Rams Reshuffle Line
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
After a three-year period of learning to play right tackle, Alex Barron appears headed back to where he started.
The Rams have not officially moved Barron to left tackle, but all signs pointed to them having the intent to plug him into the giant spot vacated by All Everything tackle Orlando Pace for the rest of the season.
“We are going to decide that Friday,” coach Scott Linehan said. “We are going to work some different combinations tomorrow.”
But Barron, quarterback Marc Bulger and a variety of other Rams weren’t quite so hesitant to discuss Barron’s return to his original position.
Although the move comes as no real surprise, it’s a move that Barron isn’t cautious to make. Barron spent the majority of his time at Florida State playing on the left side though the Seminoles used a system where he would move back and forth depending on the situation.
Coming out of college, many scouts believed Barron to be a much more natural fit on the left side than the right. But the presence of Pace made the move to the right side necessary.
Barron hasn’t played left tackle since 2005 when he filled in for Pace against Houston on Nov. 27. He did, however, start 30 games at the position for the Seminoles on the left side.
The initial move to the right side was difficult for Barron, only because he hadn’t played it much before. But he believes this move could be easier because of his previous experience on the left side.
“It seems like it may be a little bit easier,” Barron said. “I feel comfortable over there. It was a little different, like I said. I haven’t been over there in a couple years, so I’m just trying to work on some little stuff – some little technique stuff and some of the plays.”
Technique was the biggest issue for Barron in making the move to the right side. He believes it was a part of the reason for some of his pre-snap penalties as he tried to get off the ball quicker so he could cover for any footwork and technical errors if given the extra time to recover.
Now, Barron is working on re-learning a position he once called home. The biggest difference in his technique is reversing his stance and gaining the footwork he once had at the position.
“There are a lot of changes that need to be made as far as technique and stance,” Barron said. “Over the next couple days and the next couple weeks I’m just going to try to tighten up as best I can.”
Linehan, for one, has complete faith in his young tackle. Although he won’t officially name Barron the starter on the left side, he dropped a few hints that Barron will be the guy protecting Bulger’s blindside come Sunday against the *****.
“Alex has had a fine offseason and camp for us at right tackle,” Linehan said. “Just his improvement and play makes me very confident if he does play the left side for us that he is going to do a great job. It’s been since college since he’s been on the left side of the line. He has done it and the fact that he has done it before and it’s not like his whole life he has been on the right side of the line, that would concern me more. But because he has been there, I think he’s going to be just fine. He played quite a bit over there today and looked pretty good.”
It has been said around the league that Barron is on the verge of becoming an elite player in the NFL. He essentially has shut down Carolina’s star defensive end Julius Peppers both times they have squared off and has cut down on the pre-snap mistakes in this offseason.
Barron credits the improvement to hard work and says he will someday discuss the details of what has made him a better player. Regardless, he’s not the only one who has noticed the improvement in his performance.
“All of the little things that I felt were holding him back I think he has made great strides in,” Linehan said. “Again, we are early into this season and with moving him to another position, but I really believe Alex is going to have a great season for us.”
While Barron appears entrenched on the left side, there are still questions lingering about what will be done in his recently vacated spot.
During Wednesday’s installation period, the Rams used Milford Brown at right tackle with Claude Terrell at right guard in place of the injured Richie Incognito. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how the line will look when the Rams and ***** tee it up Sunday.
Adam Goldberg, who filled in for Pace against the Panthers on the left side, also got some repetitions on the right side with Brown moving to guard Wednesday and appears to be in the mix for the spot.
Linehan said a decision will be made later this week on who will start on the right side. Thursday’s practice will likely indicate more as the Rams work a few different combinations on the right side.
Were Goldberg to handle the right tackle duties, Brown would probably stay at right guard with Terrell active as the primary backup guard.
No matter how the Rams line up on the offensive line against San Francisco, they will have their hands full. The ***** run a 3-4 defense that doesn’t hesitate to throw the kitchen sink at an opposing quarterback, especially when the opponent has a reshuffled line.
“We are mixing and matching right now but the first day went well,” Bulger said. “That’s something we have to sure up before Sunday.”
Re: Rams Reshuffle Line
sounds to me like we could use a veteran guard,maybe a guy named timmerman.