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  1. #1
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    Bartell Breaking Through

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    As cornerback Travis Fisher winced in pain and headed toward the sideline after aggravating a groin injury that has bothered him for the past two weeks, secondary coach Kurt Schottenheimer heard a voice closing in on him.

    The voice belonged to rookie cornerback Ronald Bartell. The same Bartell who was inactive in each of the team’s first five games after the Rams used a second-round choice on him.

    Bartell began pestering Schottenheimer in hopes of getting his first NFL action on defense. It was something Bartell had been doing for the better part of last week, in hopes that he would finally get a chance to prove himself to his coaches and teammates.

    “I had been bugging Kurt all week telling him I wanted to play,” Bartell said. “I wasn’t complaining, but when I saw Travis get hurt, I kept tugging at him to get him to put me in.”

    Bartell was active for the first time when the Rams played the Colts on Oct. 17, but did not appear in the game. So, it stood to reason that it would take a dire situation for him to get in against the Saints.

    But when Bartell pleaded his case to Schottenheimer, the response was positive and in he went for the first time in his young NFL career.

    “We were talking about him before the game yesterday,” coach Joe Vitt said. “We thought he had his best week of practice last week, specifically covering deep outs, flipping his hips, dropping his weight and closing. Yesterday when Fish got nicked, he ran up to Kurt Schottenheimer and said put me in, put me in. That was great to see.”

    What was even better to see was how Bartell performed once he got on the field. The inexperienced young cornerback who spent much of the preseason struggling with his adjustment from tiny Howard University to the speed of the NFL had vanished.

    Bartell clinged to his man in coverage and was everything Vitt thought he would be on deep out patterns. Bartell finished with three passes defended and was in perfect position on each of them. He added a solo tackle and a special teams stop to his resume.

    “I think he has a great future,” Vitt said. “He’s athletic, he’s big, he gets his hands on receivers. He’s got a good work ethic. He answered the challenge. I’m very, very proud of him.”

    There is a possibility that Fisher and Chris Johnson will be out this week with injuries, making Bartell’s emergence even more important.

    Although he missed the first five games of the season, Bartell continued to work through it and it now appears to be paying off for him and the team.

    “I don’t care if I was a (rookie) free agent, I wanted to play,” Bartell said. “It was very tough on me, but you know I fought through it and I am going to keep fighting through the things I still have to deal with.

    “I think it did a lot for my confidence and a lot for the coaching staff’s confidence in me. They know when they need me I am ready to step up to the challenge. It was a great experience, but now I have put that behind me and just let it go and get ready for Jacksonville.”

    OFFICIALLY BAD PENALTIES: The Rams struggled mightily with costly penalties against the Saints last week, a problem that Vitt and the team is working to correct.

    “One of the things that concerns us is we have too many penalties,” Vitt said. “We can’t win with the penalties we have right now. We have to clean those things up. We have to have more poise in the game. We had dumb penalties at stupid times.”

    Indeed. The Rams had four penalties that allowed New Orleans to get first downs as a result of the infraction. There were also a couple of occasions that had the Rams committing a penalty when the Saints did for offsetting penalties, nullifying a good play by the defense.

    In order to correct those problems, Vitt and the Rams brought in a Big 12 Conference official to work with the team during Wednesday’s practice.

    “The number of defensive penalties we had last week in crucial situations is not acceptable,” Vitt said. “So we have got to practice technique with an official in practice and make it an emphasis.”

    FURREY’S FINAL WORD: With a couple of days to go back and look at the tape of his 67-yard interception return for a touchdown, free safety Mike Furrey said he only came away from it with evidence of one thing.

    “I don’t know about the tape but I have seen the statistics where it says touchdown and an interception,” Furrey said. “It’s kind of weird about that situation because we had given up three points basically throughout three and a half quarters and we were up four points at that time so you know was that play a big difference in winning the game? Who knows?

    Solidifying the game, maybe, but they still had to score a touchdown so we’ll leave it at that.”

    NO RELATION: The Rams added Joe Tate, an offensive guard from Michigan State, to the practice squad.

    Tate spent last season on Jacksonville’s practice squad.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Bartell Breaking Through

    “I had been bugging Kurt all week telling him I wanted to play,” Bartell said.
    Knowing that the kid played as well as he did, yet had to beg his position coach for playing time doesn't really inspire confidence in the player evaluation skills of Schott, does it?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bartell Breaking Through

    I think it was either Bartell or the equipment manager at the time to go in and replace Fisher so I really don't think Schottenheimer had a choice there.

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    Re: Bartell Breaking Through

    Yet, Schott went through every corner (save the equip. man.) before he got to Bartell........still not an impressive statement regarding his evaluation skills.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bartell Breaking Through

    and the jury is still out on Bartell. He himself said he was lost earlier. Hey, I sincerely hope Bartell works out. It never hurts to have a corner with size and speed. It's just one game though. Let the kid grow into his role.

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    Re: Bartell Breaking Through

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    and the jury is still out on Bartell. He himself said he was lost earlier. Hey, I sincerely hope Bartell works out. It never hurts to have a corner with size and speed. It's just one game though. Let the kid grow into his role.
    The jury may still be out on Bartell, but the jury has reconvened on our other corners, and they've been found guilty of impersonating defensive backs. My point was one of disappointment that Schott seemingly has no better insight as to what Bartell is capable of than the rest of the world. The kid played lights out, and certainly miles ahead of where he was in preseason. So why was he the last corner on the field?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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