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Thread: For the Bulger haters ....
For the Bulger haters ....
Rams quarterback Bulger absorbs unfair criticism
By Bryan Burwell
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
In victory or defeat, Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson are always the most interesting guys in the Rams locker room. Bulger, the quarterback, is the conservative, calculated introvert; Jackson, the power running back, is the definitive swashbuckling extrovert. Bulger often dishes details in quiet moderation, dodging around controversy like a nimble dancer. Jackson often hurls himself directly into the teeth of a maelstrom with bold proclamations.
But in the eyes of some St. Louis Rams fans, these two conflicting personalities will always be one and the same. In good times and bad, in victory or defeat, Bulger and Jackson wear the dreaded labels of The Replacement Players, never to be judged for who they are, but always for who they are not.
Bulger isn't Kurt Warner.
Jackson isn't Marshall Faulk.
On Sunday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome, they both heard and felt the wrath of those unsatisfied fans throughout the course of a 34-13 loss to Warner's Arizona Cardinals. Any time the Cardinals come to town, Bulger knows what to expect. He is going to be measured (and drawn and quartered, too) by the scoreboard and the stat sheet comparison with the Super Bowl hero he replaced six seasons ago.
"If you want to put the blame on me (for why the offense struggled), well, I don't care," Bulger said in a quiet but combative voice. "Oh, I know everyone's going to say it's my fault. They're going to say I'm throwing off my back foot or crap like that. But you know what? I don't care what people say. All I care about are what my teammates and my family says. Everyone else? I don't give a damn."
After seven years of this never-ending Bulger vs. Warner saga, the Rams QB no longer concerns himself with trying to win an unwinnable public debate. Those who love Warner will always love Warner, and bash Bulger. He gets that better than most. He knows that nothing shy of five Super Bowls and a Hall of Fame induction will get the haters off his back. He also knows that games like this will supply ammunition to those who always seek to praise his good friend at his expense.
So as he stood in front of his locker stall, he prepared for the barrage because he knew there was no question that the former understudy was outplayed by his old mentor. Warner threw for more yards (342 to 186), had a better completion percentage (67 percent to 48 percent), a higher pass-efficiency rating (120.0 to 60.9), and was never harassed or frustrated by the pass rush like Bulger was. Warner is running one of the NFL's most potent offenses, and Bulger is laboring with one of the league's worst outfits (28th).
On Sunday, that Rams offense turned from bad to worse. Within the first few minutes, Bulger was stuck with no running game to speak of. After Jackson was cleared to play during warm-ups, it quickly became apparent that he was still hampered by his strained thigh muscle. It limited him to 17 yards on seven carries. Then on the first play of the game, backup Antonio Pittman pulled his hamstring. He gained 12 yards on 10 carries, and third-string tailback Travis Minor suffered a concussion on special teams not long after that.
No running game. No pass-blocking. No chance. A quarterback's worst nightmare.
Bulger already was working behind an offensive line that can barely protect him under the best of circumstances. Now that porous unit was expected to form a protective shield around him with an aggressive Arizona defense smelling blood. Predictably, Bulger's game plan went completely into disaster relief mode. He completed only nine passes through the third quarter (16 of 33 for the game) and never seemed to have time in the pocket.
It wasn't always the pass rush that cost Bulger. After a while, he seemed to be dialing up nothing but high-risk, mostly unsuccessful throws to his talented but inexperienced group of young wide receivers. Most of them often fluttered to the ground, or were terribly executed (the 40-yard interception return for a TD by Arizona's Antrel Rolle was an incredibly poor decision), and caused repeated boos from some of the 61,303 spectators.
"I wish I had (Rolle's interception) back," Bulger said. "But I knew I had to take risks and that made us one-dimensional. But I also understand my role in this situation. If it means I have to bear the blame for the mistakes we make this year, I'll take the blame. If it means getting all those talented young (receivers) on the field gaining experience, well, I'll take that because I know that they're all learning so much now. And by this time next year, whew, they're gonna be great weapons. So let people say whatever they want about me now. ... I'll deal with the heat."
What some people are saying now is that because Warner, 37, looks like a new man and Bulger, 31, looks constantly besieged, the Rams must have made a mistake letting Warner go. Well, they didn't. Six years ago, Warner was a different man. He was battered physically and emotionally, and that got him benched. Then he went to New York, where he struggled and was benched, too. He finally landed in Arizona, and has had time to recover from the damage his body suffered running Mike Martz's high risk-high reward offense. Now that the cobwebs have cleared and he's playing at Pro Bowl and potential league MVP levels again, it doesn't mean he should have been a Ram for life.
Re: For the Bulger haters ....
And before the particular group of, well, very nice people that hate Bulger begin to comment, make sure you read the very last paragraph very closely ...
And try to pay attention to other crucial details too, if that is not too much for your brain to handle ...
-11-03-2008 #3Mooselini Guest
Re: For the Bulger haters ....
Bulger is still our leader. He's only as good as the weapons around him. And yesterday, he didn't have anything what so ever. We had no running game because Pittman got hurt. That put us in the hole quick and early in the game. Jackson not being healthy doesn't help either.
Our full back situation. MY GOD, I don't think I can say anything positive about Kreider.
Our offensive line couldn't block a college defensive lilne. They look terrible day in, day out. Time to throw Greco in there. We got nothing to lose with the move.
Holt got his touchdown. Which is good. He is still capable of making his plays when he needs to. And the 80 yarder to Stanley was incredible. Holt needs to mentor these kids some more to teach them about coming back to help the QB.
In the end, we did play like crap. The team knows it. One thing for sure, if we don't pressure the QB next week. Favre is going to light us up.
-11-03-2008 #5Registered User
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Re: For the Bulger haters ....Bulger isn't Kurt Warner.
Jackson isn't Marshall Faulk.
Boy you can say that again, and again, and again.
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