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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bulger making effort to put difficult 2007 season behind him

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Friday, Apr. 04 2008

    Mulling the Rams' options with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Marc Bulger
    said, "There's (Glenn) Dorsey, the Longs (Chris and Jake). I don't think we're
    going to pick (Darren) McFadden ... "

    Then he paused. With a smile, Bulger added, "I hope we don't take a
    quarterback."

    That isn't going to happen, of course. Still, with his team coming off a 3-13
    season that included Bulger's poorest showing in his six seasons as the Rams'
    starting quarterback, a dash of apprehension is understandable.

    "I know — everyone knows it — that I have to play better," said Bulger, who
    will turn 31 on Saturday. "I know that I have to do a better job preparing,
    mentally and physically ... everything."

    While the Rams were stumbling to their worst record since moving here in 1995,
    Bulger was struggling with head and rib injuries that cost him four full games
    and most of another, faulty mechanics and a dramatic downturn in production.
    The Rams finished 24th in the 32-team NFL in total offense, and their average
    of 16.4 points per game ranked 28th.

    Bulger had career lows in completion percentage (58.5), touchdown passes (11)
    and passer rating (70.3), and for the first time as a starter tossed more
    interceptions (15) than TD passes.

    Culpability for the club's showing rightfully is shared by many. For example,
    Bulger's dropoff was due at least in part to being under siege: Rams
    quarterbacks were sacked 48 times, the fifth-highest total in the league.

    "My footwork was off because I thought I could maybe get rid of the ball
    quicker," Bulger explained. "Whether it was right or wrong, I don't know. But
    at the time, I was just trying to do something."

    And now Bulger is trying to do something to change his fortunes, as well as his
    team's. Instead of returning to his hometown of Pittsburgh, he remained in town
    after the season and has been working out at Rams Park five days at week for
    two months.

    "I'm just trying to get as far away as I can from last year," he said. "I'm
    focusing more on this year and what we're going to do better than reminding
    myself how terrible I was last year."

    NEW DIRECTION

    Bulger has constant companions in offensive coordinator Al Saunders and
    quarterbacks coach Terry Shea, new additions to coach Scott Linehan's staff.
    Saunders is drilling Bulger on the intricacies of his attack, which is similar
    in approach to Mike Martz's offense and produced league-leading numbers several
    times in Kansas City.

    The hiring of Saunders, who was let go in Washington after coach Joe Gibbs
    resigned, came as a surprise, Bulger said.

    "I was pretty shocked when he became available," Bulger said, "and then when we
    got him, I was really excited. ... He's creative, like Mike, with getting
    matchups and a lot of shifting and motioning. He's been successful everywhere
    he's been. It's going to be fun to play for him."

    Saunders, Dick Vermeil's wide receivers coach here in 1999 and 2000, began
    developing his offensive philosophy when he was as assistant on Don Coryell's
    staff in San Diego in the early 1980s.

    Bulger should fit well is his system, Saunders said. "He's been to the Pro
    Bowl, he's had a 4,000-yard passing year (in 2006)," he noted. "I think he's a
    veteran guy you can build things around."

    Saunders has been conducting classroom sessions "for three or four weeks
    already," Bulger said. "A lot of stuff is coming back; it's not completely new.
    There's going to be some new verbiage. But it's mostly reteaching myself what I
    tried to deprogram myself from the last two years," when Linehan and former
    coordinator Greg Olson ran the offense.

    The presence of new backup Trent Green, who played for Saunders in Kansas City,
    will help, Bulger said. "The whole metamorphosis of the offense that Al wanted
    to make (with the Chiefs), he got to see the changes," he said. "The success
    that Trent's had with him lends all kinds of credibility to that."

    Nonetheless, Bulger isn't expecting a seamless transition. "I think we all have
    to realize how hard we're going to have to work to be where we want to be," he
    said. "It's important everyone understands how important this offseason is."

    Shea is working to refine Bulger's fundamentals. "He's really thorough," Bulger
    said. "Nothing's taken for granted, from the way I put my hands under the
    center's butt to how my stance is ... the smallest things. ...

    "It's nice that it's early in April and we're already working on that stuff. We
    have time to get that to the point where once September rolls around, I can
    just play and I'm not thinking about (fundamentals) anymore. It'll be just
    ingrained in me."

    STAYING HEALTHY

    No matter the effort, the offense won't perk unless the players can stay on the
    field. A raft of injuries to the line contributed heavily to last season's
    decline in production.

    "If we can stay healthy, I think we'll be really good up front," Bulger said.
    "We've learned it just takes one or two injuries to set everything off."

    As for his own fitness, Bulger said he hasn't felt as good at this point in the
    offseason for some time. "Nothing (lingering) from the concussion, and my ribs
    feel great," he reported. "Last year took a little longer, just because of
    (playing in) the Pro Bowl, and you're working your body longer. And the year
    before, my shoulder was bothering me."

    All the better to patch up a performance that fell well below his standards in
    2007.

    "You've got to prove yourself every year," Bulger said. "I'm two years removed
    from a Pro Bowl, but when you lose, it might as well be 10. ... In January, I
    told myself that I'm not going to keep beating myself up or beating up
    teammates. It's just not worth it.

    "We know how bad it was."


  2. #2
    eldfan's Avatar
    eldfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bulger making effort to put difficult 2007 season behind him

    "And now Bulger is trying to do something to change his fortunes, as well as his
    team's. Instead of returning to his hometown of Pittsburgh, he remained in town
    after the season and has been working out at Rams Park five days at week for
    two months."

    I love that he is working out so hard.
    :ramlogo:

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