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Bulger looks to get back on the mark
Bulger looks to get back on the mark
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Aug. 20 2005
SAN DIEGO - As Marc Bulger waited to do a TV interview last week in the
hallways of the Edward Jones Dome, a passerby - a familiar acquaintance -
joked: Bulger stinks!
Without missing a beat, Bulger turned and replied: "I did tonight."
That's Bulger. Self-effacing as ever. Never tooting his own horn. True, he was
less than stellar in the Rams' preseason opener against Chicago. Then again, he
played only three series, and threw just five passes - one of which was
intercepted. (He had another INT erased by a Chicago penalty.)
He will get more playing time Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. And
preseason game or not, he wants to do better.
"Obviously, there's going to be a lot of mistakes because it's preseason,"
Bulger said. "But you want to just clean up some of the things each week, so
you can get to that apex when the *****' game comes. You don't want to be going
the wrong direction. Fortunately, I set the bar pretty low (against Chicago),
and I should move up this week."
The Rams open the regular season Sept. 11 in San Francisco. As he enters his
fifth NFL season, a part of Bulger just wants to get to September. But he also
realizes there's work to be done over the next three weeks.
"I'd prefer to play a couple (preseason) games, and then get right into the
season," he said. "Obviously, I had a couple interceptions against Chicago. I
don't want to do that, but I'm not going to worry about it like I would if it
was the regular season. . . . It's just a different atmosphere, and I'd be
lying if I told you I treated it the same."
Bulger says the Rams looked at a lot of tape during the week, more so than one
would think. But in the preseason, that doesn't translate into an elaborate
"You have a pretty vanilla, general, game plan," Bulger said. "You expect
everything, so you can't really narrow anything down. You don't know what
you're going to see, and you make throws you usually wouldn't. Because you're
not sure what they're going to do. You have no tape, and you have nothing
designed for their plays.
"So it's just kind of winging it out there in the preseason. Being this
vanilla, it's just not something you're accustomed to with Coach (Mike) Martz
and this offense."
Vanilla or not, Martz wants to see more polish from his offense - and his
defense and special teams, for that matter - against San Diego.
"We're really trying to develop a personality on both sides of the ball and
special teams," Martz said. "I want to lose all the tentativeness in all three
phases that (typically) happen in the first game."
To help that happen on offense, Martz plans to give Bulger and the offense
plenty of work against San Diego.
"I think we'll probably give him a real good dose in this thing," Martz said.
"I think all of our first-unit guys will get a pretty good exposure. They need
to play now."
Martz says Bulger has avoided "camp arm," the tired throwing arm that can
develop over the course of training camp and the preseason. He also said Bulger
has shown no ill effects from the shoulder injury that sidelined him late in
the 2004 season.
"If it's an issue, he hasn't said anything about it," Martz said. "And it
doesn't seem to bother him. I think he's thrown the ball very well."
Bulger insists it's a non-issue.
"My shoulder feels well," he said. "I didn't take too many hits the other night
against Chicago, but it wasn't sore at all after the game. I've been able to
lift a lot more than I was back in March and April. So hopefully that issue's
Beyond Bulger and the offense, the Rams will get an early read Sunday on
whether right guard or free safety will be an issue in 2005.
At right guard, Adam Timmerman makes his preseason debut as he continues to
work his way back from offseason surgery on his foot and both shoulders.
He still is experiencing some soreness in the foot, but will try to play as
long as the rest of the Rams' offensive line starters against the Chargers.
"Unless it feels bad," Timmerman said. "We kind of left the door open, if after
a quarter I don't feel good. But otherwise, I'm going to try to go a half."
Meanwhile, safety Adam Archuleta will test his back against the Chargers at a
new position no less - free safety instead of strong safety. It's his first
full-contact work since finishing the 2004 season with a herniated disc.
"I'm going to get in there," Archuleta said. "Get in the mix. Have fun, run
around a little bit."
Archuleta said he could've played against Chicago.
"I think it's kind of been the plan to take it slow, make sure there's no
setbacks," Archuleta said. "Make sure nothing bad happens. Be smart about it.
But I definitely feel like I could have played, and I don't think it would've
been an issue."
Archuleta said the back has felt fine in camp.
"I haven't had any setbacks or anything," he said. "I've just been playing
football. I don't think it's going to be that big of a deal."
Re: Bulger looks to get back on the mark
Considering how perfect the timing on the Ram's offense must be for everything to work right, Bulger looking a bit rusty last week is not to worrisome. Last two seasons, it seems the more he played, the better he got. This week, I expect a little better, and then better in the next game, etc.
Arch is someone I want to see. I hope he can move like he used to, back a couple of years ago. If he does, then my worries about him will fade quickly.
of Los Angeles