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  • Bartell Back in Full Effect ..

    By Brian Stull

    Last year, Ron Bartell signed a new 4-year, $28 million contract to remain with the Rams. In doing so, he accepted the responsibilty and expectations that came with it.

    "I thought I started to take more of a leadership role the last couple of games (of 2008)," Bartell said after inking the deal. He also cited a conversation with former Ram Corey Chavous about stepping up.

    "He pretty much told me that a lot of guys have respect for what I'm doing, so it may be time for me to step up more and be more of a vocal guy. I'm not really big on 'rah rah' and all of that, but I try and lead by example. When they invest this kind of money in you, I think it's your duty to take a leadership role on this team."

    Bartell did just that through training camp and preseason.

    Unfortunately, Bartell injured his thigh early in the year and was forced to sit out Week 4 against San Franscisco. Treatment and limited reps in practice helped the muscle strain, but Bartell had to contend with the injury the rest of the season and it affected his speed and ability to cover.

    "It was tough last year," admitted Bartell. "I tried to battle through it--maybe I should've taken a different route, but it is what it is. I never once complained and didn't have the season I wanted, but plan on coming back this year and having a strong season."

    Ron managed 66 tackles and 3 forced fumbles, but that hardly met his expectations.

    "Me, personally at the beginning of the year ('09) it was so robotic," said Bartell.

    "Just battling through injuries to finish the season and get healthy. I went back and checked the game tape and it was totally different from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. It didn't end like we wanted it to but, the record was what it was but we're still confident we can do some things this year."

    Besides being fully healthy, Bartell is also feeling the benefit of having gone through a full season of the Steve Spagnuolo defense.

    "It's like night and day," shared Bartell. "Me and the guys were talking about how we feel so much different from last year's OTAs to this year's OTAs. We're just playing a lot faster--a lot more crisp. Hopefully, it translates into the games when the real bullets start to fly. But as of right now it's like night and day."

    However, one similarity from last year is the addition of more young cornerbacks to the team. Last year, Bradley Fletcher was drafted in the third round. This year, Jerome Murphy (3rd) and Marquis Johnson (6th) were selected.

    "They're eager to learn," observed Bartell. "They're raw--just like myself when I came in. They have a lot to learn, but as long as you're eager that's the first step. They're talented. Very aggressive. And I think they'll help us a lot this year."

    And as for the swagger both of the rookies have shown thus far, Bartell offers a knowing smile. "Definitely, but that all changes when you line up against somebody else. They'll take their lumps just like everybody else has, but they'll come up big for us."

    Odds are Ron Bartell will come up big for the Rams too.

  • #2
    Re: Bartell Back in Full Effect ..

    I love Ron Bartell. Hes such a underrated beast. Put him on the Jets and he will be better than Darrelle Revis.

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    • r8rh8rmike
      Bartell Motivated To Bounce Back
      by r8rh8rmike
      Bartell Motivated to Bounce Back
      Wednesday, August 18, 2010


      By Nick Wagoner
      Senior Writer

      When he entered the league as a second-round choice in 2005, Ron Bartell entered a locker room full of veterans with plenty of winning experience.

      On the other side of the locker room were the likes of Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Orlando Pace.

      So when the news came earlier this week that Holt (whom Bartell counts among his closest friends in the league) was going on injured reserve and could be headed to retirement, Bartell couldn’t help but think of the possibility that trio would all retire in the same offseason.

      Along with it, Bartell also couldn’t help but begin to think about how life in the NFL and success in the NFL can be oh so fleeting.

      “It definitely puts it in perspective because I can remember when I came in back in ’05 and this is my sixth year already,” Bartell said. “It goes by fast so I am just trying to enjoy every single day.”

      For the better part of the past year, Bartell is the first to admit, it’s been a bit harder to enjoy each day.

      Coming off a terrific 2008 season in which he established himself as one of the league’s top cover corners, Bartell signed a lucrative multi-year contract that would keep him in St. Louis for what should be the prime of his career.

      After a strong offseason, Bartell was slowed by a thigh injury early in the season that never quite went away. In part because of pride but mostly because of injuries to the rest of the corners on the roster, Bartell selflessly played through the pain even if it directly affected his play.

      As the 2010 season approaches, the always self-motivated Bartell is looking for his shot at redemption and a chance to prove to everyone that he’s the player they saw in 2008.

      “I am very excited,” Bartell said. “I feel like every year you should have something to prove so I definitely have a chip on my shoulder after last year. I am just excited about the possibilities of this defense. I think we are moving around faster, communicating better, more physical, tackling better. I am really excited right now.”

      Bartell’s excitement was glaringly obvious in the opening days of this training camp as he emerged early on as one of the most dominant forces on the field. Pass breakups were coming by the handful and his improved knowledge of the defense was evident.

      In short, Bartell looked like the player who had posted three interceptions and 20 passes defended in posting the best passer rating against of any corner in the division in 2008.

      Even Bartell himself could feel his confidence and comfort level reaching new heights.

      “Yeah, I felt like I was back to where I was around two years ago,” Bartell said. “I am comfortable with the defense; I know exactly...
      -08-19-2010, 09:52 AM
    • RamWraith
      Bartell Headed for Breakout Season
      by RamWraith
      Thursday, October 23, 2008

      By Nick Wagoner
      Senior Writer

      When he entered the NFL as a second round draft choice out of tiny Howard University in 2005, the ceiling for Ron Bartell seemed to be well above where he was as a player.

      Many scouting reports insisted that Bartell had all of the measurables and plenty of potential but it would take some time before he would become an impact player.

      Flash forward to 2008 and it appears that some time has finally transformed into now. Six games into the season, it’s become clear that Bartell has finally found his groove and is perhaps the team’s best cover cornerback.

      While some have expressed surprise and Bartell’s breakthrough effort, he says it was only a matter of time.

      “It’s just getting older,” Bartell said. “You are either getting better or you are getting worse and I am one who thinks I am getting better every year I am in the league. I am going to continue do so. Everything is coming together right now. I guess you could call it a perfect storm.”

      That storm coming together has been a long time in the making for Bartell who had the 40 time, the size and the athleticism to be a second-round pick but needed an opportunity to settle in and find his niche.

      When the Rams spent the 50th choice of that draft on Bartell, it was widely regarded as a high risk, high reward type of pick because Bartell did not face much of the nation’s top talent in college.

      Bartell was labeled with terms like ‘raw’ and ‘unpolished’ but with the right seasoning; the Rams thought he could become one of the best corners to emerge from his draft.

      Of course, for Bartell to do that he would need an opportunity to land at a position and stay there.

      Bartell played cornerback and safety in college and the Rams were unsure where his best fit would be in the NFL, especially considering their need for a free safety.

      So it was that Bartell bounced between cornerback and safety before landing in the slot as the team’s designated nickel back near the end of 2006.

      Bartell flourished in that role as he finished with a career-high three interceptions including a pair on Dec. 31 against Minnesota, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

      Last season, a spate of injuries pushed Bartell into the lineup though he continued to work plenty in the nickel.
      But it was this year that something seemed to click.

      “I’m glad for Ron, he’s a guy that was kind of lost and wasn’t really sure what position he would play,” coach Jim Haslett said. “We were playing him at safety and corner, moved him around and then we actually gave him the nickel spot and he did that well.”

      When Fakhir Brown and Tye Hill suffered injuries early in training camp, Bartell moved back to the outside and became one of the starting cornerbacks....
      -10-25-2008, 06:22 AM
    • sosa39rams
      For all you Bartell haters out there.
      by sosa39rams
      When the players reported to Rams Park a week ago after the lockout, coach Steve Spagnuolo made sure he spoke to veteran cornerback Ron Bartell.

      "The first thing I did was thank him," Spagnuolo said. "I told him how proud I was of the leadership he showed."

      In early June during the lockout, Bartell organized player-only workouts in the Phoenix area with some help from linebacker James Laurinaitis and quarterback Sam Bradford. And that's why Spagnuolo was proud of Bartell. But Spagnuolo didn't know the full story.

      Not only did Bartell put out the welcome mat for his teammates in the Valley of the Sun, he put a roof over their heads. Bartell, whose offseason home is in the Phoenix area, paid the hotel bill for about 30 teammates who worked out there.

      "I found a nice hotel in Scottsdale," Bartell said. "They gave me a really good deal for all the rooms, and just took care of it like that."

      The players arrived on a Wednesday, and worked out Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So it was at least three nights' worth of hotel bills for Bartell.

      "That goes above and beyond," Spagnuolo said. "I give him a lot of credit for that."
      "He put us up in a real nice hotel," rookie wide receiver Greg Salas said. "That was real generous of him. It's just the kind of veteran he is. I don't really know him that well, but he's taking charge and he got everybody together and we got a lot of work in there."

      Besides the work on the field, the players spent a lot of time together afterward. This was different from the Lindenwood University workouts in late May in St. Charles, when to a large degree, the veteran players went to their homes, apartments, or condos after practice.

      "Ron wanted everyone to come out to Arizona, and to be honest with you it was great team bonding," Laurinaitis said. "Everybody was right next to each other in the hotel. The rooms were right next to each other. So it was kind of fun to get together, with just everyone joking with each other and having a good time. I think we got a lot of actual team chemistry done in that little trip. It was good."

      Even with the players having roommates — Salas roomed with fellow rookie wideout Austin Pettis — the Arizona adventure probably cost Bartell at least a couple of grand.
      "Yeah, it set me back a little bit, but I'll be OK," Bartell laughed. "I figured if I was going to ask everybody to come out there and take time out of their schedule, the least I could do was take care of the accommodations."

      In Arizona, the players spent time together around the pool and watched the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs on TV. Salas, meanwhile, said he did not try to take advantage of Bartell's largesse by ordering room service.

      Now, with...
      -08-02-2011, 05:20 AM
    • BerlinThunder
      Bartell grows into CB role
      by BerlinThunder
      By Jim Thomas
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      08/29/2007

      Before he even had his bags unpacked at the start of training camp, Ron Bartell made his intentions clear. With or without a Fakhir Brown suspension, Bartell was coming to camp to start. Even if it meant taking somebody's job.

      "Exactly," Bartell said. "As a professional, you have to approach it that way. Nobody wants to be a backup. ... I think I'm a starting quality cornerback, so I'm going to approach it that way."

      One thing's for certain: Bartell will be a starting cornerback for at least the first month of the season. The NFL confirmed Tuesday to the Post-Dispatch that any appeal process for Brown already had been exhausted last month, when the league announced a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

      Bartell will start at Brown's right cornerback spot, beginning Sept. 9 in the regular-season opener against Carolina.

      "Ron had his best (exhibition) game last week," coach Scott Linehan said, referring to the Rams' 20-10 loss in Oakland. "He looked the most comfortable. We're still asking a lot of him. He slides in there to (the slot) in the nickel situations. I've been real pleased with his progress."

      Most of Bartell's experience last season came as the nickel back, covering slot receivers in three-receiver formations. He excelled there late in the season, recording three interceptions in the last three games and returning one for a touchdown in the season-finale against Minnesota.

      With Brown sidelined at the start of this season, Bartell will play cornerback in the base defense, and then slide inside to the slot in nickel situations. This month, Bartell had a couple of bad plays at corner in the preseason opener against Minnesota, giving up a pair of 21-yard completions to Bobby Wade late in the first quarter.

      It was just two plays, but as Bartell says: "Two plays can be big. Two missed tackles, but I think I've been pretty steady."

      He has, in fact, been very consistent and very steady at cornerback since the early going of that Vikings game Aug. 10.

      "My main coverages, I've been right there every time," Bartell said. "I'm not giving up a lot of yards."

      In many ways, Bartell is defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's type of corner. He's big (6 feet 1, 205 pounds), he's fast, and his style of play is suited for man-to-man coverage. But Bartell quickly learned that athleticism gets you only so far in the NFL.

      "I was touted as a great athlete, but when things start to break down, you have to refer back to your technique," Bartell said. "So you really have to concentrate on your technique at this level of the game. I still have things I struggle on, that I need to do better. I think we all do. But...
      -08-29-2007, 01:11 AM
    • MauiRam
      Rams' Bartell looks to rebound in 2010 ..
      by MauiRam
      BILL COATS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      06/04/2010

      Maybe Ron Bartell should've known 2009 wasn't going to be his year when he decided to re-sign with the Rams rather than accept a free-agent contract offer from New Orleans.

      While the Saints marched to the Super Bowl championship, the Rams were compiling an NFL-worst 1-15 record during which Bartell limped through the least-satisfying season among his three as a starting cornerback.

      "Last year was pretty tough as a team and for me personally, being injured and not playing as well as I'd hoped," Bartell said. "But it's a new season, so we have new opportunities. And I'm looking forward to it."

      The 6-foot-1, 206-pound Bartell, 28, was a second-round draft pick (No. 50 overall) out of Howard, a NCAA Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) program. He spent his first two pro seasons providing depth in the secondary, both at cornerback and safety.


      Bartell started 12 games in 2007, recording a career-high 76 tackles, and all 16 games in 2008, when he snagged three interceptions.

      The Rams rewarded him with a four-year deal that included $13.6 million in guaranteed money and, with incentives, could top out at $28 million. That contract, ironically, played a role in Bartell's subpar performance in 2009.

      A thigh injury early in the season slowed Bartell, but he believed that he could play through it. "I felt like I could get by," Bartell said. "But at my position you don't want to just get by. You could do more harm than good."

      Part of his determination to stay in the lineup, Bartell acknowledged, was rooted in his new contract.

      "I think I would be lying if I said it wasn't," he said. "I'm one of those guys who always wants to prove his worth. I never want to be looked at as a guy who got paid and just decided to coast. So that did play a factor in the back of my mind."

      Instead of taking a couple of weeks off and allowing the muscle to heal, Bartell soldiered on. That only worsened the injury — and his performance, he conceded.

      "I think any player would tell you when you're dinged up and you're not a hundred percent, it works on you a little bit," coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

      "I wish I would've handled it differently," Bartell said. "I'd never really been injured before in the NFL ... where I needed to sit and shut it down. Looking back on it, I probably should've done that. ... Sometimes you've got to put your ego to the side and do what's best for the team."

      The Rams' bye week came at the midpoint of the schedule, and the thigh finally began to heal.

      "After the bye week, I started getting a little bit healthy, and toward the end of the season, I felt like my old self," Bartell...
      -06-04-2010, 09:26 AM
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