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  1. #1
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    Berlin. Null Ready For Final Audition

    Berlin, Null Ready for Final Audition
    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    More often than not, the fourth and final game of the NFL’s preseason slate is viewed in two ways.

    First, it’s the game in which the players at the top of the depth chart get the least amount of playing time. In direct correlation to that, it is also the game in which the guys on the bottom of the depth chart get one last shot to prove they belong on an NFL roster.

    It’s no different in St. Louis where the prize for Thursday night’s game against Kansas City goes far beyond the Governor’s Cup for most of the players.

    It’s not certain how much they will play against the Chiefs but there’s no doubt that Keith Null and Brock Berlin will get a majority of the time handling the quarterback duties against Kansas City.

    Starter Marc Bulger has already been ruled out because of a broken pinkie and Kyle Boller will likely be protected aside from maybe one or two potential series. The rest of the game will belong to Berlin and Null.

    And the player that performs best could well move ahead in the race for what is likely to be the third and final roster spot at the position.

    “I’m just excited to get out there and play this week,” Berlin said. “Obviously, it’s always fun when you can get out there and be able to perform.”

    For Berlin, this part of the deal is old hat. In this, his third season in the league, Berlin has found himself embroiled in a heated competition for his job every year.

    While competition is encouraged and desired at every position, few offer the ability to make an immediate determination on how a player has done like quarterback.

    In 2007, Berlin earned a spot on the practice squad out of training camp and after injuries hit found himself starting a game against Cincinnati on Dec. 9 of that year.

    Last year, Berlin emerged victorious against veteran Bruce Gradkowski after posting stellar numbers in his preseason opportunities.

    Since he came into the league in 2005 with Miami, Berlin has had a knack for performing well with his job on the line. In preseason games, he’s posted a rating of 92.0 while throwing for 823 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions with a 67 percent completion rate.
    Berlin says he has always approached the game as though he’s the No. 1 quarterback and that has helped him immensely in playing well in the preseason.

    “That’s what you want,” Berlin said. “You want to be out there playing. The way you have to approach each day as if you are going to be the guy. That’s what I have always done, prepare to be the starter and you never know when the opportunity is going to come so you go out and practice every day like you are going to be the guy and when that shot comes, you take it.”

    This exhibition season has been no different for Berlin. In the three preseason contests to date, he’s 13-of-21 for 119 yards and a touchdown for a rating of 93.2.

    It’s a fact of NFL life for third quarterbacks that competition is going to be there nearly every year and yet every year Berlin seems to rise to the occasion.

    “Competition wise, I just go out there and do my job,” Berlin said. “You can’t get caught up in who is doing what. For me, you have just got to play and at the end of the day know that I have given it my best and that’s all you can do.”

    Although they are competing for a job, Null and Berlin have maintained a good working relationship and developed a friendship. Null says Berlin has not been afraid to share knowledge with him and Null has likewise not been afraid to ask questions of any of the veteran signal callers.

    “Our relationship has been great,” Null said. “We come out here every day and compete on the field, try to get better. That’s what we have both been doing. As far as everything else, it’s been great.”

    For his part, Null has proved to be worthy competition to Berlin. The sixth-round choice out of West Texas A&M has had plenty to learn in the NFL after playing in a spread offense that had him working out of the shotgun almost exclusively in college.

    By his own admission, Null struggled to keep up the first week or so but eventually got comfortable in his mechanics and has since showed poise and precision in most of his game opportunities.

    Null was particularly good in the first preseason contest against the Jets, calmly replacing an injured Berlin and driving the Rams to a game winning touchdown on a gorgeous pass to rookie wideout Sean Walker.

    In the second preseason game in Atlanta, Null again put the Rams in position for a potential game tying score but a last gasp interception left the Rams just short.

    Regardless, Null has made major progress in the short time he’s been in St. Louis. Now, he’s hoping to take advantage of what figures to be extended playing time against Kansas City.

    “I think there’s a lot I can improve on still as far as recognizing defenses, getting better with my footwork,” Null said. “I could keep you here all day if I was to critique myself but I have definitely gotten a lot better since I have been here and I am just ready to put it all out on the field this last preseason game.”

    The possibility exists that the quarterback who does that better will be the one most likely to be able to step on that field again in the regular season.

  2. #2
    Tampa_Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Berlin. Null Ready For Final Audition

    I really hope Null gets 3rd. GO NULL!!!

  3. #3
    Ramer Guest

    Re: Berlin. Null Ready For Final Audition

    After week one of preseason I would have went with Berlin, but Null is growing on me. I would like to see what he does in KS.

  4. #4
    RamOfDenmark Guest

    Re: Berlin. Null Ready For Final Audition

    I would go with Null. I just have a feeling that he may have 'it' mentally to be a good QB and a clutch player (I know I know, it's too early to tell, but that's how it looks to me) - where I doubt Berlin is going to improve much on where he is now. If we're down to the 3rd QB our season is in the crapper anyway so we might as well go with the guy that appears to have more upside and for me that is Null who has been better than I thought based on how little experience he has in our system.

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