http://media3.stlouisrams.com/MediaC...ture_49206.jpgAfter missing the first day of practice Thursday, Bartell made his debut Friday morning.Bartell Makes Camp Debut
Friday, July 29, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
It hasn’t quite hit Ronald Bartell that he just became a millionaire, but it would be hard to tell by looking at him after Friday morning’s workout.
As Bartell trudged off the practice field at Rams Park, he hauled with him the shoulder pads and helmet of a pair of teammates, including those of cornerback Dwight Anderson, who had similar duties only a year ago.
Bartell agreed to a four-year contract with the Rams on Thursday night, a move that made him a rich man instantly. Perhaps more important, though, it gave Bartell the opportunity to finally get some sleep.
“I was up the past two nights,” Bartell said. “I couldn’t get any sleep. I have been real anxious just to get to work, get the business part out of the way and just do what I love to do which is play football.”
After missing the first day of practice Thursday, Bartell made his debut Friday morning. The rookie defensive back out of Howard enters camp with a reputation for his blazing speed and somewhat raw ability.
Because of Bartell’s speed, he is probably better suited to play cornerback than safety, but he also has the size to go with the speed, which could make him a candidate to land at free safety.
For now, Coach Mike Martz said Bartell will probably stay at cornerback, but the possibility remains that he could move before camp ends.
“He is just going to learn how to play first,” Martz said. “He’s a long ways away, though.”
For his part, Bartell said he doesn’t care where he plays if he can get a chance somewhere.
“I think we have a lot of depth at the corner position and the safety position so if something happens, I can always fly to either one,” Bartell said. “I want to be out there as much as possible. I’m behind two very good corners and they are helping me a lot. I’m a competitor; I want to be out there a lot.”
MISSING IN ACTION: With Bartell under contract, only two rookies remain unsigned, though for different reasons.
First-round choice Alex Barron and third-rounder Richie Incognito have yet to arrive at camp because of unresolved issues.
It is difficult to sign Barron at this point because so few first-round choices have signed. That makes it hard to determine what the parameters of a contract might be. Once Minnesota’s Erasmus James and Dallas’ Marcus Spears, the two players on either side of Barron in the draft, sign it will be easier to put together a deal for Barron.
Missing practice is a bad situation for any rookie, but especially in Barron’s case. Barron is making the transition from left to right tackle and struggled in mini-camp.
“Every practice that he misses he’s light years behind,” Martz said. “He can’t come back and recover that. It’s just impossible. Anybody who is out of camp now is not just hurting himself, but he’s hurting the football team, but I understand the business side of it.”
Incognito, on the other hand, is in far less of a rush to get things done. It probably won’t take long to get him signed once his injury situation becomes clearer and his physical results are revealed, according to Martz.
“What we’re waiting on with Richie is the physical,” Martz said. “He’s out there on a physical right now. We want to make sure we know physically where he is before we start talking about the contract and all of that. We’re not in a rush on that, either side, until we find out where he is physically.”
When Incognito does arrive in camp, he is likely to land on the physically unable to perform list, which means he wouldn’t occupy a roster spot, but would still be Rams’ property.
AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: Quarterback Marc Bulger has been as impressive as ever in the early stages of training camp, flinging the ball all over the field with strength and accuracy.
As he enters his sixth season, Bulger says the most impressive part is the way the offense is grasping the offense already.
“We are probably on day 10 right now in our installations for camp,” Bulger said. “Usually we start out with the same basic plays. This year we have already moved to nickel packages and quad packages. I don’t think it’s because of me, but I think it’s because of Shaun (McDonald) and Kevin (Curtis) and where Steven (Jackson) has come from.
FULL CONTACT: The Rams closed Friday morning’s workout with a short period of full contact drills.
None of the team’s starters were involved in the drills, but Martz said the idea is to give those that might not get a shot a chance to prove themselves in a live situation.
“We are trying to take all of those guys that don’t get many reps during the course of practice six to 10 plays at the end of practice live,” Martz said. “It’s their time to really (shine).”
Martz indicated that the live sessions might continue at the end of each practice or at least on some sort of regular basis. The live sessions will only happen in the morning practice because the team wears shells during the afternoon workout.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: On the second day of training camp’s return to St. Louis, the attendance at the morning practice only increased.
After a solid turnout of 1,134 on opening day, the attendance increased to 1,516 on Friday.