Barron Solves Big Problem (comments about intensity)
Barron Solves Big Problem
Saturday, April 23, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
The revolving door that is the Rams’ right tackle position might have finally come to a complete stop.
With the 19th pick in the NFL Draft, St. Louis grabbed Florida State offensive tackle Alex Barron. For a team that has seen player after player try their hand at the spot and leave for one reason or another, this selection should give the Rams the kind of stability they have lacked for years.
Coach Mike Martz was thrilled to finally stop that revolving door.
“It’s a terrific opportunity for us to have a guy that could play here for quite some time and really give us some stability on that offensive line,” Martz said. “As you guys are well aware throughout the years here, the last six years anyway, we have had a number of right tackles and it’s been an issue for us. It has affected our ability to be consistent at times on offense and this will hopefully establish a kind of consistency and develop potentially from a measurable standpoint a Pro Bowl type of player.”
A Pro Bowl type of player would be an excellent addition, but if Barron can just give the Rams someone to count on for a number of years, he will be doing more than most have been able to accomplish at the position.
Since Martz arrived in St. Louis as offensive coordinator in 1999, the team has employed the likes of Fred Miller, John St. Clair, Ryan Tucker, Rod Jones, Kyle Turley, Grant Williams and Blaine Saipaia at right tackle.
Some, such as Miller took big free-agent contract to go elsewhere. Others, such as Turley battled injury problems. Saipaia, who started at right tackle for part of last season, is more suited to guard.
All of those problems added up to one simple conclusion when the Rams went on the clock at No. 19: get a right tackle.
Many pundits targeted Oklahoma’s Jammal Brown as the Rams’ likely choice in the first round, but New Orleans traded up to grab Brown at No. 13.
After Brown came off the board, the Rams suffered through some tense moments waiting for a shot at Barron. Barron was projected by many as the top offensive tackle in the draft, but slid because of questions about his intensity.
Barron said he couldn’t worry about why teams didn’t pick him, only what the team that did pick him thinks.
“I would say that my intensity is not a problem,” Barron said. “It’s not something I need work on. My style of play is just laid back, but it’s not anything to worry about.”
Of course, if it were truly a problem, St. Louis would not have made its move on the tackle. Other questions surrounding Barron were aimed at his desire to play right tackle when he spent most of his college career on the left side.
In fact, Barron spent time on both sides of the line in college and isn’t as inexperienced on the right side as some think. Martz said Barron should step in and start right away opposite Pace. Rex Tucker and Saipaia will compete for the left guard job. Adam Timmerman and Andy McCollum are set at right guard and center, respectively.
“I played right tackle in college when we were in the split tight formation,” Barron said. “I was not enthused about playing right tackle at first, but I think it’s because I’ve been used to playing on the left side. This will be an adjustment for me, but with some hard work, good teaching and patience, I can do the job. Having Orlando Pace on the other side will make it easier as well.”
The Rams had Barron in the top 10 on their overall board, rated closely with Brown. The only other player the team might have considered at that spot would have been Georgia safety Thomas Davis.
The selection of Barron is a big step for an organization that has been reluctant to use early picks on offensive linemen. The only time the Rams have taken an offensive lineman on the first day in the Martz era was when they chose John St. Clair in the third round of the 2000 draft.
Before that, the most recent was when the team took Orlando Pace with the first pick in the 1997 draft. The closest the Rams came to solidifying the position was with Turley when they traded for him two years ago. But Turley played just one season in St. Louis before injuring his back and falling out of favor with the coaching staff.
After all of the near-misses and numerous changes on the offensive line, Martz was nothing short of relieved to finally make a move that could see Barron teaming with Pace for the long-term.
“This is a load of bricks off my shoulders,” Martz said. “We are always moving guys around on the offensive line trying to make due. You know what? For the first time since ’99, we don’t have to make due. I think this is something we can settle in on and put our hands down and get going.”
Re: Barron Solves Big Problem (comments about intensity)
Originally Posted by NickSeiler
For some reason these quotes don't make me all warm and fuzzy about him. But I'll hold judgement until I see him play.