The Rams' secondary will be crowded in training camp with the addition of several veterans and rookies throughout the offseason.
One newcomer looking to find a position is second-round pick Ronald Bartell. A cornerback last season at Howard University, Bartell played safety prior to that while at Central Michigan. While the Rams will initially look at him as a corner, they also like his versatility.

"We feel good about his ability to stay outside," coach Mike Martz said. "I feel certain he can go inside and play a significant free safety. We have seen him in that capacity. At worst, I think you could use him in the nickel package and in the slot.

"Our scouts, particularly our defensive staff had very strong opinions about Ron and how he fits in to our defense. Everything is there in terms of having terrific potential."

Bartell knows the competition will be strong, but that's to be expected at the NFL level.

"I am not even worried about it," Bartell said. "I am going to go out and compete and the best man will win. I'm not going to worry about the competition. I am willing to do any and everything to help this team win."

He also said coming from a smaller school shouldn't be a problem.

"I think it's going to be just as tough to adjust as if I was coming from a I-A school," Bartell said. "No one is a finished product; one would hope that a player continues to get better. It's going to be tough. I am going to take my lumps, but I am going to get better."

Bartell also won't forget those commentators who said the Rams reached by selecting him in the second round.

"The media thinks one thing and the coaches think another," he said. "It means I have respect from the coaches. It wasn't a big surprise to me. It puts a little of a chip on my shoulder. I already had a chip coming from a small school and people doubting me. It's a little bit of motivation."


—At the end of last season, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy played with soreness in his right foot, the result of August surgery for a broken bone. There was some concern Kennedy might need offseason surgery.

However, it was determined that surgery wasn't necessary, and Kennedy said he has no pain after the team's offseason program and minicamp.

—It was a baptism under fire for rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. A seventh-round pick from Harvard, Fitzpatrick was given some plays with the second-team offense during the team's full squad minicamp recently.

"I think coach (Mike) Martz just wanted to throw me in there and get me in the action a little bit. You can learn a lot on paper, but it's a whole other thing to get out there and experience it."

Martz has been impressed with Fitzpatrick's physical and mental ability, but that didn't stop the coach from taking him off the field when Fitzpatrick struggled calling some plays.

"I was out of there in a hurry," Fitzpatrick said. "But that happens sometimes. I've got to continue to try to get better."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is probably as active as we've been. The combination of being able to make a decision on a guy, then actually finish it off, has been excellent. Identifying what you specifically need and then being able to get it is a big issue. The offseason hasn't ended yet, in terms of our procurement of talent. That continues. But we had some bullet points that we had to meet, and we met them, in our opinion. And after watching them on the field, at this point we're very pleased. - Coach Mike Martz on veteran players the team added in the offseason.




UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: S Zack Bronson; TE Cam Cleeland; OG Chris Dishman; DE Erik Flowers; OG Tom Nutten; S Aeneas Williams.



DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED: S Jerome Carter (4/117).

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: OG Darnell Alford; CB Dwight Anderson; LB Trev Faulk; WR Mike Furrey; FB Joey Goodspeed; RB Arlen Harris; WR Dane Looker; LB Jeremy Loyd; QB Jamie Martin; LS Chris Massey; OT Orlando Pace; OT Blaine Saipaia; P Kevin Stemke; OG Scott Tercero; LB Drew Wahlroos.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: LB Chris Claiborne; LB Dexter Coakley; CB Terry Fair; DE Brandon Green; S Michael Hawthorne; CB Corey Ivy; S Michael Stone; OG Rex Tucker; TE Roland Williams.

PLAYERS LOST: QB Chris Chandler; S Rich Coady; S Antuan Edwards; DE Bryce Fisher; OG Matt Lehr; LB Tommy Polley; P Kevin Stemke; OT Kyle Turley.