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  1. #1
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    Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/05/2007

    Quarterback Marc Bulger is back, but cornerback Tye Hill is out for the season. Bulger passed his neuropsych exam Tuesday and was cleared to practice today. Barring complications, Bulger will play Sunday against Cincinnati.

    But Hill, after banging up his left hand against Atlanta, experienced swelling and numbness in the hand Monday. In what almost could be described as an emergency situation, Hill had surgery for what Scott Linehan termed Tuesday as a wrist dislocation.

    "He'll be placed on IR (injured reserve) and it'll be three months before he can be cleared for any football," Linehan said.

    Hill becomes the 10th Rams player, and sixth starter, to go on the season-ending injured reserve list this season. The team's first-round draft choice in 2006, Hill missed four games in September and early October with a lower back injury.

    For the season, he had 30 tackles, one interception, and 10 pass breakups, which was second on the team to Fakhir Brown's 15 breakups. Hill had a key fourth-down pass breakup late in the Atlanta game to help preserve the Rams' 28-16 victory over the Falcons on Sunday. He had his only interception of the year two weeks earlier in San Francisco and appeared to be playing his best football of the season before the latest injury.

    At quarterback, Bulger's return means the Rams did not have to sign street free agent Todd Bouman. Bouman, who has played previously for Linehan in Minnesota and for Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett in New Orleans, came in for a visit and a physical Tuesday morning.

    "That was before we knew the results on Bulger," Linehan said. "We were trying to be proactive."

    Once Bulger was cleared to play, the Rams no longer needed to sign Bouman and he left town without a contract. So for the second week in a row, the Rams will go into the Cincinnati game with Brock Berlin as the backup.

    "It's nice to have two quarterbacks," Linehan said, in understatement.

    It's possible that Gus Frerotte could be the emergency quarterback against the Bengals, though he probably needs at least a couple of weeks to be in any kind of shape to throw the football effectively. Frerotte suffered a sprained shoulder and partially torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder in the third quarter against Atlanta but finished the game.

    Frerotte was starting only because Bulger had not been cleared to play against the Falcons after suffering a concussion early in the Rams' game Nov. 25 against Seattle. Bulger had taken a neurospych exam last Wednesday but did not do well enough on the memory test to receive a medical clearance.

    Berlin will have to stay sharp and prepare for the Bengals through scout-team repetitions and classroom work. There's just not enough time during the practice week to get Berlin any significant work with the starting unit, Linehan said. Besides, Bulger probably needs all the practice reps he can get to regain his timing with Rams receivers. His last full-scale practice was Nov. 23. Until Sunday's game against Atlanta, when he was the No. 2 QB, Berlin had not even dressed for an NFL regular-season game.

    Although Cincinnati has improved defensively over the past month, the Bengals still rank 26th in pass defense and 29th in total defense. So a healthy Bulger, with decent pass protection, should be able to do some damage Sunday.

    But given Hill's injury, the reverse can hold true on the other side of the ball. The Bengals rank seventh in total offense and fourth in passing offense, and have one of the league's best wide receiver tandems in Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The Rams are coming off a game in which they yielded a season-high 356 yards passing against Atlanta, springing major leaks in the fourth quarter after a strong start.

    Ron Bartell will start at Hill's place at cornerback against Cincinnati, as he did earlier in the season when Hill was sidelined with the back injury. Bartell probably will slide inside to cover slot receivers in passing situations, with rookie Jonathan Wade coming off the bench as the third cornerback in the nickel.

    But it's also possible that the Rams will use safety Corey Chavous to cover slot receivers in the nickel, which is something they have done in the past. In that situation, Todd Johnson would come off the bench to play safety. The Rams' options are limited because with Eric Bassey still out with a knee injury, they now have only seven healthy defensive backs and three healthy cornerbacks on the roster.

    And one of those "healthy" DBs, backup safety Hanik Milligan, is playing with a bulky cast on a broken hand. Either Darius Vinnett or Justin Phinisee will be promoted from the practice squad to Hill's spot on the active roster at cornerback.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    And yet another Ram goes down. The injuries keep on piling on even now.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    Well, it's interesting in a way I guess ...

    Late in the season, some big games coming up against GB and Pitt, let's see what some of the youngsters have ...

  4. #4
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    it sucks because you still want to win but it really doesn't matter at this point, just let him start to get healthy for next season.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    :O Wowie kahzawie ... was not aware* of these injuries!

    Hill out for the remainder of the season?


    *. - And that's why I come to ClanRam. Best source of news. Thanks Wraith.

  6. #6
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    it sucks because you still want to win but it really doesn't matter at this point, just let him start to get healthy for next season.
    I get what you are saying but it matters to Linehan and the players.
    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam
    What next, NFL gay players kissing on the mouth. To me it is S.O.S.: simply/obscene/sickening. Rest assured I will never cheer for a known homo player

  7. #7
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    Losing Hill is an absolute killer, especially against the Bengals. I hope the pass rush shows up on Sunday or it could get really ugly.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    It was first reported he had a dislocated thumb on ESPN, then it said wrist and out for the season.
    Dang, I really think Hill has a chance to develop in to an elite CB. Hopefully it just needs time to heal.

  9. #9
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    All I had to see was "it's also possible that the Rams will use safety Corey Chavous to cover slot receivers in the nickel" to make me puke my Hardees up.

    Wow, I really hope there saving Wade or something, Because Chavous can't keep with a Tight End let alone a Receiver.
    RamsFan16

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    Post Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan16 View Post
    All I had to see was "it's also possible that the Rams will use safety Corey Chavous to cover slot receivers in the nickel" to make me puke my Hardees up.

    Wow, I really hope there saving Wade or something, Because Chavous can't keep with a Tight End let alone a Receiver.
    I agree, Chavous doesn't have the speed. I just can't imagine what will happen with Bartell lining up against Houshmanzadeh, mah, that will be ugly. let's hope some more bengals go back to their old ways, to jail

  11. #11
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    Quote Originally Posted by ramsbruce View Post
    I get what you are saying but it matters to Linehan and the players.
    your right, Linehan does have alot to play for,I am starting to think the Rams are going to bring him back.

  12. #12
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    Now is a good time Hillis to do whatever he has to do. The season has been over for a long time now.

  13. #13
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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    How was Tye Hill playing for you guys? He seemed like a real good prospect coming out of the draft.

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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    I don't think it matters if Hill is out. He has not played well against some of the better receivers this year. Either way with Hill or Bartell the potential for a torched secondary is the same.

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    Re: Bulger will return; Hill's season is over

    Quote Originally Posted by NyGiantz View Post
    How was Tye Hill playing for you guys? He seemed like a real good prospect coming out of the draft.
    He's been somewhat inconsistent. He has his moments but he isn't the same every game.

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