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Fill-ins at cornerback come up big for Rams
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Sep. 20 2007
Fakhir Brown is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's
substance-abuse policy. Tye Hill is out indefinitely with a back injury.
Still, Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett sees something he likes about the
two players that have to take over for them with the first team.
"I know everyone keeps saying, 'Well, you lost your top two cornerbacks," said
Haslett. "But when (Ron Bartell and Lenny Walls) are out there, you like that
you can look them in the eye. They're both big guys.
Bartell, 6-1, is filling in for the 5-11 Brown on the right side; Walls, 6-4,
stepped into the 5-10 Hill's position on the left. Both earned solid marks for
their play Sunday, when the Rams limited San Francisco to 186 yards but lost
Bartell had six tackles, including a sack; Walls registered two tackles and a
couple of breakups in his first start since early last season with Kansas City.
He was signed as a free agent in the offseason.
"We didn't get the win," said Walls, 28, "but I felt pretty good about how I
played, and the defense played good."
On Sunday at Tampa Bay, they'll be challenged by veteran receivers Joey
Galloway and Ike Hilliard. Both stand 5-11, but the Buccaneers' other wideouts,
Maurice Stovall and Mark Clayton, are 6-5 and 6-4, respectively.
As a taller cornerback, "it helps when you have long arms to jam people and to
reroute people who may try to speed-release you to try to get away from you,"
Walls said. "You still have the ability to get hands on them. And if you're
defending a ball, whether it be a deep ball or a high ball, my height obviously
The shuffling also included the promotion of rookie Jonathan Wade to the
five-man rotation in the secondary. On passing downs, he took over on the
perimeter for Bartell, who moved inside to cover the slot receiver.
"Life is full of opportunities, and when one comes your way it's time to step
up," said Wade, a third-round draft pick. "I'm very hard on myself, and I would
say I had a decent game."
Re: Fill-ins at cornerback come up big for RamsSo far the opposing qb's are completing passes at almost a 66% clip
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