You're happy about the Rams re-signing CB Ron Bartell, I'm happy about the Rams re-signing Bartell...we're all happy about the Rams re-signing Ron Bartell. But don't get too cozy with the cornerback situation. Signing Bartell gives the Rams their number one CB, the guy that's going to see lots of #1 WR. After Bartell, it's pretty thin. How thin?
If you're giving an honest assessment, then you have to acknowledge that Bartell is the only starting CB on the roster at the moment. The Rams would have had Fakhir Brown under contract still had it not been for Linehan's strange decision to release him early in the season, only for interim coach Jim Haslett to beg and plead for him to comeback. Now Brown's gone and there's no indication that the Rams want to bring him back. Let's take a quick rundown of the CBs still on the roster.
Tye Hill - Hill's been inconsistent and often injured in his three years since being drafted 15th overall in the 2006 draft. He had an awful start to the season last year, and it ruined his confidence. Can Spagnuolo help Hill get it back? Even if he does, you just can't count on Hill as a starter for '09.
Justin King - A fourth round pick from last year's draft, King looked sharp to start camp last year...then he got injured. He'll get a second chance this year, but you can't pencil him in to start after a good two weeks in camp.
Jonathan Wade - Wade, a third round pick from '07, has made a good impression on special teams, and got plenty of playing time with the defense last season. At times, he shows some real skill, and made a key INT in the Rams last game of the season, a narrow loss to the Falcons. I'll let 3k tell you about that game:
Jonathan Wade, who got hurt early, came back and made a huge interception. His coverage was spotty. He was often in good position, but his play on the ball was poor. It's just his second year, but he reminds me of the Cowboys' Terrence Newman. Not as quick or agile, but if he turns into a useful nickel back, I'll be pleased.
Wade needs to break through in the his third season, and establish himself as, at least, a reliable nickleback. His career depends on it, and the Rams could use the help.
Quincy Butler - Who? Exactly.
To round out the CB position, the Rams might have to sign one of the more, ahem, experienced veterans out there, as suggested by MathB in this Fanpost. They'd still probably struggle against teams with two stud WRs, like Boldin and Fitzgerald for the Cardinals, but their experience would at least give the Rams a CB who knows where to be and would probably help mentor Wade and Hill, get them over that hump.