Wednesday, June 13, 2007




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Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Although the offense is showing signs of revival, St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger cautions against witnessing a return to the Greatest Show on Turf.

The Rams are far removed from their glory years, with only one winning season in the last five, although the offense appears to be improved.

It's too early to draw any comparisons.

"That's all talk right now," Bulger said Wednesday after the second day of St. Louis' minicamp at Rams Park. "It's a matter of going out there and executing. This is all practice right now."

Bulger will be a key to getting the Rams back on top in the West Division and into the playoffs. Bulger had a career-high 24 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions in 2006. He threw for 4,301 yards on 370 of 588 passing. It was his first 4,000-yard season.

He will have plenty to work with this season. Veteran wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce still can stretch defenses. The free agent signings of Tennessee's Drew Bennett, a 6-foot-5 receiver, and Miami tight end Randy McMichael add needed depth and experience. A trade brought in Kansas City returner/receiver Dante Hall.

The running game shows strength. Halfback Steven Jackson had a breakout year with an NFL-leading 2,334 yards rushing and receiving, 11 ahead of San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson. Rookie fullback Brian Leonard is being counted on, too.

"A lot of teams are saying right now they have the weapons," Bulger said. "Until we go out there and do it for 16 weeks, we can talk all we want."

The 1999-2001 Rams were an offensive juggernaut. Led by Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk, the Rams won one Super Bowl and lost another one.

While this offensive unit looks strong, it's unfair to liken them to those past offensive units.

"It's way too early to say that," Bulger said about any comparisons. "We haven't done anything on the field yet. We have to prove ourselves. It'll be tough to ever match those guys."

Rams coach Scott Linehan is so comfortable with how Bulger is looking he can deliver a wisecrack about how he is doing in this minicamp.

"Terrible," Linehan said with a serious look before smiling when asked about Bulger's camp work. "No, he looks great. Marc is playing at an extremely high level. He's an extremely gifted thrower."

This is Linehan's second year and he and Bulger are on the same page on the offense. Bulger understands the system and is running it well.

The comfort level for Bulger is obvious on the field, Linehan said.

"Now, he's got all that first-year, new coach's whatever. That's all gone now," Linehan said. "He's tuning his game up. He looks great."

Bulger agreed he understands what Linehan wants.

"We know the staff and what Coach wants and his expectations," Bulger said. "There's not any guessing. We're not adding a couple hundred plays."