Chosen by the Rams with the 19th pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Barron was seen as a franchise tackle, an über-athletic former basketball player who could protect a (right-handed) quarterback's blind side for a decade or so because of his 6-7 height and long arms, as well as his quickness and athleticism.
But in St. Louis, Barron struggled.
The coaching staff lacked continuity, and Barron had difficulty adjusting to the new blocking schemes. When the Rams shipped him to Dallas in exchange for another former first-round pick who had not lived up to his draft status, linebacker Bobby Carpenter, Barron found himself with a chance to kick-start his career with a winning team.
"We're already building that continuity, or chemistry, or whatever you call it," Barron said. "That's just part of the experience here. We come in here working with each other a little before practice."
Barron said that going from the team that finished last in the NFL to one that many consider a favorite to reach the Super Bowl doesn't outweigh the fact that players are still competing for roster spots and starting positions.
"It's just like anything else," he said. "Everyone is striving for something out here in training camp — to get better, win a spot, to be on the team … all of that. The whole package is everybody just wants to do what they can to help the team so the team can move forward in any process that we're in."
Barron said it's too early to tell where he stands in his battle with Doug Free for the starting left tackle spot, but said that if he earns the job, he'll be ready.
"If that's what they ask me to do," he said, "then I think I'll be alright."
One issue that plagued Barron during his stint in St. Louis was his propensity for getting lured into false starts or other penalties — a trend for which Barron said he couldn't provide an explanation.
"I couldn't even tell you," he said. "As a player you don't want to get any penalties or make any mistakes that hurt your team. There were some times when the penalties hurt your team, and as a player, you don't want to hurt your team at any cost.
"We had one guy during the season in St. Louis; it was just (that) the next year, we had to get somebody else. Hud (Dallas offensive line coach Hudson Houck) is a different ‘O-line' coach. All offensive line coaches are different. Everybody has their own ways to talk about their techniques and how they want stuff done. He's telling me some different things, some things that are helpful. I'm just here to win."
New Beginning for Barron
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