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Bartell eager for the chance to tangle with Bruce
Jackson doesn't make the trip west
BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams cornerback Ron Bartell always thought of himself as the student and wide receiver Isaac Bruce as the teacher.
Bartell, as a member of the Rams' scout team during his rookie season in 2005, would go against Bruce in practice every day.
"It was an eye-opening experience," Bartell said. "Figuring that you're not that good yet, I learned a lot going against him. It was big for me. Actually I owe a lot to him for getting better. He used to really work with me a lot. I'm looking forward to it."
Bartell said Bruce would often give him advice, and also would reward him with money for making an interception in practice.
"He definitely gave me a ton of pointers," Bartell said. "Actually, he used to give me $100 every time I got a pick in practice. It was big going against Ike."
Asked how much he made off Bruce, Bartell said, "Covering him, not a lot. If he was here now, I could make lot more money."
Of course, now Bartell is working as a starter against the wide receivers on the scout team.
Bartell will be going against Bruce this Sunday when the Rams play Bruce's new team, the ***** in San Francisco.
"I'd like to think I have an advantage, but he's a vet," Bartell said. ''He knows all the tricks of the trade. He is very crafty. I'm sure he is going to be licking his chops right now going against us. We're going to go out there and compete and play hard, and I'm going to do my best."
Bartell said he hasn't noticed any difference in Bruce, who has 24 catches for 411 yards and four touchdowns this season.
"Despite what people say about him slowing down a little bit, if you watch film, he hasn't slowed down at all," Bartell said of Bruce, who turned 36 on Monday. "He is still running like he is 28, a great route runner, very crafty, great in and out of his breaks, makes tough catches."
Bartell said he expects former Rams coach Mike Martz to get Bruce the ball often as the *****' offensive coordinator.
Martz has used Bruce as a slot receiver and an outside receiver this season.
"Coach Martz is definitely going to use him the best way he knows how," Bartell said. "Just having Coach Martz there is the cherry on top. I expect Isaac to get the ball about 20 times this week."
Bartell said he and Bruce almost certainly will do some trash-talking in the game.
"I'm sure we'll exchange a few words," Bartell said. "He's not going to take it easy on me, and I'm not going to take it easy on him. After the game, we'll hug, I'll wish him good luck and we'll go from there."
Jackson doesn't make trip
Running back Steven Jackson didn't travel with the Rams to San Francisco for the team's game against the *****.
That means the Rams will be without their top offensive weapon for the third time in four games.
The Rams left for San Francisco late Friday afternoon, but Jackson stayed behind in St. Louis to continue getting treatment for the strained thigh muscle in his right leg.
With Jackson out, Antonio Pittman will get the starting nod at running back.
"It's something that everybody wants to be," Pittman said of being a starter. "In this building, I don't think anybody is content with being a backup. I hope they're not. Everybody wants to be the guy, and when you get your opportunity, you have to make the most out of it."
Pittman, who has been bothered by a hamstring injury, has rushed for only 40 yards in 23 carries over the Rams' last two games.
Haslett challenged Pittman to pick up his game.
"He needs to capitalize on (his opportunities)," Haslett said. "He can't have 13 rushing attempts for 20 yards. He needs to break through and get a 100-yard game and show that he is a back that can play in this game for a long time.
"I've already told him that he needs to run his butt off this week and prove that he deserves this opportunity."
Hill hopes to return this season
Cornerback Tye Hill also wasn't a member of the traveling party to San Francisco.
Hill still has swelling in the knee from the surgery he underwent last month.
Hill said a visit to surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., convinced him that there was nothing structurally wrong with his knee. He just needs more time to mend.
"I guess my knee hasn't healed yet," Hill said. "It takes time. Instead of a 4-to-6 week injury, it's a 6-to-8 week injury. That's why I was confused about why I wasn't back yet. It's going to take a little longer."
Hill said there is no timetable for his return. He needs to get the swelling out of his knee before he can play.
"That's what is stopping me, that's where the pain is coming from," Hill said.
Hill said he doesn't want to be placed on injured reserve, which would end his season.
"I definitely want to play this year," Hill said. "If I don't play this year, I have to wait all the way until next year. That's too long. That's too long of an offseason. Hopefully, I can be back A.S.A.P."
Despite the Rams' struggles this season, Hill said he'd rather be out on the field with his teammates.
"It's definitely been a nightmare year, but I'd still rather be out there," Hill said. "I'd rather be inside the nightmare instead of out of it."
Re: Bartell eager for the chance to tangle with Bruce
Looks like it should be a fun day for Bartell going against Bruce. At least he knows him well.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Re: Bartell eager for the chance to tangle with Bruce
Bartell has gotten better at playing his position. I believe he's locked in his starting spot. Lets hope he shuts Bruce down.
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