, but plan on coming back this year and having a strong season."
Ron managed 66 tackles and 3 forced fumbles, but that hardly met his expectations.
"Me, personally at the beginning of the year ('09) it was so robotic," said Bartell.
"Just battling through injuries to finish the season and get healthy. I went back and checked the game tape and it was totally different from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. It didn't end like we wanted it to but, the record was what it was but we're still confident we can do some things this year."
Besides being fully healthy, Bartell is also feeling the benefit of having gone through a full season of the Steve Spagnuolo defense.
"It's like night and day," shared Bartell. "Me and the guys were talking about how we feel so much different from last year's OTAs to this year's OTAs. We're just playing a lot faster--a lot more crisp. Hopefully, it translates into the games when the real bullets start to fly. But as of right now it's like night and day."
However, one similarity from last year is the addition of more young cornerbacks to the team. Last year, Bradley Fletcher was drafted in the third round. This year, Jerome Murphy (3rd) and Marquis Johnson (6th) were selected.
"They're eager to learn," observed Bartell. "They're raw--just like myself when I came in. They have a lot to learn, but as long as you're eager that's the first step. They're talented. Very aggressive. And I think they'll help us a lot this year."
And as for the swagger both of the rookies have shown thus far, Bartell offers a knowing smile. "Definitely, but that all changes when you line up against somebody else. They'll take their lumps just like everybody else has, but they'll come up big for us."
Odds are Ron Bartell will come up big for the Rams too.
Re: Bartell Back in Full Effect ..
I love Ron Bartell. Hes such a underrated beast. Put him on the Jets and he will be better than Darrelle Revis.