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  1. #1
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    Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff
    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    While Wednesday was the St. Louis media’s first opportunity to meet the new coaching staff, Thursday was the coaching staff’s first opportunity to meet with quarterback Marc Bulger.

    Bulger arrived at Rams Park on Thursday afternoon and spent time meeting with head coach Scott Linehan, offensive coordinator Greg Olson and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier. After a difficult season in which he played just eight games because of a shoulder injury, Bulger seemed excited to be discussing the possibilities that the future might hold.

    “I am sure they are going to be demanding and want things right, but it wasn’t like I was up there talking to the Wizard of Oz,” Bulger said. “I think it will be good working with him.”

    At the forefront of his conversation with the coaches was the future of an offense that has ranked among the league’s best for the past six seasons. Bulger grew up in former coach Mike Martz’s system, a system that used what was called the 3-digit system.

    Digits are a way of identifying a route or a player within in a play. Martz's system also called for a lot of passes, many of which were based on seven-step drops and four or even five receiver sets.

    While Martz’s system allowed for plenty of success for Bulger, it also wasn’t much of a democracy. But it didn’t take Linehan long to make it clear that Bulger would be able to have some newfound input into the playbook and the direction of the offense.

    In fact, while most of the conversation focused on simple things such as the cadence or the evolution of the terminology in the playbook, Bulger – who was joined for part of the meetings by running back Marshall Faulk – was excited about Linehan’s willingness to listen.

    “There wasn’t a point up there where it was ‘this is my stuff and we are sticking to it,’ which could happen,” Bulger said. “He’s real open to ‘what did you guys call this, what did you call that?’ There’s some give and take. Everyone’s been talking about he has his ego in check and to be able to play the give and take game between him and the players, I think we will respond to that very well.”

    One other area that Bulger should respond very well to is the addition of some different protections and a more balanced offense. Many times during Martz’s tenure, the offense was criticized for being too pass heavy and it was no coincidence that there has been a strong correlation between running the ball well and winning in the past few years.

    In Linehan’s short time in the NFL, he has shown a willingness to go to maximum protections and installs multiple tight end sets as well as a commitment to the run. Most quarterbacks, Bulger included, love to throw the ball a lot, but in Bulger’s case it hasn’t been good for his health.

    In the past two seasons, Bulger has injured his right (throwing) shoulder on four occasions, costing him a little more than 10 games in the past two seasons.

    From his initial meeting with Linehan and the staff, Bulger feels confident about the ways the Rams can go about protecting him.

    “There’s ways to do that,” Bulger said. “I think first and foremost if we can just get the running game going and stopping defenses from being able to attack our protections. If we can run the ball and be balanced then they are not going to be able to attack the protections. They will have to respect that. From what I hear so far we are going to have good running game things going in. We are going to have a nice base of things, but at the same time, we are not going to be less aggressive. It’s down the field, if you watched Minnesota, how they did it, (the quarterback) doesn’t take as many hits because they were so balanced.”

    Bulger first injured the shoulder against Indianapolis last season while trying to make a tackle, costing him the next two games against Jacksonville and New Orleans. He re-injured it on Nov. 20 against Arizona, knocking him out for the rest of the season.

    Although Bulger says he could have returned in time for some of the late season games, he didn’t want to take any chances at doing permanent damage. He had already rushed back from the injury before and didn’t want to do it again at the risk of his career.

    “I just wanted it to fully tighten back up and heal I think I am there now,” Bulger said.

    That approach seems to have paid off as Bulger claims no discomfort in the shoulder and expects to resume throwing sooner than he has in years past.

    “I am able to do everything now,” Bulger said. “I talked to Dr. (James) Andrews again and he confirmed that everything is fine. I saw Jim (Anderson) today and he said everything looks good. We are going to do weight training here in a few weeks and I’ll be back. I’ll probably start throwing in the next week or two.”

    Bulger plans on taking a football with him on vacation to start tossing it around and get warmed up before the first mini-camp and OTAs. In addition to the start of throwing, Bulger will also be involved in all offseason workouts. He said he hopes to do even more than ever to protect his shoulder and strengthen it so there are no further problems.

    “I’m sure I’ll probably do some more to try and protect it more, but as a quarterback you always work on the shoulders a lot anyway,” Bulger said. “I talked to (strength) coach LeDuc today and we are going to figure out some new exercises we are going to do and get it as healthy as possible for next season.”

    When healthy, Bulger has been one of the league’s most productive quarterbacks in the past few years. Last season, Bulger was on pace for his best year as a pro, racking up 2,297 yards, 14 touchdowns and a 94.4 passer rating in less than eight full games.

    In spite of that performance, Bulger has still had to deal with comparisons to predecessor Kurt Warner among other rumors. Of course, the hot rumor for the past few weeks has dealt with Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

    The soft-spoken Bulger said Thursday that he had not heard the Culpepper to St. Louis speculation.

    “I know they are shopping him around,” Bulger said. “I didn’t really put two and two together. I don’t think Minnesota will let him go, but I think there will always be rumors. I never even thought about the one here.”

    Bulger has little reason to worry, though, as Culpepper issued a statement Thursday afternoon to ESPN that he isn’t worried about a trade or any contract issues and he is just trying to get healthy. Even if Culpepper were healthy, it wouldn’t make much difference as the new coaches have made it clear that they think highly of Bulger.

    “I’m excited about him,” Olson said. “I think he’s a tremendous player. Clearly he was injured this year. I don’t know if that would be considered a concern. Obviously, we have to keep him healthy, number one. But I think he’s a tremendous player. I have all the respect in the world for Marc Bulger, and if we can keep him healthy, I think we’re going to have a heck of an offense next year.”

    For now, Bulger plans to take the next few weeks as down time, throwing on occasion and watching his beloved West Virginia Mountaineers make an NCAA tournament run.

    Bulger also won’t forget to peek his head in on new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to remind him about the time when Haslett cut him from Saints’ training camp when Haslett was the head coach and Bulger was a young signal caller.

    In a couple of weeks, Bulger will return to St. Louis for offseason workouts and spend the bulk of the offseason here, training, learning and helping his teammates learn.

    “It will be fun just for all of us to learn together,” Bulger said. “If I came in here as a free agent and someone else was already in place it might be tough for a quarterback to catch up, but I will try to stay one step ahead of everyone else on offense so it looks like I know what I am doing.

    “I am getting a new start, our team and the whole building…it should be a different atmosphere around here and I think it will be good for everyone.”


  2. #2
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    Re: Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    man am i excited to get the season started. should be a breath of fresh air this year. wonder what bulger is going to say to Haslett for cutting him.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    Bulger is all class. I would take 10 more of him. Relaxed and always positve. Great leader. We are a lucky team.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    Very very positive sign that marshall sat in on the meeting with bulger and linehan. after all, no one, including bulger, knows more about that offense than faulk, who allegedly knows all the assignments of every player on the field for every play.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  5. #5
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    Re: Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    Bulger is all class. I would take 10 more of him. Relaxed and always positve. Great leader. We are a lucky team.
    My thoughts exactly. Stories like this get me fired up for the draft and next season.

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    Re: Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    I'm getting excited about the whole thing........O,D Haslett, Linehan, Draft, FA.

    Change is as good as a rest.

  7. #7
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    This article was filled with a LOT of things that Rams fans have been wanting to hear. From better protection to the run game. Very good stuff!


    “I am sure they are going to be demanding and want things right, but it wasn’t like I was up there talking to the Wizard of Oz,” Bulger said.
    HA, that's awesome.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Two
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



  8. #8
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    Re: Bulger Healthy, Happy with New Staff

    Thanks for the post!

    here is a shorter version

    Rams | Bulger healthy and excited about the future
    Thu, 16 Feb 2006 18:23:17 -0800

    Nick Wagoner, of StLouisRams.com, reports St. Louis Rams QB Marc Bulger (shoulder) is healthy again and looking forward to the future. Thursday, Feb. 16, Bulger seemed excited to be discussing the possibilities that the future might hold. While former head coach Mike Martz's system allowed for plenty of success for Bulger, it also wasn't much of a democracy. But it didn't take new head coach Scott Linehan long to make it clear that Bulger would be able to have some newfound input into the playbook and the direction of the offense. One other area that Bulger should respond very well to is the addition of some different protections and a more balanced offense. Many times during Martz's tenure, the offense was criticized for being too pass heavy and it was no coincidence that there has been a strong correlation between running the ball well and winning in the past few years. From his initial meeting with Linehan and the staff, Bulger feels confident about the ways the Rams can go about protecting him. In a couple of weeks, Bulger will return to St. Louis for offseason workouts and spend the bulk of the offseason here, training, learning and helping his teammates learn.
    RamsFan16

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