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    Cool Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis
    Low-key personality belies determination to lead Rams
    COMMENTARY
    By Dan O'Neill
    NBCSports.com contributor
    Aug. 10, 2004

    He is a Marc-ed man now. The St. Louis Rams, at least those grazing on the offensive side of the ball, officially will come under his care and direction this winter. Lock, stock, and Bulger.

    “I really don’t think things have changed,” Marc Bulger said. “It is challenging sometimes; you get opportunities that you want to do. But you have to stick to who you are and what will make you happy.”

    The Rams have done their part to make Bulger happy. In April, coach Mike Martz declared Bulger would be his starting quarterback this season. Shortly thereafter, the organization made it crystal clear, giving Bulger a four-year, $19.1 million contract and releasing former league MVP Kurt Warner. Warner resides in New York now, trying turn the pumpkin back into a coach, keeping the seat warm while The Apprentice, Eli Manning, gets his feet wet.

    Undisputed No. 1 this season
    For the first time since he came off the bench and played surprisingly well for an injured Warner in 2002, Bulger will enter a season as the Rams’ undisputed heavyweight quarterback, no controversy, no questions asked. He will call his signals without Warner — literally and figuratively — looking over his shoulder. Or as offensive lineman Andy McCollum put it: “We’re here to protect Marc. He’s the man now.”

    In turn, “the man” has looked the part. Bulger is throwing short, intermediate, and long passes with precision and purpose, he is making the right reads, choosing the right receivers. He threw for an NFC-leading 3,845 yards and completed 63 percent of his passes last season. He was named the Pro Bowl MVP when the season was over. All that was before he officially had the job. Now that he is entitled, he is infuego.

    “I’ve very pleased with him,” Martz said. “He’s been consistently very good. He is markedly improved from a year ago, no question about it, in terms of just getting the speed of seeing things and getting the ball to the right guy.”

    Bulger will tell you the presence of Warner wasn't negative. At 27 years of age, Bulger is modest and respectful, qualities that endear him to his teammates. He insists he appreciated Warner, tried to emulate him, learn from him, lean on him. But the absence of Warner World should make for a significantly less stressful environment. The new second-in-command at the quarterback position in St. Louis is 38-year old Chris Chandler, an experienced hand who has no delusions at this stage of his career. Chandler won't be standing on the sideline with a helmet in hand and a hankering to prove he can still pilot the ship. He is a walking insurance policy, and the deductible will only be exceeded on an emergency basis.

    Outside distractions avoided
    There is no media frenzy surrounding Bulger, as there sometimes was around the accommodating Warner. His personality, like his play, is understated. He is polite and cooperative with reporters, but his quotes never jump off the page. There won’t be a Mrs. Bulger weighing in on a radio show. In fact, it is highly unlikely you will hear Bulger himself on a radio or television show, at least not one with his name on it.

    “I had opportunities to do that last year and the year before, and it’s just not something that appeals to me,”’ Bulger said. “Now that I have a new contract, I’m pretty secure. I can concentrate on football. I’m not going to go looking for things to do. When you get those few hours to rest. You need that to get refreshed for the next week. And I think doing too many things would hurt this team rather than help it.”

    So, you won’t see Bulger pushing cars or selling home-entertainment packages. You won’t wake up in the morning and hear him yukking it up during the morning drive. You won’t see him at a lot of charity golf tournaments, Lions Club barbecues, or sports dinners.

    You also won’t see “the table” at the Rams' training camp this summer — the table where Warner would sit and sign autographs for 45 minutes after each practice. “There’s not going to be a table,” Bulger said. “I don’t have my own football card to give out, so I can’t get the table going.”

    The focus is on football — nothing more, nothing less.

    One of the guys
    “He’s squared away, he doesn’t need those things,” Martz said. “And I think that’s the attraction of Marc to this football team. He’s just one of the guys. Ultimately, that’s what a football team wants. They don’t want somebody who they can’t relate to.”

    In turn, what that somebody wants is a coach who believes in him. Bulger is 18-4 as a starter over the past two seasons. But in a grating playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers last year, Martz essentially took the ball out of Bulger’s hands at a crucial moment. With the ball on the Panthers’ 15-yard line and more than 30 second remaining to play, “Mad Mike” let the clock run down and kicked a game-tying field goal rather than let Bulger take a shot at winning the game in regulation. The hesitation came back to haunt the Rams in overtime, as the Panthers prevailed.

    There won’t be any reservations in 2004, just like there are no ambiguities. In his fourth NFL season, Bulger is no longer an interim, a quarterback by default. He is the quarterback of choice.

    Dan O'Neill writes regularly for NBCSports.com and is a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.



  2. #2
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    You also won’t see “the table” at the Rams' training camp this summer — the table where Warner would sit and sign autographs for 45 minutes after each practice. “There’s not going to be a table,” Bulger said. “I don’t have my own football card to give out, so I can’t get the table going.”
    “He’s squared away, he doesn’t need those things,” Martz said. “And I think that’s the attraction of Marc to this football team. He’s just one of the guys. Ultimately, that’s what a football team wants. They don’t want somebody who they can’t relate to.”
    This crap is really starting to irk me!

    I think I get it now. If you receive alot of attention from the fans and the media, then all of a sudden your team "can't relate to you" or "that's not what a football team wants". I thought this isn't a game now it's a business and entertainment....so doesn't it make sense to be somewhat accommodating to those that butter your bread. Isn't the engine of the NFL's money train the TV contract? Gee...what is TV...oh yeah...it's the media. Isn't the caboose of this money train the fans...who shell out their hard earned dollars for season tickets and parking and food and beer and player jerseys, etc., etc., etc.?

    So if you're not accommodating them you're labeled as someone who's not fan-friendly and has a bad attitude. If you do, then you're an attention-grabbing ego-maniac who the team "can't relate to anymore".

    What a crock of sh**!

    I've reached a conclusion with all this continued Warner bashing even though he has left the team.

    "Warner lost the team" translates, in plain English, to "petty jealousy caused his team to turn on him", even after the relentless physical beating he took in order to deliver those passes to his receivers, forcing the the organization to dump the best QB we ever had before we knew if he had anything left in the tank!

    It's funny how the only player to publicly support Warner (before last season started) was Faulk. Not coincidentally, the smartest player on the team and also the one with the most class. Instead, it appears that that idiot Turley had more pull in the locker room than the heart and soul of the team, Faulk.

    Does anyone really think that if Bulger should win a Super Bowl and a pair of League MVP Awards (which I certainly hope he does), he'll get away with not being accommodating to the fans and media and not be labeled as a player with an ego and a bad attitude. Get real!

    OK...I'm done ranting.

    On a more humorous note, with all the flack Turley's been getting regarding his no-call, no-show trick, I'm waiting for Bulger to grab a microphone and yell to the media and fans...."KYLE'S OUR STARTING TACKLE...SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY!" :redface:
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Dam yodude, a little hostile are we? :O
    So Bulger doesn't wait around to sign autographs or do interviews, what's wrong with that? I'm glad to hear that he is focused on football, that's what this team needs.
    He has the respect of his team mates and coaches. It's all about being prepared to take the team to the next level. He's the leader now, and hopefully the rest of the team will be as focused as he is.

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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    So Bulger doesn't wait around to sign autographs or do interviews, what's wrong with that?
    You missed my point RAMMAN....there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    It's the implication that there was something wrong with Warner because he didn't mind signing, and that he was some kind of attention-hound that caused him to lose the support of his team-mates, that has me torqued. This was not a post criticising Bulger for anything that he does.
    Last edited by Yodude; -08-10-2004 at 09:40 PM.
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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    his quotes never jump off the page
    For some, that's debatable.



    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    It's the implication that there was something wrong with Warner because he didn't mind signing, and that he was some kind of attention-hound that caused him to lose the support of his team-mates, that has me torqued.
    Well, let's clear this up. This isn't about Warner just signing autographs because a lot of the players do that. According to HUbison, Bulger signed every autograph he was asked to sign after one day of camp. Aeneas only signed for kids. But this isn't just about signing or not signing. This is about him setting up his own table after training camp practices to sign autographs on cards he provides (or so the article makes it sound). We're talking about an actual table. Most of the pictures I've seen of players signing autographs has been a line of fans and guys walking down signing what's held out to them. Something like that. But Warner set up an actual table, like it's a convention or a PR event, and signed from there.

    While I don't necessarily think it's true, I can see how some players might develop an opinion on Kurt being a bit up on himself by doing something like this instead of signing like everyone else and then going into the lockers with them or whatever. That's why I wonder how much validity is in Martz's statements. "He’s [Bulger] just one of the guys. Ultimately, that’s what a football team wants. They don’t want somebody who they can’t relate to.” Maybe some of the players had told Martz or Martz was able to deduce through watching the players that Warner's behavior was dividing him from the rest of the team. Perhaps the team couldn't relate to Warner because he wasn't behaving like the rest of the team, he wasn't behaving like they were. Perhaps some players felt like Warner believed himself to be more important than the rest of the team by having his own table after practices, thinking perhaps that Warner thought of himself as being so important and so special that he deserved this. Of course I don't believe this to be true, but that doesn't mean some players might not have perceived it this way.

    I don't think you can rule out the theory that Warner might have alienated some teammates by making his own autograph session after every camp practice for nearly an hour because, really, it makes sense. I doubt we'll ever know the real truth behind it all, but I don't think you can dismiss the notion that it certainly could have happened. Certain behaviors or statements can be misunderstood. It happens all the time.
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  6. #6
    Reborn Guest

    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    But this isn't just about signing or not signing. This is about him setting up his own table after training camp practices to sign autographs on cards he provides (or so the article makes it sound). We're talking about an actual table. Most of the pictures I've seen of players signing autographs has been a line of fans and guys walking down signing what's held out to them. Something like that. But Warner set up an actual table, like it's a convention or a PR event, and signed from there.
    Nick, you will take anything and turn it into negative propaganda towards Warner. Are you ****ing kidding me? Having a table is far more personable then walking the line.

    Have you ever watched a celebrity or pro athlete walk the line. It usually consists of their head being down (no eye contact) and a fast whip of the hand leaving an ink blotch that is supposed to represent a signature.

    KW set up a table so that people could walk right up to him. He would look up at them which if you look at it from a psychological point of view is a very humbling gesture. He would sign his card, oh my God how terrible of him. Nick you get the nails i'll get the hammer. This man deserves to be crucified.

    I think Yodude hit it on the head. A lot of people turned on him out of jealousy.

    I just don't see how in this day and age anybody can take a celebrity who spends 45+ minutes signing autographs and spin it into a negative thing. Get a grip on reality please.

    When you factor in the ever growing football irony it is very plausible that Marc Bulger will fall flat on his face this season. Will you guys be able to stomach the crow?

    Reborn

  7. #7
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    I'm not trying to spin it in a negative at all. Your thinking so only goes to show how little you actually took from my post itself. Had you actually read my post, you'd see I was trying to provide reasoning behind the logic that Warner's actions could have been a negative, something that might divide a locker room. The part you quoted was to emphasize the vast difference between what the rest of the team was doing and what Warner was doing, and in the remainder of my post, I explained how I can understand why his behavior could create some distaste with other players. I even emphasized that I didn't agree with this theory, by saying things like "While I don't necessarily think it's true" and "Of course I don't believe this to be true."

    If anyone needs to get a grip on reality, it's you, the guy who doesn't seem to have any grasp on what I'm really talking about, coincidentally also the guy who decided to for no reason at all throw in a comment at the end of his post about the possibility of our QB falling on his face. Oh but wait, I'm the one who will jump on any chance I get to spread negativity, right? Right. :bored:
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  8. #8
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    To tell the truth, I'd head straight for Warners table. He was the best this organization has seen, Maybe ever. He was a stand up guy who blamed himself other than blaming Holt or whoever for hitting them in the wrong spot-the hands! Kurt is gone and I still feel Bulger will be no more than a average if not less QB. Kurt could do some things with a football that I had never seen. Bulger probably will be Exposed this year with his one look approach at a receiver! I as A fan want him to do good, but realistically ,I see what could be the Final straw that ruined a great team! bad decision on the trade. Oh well time will tell and I will eat crow if I am wrong. Don't be surprised to see the Giants right up there come play-off time!

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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Bulger is the QB and I'm fine with that. With this system and personnel, we don't need a Marino to move the ball. I think Bulger will suffice, but...

    ...Bulger is QB because Warner was let go (figuratively and literally), so why was Warner let go? Warner was let go because...

    1. he had a physical problem. No, because he wouldn't have passed the Giants physical.
    2. he had a mental problem. If this is true, I could buy that. No way of knowing until he gets some time on the field, but maybe.
    3. he had personality conflicts with other Rams (players, coaches, FO). So our coaches decide that instead of working out the conflicts, it would be better to release our 2-time MVP who in fact had the public support of veterans like Faulk, Bruce, & Aeneas.

    Man, I hope the answer is 2, because 1 is impossible and 3 is just going to tick me off.
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    3. he had personality conflicts with other Rams (players, coaches, FO). So our coaches decide that instead of working out the conflicts, it would be better to release our 2-time MVP who in fact had the public support of veterans like Faulk, Bruce, & Aeneas.

    Man, I hope the answer is 2, because 1 is impossible and 3 is just going to tick me off.
    sMartz must be a friggin' Clinton clone where everything he says and does is dismissed because he supposedly is such a nice guy (I don't think Edwards and that 5th/6th receiver who was dropped immediately after a game because he ran the wrong route think as much ... and I suspect you would get a whole lot more if they weren't fearful that there might be repercussions to them opening their mouth).

    If divisions are building in the club house, its management's responsibility to identify them and address them immediately - not insinuate after the fact that there may have been "relating" problems. By now one has to see that sMartz is a two-faced, forked-tongue, idiot savant. At some point people will realize that the debate shouldn't be about Bulger, but about sMartz.

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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    Warner was let go because...
    Bison, I suspect it's a combo of all three. I think there are a number of factors that, when combined, made the release of Warner a necessity for this club. However, I fear the fan reaction to Warner's performance in New York. Warner could go up to New York and have a great year, but that doesn't mean he could have and would have still been just as effective here. I hope people are able to understand that.
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Well, let's clear this up......
    Nick, to me, this raises more questions rather than clearing anything up.

    I agree with you that the situation you describe could have led to a division between Warner and the team. Here's my question...actually two questions. If Warner's actions were causing conflict on the team, isn't it Martz's responsibility to recognize it and deal with it? Further, your possible scenario has other players approaching Martz to talk about the problem. In which case he wouldn't even have to recognize the problem, it having been thrown right in his face. Isn't part of the head coach's responsibility to recognize team unity problems and deal with them? Is that his answer for a little adversity....to throw the player on the scrap-heap? Not a very good management technique, if you ask me.

    In addition, why wasn't the team divided from 1999-2001? I really don't think Warner's personality changed during his tenure with the Rams. I'll tell you why...because we were winning then and Warner was leading the league in almost every measurable statistic. All of a sudden we have a couple of injuries and some adversity and now he's a devisive presence on the team and the rest of the players can't relate to him. I don't buy it. It paints a picture of some pretty shallow team-mates in my opinion.

    Bulger is the QB and I'm fine with that. With this system and personnel, we don't need a Marino to move the ball.
    I agree 100% with this statement, Hubison. To me this situation has never been about Bulger...it has been about how Martz handled the situation and the perception that the team turned on Warner. History has proven that you don't need the best QB in the game to be successful. My issue is that if you DO have the best QB in the game...it's insane to cast him away after an injury riddled season, without giving him a chance to recover and get his game back and see if there's anything left in the tank.

    3. he had personality conflicts with other Rams (players, coaches, FO). So our coaches decide that instead of working out the conflicts, it would be better to release our 2-time MVP who in fact had the public support of veterans like Faulk, Bruce, & Aeneas.
    EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If divisions are building in the club house, its management's responsibility to identify them and address them immediately - not insinuate after the fact that there may have been "relating" problems. By now one has to see that sMartz is a two-faced, forked-tongue, idiot savant. At some point people will realize that the debate shouldn't be about Bulger, but about sMartz.
    ...and once again....EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Warner could go up to New York and have a great year, but that doesn't mean he could have and would have still been just as effective here. I hope people are able to understand that.
    Yes and no. If Warner has a great year in New York, I agree it doesn't mean that he WOULD have had one with the Rams. On the other hand, it certainly means that he COULD have had a great year with the Rams. That's what frustrates me the most about this. I still don't think he had a fair chance to recover from his injuries and get his game back.

    I must admit this whole statement kind of bothers me. It seems to imply that if Warner regains his MVP form (granted.... that's a big if), we as fans shouldn't have serious questions on why the organization cast him aside. If that should happen, what it will tell me is that Warner is fine physically and mentally...he just needed some time to recover and get his game back. In addition, it will show that this was a personal issue between Warner and his so-called team-mates. If that is indeed the case, I will have serious issues with Martz as a head coach and as a person.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Can we just move on. What difference does it make anyway. What it comes down to is this is a new year with a new QB. Dwelling or comparing Warner & Bulger serve no purpose until both are ex-Rams. Then it will be relevant to compair thier time leading the team. Until then it is not fair to either of them.

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    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Goodness people, the article was about BULGER, not WARNER. Martz was just talking about how Bulger is, but we always seem to be able to read between the lines and pick out stuff about Warner.

    I hope Bulger shatters every dad gum record Warner ever posted. Not because I don't like KW, it's because his fan base is about as trying as watching a 24 hour Barney marathon.

  15. #15
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis

    Yeah, I'm just happy we have a new QB and a new season. All is well.(not). It does matter cause I'm a fan of this team and it pisses me off when a coach who can't handle fame(by meaning not handling the issues in the lockerroom and let's a team decide what's best) If you have a good worker you keep him. You don't bring in your drinking buddy to drive the forklift in his place! yeah, I'll let it go for a few minutes and It just steams me. Bulger didn,t show $&@T to me last year. The Defense won at least 8 games for him. Now the Problem will be the Defense. If the "D" is crappy, Bulger is not gonna pull any games out of his ^$$ that's for sure. Warner did it time and time again. So you tell me it's over let it go? Nahhhhhhhhhh!!!!

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