Bulger Among the Best at Quarterback
Saturday, October 2, 2004

By Nick Wagoner
Staff Writer

Lost in all of the worries and warts in St. Louis’ past two games is one extremely encouraging development.

Quarterback Marc Bulger has emerged as one of the league’s best quarterbacks, ranking third in passing yards (915) and seventh in rating (94.7). After a solid outing against Arizona in the opener, Bulger had a good game against Atlanta. This past weekend against New Orleans his effort showed he could be making the move to the next level.

Rams’ coach Mike Martz said Bulger is starting to embrace his role as a leader of the team.

“He has always had that moniker, if you will, of being a guy that would do whatever it takes to win the game, that’s just part of it,” Martz said. “Making a great throw, moving around, scrambling, whatever it takes to win a game and having the presence of mind to do that is very important. I know he is quiet, and you don’t know him like I do, but he’s very competitive and tough.”

Bulger threw the ball all over the field against the Saints, hitting passes long and short, racking up 358 passing yards and a touchdown. The yardage total was the third highest of his career, but it was what he did with his legs that made him stand out.

On a play that could someday be remembered as one of his defining moments, Bulger darted up the seam of the New Orleans’ defense to score from 19 yards out and give the Rams the lead with 28 seconds to play.

“I think he is playing exceptionally well,” Martz said. “His decisions, his check-downs, taking off at the end of the game and getting the ball in the end zone, he is getting better, better and better. I’m very pleased with him.

“There has been significant progress over the first few games. I really thought in the first few games, the stress that we talk about wore on him a little and maybe it did. But he has been shaking that off really well, and he’s on his way now. I’m very impressed with how he has played.”

TER’IN IT UP: Scott Tercero emerged in the preseason as one of the Rams’ most valuable players.

Tercero was drafted in 2003 as a guard out of California, but since arriving in the NFL, he has become the utility man of the offensive line. He spent time in the preseason at tackle with Orlando Pace gone and Kyle Turley hurt. Then, Adam Timmerman and Chris Dishman battled some injury problems, causing Tercero to move back to guard. He has also spent some time in practice at center.

All of that paled in comparison to the task he was handed on Sept. 26. Dishman left the New Orleans game with an ankle injury and Tercero stepped in. The Saints’ defensive line came after him with everything it had and Tercero held up.

“He really did a good job,” Martz said. “I was so pleased with him. He was able to pass things off really well. And again, you can’t underestimate, practicing to play tackle for a number of weeks, then having to go into a game and play guard, with that game play, and do what you did was remarkable.”

Dishman remains questionable for Sunday’s game against San Francisco and Tercero is the likely starter if Dishman can’t go.

Tercero said he is excited about the opportunity to start, especially in California, where he will have friends and family in attendance.

“Any player wants to play as much as possible,” Tercero said. “It’s going to be a really electric atmosphere.”

INJURY REPORT: In addition to Dishman’s ankle injury, other questionable Rams for Sunday are running back Arlen Harris (hamstring) and linebacker Tony Newson (ankle).

Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy (foot) and cornerback Travis Fisher (forearm) are out.

Linebacker Trev Faulk (hamstring), cornerback DeJuan Groce (knee), guard Tom Nutten (toe), linebacker Robert Thomas (ankle) and strong safety Adam Archuleta (hamstring) are listed as probable. RB Marshall Faulk (back) was held out of the team portion of practice, but should be fine for Sunday night. He is listed as probable.