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    Bulger shoulders the load

    Bulger shoulders the load
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Jun. 04 2005

    When last seen on a football field, Marc Bulger was being tossed around like a
    pinata on the floor of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. En route to a 47-17 Rams
    playoff loss to the Falcons, Bulger took a beating. By the end of the game, he
    had an injured left thumb and a sore back.

    "I don't know if (the thumb) was broken or not," Bulger said Saturday. "If it
    was, it was something minor. My back locked up."

    He got over the thumb and back injuries soon enough in the offseason. However,
    problems with his throwing shoulder, the result of an injury that sidelined him
    for two games in December, lingered into early spring.

    "My shoulder actually bothered me for a couple of months, because the cortisone
    started to wear off," Bulger said. "But the middle of March to late March it
    started to come (around)."

    Normally, Bulger doesn't begin throwing until the beginning of April, resting
    his arm for a couple of months after each season. But because of the shoulder
    injury, he waited even longer this offseason.

    "This year, I waited until the beginning of May to start throwing," Bulger said
    after the Rams' Saturday minicamp practice. "It feels fine. I was a little
    worried that it might be sore. It takes a little longer to get warm, but it
    doesn't get sore after. So I'm not worried about it at all."

    Bulger did some extra weight work on his shoulder muscles this offseason. As
    for his frame, Bulger has just about given up trying to get bigger.

    "Every year I try, and every year I get to about 210 (pounds), and I kind of
    stick right around there," he said. "So I'm done."

    On the field, the early minicamp workouts at Rams Park have been a little
    sloppy offensively.

    "It's obviously not the same as the regular season," Bulger said. "That's the
    last time we were all together. But it's to be expected every minicamp. If it
    was the middle of August and we were still playing this way, I'd be a little
    scared. But we're going to have some bumps right now."

    Part of those "bumps" are due to the fact that offensive mainstays such as wide
    receiver Isaac Bruce and guard Adam Timmerman are sitting out this minicamp;
    Bruce because of an abnormal heartbeat on an EKG exam, Timmerman because of
    surgeries in the offseason.

    Bulger likes the offseason moves the team made to bolster the offensive line
    -signing Orlando Pace to a long-term contract, adding veteran Rex Tucker to
    play left guard, and drafting three offensive linemen in the first four rounds,
    tackle Alex Barron in the first round.

    "I think it just added that depth that we needed," Bulger said. "We've always
    had good starters here, but then one guy would get hurt and we'd be in trouble
    just shuffling guys from tackle to guard and vice versa."

    Better blocking should lead to fewer bumps and bruises for Bulger. The
    backfield situation is well defined, with Steven Jackson as the starter and
    Marshall Faulk expected to contribute. The addition of Roland Williams should
    upgrade the tight end position, particularly the blocking.

    And young wide receivers Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald are proven.

    "There was still a question mark going into last year," Bulger said. "They had
    injuries their rookie year, and I think they've proven themselves. And with
    Isaac and Torry (Holt), you don't have to worry about those guys."

    Among the mixture of old and new faces, there's one player Bulger can't seem to
    get away from - Kurt Warner.

    "He's probably saying the same thing," Bulger said, laughing.

    Now that Warner has signed with Arizona, the former Rams teammates will face
    each other twice a year in the NFC West.

    "It's fine," Bulger said. "I'm just happy he's getting another opportunity.
    That's what he wanted. He knew he wouldn't be in New York. I think Arizona's
    going to surprise some people this year. It's going to be a lot tougher, I
    think, with him playing there."

    After all they've been through, Bulger and Warner still stay in semi-regular
    phone contact.

    "Once every three weeks or four weeks, or any time one of us is in the news, we
    usually get hold of each other," Bulger said.

    Bulger may never escape the shadow of Warner in St. Louis. But based on the way
    he played following his return from the shoulder injury last December, few can
    doubt Bulger's toughness. Or the fact that he is on the verge of establishing
    himself as an elite quarterback.

    "You always have to prove yourself," Bulger said. "But you don't have to prove
    that you deserve a contract, or that the organization made the right decision.
    I think I proved that last year. Now I can just worry about playing football
    and getting better."

    The Rams organization made the decision to go with Bulger over Warner last
    spring and made a commitment to Bulger in the form of a four-year, $19.07
    million contract.

    "I think if Marc continues on the same (level) that he played the second half
    of last season, then he's playing at a level that very few guys reach," coach
    Mike Martz said. "And from what we've seen out here (at minicamp), I think you
    can anticipate that."

    But Martz added this caveat: "We've got to protect him. We've got to do a much
    better job of protecting him than we have in years past."

    Because the last thing you want to be at quarterback is a pinata.

  2. #2
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Bulger shoulders the load

    Look For Bulger To Have A Hugh Year This Year,added Protection And The Added Running Game(if We Use It) He Should Do Great Things This Year.


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