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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bulger Needs To Play Better To Quiet Critics

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/01/2008

    Itís fashionable in some talk-radio circles to defend Rams quarterback Marc Bulger by dismissing all criticism of Bulger as the result of some sort of looney-tunes love affair with Kurt Warner.

    The theory: Bulger wonít get a fair shake because a lot of fans and media still hold a grudge over Bulger replacing Warner as the Rams starter in 2002.

    Rubbish.

    I donít compare Bulger to Warner; I compare Bulger to Bulger.

    Over a three-season period, 2004-2006, hereís where Bulger ranked among NFL quarterbacks in some key statistical categories: fifth in passer rating, fourth in completion percentage, sixth in yards per passing attempt, sixth in touchdown-interception ratio.

    And hereís where Bulger ranks among NFL quarterbacks in those categories since the start of the 2007 season: 30th in passer rating, 30th in completion percentage, 30th in yards per passing attempt, 32nd in touchdown-interception ratio.

    Thatís a steep decline. Is it all Bulgerís fault? No. The line doesnít provide reliable protection. The Rams are retooling their group of receivers. And until recently, thereís been coaching-staff turmoil.

    But most of us who scrutinize and occasionally criticize Bulgerís performance do so because itís obvious that he hasnít been playing up to his previous standards.

    I believe Bulger has a chance to rally, and heís played better since Jim Haslett became head coach.

    But Bulger must improve his game, period. And that has nothing to do with Warner.

    READING TIME, THREE MINUTES MORE BERNIE

    Free Steven Jackson.

    Remember that blatant, out-of-bounds late hit delivered by Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on Rams cornerback Fakhir Brown? The officiating crew, typically intimidated by New England coach Bill Belichick, didnít have the guts to call a penalty. But the NFL has fined Green-Ellis $5,000 for the cheap shot. Uh-oh; the Patriots wonít like this. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone from the league office will have to make it up to Patriots by mowing Belichickís lawn and picking up owner Bob Kraft's dry cleaning.

    How should the Rams attack Arizona Cardinals QB Warner on Sunday? Blitz at your own risk. Warner has carved up the blitz this season, completing 71 percent of his passes (93 attempts), with seven touchdowns, one interception and a QB rating of 120.6. Warnerís QB rating against the blitz is the best among starting NFL quarterbacks. In 30 career games at The Edward Jones Dome (including postseason), heís completed 67 percent of his passes for 8,389 yards, 64 touchdowns, 35 interceptions and a QB rating of 102.

    The planned meeting between Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom and Haslett to discuss the team (and Haslettís) future has been rescheduled for the weekend of Nov. 23. ... With the Arizona Cardinals in town, 43 alums who played for Bill Bidwill St. Louis Cardinals will be Mr. Bís guests in the visiting teamís luxury suite Sunday. ... Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill, who genuinely loves his hometown of St. Louis, will be dining with his old high school and college pals on The Hill on Saturday night.

    Pick: Rams 23, Cardinals 21.

    Torry Holt's frustration is understandable to an extent. He wants the ball. He wants to do better. He has pride. And judging by Haslettís reaction Friday, Holtís gripes wonít be disruptive. But still: Holt wonders if heís being phased out. Well, according to STATS LLC, the Rams have directed 46 passing attempts to Holt so far. (The Ramsí stats show 48 balls to Holt.) Not only is that the most passes thrown to a Rams player this season, but among the 31 other NFL teams, only 37 players have been targeted for more passes than Holt. So how does Holt conclude that heís being phased out? And more from STATS: among the 121 NFL players who have caught passes in NFL this season, Holt ranks 112th in average yards (2.7) per catch. The separation isnít there.

    Two quick opinions: (1) The Rams need to work the middle of the field. According to STATS, they have attempted only 13 passes over the middle this season. (2) Blues defenseman Eric Brewer is averaging 25 minutes and 14 seconds of ice time a game; only 14 NHL players have logged more time per game. Thatís too much for Brewer; his weaknesses are being overexposed. ... Blues winger Lee Stempniak has scored only 17 goals in his last 98 games.

    The Rams on Friday hosted a reception at Rams Park for former head coach Dick Vermeil, who will be honored at Sundayís game. Vermeil was greeted (among others) by retired GM Charley Armey, GM Jay Zygmunt, and Haslett and his wife, Beth.


  2. #2
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    Re: Bulger Needs To Play Better To Quiet Critics

    2) Blues defenseman Eric Brewer is averaging 25 minutes and 14 seconds of ice time a game; only 14 NHL players have logged more time per game. Thatís too much for Brewer; his weaknesses are being overexposed. ... Blues winger Lee Stempniak has scored only 17 goals in his last 98 games.
    Was there a point to be made regarding football with this, or did Bernie simply lose focus?
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

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