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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/05/2008

    MEQUON, Wis. — Like clockwork, the "tests" arrived at Marc Bulger's Pittsburgh home on a weekly basis.

    "Every Tuesday that FedEx guy was at my house," Bulger said. "They started to know me."

    The quizzes, which came compliments of new Rams quarterbacks coach Terry Shea, were a way of keeping Bulger's head in the playbook during the team's break from mid-June to late July.

    (Actually, all of the team's quarterbacks received the packets.)


    The tests consisted of "just drawing like 40 plays, the reads, the 'hots'... all that stuff," Bulger said.

    So how'd he grade out?

    "A 'C,' I guess," said Bulger, self-effacing as usual.

    Obviously, the Rams are looking for more than a "C" grade from Bulger this season. But the tests helped Bulger get a mental grasp of the system being installed by new offensive coordinator Al Saunders.

    "It's one thing on paper at home, sitting there with your (play)book open," Bulger said, "It's another to come out and verbalize it and then execute it."

    So the first few days of training camp were slow for Bulger and the offense as a whole. But over the last several days, things have clicked for the passing game. Bulger in particular, and also backup Trent Green, have looked sharper and much more accurate.

    "Marc's looked real, real comfortable," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "I'm really happy with where he's at."

    Bulger doesn't think he's up to game speed just yet, but he is making quicker reads and getting the ball out quicker, which is something Saunders stressed early and often once training camp started.

    "I know we were a little rusty at first," Bulger said. "At least myself — I was. It was just getting familiar with the terminology again and remembering your reads."

    The weekly tests are just one example of the amount of mental preparation done by Bulger — and the entire quarterback corps — in getting ready for this season.

    As he enters his eighth full season on the Rams' roster, Bulger said he probably spent more time in the meeting room than ever before in the spring and late winter at Rams Park.

    How much time?

    "Whatever the rules are — that much," Bulger laughed, careful not to be in "violation" of any NFL rules governing offseason participation. "And then I 'volunteered' to stay even more. So it was a lot of time. But it was good. It's helping us now."

    LEARNING CURVE

    To a large degree Bulger is getting a refresher course on this offense, because Saunders runs a version of the system used by Mike Martz in St. Louis from 1999-2005.

    "A lot of the language is the same," Bulger said. "The base concepts. The attack mode.

    "The difference is just that everyone has a different personality. Obviously Al and Mike are different.

    "I've learned all my football from Mike, so I love that. Al, I love him to death. I think both their approaches are great, and I'm just glad we have Al on our side."

    Saunders and Bulger still are getting to know each other, which means Saunders is still getting a feel for what Bulger does well and doesn't do so well.

    Saunders already has an appreciation of Bulger's accuracy, as well as his capacity to comprehend the offense.

    PHYSICAL TOLL

    Physically, Bulger says he has reached a stage in his career at age 31 in which his body doesn't always feel right on a daily basis.

    As far as concussion and broken ribs last season, Bulger said he felt fine by late February or so. But there are some aches and pains in his knee and bursa sac area that he must monitor on a more regular basis.

    "A couple years ago, I didn't have to maintain as many things," Bulger said. "But now, I'm at the age where I'm telling the young guys: 'Cold tub. Treatment.' I never got it (as a younger player). But I'm starting to realize it."

    While age has led to more bumps and bruises, it also had led to Bulger being more vocal and demonstrative.

    He never will be confused with Brett Favre when it comes to pure energy and enthusiasm on the field. Fans probably never will see Bulger head butt a teammate after a big play à la Tom Brady. It's just not him.

    But these days, it's becoming more common to see him discussing a busted route with a receiver, or talking to a young back about getting lined up right.

    "It was a little tougher earlier in my career, because there was Marshall (Faulk) in the huddle, and Isaac (Bruce), and Torry (Holt), and Orlando (Pace) — all these guys," Bulger said. "What was I going to do? I don't care if I'm a quarterback or not. They were the leaders.

    "It was tough before when Isaac would run a wrong route or something. ... If I'd say something, he'd give you the Isaac look, so I kind of kept my mouth shut."

    STEPPING UP

    But Bruce is gone, Faulk is long gone, and Bulger now has two Pro Bowls and 75 career NFL starts on his résumé.

    "It's my job to step it up more," Bulger said. "If it's someone that keeps repeating the same mistake, I don't have a problem saying something to them."

    But it's done in his own fashion, almost always minus any yelling or histrionics.

    "I need those guys battling for me," Bulger said. "I don't need them stabbing me in the back."


  2. #2
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    Re: Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    Why didn't we get Warner in the off season......he know's Saunders offense better than anyone and we would have a killer backup and a future starter. HAHAHAHA
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

  3. #3
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    Re: Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    "I need those guys battling for me," Bulger said. "I don't need them stabbing me in the back."
    Did I miss something? Who got stabbed in the back?

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    Re: Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    Warner!!!!!!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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    Re: Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    Seriously, is Bulger implying that someone in particular stabbed him in the back?

  6. #6
    Josh Guest

    Re: Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    are we talking about Shaun Alexander???

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    Re: Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman View Post
    Seriously, is Bulger implying that someone in particular stabbed him in the back?
    I don't really think so, Mok. Let's look at the article again....
    "It's my job to step it up more," Bulger said. "If it's someone that keeps repeating the same mistake, I don't have a problem saying something to them."

    But it's done in his own fashion, almost always minus any yelling or histrionics.

    "I need those guys battling for me," Bulger said. "I don't need them stabbing me in the back."
    Honestly, it sounds like Bulger is simply avoiding the presumed response to "yelling and histrionics". Btw, histrionics = "behavior or speech for effect, as insincere or exaggerated expression of an emotion; dramatics; operatics". (I had to look it up, but that's a pretty cool word; gonna have to use it)

    I think he's speaking of assumed future action, not experienced past action.
    "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 is picking up Saunders’ system

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    I don't really think so, Mok. Let's look at the article again.... Honestly, it sounds like Bulger is simply avoiding the presumed response to "yelling and histrionics". Btw, histrionics = "behavior or speech for effect, as insincere or exaggerated expression of an emotion; dramatics; operatics". (I had to look it up, but that's a pretty cool word; gonna have to use it)

    I think he's speaking of assumed future action, not experienced past action.
    That's the impression I got. Don't alienate or be at odds with any of the guys you depend on to keep you from getting squashed. I think he was obviously injecting a little humor as well.

  9. #9
    btimsah Guest

    Re: Bulger is picking up Saunders’ system

    The past is in the past.

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