The St. Louis Rams have suffered their first bout of bad news in training camp. Top cornerback Ron Bartell suffered an ankle injury in practice and had to be removed from the field. That is not good news for the Rams who suffer more from a lack of bona fide starters at the CB position than they do young, unproven depth.
Bartell limping off gingerly. not flexing his right knee at all, but has weight on it. hopefully not serious.
Good news i guess on bartell is that injury wasn't maclin-serious. no cart, practice continues.
Take a moment to let your stomach ease its way back down from your throat. Now, let's take a quick look at the depth chart behind Bartell. Quincy Butler took over for Bartell with the starters last night. Butler was, um, not very good last season. Bradley Fletcher, who was looking good in three games as a starter, has been going full speed in camp having recovered from a hyper extended knee that shut him down last season. Is Fletcher ready to pick up where he left off?
And what about Justin King, who had significant playing time last season, which was effectively his first year since a training camp injury derailed his rookie season? Reports suggest that King has looked good in practice, but it's just practice. Facing Larry Fitzgerald is another matter all together. This year's third round pick, Jerome Murphy, has delivered on his promise as a hitter thus far. Adjusting to coverage could be a different matter altogether. Can he get up to speed in time to have an impact this year? A lot of pundits feel like he could. The Rams brought in former Giants CB Kevin Dockery in what now looks like a positively prescient move during the offseason. Dockery has starting experience, but fits best in the nickel spot.
An injury to Bartell isn't quite as ominous as some of those suggested by VT in this morning's post, but the Rams have too many unknows to lose their best cornerback.