Laurinaitis, Bartell organizing workouts for Rams defenders

The St. Louis Rams' defense won't be halted by the NFL lockout.

Cornerback Ron Bartell and linebacker James Laurinaitis are in the process of setting up workouts to keep Rams defenders sharp during the labor dispute, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Saturday.

"I'm actually coming back next Wednesday, the 20th," Laurinaitis said. "I'm going to drive back there (to St. Louis) and just kind of remain for a couple months. I've been in contact with Ron Bartell here and there about trying to get a lot of the defense around each other."

Laurinaitis, a former second-round draft pick who was the Rams' top rookie in 2009, has kept himself busy since early March with personal training in Columbus, Ohio.

Laurinaitis perhaps was motivated by the Rams' offensive line, which has been working out in St. Charles, Mo. Rams wide receivers have planned similar workouts with quarterback Sam Bradford in Houston.

On-the-field workouts typically don't begin until after the draft with minicamps and organized team activities, so the Rams are attempting to mimic the type of physical activity that might be wiped out by the labor fight.

"As defensive players, we all know our defense enough to where we could just talk through stuff just to keep each other mentally fresh on that as well," Laurinaitis said. "I'm not worried about guys being in shape or not. I trust them. If you're a professional, you're going to keep each other in shape. It's just a matter of trying to get as many people around each other as possible."

Bartell has been the point man during the offseason, staying in touch with teammates during the lockout.

"We're just trying to make sure everybody's on the same page, because we felt like we did some good things last year and we don't want to lose that because of the lockout," Bartell told the Post-Dispatch. "So we're just trying to make sure everybody's staying in shape. We're going to try to set up some things. If this (lockout) does last longer, we're probably going to try to set up some 'team' work in the near future."

Laurinaitis stressed the importance of maintaining a strong personal connection with teammates as well.

"When everyone's in St. Louis, it's like, all right what are we going to do tonight?" he said. "Well, let's all just go get dinner. Or let's go check out a movie. Go watch the Cards. Or do something. That's kind of like the little things that you can't really measure."

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