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    Rams Cornerback Bartell Ready to Test Free Safety

    Entire team gets tested by Friday's heat
    BY STEVE KORTE
    News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS - For now, Ron Bartell is officially a safety.

    Bartell, who started seven games at cornerback as a rookie last season, has been working at free safety during the St. Louis Rams' training camp.

    "They asked me if I would mind, and I don't mind at all," Bartell said of the position switch. "Anything I can do to help the team. I'm all about winning."

    There were some scouts who projected the 6-foot-1 Bartell as a safety coming out of Howard University. He was taken by the Rams as a cornerback in the second round of the 2005 NFL Drafts.

    "Right now, he is concentrating on safety," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "He certainly has the physical characteristics to do both. It's hard to make the transition overnight and be where you want to be, but he's such a great kid and has a lot of pride in it. He's going to work his butt off to do whatever we ask of him."

    The Rams have a battle royal going at cornerback with Travis Fisher, Fahkir Brown, Jerametrius Butler, DeJuan Groce, Dwight Anderson, Kevin Timothee and unsigned first-round draft pick Tye Hill all vying for a job.

    There isn't as much depth at free safety with second-year player Oshiomogho Atogwe working with the first unit and fourth-year player Dwaine Carpenter working with the second unit.

    "We have great depth at corner, especially with the addition of Tye and Fahkir," Bartell said. "They thought it would be best for the team. I can always go back at corner. By all means, this is not the end of me playing corner in the NFL."

    Bartell said he hasn't played free safety since his junior year in college.

    "I played it for about five games because of an injury," Bartell said. "It takes a little while to adjust to it, but I'm starting to feel more comfortable. At corner, you get the coverage call, line up on your side and cover your man. At safety I need to do what everybody does, even the defensive linemen and the linebackers. I think it's going to help me be a better corner down the line."

    Bartell beefed up to 208 pounds in preparation for playing safety.

    "I can't be 195 pounds tackling Steven Jackson every day," Bartell said.

    Hill is still a no-show

    Hill's holdout is now two days (three practices), but Linehan remains confident that he'll be reporting for training camp yet this weekend.

    "I'd like to tell you that it is looking better," Linehan said of the contract negotiations with Hill and his agent. "I'm a positive thinker, and I'd like to think that something would be done here by the end of the weekend. I just think he'll be here either by tomorrow or Sunday."

    Linehan said he wasn't getting frustrated over Hill's absence.

    "I put all of my time and energy with the players who are here," Linehan said. "Sometimes things are out of your control, and I think it has been heat for the other guys. They're enjoying the opportunity to prove themselves. I'm not a message sender, but I know it's going to be tough to catch up."

    Beating the heat

    The temperature reached 96 degrees during the Rams' practice on Friday afternoon.

    "The heat jumps on you real quick," Rams rookie tight end Dominique Byrd said. "As soon as you go out the door, it hits you like it weighs 30 pounds. As a rookie, you want to show that you can handle it."

    Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy was the first casualty of the heat as he had to leave practice due to leg cramps.

    "We haven't had a lot of IVs so far, but we'll probably have some today," Linehan said.

    Linehan said an extra water break was added to the two-hour practice to help the players handle the heat.

    Saipaia sidelined with calf injury

    Offensive lineman Blaine Saipaia has been unable to participate in training camp because of a torn calf muscle.

    "About a week or two," Saipaia said of how long he'll be sidelined. "I myself am leaning a little more towards a week. I think my rehab is going well. I'm just trying to get back. You can't make the team in the training room."

    Saipaia suffered the injury about a week ago working out at his home in Colorado.


  2. #2
    RamsFan4ever's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Cornerback Bartell Ready to Test Free Safety

    I really like the change for Ron.. He would probably get no time at CB unless they all got injuried. IMO he'll do just fine at FS.. He might make a couple of mistakes in the Season but he'll get to know the position better.

    Hill's holdout is now two days (three practices), but Linehan remains confident that he'll be reporting for training camp yet this weekend.
    I hope he doesnt miss any more. He's probably going to be lost when he gets into the Training Camp.

    Saipaia sidelined with calf injury
    Thats not good. He's probably not going to get the Starting Job.

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