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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Bulger faces important rehearsal ..

    Bulger faces important rehearsal
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Saturday, Aug. 23 2008
    Rams • Up next: 7:05 tonight vs. Ravens, KTVI (Ch. 2)

    Improved tackling and run defense? Check.

    Improved blocking and running game? Check.

    Improved passing game and quarterback play? Uh, check back later, please.

    The Rams improved on several fronts last week in preseason game No. 2 against the San Diego Chargers. In fact, only the failure to find a rhythm in the passing game prevented the San Diego contest from being a feel-good evening. (At least as far as you can take such things in August.)
    Now Baltimore, with the league's No. 6-ranked defense from a year ago, comes to town for Game 3 of exhibition play. Kickoff is 7 tonight in the Edward Jones Dome.

    If the Rams are going to get quarterback Marc Bulger in rhythm for the regular season, this probably is the last opportunity. The third preseason game traditionally is the final dress rehearsal for starters in the NFL in terms of playing time, and that probably will be the case for the Rams."This is a big game as far as a significant amount of snaps they would get in a game," coach Scott Linehan said. "They've played quite a bit more to this point than they have in previous preseasons."

    Unless Linehan changes his stance from his prior two preseasons in St. Louis,
    tonight could be the last time the starters are seen until opening day. In
    2006, 20 of 22 starters were held out of the preseason finale in Miami. In
    2007, all 22 projected starters were rested in the Governor's Cup game against
    Kansas City.

    So the goal tonight seems clear against Baltimore. More good blocking, better
    passing — and some points wouldn't hurt, either.

    "Certainly you'd like to be more productive when it comes to the offensive
    improvement, with putting points on the board," Linehan said. "We're playing
    against another top (10) defense. So the challenge is great."

    Through two preseason games, Bulger has a passer rating of only 14.1,
    completing 10 of 23 passes for 85 yards with three interceptions and no
    touchdowns. Bulger will be the first to tell you he hasn't looked sharp. But
    there have been extenuating circumstances:

    — Running back Steven Jackson didn't play in the first two games. (He will sit
    out tonight as well, even though he's in camp and signed to a new contract.)

    — Wide receiver Torry Holt didn't play in Game 2 because of tightness in his
    back. (He is expected to play tonight.)

    — Left tackle Orlando Pace is still working his way back into playing form
    following right shoulder surgery last fall. (He's iffy for tonight after
    experiencing shoulder soreness that apparently is unrelated to the prior
    injury.)

    — Two of Bulger's three interceptions came on tipped passes, and against San
    Diego, wide receiver Drew Bennett dropped a couple of catchable balls.

    — Lastly, offensive coordinator Al Saunders has been almost obsessed with
    trying to get the offensive line squared away above all else.

    "We've been trying real hard to develop our continuity in the offensive line,
    both from a protection standpoint and a run standpoint, because it all starts
    there," Saunders said. "My focus, ever since (spring workouts), is to find our
    best five guys and make sure they're in a situation where they play well
    together."As a result of that, a lot of things we're doing now — in practice and in preseason games — is to make sure those guys are playing at the highest level they can play."

    For those reasons and others, Saunders is still getting a feel for Bulger.
    "I've got to learn about Marc Bulger and what gets him in a rhythm," Saunders said. "And I haven't done as good a job as I'd like to be able to do down the road to get him in a rhythm early in a game."

    In Tennessee, the Rams' offense faced a big, physical 4-3 defensive front with fast linebackers. Against San Diego, the Rams faced a 3-4 scheme. Baltimore's defense presents yet another challenge. Scheme-wise, they are similar to the Rams in the sense that they have multiple looks and will come at you from all angles. The difference is they are a more physical unit."We get to see a lot of the confusion and things like that, that Baltimore presents for you," Linehan said.

    Defensively, Linehan would like nothing better than for the Rams to continue
    the strides made last week, when they kept San Diego out of the end zone an
    limited the Chargers to 203 yards in total offense.To be really good, you've got to continue to do that each week," Linehan said.


  2. #2
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger faces important rehearsal ..

    "Through two preseason games, Bulger has a passer rating of only 14.1,
    completing 10 of 23 passes for 85 yards with three interceptions and no
    touchdowns. Bulger will be the first to tell you he hasn't looked sharp. But
    there have been extenuating circumstances:""

    I hope he can show some sign of improvement. It's hard to believe he is as bad as the #. Just show me once he can lead the team to a TD drive no excuses.
    :ramlogo:

  3. #3
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    Re: Bulger faces important rehearsal ..

    Good post eldfan. We need Bulger to throw good passes, and score for a change. Holt will be in the huddle, so he now has his best weapon out there.

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    renrawtruk is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bulger faces important rehearsal ..

    Unless Linehan changes his stance from his prior two preseasons in St. Louis,
    tonight could be the last time the starters are seen until opening day. In
    2006, 20 of 22 starters were held out of the preseason finale in Miami. In
    2007, all 22 projected starters were rested in the Governor's Cup game against Kansas City.
    well, gee, since he's had so much success in his past 2 seasons, he should just stick with his same plan, eh?

    This should not be something you determine before the pre-season. You should decide as you go. If the first string offense had been coming in each pre-season game and going down the field and getting points, then yes, I'd hold them out. But when your QB has 85 yards with 3 interceptions....

    Also, why not try to get Jackson ready to go enough for 3 plays against the Chiefs? Practice 3 freekin run plays, and let your starting offense come in the game for 3 plays while they hand off to jackson.....JUST SO THAT THE VERY FIRST TIME OUR OFFENSE PLAYS TOGETHER IS NOT AGAINST THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES!!!!

    I'm starting to think Linehan is just a "Yes" man. He doesn't have any thoughts of his own, just copies everything he sees everyone else doing.

  5. #5
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger faces important rehearsal ..

    If Bulger is still a little shell schocked from last year, I am not surprised. Getting him into a rythm early sounds great, but in this case (at least from this fan's perspective) one of the best ways to settle Marc down would be the emergence of a solid run game. Nevermind Jackson, if the O-line can block well enough to spring Pittman, Minor, or Ball for 4 - 7 yds or more consistently, Marc should be able to find a rythm with shrewd play calls by Al Saunders. Conversely if Marc is facing 3rd and long with poor field position, he'll likely struggle. We really need to be able to run the ball well enough to keep defenses honest. If our O-line plays well, Marc should have a decent game. Having Torry back should afford Bulger a bit more confidence, but nothing beats having a decent run game which will lift some of the burden from Marc's shoulders .. If the Ravens can shut down our running game early, it will likely be a long night for Marc ...

  6. #6
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    Re: Bulger faces important rehearsal ..

    An offense is only as good as the offensive line. That has always been the case and always will be. As long as the line can gel as a unit this team has the POTENTIAl to do some damage, if the line does'nt do their job this team could quickly come out of the gates 0-4 and it would'nt matter if you had Montana at QB and Barry Sanders at RB. Bulger cannot take another beating like he did last year, if we have trouble again with injuries on the line this year I hope we just run the ball 50 times a game for Marcs sake.

  7. #7
    Josh Guest

    Re: Bulger faces important rehearsal ..

    I hear Jeff Wilkins Is wanting to comeback as a quarterback.. any Takers?

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