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  1. #1
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    Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/29/2009

    Perhaps enticed by the sight of the end zone barely 40 feet away, quarterback Kyle Boller was a little late on his slide. Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers made him pay with a hit so jarring it knocked Boller's helmet off his head.

    Rams running back Samkon Gado was immediately on the scene, telling Boller to stay down and take a minute to recover his thoughts. Boller would have none of it.

    "Oh, he's a tough kid," right guard Richie Incognito said. "He popped right up. He got right back in the huddle and he kept going. It didn't even faze him. I would've taken a second to shake that bad boy off; he took it right on the chin."

    Boller later conceded things might have been a little bit fuzzy for a few seconds. But you wouldn't have known it by the way he acted in the huddle.

    "He said, 'We're going to take this ball in the end zone right now,'" center Jason Brown said. "And that's exactly what we did."

    It took three plays to score, but you get the point. Boller showed the kind of bravado the big grunts up front love to see from their quarterback.

    "Of course," Brown said. "Not only do we like to set the tempo, but when we see that the skill position guys have just as much enthusiasm as we do, that is very encouraging."

    Boller's 8-yard scramble advanced the ball to the Cincinnati 12. After reuniting his helmet with his head, Boller completed a short pass to Laurent Robinson, then handed off to Gado for a short gain. Next came pay dirt: Boller tossed a shovel pass to Gado, totally fooling the Bengals' defense, with Gado scoring untouched from 2 yards out.

    The Rams had a 14-7 lead with 4 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first quarter and never looked backed in what became a 24-21 triumph at Paul Brown Stadium.

    A few months from now, none of this may mean a thing. But that sequence, and Boller's play in general Thursday, showed his teammates that he can get it done.

    "I gained a lot of respect for him; a lot of respect for him," Gado said. "It was a pretty hard hit because I was right there. I saw it firsthand."

    The performance didn't go unnoticed by the Rams' coaching staff. Coach Steve Spagnuolo agreed with the suggestion that, if anything, the team now has more confidence in Boller's ability to lead the offense for a game or two or more should something happen to Marc Bulger in the regular season.

    "Yeah, I think he's kind of proven that," Spagnuolo said Friday. "I think the guys do rally around him. You know, he said it best. How did he say it? It's not his first rodeo. So he's been through it. That's important. I think that's a good thing to have."

    Boller has started 42 NFL games since being drafted No. 19 overall by Baltimore in 2003. But after missing the entire 2008 season with the Ravens following a preseason shoulder injury, he had some rust to knock off with the Rams, who signed him as a free agent in early April.

    Although well short of spectacular, Boller was efficient against the Bengals, completing 70 percent of his passes (14 of 20) for 96 yards, one TD and a 97.1 passer rating.

    "I'll take 70 percent every day of the week," Boller said.

    More important than the stats were the points. The first-team offense had not scored a touchdown this preseason until it got two TDs both by Gado Thursday night in the first quarter.

    "I think it gives us a lot of confidence to be able to put those drives together," Boller said. "We just need to make sure that we continue to do that. This is just the beginning. We still have a long ways to go. ..."

    In what looks to be a characteristic of the Rams' new West Coast scheme, most of Boller's passes were of the short and intermediate variety. Of his 14 completions, only three gained more than 8 yards, with a long one of 15 yards to tight end Randy McMichael. Boller spread the ball around, completing passes to nine difference receivers.

    "In this offense, definitely, everybody's going to play a role in it," Boller said. "And to be able to mix the ball around to the tight ends, running backs, receivers really kind of keeps the defense on edge."

    Before Thursday, the Rams had converted only one of five red zone trips into touchdowns. But they went two for two with Boller at QB against Cincinnati. Another problem had been third down conversions the Rams had a 24 percent conversion rate (six for 25) in their first two preseason contests. But they were 50 percent (four for eight) on third down when Boller and the first unit were on the field Thursday.

    Spagnuolo also liked Boller's decision-making well, most of it when it came to his two scrambles for 16 yards. Sliding earlier is advisable.

    "Yeah, that might be a wise thing," Spagnuolo said, smiling.


  2. #2
    maineram's Avatar
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Boller took charge of the offense while he was in there. That was a pleasant surprise on Thursday night. The line opening holes and keeping Boller upright was nice also.

    Maineram -
    and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !

  3. #3
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    he showed that if needed during the season he can come in and hold down the fort until Bulger comes back,also if I am not mistaken he only has a 1 year deal so he is auditioning for next season hoping another team may give him a chance to start again. in order to do this he needs to take advantage of any playing time he gets because he may not get much once the season starts.

  4. #4
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    I have confidence in Boller now.

    I think the things he did thursday night showed he's ready to take the ropes if Bulger goes down.

    Anyone thinking wildcat formations? hahahahhaha jk jk jk jk
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

  5. #5
    btimsah Guest

    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Although well short of spectacular, Boller was efficient against the Bengals, completing 70 percent of his passes (14 of 20) for 96 yards, one TD and a 97.1 passer rating.
    97.1 passer rating, even with our line not giving him all day. It's fascinating how even Kyle Boller can some how play well behind this line but Bulger continually, can't. I'm going to wait, but I'm concerned Bulgers going to get in there and the offense is going to suddenly fall apart again and thus the qb controversy ensues.

  6. #6
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Quote Originally Posted by btimsah View Post
    97.1 passer rating, even with our line not giving him all day. It's fascinating how even Kyle Boller can some how play well behind this line but Bulger continually, can't. I'm going to wait, but I'm concerned Bulgers going to get in there and the offense is going to suddenly fall apart again and thus the qb controversy ensues.
    It's not hard to put up solid numbers when your pre-season passing gameplan consists of nearly all quick outs, slants, and curls with minimal downfield passing and few long developing pass plays that leave you exposed in the pocket.

    Boller was efficient but I didn't find him particularly impressive, nor do I agree that it was fascinating that he played well within that situation. He wasn't really called upon to do much, as evident by the lack of downfield passing. I didn't see him do anything that I don't think Bulger could have done in the same situation.

  7. #7
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Liked the poise that Boller displayed againsts te Bengals. This QB IS battle test, though it was only Cincinnati, Kyle engineered a couple of nice long drives for scores. I think the Rams have found their backup quarterback. What a difference a week makes after Bollers' subpar performance against Atlanta.
    If Bulger can't go in Seattle, now I won't panic......GO SEE KYLE!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Well, remember that Pats game two years ago?

    Boller is a good QB when he wants to be. He just gets too ansy or something, I don't know.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  9. #9
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    It's not hard to put up solid numbers when your pre-season passing gameplan consists of nearly all quick outs, slants, and curls with minimal downfield passing and few long developing pass plays that leave you exposed in the pocket.

    Boller was efficient but I didn't find him particularly impressive, nor do I agree that it was fascinating that he played well within that situation. He wasn't really called upon to do much, as evident by the lack of downfield passing. I didn't see him do anything that I don't think Bulger could have done in the same situation.

    I think you are being a bit tough on him. First of all, quick outs, slants and curls might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it's a very intelligent approach given the unproven offensive line. This is the type of offensive game planning you're going to see from Steve Spagnuolo; a close-to-the-vest approach which puts a premium on conservative, mistake-free football. It is going to be a big departure from the days when Warner was throwing 48 times a game and Holt and Bruce were streaking downfield all day. As the O-line gels and gets better( as surely we all hope it will), it will create more opportunities for variety in the play calling.

    Boller is a backup for a reason. He is not a guy who has shown he can wow you with his quarterbacking for the duration of a season. Bulger, even with his struggles, is the better player. But you can do a lot worse than Kyle Boller as your backup.

  10. #10
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    IBoller is a backup for a reason. He is not a guy who has shown he can wow you with his quarterbacking for the duration of a season. Bulger, even with his struggles, is the better player. But you can do a lot worse than Kyle Boller as your backup.
    I agree. Not only did Boller prove his mettle with his play against Cincy, he showed the ability to bounce back after two less than stellar performances. For that I give him credit.

    I also agree with Nick that what he did was nothing spectacular. The conditions on Thursday were conducive to Boller being able to manage the game effectively. As long as he is afforded those "manageable" situations, he should be fine. If he's forced to the forefront however, more often than not he won't have the luxury of simply handing the ball off and throwing a few short passes. It's the game scenarios where he'd be under duress and have to make something happen under pressure that I'm not sure about.

    That said, you make a good point that the Rams could do a lot worse than Boller as their backup.

  11. #11
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    It's not hard to put up solid numbers when your pre-season passing gameplan consists of nearly all quick outs, slants, and curls with minimal downfield passing and few long developing pass plays that leave you exposed in the pocket.
    Agreed - there was minimal downfield passing .. even so there often was good pressure on Kyle even with the shorter routes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    He wasn't really called upon to do much, as evident by the lack of downfield passing. I didn't see him do anything that I don't think Bulger could have done in the same situation.
    Hiere's where we disagree: During the game I was impressed with Boller's pocket awareness, and his ability to move around enough to either throw it away or run for positive yardage. Mind you that I am a Bulger fan, so I am not trying to denigrate Marc's abilities as our starter. however his pocket awareness has been less than stellar as of late (whether it be from past beatings or his just holding on to the ball too long). This is the only area where Boller looked better than Marc IMO. Several times in the game after a play transpired where Kyle narrowly avoided being sacked, I couldn't help but imagine the same scenario with Bulger at QB, with the result being - he'd have been sacked or worse.

    For those of you who might think otherwise, I support Bulger as our starter, and I am in no way inferring that Kyle is a better QB than Marc or that Kyle should be our starter if Bulger is healthy. Rather this is an observation based on one game in which I observed one aspect of Kyle's game that was a notch above what I've seen from Bulger lately.

  12. #12
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I think you are being a bit tough on him.
    But how? You really didn't elaborate on how in your response. I'm not saying Boller was crap. I'm not saying he shouldn't be the back-up. I'm just pointing out that he really wasn't asked to do much.

    While Boller was efficient and the playcalling dinked and dunked the Rams down the field and into scoring opportunities, it simply wasn't an impressive display of quarterbacking. I don't think you'll find many people who feel those throws are especially difficult. There was very little passing beyond ten yards of the LOS.

    There's nothing necessarily wrong with that; if it's working, it's working. But at the same time, let's not pretend like he went out there and tore it up, is what I'm saying. He was efficient, but aside from that 15-yard throw over the middle to McMichael, nothing else really wowed me about his performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    even so there often was good pressure on Kyle even with the shorter routes.
    I rewatched every Boller pass play prior to making my previous response, and really didn't see a substantial amount of pressure. Maybe I need to go back and watch again, but for a guy attempting 20 passes, I don't recall him really getting pressured all that much. Certainly not to the extent Bulger was pressured in only three series against the Jets earlier in the preseason, but then again, I don't think the Bengals' defense is as aggressive as what Rex Ryan is doing up in New York.

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    Hiere's where we disagree: During the game I was impressed with Boller's pocket awareness, and his ability to move around enough to either throw it away or run for positive yardage.
    I agree that Boller is a better athlete than Bulger and better able to make plays using his legs. I would also agree that, over the last two seasons, Bulger's confidence in the pocket has diminished and he's not as likely as he used to be to stand in there and take a brutal hit. I think some of that comes from being coached post-Martz with an emphasis on ball security but also from the beatings he's taken over his career.

    That being said, I think Bulger's ability to evade pressure is actually a bit underrated by fans (see, for instance, the 13-yard scramble he had last year against Washington that was called back b/c of a Barron penalty), and I think we saw evidence as recently as the Jets preseason game that Bulger is still very much able to make throws under pressure (see, for instance, the 15-yard completion to McMichael despite two free Jets rushing towards him).

    So again, I'm still not sure I saw anything from Boller that Bulger couldn't have done; while Boller is more likely to take off and run in certain situations, Marc's certainly demonstrated as recently as last season that he can do the same.

  13. #13
    PeoriaRam's Avatar
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    It's not hard to put up solid numbers when your pre-season passing gameplan consists of nearly all quick outs, slants, and curls with minimal downfield passing and few long developing pass plays that leave you exposed in the pocket.

    Boller was efficient but I didn't find him particularly impressive, nor do I agree that it was fascinating that he played well within that situation. He wasn't really called upon to do much, as evident by the lack of downfield passing. I didn't see him do anything that I don't think Bulger could have done in the same situation.
    I'd also like to add that during the "two minute drill" they attempted to run on Thursday, he really should have tried to get out of bounds on that scramble of his rather than being tackled in the middle of the field. That cost a lot of seconds for the Rams.

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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    The way things are looking with Bulger and his past seasons. Boller is a refreshing replacement. Gado is no Jackson but he has impressed. Durability on the O line will
    decide which QB will lead us this season. It's Bulger's job to lose.
    For preseason we looked good.
    THE FIELD GOAL

  15. #15
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    Re: Boller is showing the Rams his mettle ..

    When Boller was in Baltimore, I saw him take some big hit & pop right back up.... the kid is tough.

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