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  1. #1
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    Rams' Barron will test No. 1 overall pick

    By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
    August 18, 2006

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Mario Williams' next preseason test will be butting heads with a first-round pick from last season.

    Williams, this year's No. 1 overall selection, got 11 snaps at defensive end in his professional debut with the Houston Texans last week. On Saturday night, promising St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Alex Barron will be on the other side of the ball.

    "Alex was a pretty high draft pick himself, so it will be a pretty good matchup," Rams offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "It's always good to get experience against a player like that."

    Williams was credited with one assist in the opener and was largely neutralized by Chiefs guard Will Shields. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Williams also made some alignment mistakes and generally "played like a rookie."

    "He got introduced to the NFL real fast," Kubiak said. "I was encouraged by what I saw, but I also know he has a long way to go. I expect him to come back and be better this week."

    The Rams figure Williams also will test rookie tight end Joe Klopfenstein, a second-round pick who has emerged as the front-runner for a starting vacated when Brandon Manumaleuna was traded to the Chargers in the offseason.

    "I'm not so much worried about Alex as I am about Joe," Olson said. "That's going to be a great test for him."

    The game matches a pair of former offensive coordinators just beginning as head coaches. Kubiak was with the Denver Broncos from 2003-05 while Scott Linehan ran the Miami Dolphins' offense last season and the Minnesota Vikings' offense the three years before that.

    Both teams displayed balance in their preseason opener. Linehan hired former Saints head coach Jim Haslett as his defensive coordinator, and the Rams gained 404 yards last week while holding the Colts to 249 yards in a 19-17 victory.

    The Texans held the Chiefs to 172 yards in a 24-14 victory.

    Both coaches will ramp up playing time for the first string a little bit. But just want to see progress this week.

    "I think every day we do this we want to improve in some way, but they need to handle the little things, the little details of the game," Linehan said. "The game management situations, whether it be a coach or a player, how we tackle, how we secure the ball."

    Linehan said it'll be a game-time decision whether offensive tackle Orlando Pace, hampered by a slightly sprained right ankle and knee, will play. Defensive end Leonard Little has been slowed by a quad sprain and might be held out.

    "The biggest thing is that we don't want to put anybody in harm's way if they're not healthy enough to play a game, for sure," Linehan said. "We're starting to get in that mode where you have to make decisions on game day."

    Texans running back Domanick Davis still has soreness in a knee that underwent arthroscopic surgery in December and has not practiced since the third day of camp. Kubiak wants Vernand Morency, a third-round pick last year who did not play in the opener, to see significant playing time.

    "Other than that, I really just want to look at all of these guys again because you start to run out of time," Kubiak said. "So I just want to make sure we have it split up to where we get a good look at everybody."

    Kubiak said his starters could play as much as a half depending on the flow of the game.

    "They'll definitely play more," Kubiak said. "How much more, I don't know."

    Texans quarterback David Carr, who's been sacked more than 200 times in his first four seasons, avoided one in the preseason opener. Houston has added veteran Packers center Mike Flanagan to the mix.

    "We still have a month before we play a real game," guard Steve McKinney said. "These preseason games will help us a lot just to improve and be a better cohesive unit."


  2. #2
    RamsFan87 Guest

    Re: Rams' Barron will test No. 1 overall pick

    Mario is in for a showdown, WE should flip O and Alex. now wouldnt that be interesting???

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams' Barron will test No. 1 overall pick

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan87
    Mario is in for a showdown, WE should flip O and Alex. now wouldnt that be interesting???
    I have a feeling that Alex can hold his own against Williams. Except for the penalties, Barron looked darn good last season.

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams' Barron will test No. 1 overall pick

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan87
    Mario is in for a showdown, WE should flip O and Alex. now wouldnt that be interesting???

    Not really................that'd be like sending a bear out to fight a mouse. Quite amusing from our end, but not as interesting as the fight between Barron and Williams could be. Plus it will give Barron more experience.

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    Re: Rams' Barron will test No. 1 overall pick

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan87
    Mario is in for a showdown, WE should flip O and Alex. now wouldnt that be interesting???
    No we need our qaterback's blind side protected.

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    Re: Rams' Barron will test No. 1 overall pick

    Hopefully the Texans FO won't move Mario all over the place again tonight. I think it is a bit much to expect a rook, in preseason, to be effective from every spot on the line before he even gets compfortable at one.
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    Re: Rams' Barron will test No. 1 overall pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Overalls
    Hopefully the Texans FO won't move Mario all over the place again tonight. I think it is a bit much to expect a rook, in preseason, to be effective from every spot on the line before he even gets compfortable at one.
    I totally agree. Reggie White you could do that with, but this kid just got in the league. Give em a break for crying out loud.
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