Bulger sits out, will get more tests
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Nov. 29 2007
While Gus Frerotte took all the reps with the starting offensive unit
Wednesday, Marc Bulger watched in sweats and a baseball cap.
Once practice ended, Bulger headed to the doctor's office for more examination
and tests, presumably including a neuropsych, or baseline test. Bulger must
pass this test before he is cleared to play.
But on Wednesday, coach Scott Linehan stopped short of saying that if Bulger
passes the test he plays, one week after suffering a concussion against Seattle.
"I don't know if it's that cut and dry," Linehan said. "I would like to think
so, but I'll wait until I hear the results of the last four days of evaluating
him and what the tests show or don't show, and make that decision. We'd err on
the side of caution with a concussion, for sure."
Bulger was not available to reporters following Wednesday's workout at Rams
When asked if Bulger seemed like he was "all there" on the practice field,
Frerotte replied, "He just seems like he was after the game. You can talk to
him, he understands what's going on, but he's just a little groggy."
If that continues, Bulger won't play against Atlanta on Sunday at Edward Jones
Dome. As if preparing for that possibility, the Rams elevated Brock Berlin to
the active roster from the practice squad to provide depth at quarterback.
On Monday, Bulger told the Post-Dispatch that his concussion was relatively
minor, and that if he was cleared by team doctors he planned on playing against
"I'm sure he does (want to play)," Linehan said. "I don't think there's any
question. I talked to him and he just said, 'Let's not discuss it until we get
through all the tests you need to take, and then we'll talk about the
possibility of playing this game.'"
Bulger suffered the injury on the Rams' seventh offensive play of the game when
struck from behind by blitzing Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill.
Frerotte said he suffered a concussion during the 2005 season against Buffalo
while playing for the Miami Dolphins.
"It's not fun," Frerotte said. "You get hazy and you're groggy for a few days.
It takes you awhile to get back, because you definitely don't want to get out
there and not know what's going on."
How do you know when you're ready to come back?
"Everybody's different," Frerotte said. "I've had friends who came back quick.
I've had other friends that take a long time. It depends how bad the hit was,
and how bad your brain was bruised. Because that's really what happens — your
brain smacks off the inside of your skull."
The baseline test can be an indicator that the brain is back to normal. Rams
players took the test in the spring. Bulger's responses this week will be
compared to the answers he gave last spring.
"Sometimes they show you pictures, sometimes they show you figures, sometimes
they give you words," Frerotte said. "They put them in different order (and
ask) 'Was this one of the words?'
"It's all memory, really, for your mind. They're trying to use the different
areas of your mind — the left brain, right brain, those kinds of things.
There's no score. It's just whatever you get that first time; if it's way
(different) the second time, then something's up."
Frerotte said he has not been told that he will start against the Falcons, but
he's obviously preparing as if that were the case — and hoping that if he is
the quarterback Sunday things go differently than they did against Seattle.
Particularly the closing sequence, when Frerotte short-armed a sure touchdown
pass to Isaac Bruce on first-and-goal from the Seattle 4, and then bobbled the
exchange from center Andy McCollum on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
"Everybody says that the game isn't won or lost on the last play, but when
those things happen to you and you've played a long time, you've played 14
years, it's a difficult thing to forget," Frerotte said. "You feel like you
just let everybody down. It's like anything else, you think about it for a day,
then you've just got to move on."
After the Seattle game, Frerotte said he got many calls of support from friends
and family. Linehan, who brought Frerotte with him from Miami following the
2005 season, continues to stand by his man.
"He'll bounce back," Linehan said. "Gus is tough. He's a great competitor. He's
very mature and has played excellent football in this league, and will get
himself ready and put (Seattle) behind him. Because that's the kind of person