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  1. #1
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Bulger Becomes a Leader
    Monday, July 28, 2008

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    MEQUON, Wis. – For as long as Marc Bulger can remember, being a vocal, omnipresent leader for the Rams has been essentially unnecessary.

    When Bulger came to the Rams in 2001, he was a backup quarterback hoping to land a roster spot. By 2002, he was the starter and earned the team’s Most Valuable Player award.

    For most teams, the quarterback is considered one of the leaders, the natural choice to give a cue to his teammates because of the importance of his position. But even as Bulger cemented his status as the starter, he’s never had to do much in the way of commanding his group.

    “Each year you kind of earn that,” Bulger said. “It was a little tougher earlier in my career because there was Marshall (Faulk) in the huddle and Isaac (Bruce) and Torry (Holt) and Orlando (Pace), and all of those guys. What was I going to do? I don’t care if I am a quarterback or not, they were the leaders.”

    While Holt and Pace remain, Bruce and Faulk have since departed. Pace has never been one for being a vocal leader though he provides the other linemen with a strong example on the field. Holt is the enthusiastic type of leader, always encouraging.

    The departure of Bruce and, especially, Faulk, left a void on the offense for a more vocal leader who is willing to step in and take charge when the opportunity presents itself. As he enters his eighth season in the league, that’s a role which Bulger is growing more and more comfortable in.

    “Now some of those guys are gone and it’s my job to step it up more,” Bulger said. “When I’m gone it’s going to be someone else’s job to step it up.”

    After following perhaps his best season in 2006 with perhaps his poorest in 2007, this offseason became a bit of a career crossroads for Bulger.

    Bulger signed a six-year contract extension with the Rams before last season. That deal put him among the top quarterback in the league in terms of compensation. But when Bulger didn’t perform to the level of his contract, he realized the need to get back to work.

    The first step was the addition of Al Saunders as offensive coordinator. Saunders’ offense is similar in many ways to the one Bulger first learned in the NFL, that of former coach Mike Martz.

    That move alone renewed Bulger’s enthusiasm. With Saunders in the fold, Bulger altered his offseason traditions and spent most of his time in St. Louis. Part of that was an effort to get his mind wrapped around Saunders’ system and terminology and part was meant to establish his role as a leader of the team.

    “I think now with some of the younger guys and even some of the older guys, they respect me now, because they think I have a better grasp of the offense than anyone in there,” Bulger said. “I have been in it for such a long time, and with knowledge you can have that confidence. As long as I know what I’m doing, and I tell them the correct thing, I think they will start to lean on me more.”

    Bulger’s presence in St. Louis was particularly important as Saunders wanted to take all of the necessary steps to get his starting quarterback prepared to show everyone else what must be done for his system to be a success.

    Veteran back Trent Green’s presence only helped matters as Green had plenty of experience playing for Saunders in Kansas City. Bulger, Green and Saunders spent countless hours together in the meeting room. Bulger estimates that the trio spent more time meeting than at any other point in his career.

    Privately, many Rams say the playbook isn’t as difficult as it might be perceived unless of course you play quarterback. But that’s why the signal callers have spent so much time together. All of that work has apparently paid off for Bulger, who says he is ahead of where he would normally be because of the extra meeting time.

    “You can never be completely comfortable,” Bulger said. “I’m definitely caught up more than I was spring week, we did put a lot of time into the quarterbacks at that time, from March on.”

    The offense has been slowly but surely installed but it’s easy to see why Bulger is optimistic and enthusiastic about the possibilities. Saunders’ system features plenty of quick release, three step drops that should help keep Bulger upright, something that didn’t happen often in 2007.

    In addition, there are plenty of opportunities for Bulger to get the ball down the field to some of his speedy young receivers and features the pass catching skills of tight end Randy McMichael.

    That doesn’t mean the offense isn’t having some issues as it grows into its new system. For the better part of the opening days of training camp, the defense has had the better of the offense. That is only natural as defenses tend to be a few steps ahead of the offense in the opening stages of camp.

    “Right now, it’s just a little bit of growing pains, but there is a lot of good stuff on the horizon,” Bulger said.

    As the offense continues to fine tune and Saunders gets a better handle on what his personnel is capable of, Bulger will be there to help point out any mistakes and serve as a mentor for any offensive personnel with questions about their roles.

    It’s a job that he wouldn’t have done in years past but as suddenly one of the longest tenured Rams, Bulger is taking it on himself to be a guiding force.

    “If someone keeps repeating the same mistake, I don’t have a problem saying something,” Bulger said. “We all make mistakes, I’d rather go over and talk to him and get it corrected. I need those guys battling for me.”

    And they need their quarterback returning to Pro Bowl form.


  2. #2
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Bulger. Holt. Pace. Good leaders -- Jackson would be ready for leadership too; not sure how this holdout affects the role opportunity for 2008.



    Now, who are the leaders on defense? Glover for sure, yes?

  3. #3
    Josh Guest

    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Leonard Little, Because he Is the Only Member of the 2001 superbowl defender we have left.

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    Leonard Little, because he is the only member of the 2001 Superbowl defender we have left.
    You may be right Josh. I wouldn't necessarily place a leadership medal on Little for his SB XXXIV merit though. As you know, seniority does not always reflect wisdom nor charater -- or in this case, leadership.

    But again, perhaps LL is not only mature enough but self confident to claim that title, or at least shared along with Glover for our DL. At times Little seems really pumped up and eager to lead the way. I hope he does get it done.

    Spoon I like as a leader as well. Stay healthy Will!

  5. #5
    Josh Guest

    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    yeah.. i like will too. He should have went to the pro bowl last year too.. i think OJ might be a leader of the D too here in another year or two, If not this year.

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    You could argue Spoon as the leader of the D as well I believe. If nothing else, he has been leading by his excellent play.

    Glad to hear about Bulger stepping up.

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Glover, Little, Spoon and Chavous at a guess

    maybe Pisa aswell

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    I would like to see OJ step it up and begin to take on a leadership role. Hopefully that will enable us to build around him for the future as well. Actions speak louder then words so really I think its about who performs the best.

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    My hats off to Marc Bulger for putting in the extra time. After last seasons debacle he obviously feels responsible for righting the ship. That's a true leadership move.

    I am concerned about Steven Jackson holding out. How is that going to affect his absorption of the new play book?

    We need to be firing on all cylinders when the season starts, especially with the first half of our schedule being so tough.

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    My hats off to Marc Bulger for putting in the extra time. After last seasons debacle he obviously feels responsible for righting the ship. That's a true leadership move.
    Agreed.

    I am concerned about Steven Jackson holding out. How is that going to affect his absorption of the new play book?
    Considering that RB is usually the easiest to pick up when it comes to new systems, I'm not really worried.

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Bulger never seemed in public to be a vocal leader on the field...would love to see him chew out the under performers, praise those that rise to the top. Hopefully he can take a page out of Farves play book in on the field leadership. Maybe he can find his voice.

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    Bulger never seemed in public to be a vocal leader on the field...would love to see him chew out the under performers, praise those that rise to the top. Hopefully he can take a page out of Farves play book in on the field leadership. Maybe he can find his voice.
    Agreed - I feel if we can protect Bulger the next few years and keep him healthy, he can be like Favre in that he would be a veteran vocal leader.

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    So does the title of this thread imply he wasn't a leader before?

    And why does shouting at people have to equate to 'leadership'?

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    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Pang View Post
    So does the title of this thread imply he wasn't a leader before?

    And why does shouting at people have to equate to 'leadership'?
    WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT FATPANG!!!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    YodaRam Guest

    Re: Bulger Becomes a Leader

    Quote Originally Posted by StLouisSam View Post
    Agreed - I feel if we can protect Bulger the next few years and keep him healthy, he can be like Favre in that he would be a veteran vocal leader.
    That could happen Sam. Protection will be the key. Let's hope that when we turn the key, the engine starts and we rock this puppy to the Super Bowl!!! ...........it could happen......right?!





    RAM ON!

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