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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bulger prepares for season

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Sep. 04 2008
    He has a new left guard and a new center. The left tackle is coming off major
    shoulder surgery. The wide receiver corps is banged up. At running back, Steven
    Jackson's next carry will be his first in a game since December. There's a new
    offensive coordinator in Al Saunders, with a new, "old" system.

    Other than that, everything is pretty much settled in for Marc Bulger as he
    embarks on his sixth season as a full-time starter. Bulger's next victory will
    tie him with Kurt Warner — at 40 — for the most triumphs by a "St. Louis" Rams
    quarterback.

    But there are easier places to get a victory than Lincoln Financial Field,
    where the Rams open the season Sunday against Philadelphia. And easier defenses
    to defeat than the Eagles unit coached by veteran coordinator Jim Johnson.

    "They do a ton of things," Bulger said.

    When asked to provide an Eagles coverage "sampler," Bulger went into
    quarterback-speak: "They play Cover 1, they play Cover 11, they play Cover 2,
    they play Cover 8, they play Cover 6, they play Cover 4 ..."

    So basically all of the "Cover" numbers.

    "They do all the blitz numbers, too," Bulger joked. "They're disruptive.
    They're certainly going to win some battles, but we just have to stay away from
    making any big mistakes."

    For Bulger, minimizing mistakes means playing like he did in 2006, when he made
    his second Pro Bowl, as opposed to the nightmare that was 2007 — easily the
    worst season of his career.

    "I think you saw a patience (in '06) that you need out of a quarterback," coach
    Scott Linehan said. "We've got to give him a lot of support and help. We've got
    to keep him upright in that pocket when we throw the ball. Our running game's
    got to develop like it did that particular year. And he's got to know that he
    doesn't have to do it all."

    The goal is to limit the number of times Bulger gets sacked to 30 or fewer this
    season. During the four years as a starter that he played at least 12 games,
    Bulger was sacked an average of 41 times.

    Saunders has a good track record of protecting quarterbacks as a play-caller.
    In his seven previous seasons as a coordinator in Kansas City and Washington,
    Saunders' starting quarterbacks were sacked an average of 28 times a season,
    and he never had a QB sacked more than 39 times.

    Bulger thinks 30 or less is a realistic goal.

    "We're going to try to get the running game going, try to get the quick passes
    — and we're certainly going to take our shots," Bulger said. "It's up to me to
    get rid of the ball."

    There's no doubt a lot of things have to go right for the Rams to return to
    respectability. A healthy Orlando Pace and a big year from Jackson are near the
    top of that list. But so is a return to form by Bulger.

    Echoing Linehan's thoughts, Bulger said, "I can't go out and think I have to
    win every game" by himself.

    "It's a matter of Steven and our playmakers making the plays for us," he added.
    "Me getting the ball in their hands ... checking down when I have to. Just
    being consistent. I think that's the most important thing. I can't be up and
    down."

    After throwing 24 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in '06, Bulger threw
    a career-low 11 TD passes in '07 and posted his second-highest interception
    total (15). With a line decimated by injuries, Bulger forced passes out of
    frustration. By his own admission, his mechanics and footwork regressed. The
    addition of a veteran quarterback coach in Terry Shea has helped Bulger work on
    removing some bad habits.

    "He's made very good strides back towards where he knows he needs to be, and
    where we think he needs to be," Linehan said.

    "We need Marc Bulger to be Marc Bulger," tight end Randy McMichael said. "It
    doesn't really matter about stats — just do what he does best. He gets the ball
    out of his hands. He gets the ball to playmakers. And he's very accurate.
    That's being Marc Bulger."

    Bulger has enjoyed the challenge of learning the Saunders offense, which is a
    variation of the system run by former Rams coach Mike Martz. Saunders keeps
    installing things — Bulger says there were 20 or 30 new plays installed this
    week alone.

    "You can't get complacent with this offense," Bulger said. "It's great for a
    quarterback because we always want different options."


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger prepares for season

    The sack number will drop if Marc Bulger knows when to just throw the ball away instead of taking the risky "got to make something happen" approach.

    I'm expecting a big year from Marc and our whole team.


    GO RAMS!!!!


  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger prepares for season

    Saunders has a good track record of protecting quarterbacks as a play-caller. In his seven previous seasons as a coordinator in Kansas City and Washington, Saunders' starting quarterbacks were sacked an average of 28 times a season, and he never had a QB sacked more than 39 times.
    I like the sound of this and hope Sauders can continue the trend.

  4. #4
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger prepares for season

    "They do all the blitz numbers, too," Bulger joked. "They're disruptive.
    They're certainly going to win some battles, but we just have to stay away from
    making any big mistakes."

    That is the key to withstand all the blitz and to stay away from the big mistakes. We need to see alot of SJ runs short passes.
    :ramlogo:

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