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    Bulger injury worse than feared

    Bulger injury worse than feared
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/22/2005

    Tests results Monday afternoon on quarterback Marc Bulger's injured throwing shoulder showed more damage than a similar injury suffered last month. As a result, Bulger will be sidelined longer than he was in October, when he missed two games but also had the benefit of the Rams' bye week to recover.

    "The MRI results were negative," a team official said Monday night. "But there's a lot more swelling in there. He's going to be out for quite a while."

    Before the MRI results, the most optimistic assessment at Rams Park had Bulger returning for the team's Dec. 11 game at Minnesota. However, with the finding of increased swelling in the shoulder area, it's uncertain whether Bulger can even return this season.

    Earlier in the day, at his regular Monday afternoon news conference, interim head coach Joe Vitt said this of Bulger: "Sore. Very, very sore. He also sustained a concussion. He's banged up."

    This Sunday in Houston, the Rams also will be without the services of starting strong safety Adam Archuleta and offensive lineman Blaine Saipaia. Archuleta suffered a concussion in the first quarter on a collision with teammate DeJuan Groce on pass defense. Saipaia suffered a concussion blocking on the wedge on a fourth-quarter kickoff return.

    Archuleta and Saipaia were hospitalized Sunday night for observation and were released Monday.

    "I think (Archuleta) actually went in and played two series after the concussion," Vitt said. "To his credit, he tried to stay in there and battle. But he was really woozy on the sideline. The same with Blaine. . . . They both had pretty good concussions."

    Bulger did not have to be hospitalized because of his concussion, Vitt said.

    Bulger was injured late in the second quarter on a blitz by Arizona safety Adrian Wilson. The Cardinals also sent a linebacker on the play on the same side. Running back Steven Jackson turned inside to take on the linebacker, allowing Wilson a free path to Bulger.

    Vitt said the sack was the result of a blown blocking assignment, but he did not say who blew the assignment.

    It was telling, however, that Jackson was benched at the end of the game, when another successful Arizona blitz resulted in a sack and a lost fumble by Bulger's replacement, Jamie Martin. Martin was shaken up on the play but kept playing.

    On his weekly radio show Monday night, Vitt said that Martin came out of the game with bruised ribs and that rookie Ryan Fitzpatrick would get some work with the first unit when the team returns to practice Wednesday.

    In any event, Bulger was helped off the field Sunday with 4 1/2 minutes to play in the third quarter and the Rams clinging to a 17-16 lead. It was the second of a career-high three sacks for Wilson, a five-year veteran who had a modest 5 1/2 career sacks in 71 NFL games before Sunday's contest.

    So what was the problem with blitz pickup?

    "It was lack of execution," Vitt said. "We know what 24 (Wilson) is. We know where the (protection) is supposed to go. We know where the backs are supposed to go. And we don't get it done. There was absolutely no disguise by them, in what they were doing.

    "They were showing 24 in the paint (near the line of scrimmage). And wherever he showed in the paint, that's where he was coming from. So you have one or two ways to pick it up. Either a back goes there and picks him up, or the line slides that way and picks it up. And we had (breakdowns) three times. They were critical busts."

    Ironically, Bulger's season comes to a halt on a weekend in which he moved to the top of the NFC passer ratings. After completing 19 of 24 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona, Bulger has a 94.4 passer rating for the season. That ties him for the conference lead with Drew Bledsoe of Dallas.

    Bulger ranks fifth in the NFL in passer rating, behind four AFC quarterbacks: Cincinnati's Carson Palmer (105.6), Indianapolis' Peyton Manning (104.6), San Diego's Drew Brees (100.0) and New England's Tom Brady (96.2).

    With Archuleta unavailable for the Houston game, rookie Jerome Carter will make his first NFL start. Carter stepped in at strong safety when the concussion forced Archuleta to the sidelines against Arizona.

    "Jerome Carter made some mistakes (Sunday) on defense, when he had to go in and play for 'Arch,'" Vitt said. "It's his first extended play time in the 'mixed-down' situation. He's going to grow from that. And at the end of the day, he probably did more good things than bad things."

    Prior to the Arizona game, Carter's playing experience had been largely limited to the Rams' six-defensive-backs package, as well as special teams.

    Saipaia's absence against the Texans means that Rex Tucker will be the first guard off the bench behind starters Claude Terrell at left guard and Adam Timmerman at right guard. Saipaia rotated in for Timmerman in both halves against the Cardinals, because Timmerman has been slowed by a back injury.
    Last edited by ramsbruce; -11-22-2005 at 04:43 AM.

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    Some of the excuses made for Jared Cook are laughable.

  2. #2
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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thomas
    Bulger was injured late in the second quarter on a blitz by Arizona safety Adrian Wilson. The Cardinals also sent a linebacker on the play on the same side. Running back Steven Jackson turned inside to take on the linebacker, allowing Wilson a free path to Bulger.
    Can we finally stop blaming Jackson for that sack? He can't pick up two blitzers without cloning himself, so let's not pin the end of Bulger's season to Jackson when we speak of his shortcomings. Did he miss other assignments during the day? You betcha. But did he get Bulger killed on that play? No.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    I think the main thing on that one is this, he double teamed the guy who was going to beat Saipia on that play and Bulger saw that guy, but he didn't protect Bulger's blindside which is his role.

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    I think the main thing on that one is this, he double teamed the guy who was going to beat Saipia on that play and Bulger saw that guy, but he didn't protect Bulger's blindside which is his role.
    tx, they were both coming unblocked. If anybody would have picked up Huff, it would have been Pace, but Huff was outside of him as well. Huff and Wilson were both coming outside the tackle with Wilson outside of Huff. I don't know what the assignments were, but I'm guessing Jackson just went with the blitzer inside. I can't remember where Manu was on that, but if he was on the left side, then he missed the block of Huff. Either way, I'm not saying Jackson gets off for his horrible blocking, but that play was a lose-lose situation. If he blocked Wilson, Huff would have crushed Bulger instead.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    bison, I'm an accountant also....so let's get outside the CPA train of thinking....lol

    It really doesn't matter technically. Bulger is still out with a shoulder injury, the Rams still can't pick up the blitz or run the ball effectively, and Jackson is not polished as a RB yet.

    However, pumpkin pie is just around the corner....



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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    bison, I'm an accountant also....so let's get outside the CPA train of thinking....lol
    Is there any other way of thinking?
    It really doesn't matter technically. Bulger is still out with a shoulder injury, the Rams still can't pick up the blitz or run the ball effectively, and Jackson is not polished as a RB yet.
    No argument there. I'd love to know where Faulk was during all this though......and once SJ gets pulled, Vitt goes with Harris.....huh?
    However, pumpkin pie is just around the corner....
    Man, I love pumpkin pie. You know what goes good with pumpkin pie? More pumpkin pie.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    Whether Jackson is to blame or not is irrelivant to me. Injuries are a part of this game, and an NFL QB can take some vicsious shots sometimes.

    To me this season was over whether Bulger got hurt or not, he's not the entire team. It's best to let him heal and rest the remainder of the season if he is going to be the starter next year, that's something I'll debate in other threads.

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    Jackson isn't to blame for Bulger getting hurt.

    I think it's quite apparent at this point that Bulger is quite the crystal chandalier. The guy isn't the toughest qb out there. He's ok. But if this team wants to be a tough hard nosed team, I am afraid that a different qb is needed.

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    Marc Bulger is too skinny to play Quarterback in the NFL. This injury will happen every time a 280+ lb. lineman lands on him. Which happens all too often in the NFL.

    Ironic that they got rid of Kurt Warner because of his injury concerns, and yet Bulger goes down every year with this shoulder.

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    You know, the QB position is the most OVERRATED position on the football field and the most UNDERRATED position on the football field at the same time.

    Case in point: Trent Dilfer. He did something that Warner did: He won a Super Bowl. Nobody seems to be begging for him in Baltimore. Other obscure QB's to win a Super Bowl:

    Doug Williams
    Mark Rypien

    These guys can boast something else that Warner can't: they never lost one.

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    Re: Bulger injury worse than feared

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    You know, the QB position is the most OVERRATED position on the football field and the most UNDERRATED position on the football field at the same time.

    Case in point: Trent Dilfer. He did something that Warner did: He won a Super Bowl. Nobody seems to be begging for him in Baltimore. Other obscure QB's to win a Super Bowl:

    Doug Williams
    Mark Rypien

    These guys can boast something else that Warner can't: they never lost one.
    Tx I want to add Brad Johnson to your list
    Quote Originally Posted by ramsbruce
    Some of the excuses made for Jared Cook are laughable.

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