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Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

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  • Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

    By Jeff Gordon

    It is hard to type these words, but . . .

    The Rams would be silly to trade offensive tackle Alex Barron. If he is willing to play the 2010 season under the offer the team tendered him -– and his agent told the Post-Dispatch he would -– then this team needs to take him back.

    Injuries have prevented the Rams from assembling and maintaining a strong offensive line in recent seasons. Barron has been the team’s most durable blocker. So he has that going for him.

    So why would the Rams subtract depth now, when proven offensive tackles are in such short supply around the National Football League?

    True, Barron is prone to false starts. He could play until he’s 50 and he would still lurch out of his stance from time to time, for reasons nobody will ever understand.

    It’s just what he does. It’s who he is.

    True, Barron isn’t the hardest-working player in Rams history. He has been absent from Rams Park during this offseason. His coaches probably chuckled at the “personal boot camp” comment agent Roosevelt Barnes used to describe Alex’s off-site work.

    True, Barron is an enduring symbol of the previous regime, which was a miserable failure. Jay Zygmunt's staff didn’t draft well and Scott Linehan’s staff didn’t coach well.

    But here is what Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo should have learned last season: Unloading established players is a bad idea unless you have viable replacements on hand.

    They offloaded many fading or failed players last season . . . only to lose 15 games in the process, owing to injuries and their glaring lack of depth.

    Everybody applauded when the team dumped undisciplined guard Richie Incognito, but the Rams kept losing in his absence.

    Perhaps the Rams improved their work ethic and team spirit by making changes, but they also suffered loss after loss after loss with assorted street free agents and practice squad types playing big roles.

    Unloading Barron would be a popular decision among Rams fans, but would it be the most pragmatic route to go?

    Spagnuolo seems ready to move Jason Smith to left tackle. The 2009 first-round pick showed some signs of mastering right tackle last season, thanks to his run-blocking ability. He is smart, physically imposing and hard-working.

    But can he protect Sam Bradford’s blind side? Smith started five games as a rookie last season. He played in eight. He was hardly airtight during preseason play. His overall work sample was too small to judge.

    The coming preseason would do little to prepare him for the left tackle role, since opposing defenses won’t throw the most aggressive pass rush schemes at him.

    A nasty concussion cut short Smith’s ’09 season. He butts heads for a living. The Rams are confident that his concussion woes are behind him, but there are no guarantees. We’re not talking about muscle and ligaments here, we’re talking brain cells.

    The Rams drafted collegiate left tackle Rodger Saffold. This selection drew almost universal praise, since he appears to have first-round talent.

    But he lacks Barron’s pure athleticism, which is why some scouts wondered if Saffold would end up at guard. Perhaps he can play right tackle, but left tackle at this level sounds like a stretch.

    Veteran Adam Goldberg filled in nicely at right tackle last year. But isn’t he better suited to play guard? Isn’t he more valuable as the utility lineman, filling in where needed when injuries hit?

    The Rams drafted John Greco to play tackle. But isn’t he better suited to play right guard?

    Jacob Bell can play tackle. But shouldn’t he master left guard before taking on a bigger challenge?

    The current Rams roster lists luminaries like Ryan McKee, Phil Trautwein and Eric Young as depth tackles. Is anybody eager to see any of them pressed into starting duty with a $50 million rookie playing quaterback?

    The Rams need to get Barron back in the fold. They need to coach him. They need to challenge him. They need to remind him that he could write himself a huge contract ticket by playing 16 strong games at left tackle.

    Who knows, it might work -– since Barron tends to play his best when pushed by superior defensive linemen. Even if he doesn’t take the challenge, he could be a better depth guy than anything else the team can pull off the waiver wire.

    This Rams regime made its point last season. It sent a lot of guys packing. It also lost 15 games.

    These guys can keep cleaning house to make things easier for the next owner and the next regime -- or they can try to win some games and extend their stay.

  • #2
    Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

    Originally posted by MauiRam View Post
    If he is willing to play the 2010 season under the offer the team tendered him -– and his agent told the Post-Dispatch he would -– then this team needs to take him back.
    I think that about sums it up. He'll come back in for another year for relatively cheap, and we need the depth. We don't have the luxury of dumping any more players from our line. Not right now, anyway. Perhaps if Saffold is developing strongly into a right tackle, then maybe we could dump him then, but there are too many unknowns at this point.


    • #3
      Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

      agreed, shower beers. thats the rub.

      who knows, if the Rams line stays in tact (Smith producing, Saffold developing, no season ending injuries, etc.), it could result in a killer trade scenario at a later time.

      its not uncommon for teams to be desperate for a LT mid season. maybe it'll happen, maybe not. but until the trade reciprocation is better, there's no need to trade him just for the sake of trading him... that'd be silly.

      hmmmmmm, what would Shaw do?


      • #4
        Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

        Originally posted by KoaKoi View Post

        hmmmmmm, what would Shaw do?
        He'd no doubt swing a trade to acquire Brian Leonard to back up Jackson .. even steven no doubt ..


        • #5
          Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

          Despite his false starts Barron is a solid tackle (left or right). The ability to coach him properly by a real NFL coaching staff (schools still out on Spags and his staff) is the key to me. The guy will play for what the RAMS have offered makes it a double no brainer in my mind.
          sigpic :ram::helmet:


          • #6
            Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

            With Ryan Clady injured (maybe all season?) it seems we could be getting a call or two for the much maligned Alex Barron. I think we'd be wise to answer. The Rams know that he won't be around after this season no matter what shakes out, so why drag it out? If a team like the Broncos are on the line for this guy (which who knows, they probably aren't) or any team come week 6 who's down a tackle--we should send him packing and gain something.


            • #7
              Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

              If Alex Barron is willing to come back at his tendered level, then that says something about the guy and I wish him every success this season.

              Instead of proving to be a distraction, it sounds as if he has every intention of defying his bevy of fashionable detractors.

              Barron has one glaring fault and its his propensity to false start, which is the most public way an offensive lineman can manage to whiff in front of his fellow professionals and a stadium full of baying fans. I have no idea how between himself and the coaching staff they haven't managed to iron that out but lets be honest; he is far from being the worst tackle on the team.

              So whilst its disappointing that he's never lived up to his draft position, he'll never appear in the top 10 draft busts of recent Ram memory.

              So I'm happy he's coming back and I'm happy that Saffold has someone to aim at for the second tackle job, it'll make Saffold better and you never know, it might even make Barron better too.


              • #8
                Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

                Agreed, please allow the Barron to stay a little longer. :ram:

                It's taken him this long to get it together and now he is actually an asset. I think he understands well the increased importance the Rams OL has for 2010 -- if it is ever going to improve and score winning points!


                • #9
                  Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

                  He's our most experienced LT, he's cheap, and in a contract year when it stands to reason that more money than ever will be splashed in free agency next year(once we get a new CBA with a rookie slotting system). He also has to fight for a starting position for the first time in his career. I think that it's telling that he's still wanting to come back to the team even though he knows that he'll have to fight to get on the field.

                  When you sum it all up, we need to keep him until we get an offer we can't refuse for him, probably during the season after a tackle somewhere else has gotten injured.
                  I believe!:ram:


                  • #10
                    Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

                    Originally posted by TekeRam View Post
                    He also has to fight for a starting position for the first time in his career. I think that it's telling that he's still wanting to come back to the team even though he knows that he'll have to fight to get on the field.

                    That's a good point. It will be interesting to see how he responds to that sort of pressure.


                    • #11
                      Re: Rams have to keep Alex Barron ..

                      clady is expected to be ready not later than week 2....Iv been an advocate for keeping barron this season all along and i see no reason to change that now. Unless he is making the locker room worse and players are suffering on the field because of it i see absolutly no reason to get rid of him.


                      Related Topics


                      • RamWraith
                        Rams Reshuffle Line
                        by RamWraith
                        Wednesday, September 12, 2007

                        By Nick Wagoner
                        Senior Writer

                        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...
                        -09-12-2007, 05:34 PM
                      • BarronWade
                        Alex Barron at guard?
                        by BarronWade
                        No there is no report out or expert analysis saying anything about Barron switching to Guard But with Saffold being such a high pick he will probably play RT.

                        So what about Barron at RG?

                        He is closer to the center so maybe that will cut down on the False starts. He is big and can push. We can tell him to add some wieght in the off-season (witch shouldnt be too hard)
                        -04-26-2010, 06:31 PM
                      • Nick
                        Barron is sent to the bench
                        by Nick
                        Barron is sent to the bench
                        BY BILL COATS
                        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                        Monday, Oct. 05 2009

                        SAN FRANCISCO — A former first-round draft choice getting the opportunity of
                        his NFL career this year, Rams tackle Alex Barron appears to floundering rather
                        than flourishing.

                        Barron, the 19th overall selection in the 2005 draft, was banished to the
                        sideline by coach Steve Spagnuolo just before halftime Sunday in the Rams' 35-0
                        loss to the San Francisco *****. Barron was yanked after failing to line up
                        properly, prompting an illegal-formation penalty that negated a first-down pass
                        play and snuffed a promising drive.

                        John Greco, a third-round draftee in 2008, finished the game at left tackle.
                        Although offering little elaboration about the move, Spagnuolo cautioned about
                        drawing any conclusions from it.

                        "I told the group I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Alex Barron,"
                        Spagnuolo said. "I just felt that was something we had to do at that particular

                        The Rams trailed 7-0 at the time. Barron was a spectator during the second
                        half, when the ***** turned the NFC West contest into a rout.

                        "It was just a decision made by the coach, and that was that," Barron said.
                        "You don't want to get pulled, but it happens."

                        It hadn't happened to Barron in his first four seasons, though. He'd started 62
                        of 64 games, the vast majority of them at right tackle. After the offseason
                        release of seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace, Barron took over at the
                        all-important left tackle spot, on a righthanded quarterback's blind side.

                        That's where the money is among NFL linemen. In the final season of his
                        original contract, Barron figured to cash in heavily in 2010 — either by
                        re-signing with the Rams or in free agency — if he put together a solid

                        With the Rams 0-4, averaging a moribund six points a game, and Barron benched,
                        that big payday could be slipping away.

                        "You can't do much about a guy getting pulled," left guard Jacob Bell said.
                        "The head coach has his reasons; you never know exactly what he's thinking.
                        You've just got to work with what you've got."

                        In Greco, the Rams have a 6-foot-4, 329-pounder who is just getting back into
                        form after having wrist surgery a month ago. A left tackle at the University of
                        Toledo, Greco had been working at that position only recently with the Rams.

                        "I wanted to show that I could play anywhere," he said. "I was kind of getting
                        ready for it this week (in practice). I got an opportunity to get in there, and
                        hopefully I did my job."

                        -10-05-2009, 08:36 AM
                      • eldfan
                        Re-evaluating Alex Barron
                        by eldfan
                        Re-evaluating Alex Barron
                        by VanRam on Feb 10, 2009 6:56 AM CST in 2009 Off-Season (SI)

                        Rejuvenated with a straight six hours of sleep, no small accomplishment for a new father, I'm going to start the morning with a little devil's advocate. No, not that horrible movie with Al Pacinio (remember when he did movies for more than just a paycheck?), but with a question about a Rams player without much standing 'round these parts. So let's ask, does Alex Barron deserve yet another chance?

                        All the o-line talk lately has focused on the Rams potentially cutting future Hall of Famer Orlando Pace. What goes unsaid in those conversations is parting ways with Pace means Alex Barron is definitely part of the Rams plans for 2009, and possibly beyond, even if they do draft an OT with the second overall pick in the draft. Let's look at the pros and cons.

                        Pros & Excuses

                        Barron has been healthy, the one Rams lineman who hasn't been forced to the sidelines for any amount of time in the last three years because of injury. That's no small feat given the context. Barron's also decent in run blocking and adequate in pass protection. No Pro Bowler, but a starting level OT.

                        Being healthy in the midst of the line's injury epidemic forced Barron to move back and forth between the left and right OT spots, doubtlessly confusing a young man suffering from a lack of coaching to begin with. Lack of coaching? Sure, think about it. Barron's rookie season was 2005, a year of turmoil at Rams Parks, where attention to on-field matters was minimal. After that came the overwhelmed Scott Linehan, unable to instill a winning mentality in his players and soon beset by veterans openly questioning him. Those conditions aren't particularly conducive to developing the latent talent in a young player.


                        Barron never met a false start he didn't like. I'm not a player, but it still seems strange that a guy just can't get the snap count figured out after four seasons. Sure, Barron was much better this season, losing the team penalty crown to Richie Incognito. Nevertheless, he still had 9 penalties (11 when you count the ones declined), 7 false starts. How much damn coaching does it take?

                        Bad teams pay a price for hanging on to unrealized potential, waiting for a player's talent to manifest itself while it never does. And the Rams are certainly in that territory with Barron. However, Barron is relatively cheap and you can argue that his shortcomings don't outweigh the benefit of him being a competent everyday starter.

                        Ideally, the team would have someone to push him, a competitor threatening to take his livelihood. That could be John Greco, but he seem more suited to the middle of the line. And if Pace's salary and age have put a target on his back, that most certainly means Barron's going nowhere. The Rams limited resources combined with lots of...
                        -02-10-2009, 06:22 PM
                      • eldfan
                        It's time for Barron to blossom
                        by eldfan
                        When he'd leave the modest ranch house on Hillcrest Avenue in Orangeburg, S.C., young Alex Barron usually was headed for the outdoor basketball court nearby.

                        It was — and still is — his favorite sport. He was good at it, too.

                        Good enough to average a double-double at Wilkinson High, good enough to be invited to walk on at Florida State, and good enough, the 6-foot-7, 302-pound Barron insists, to have made a splash in college, and possibly the NBA. MORE RAMS

                        "Truth be told, I think I would've been OK," he said. "I'm not here to say I would've been an all-star for 10 years or anything like that. But I know I'd have done pretty good in college."

                        After a pause, Barron added softly, "But that's not the road I chose."

                        In reality, the road chose him. It's led him to a new position — he's the Rams' first new full-time left tackle since 1997 — at the best possible time. Barron, 26, is in the final season of the original five-year, $9.2 million deal he signed in 2005, when the Rams took him in the first round of the draft.

                        If his play this season suggests that he could rank among the league's top linemen, Barron, who became the Rams' first-team right tackle in his rookie season, stands to cash in — big time. Left tackles, charged with protecting a righthanded quarterback's blind side, are among the game's most valued, and best-compensated, performers.

                        "He's talented, and he deserves it," his kid sister, Lasaundra, insisted. Barron doesn't feel entitled, though.

                        "I try not to put any added pressure just because of what year it is for me," he said. "But I'm not going to lie and say I haven't thought about it. Why wouldn't I want to be in the conversation with the top tackles in the league? That'd be stupid."

                        HOOP DREAMS

                        They still talk about "the play" in Orangeburg, a quiet, working-class hamlet of about 12,500 near the center of the state. The basketball fieldhouse at Wilkinson High was packed as the Bruins took on archrival Irmo.

                        A teammate missed a free throw, and Barron soared after the loose ball. Here's how Barron described what happened next to The State, the newspaper of Columbia, S.C.: "I got the rebound, kind of squirmed and went up and let it go. I kind of turned around, so it was almost like a 360, but not all in the air."

                        The climax was a rim-rattling slam dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy. "The place exploded. They about took the roof off," said former coach Geb Runager, who was in the stands.

                        Barron's father, also named Alex (they have different middle names), was Wilkinson's coach. "It was just unreal," he said. "I looked at my assistant coach and said, 'He could've been doing that all along.' ...

                        "I just thought he pretty...
                        -08-23-2009, 08:48 AM