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  1. #1
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    Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger

    Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger
    By Roger Phillips, STAFF WRITER

    In recent years, the high-flying St. Louis Rams came to be known as the "Greatest Show on Turf," powered by a flashy offensive arsenal that included quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk and star receiver Isaac Bruce.
    The Rams won the Super Bowl following the 1999 season, and have been an offensive force most of the time since then.

    But Warner now is the New York Giants' backup quarterback, Faulk and Bruce are still productive but reaching the latter stages of their careers, and the Rams are a disappointing 5-6 entering Sunday's home game against the San Francisco ***** (1-10). In fact, Faulk may not play against the ***** because of a bruised left knee.

    Still, despite the Rams' explosive past and the team's sub-.500 record this season, coach Mike Martz is bullish about his offense. In fact, this week, he had remarkably high praise for his starting quarterback, Marc Bulger.


    "The quarterback," Martz said, "right now is playing as well as anybody we have ever had here."

    The statistics do not quite bear out Martz's praise of Bulger.

    In 1999, Warner had a 109.2 passer rating, among the highest in NFL history. He passed for

    4,353 yards, threw 41 touchdown passes, and was intercepted only 13 times. Warner also had a passer rating of 101.4 in 2001, and 98.3 in 2000.

    By contrast, this season Bulger has a passer rating of 90.5, with only 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

    Passing yardage is the only area in which Bulger's statistics compare to those of Warner in his best season. Bulger has thrown for 3,267 yards, including an eye-popping 448 in a 45-17 loss at Green Bay five nights ago.

    At his current pace, Bulger will throw for 4,752 yards this season -- and there is no telling what sort of numbers he might put up Sunday against the *****' battered secondary.

    Bulger, in his second full season as a starter, said his improved understanding of the Rams' offense has made him a better quarterback this year.

    "It is just knowing the difference between being real aggressive and being stupid," said Bulger, who threw an equal number of touchdowns and interceptions last season and had an 81.4 rating.

    "Last year, I would ... try to hit the home runs. This year, it's more of a game management style. If it is not going to be there, I'm willing to take a 3-yard check-down rather than going for the home run every time."

    Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Bulger's performance this season is that it has come with little help from his offensive line. Bulger has been sacked 35 times; only four teams -- including the ***** -- have allowed more sacks. In 1999, Warner was sacked only 29 times the entire season.

    Sunday, the Rams will face a ***** team that has not been very effective at getting to the opposing quarterback. But they will have to be wary because the ***** have been blitzing a lot, including roughly 50 percent of the time in last week's loss to the Miami Dolphins.

    Bulger realizes he will have to be alert against the *****. He also knows that if the *****' blitzers are unable to get to him in time, it will present the Rams with opportunities.

    "Sometimes teams figure if they blitz you they can get pressure on you and therefore their corners don't have to cover as long," Bulger said. "But if we do protect, then it leaves our guys one-on-one, which we like."

    Bruce and Torry Holt remain the Rams' leading receivers, but they also have gotten significant contributions from second-year players Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis. Additionally, Faulk remains a formidable pass-catching threat out of the backfield.

    On the other hand, when the Rams beat the ***** in San Francisco two months ago, they did so with a dominant running performance by Faulk. Bulger completed 17 of 25 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown.

    That leaves the ***** -- who have lost five straight games in St. Louis -- having to guess exactly how Martz, Bulger and the Rams will come at them this time.

    "(Martz) does such a great job of mixing things up and you have to mix things up with him and pick and choose," ***** defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said. "When Mike came in here the first time, (Rams critics) were on his (back) about not running it. So what did he do? He came up here and ran it. Obviously, they are a great football team. They're still the 'Greatest Show on Turf.'"

    EXTRA POINTS: During practice Friday, cornerback Jimmy Williams aggravated the broken toe that has sidelined him the last three games. As a result, coach Dennis Erickson said Joselio Hanson will be the nickel back Sunday, rather than Williams. Dwaine Carpenter again will take Williams' spot in the starting lineup. ... If Faulk does not play, rookie running back Steven Jackson will start for the Rams. Jackson, who played for Erickson at Oregon State, has gained 377 yards on 74 carries this season, and was the Rams' first-round draft choice, chosen 24th overall. The ***** passed on him, which was not easy for Erickson. They traded down to get more picks, and chose receiver Rashaun Woods with the 31st selection. "We decided to trade back and that worked out for us," Erickson said. Our situation, obviously, was that we had Kevan (Barlow). Our plan was to get more picks. We really felt that we needed to. And we ended up doing that. It worked out for both of us."

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  2. #2
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    Re: Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger

    "The quarterback," Martz said, "right now is playing as well as anybody we have ever had here."
    Just another rip on Warner from the idiot who is leading his team closer and closer to the top of the draft next year. I think Warners team not only gobbled up yards but was able to put the ball in the endzone, something our current qb has not quite gotten the hang of. What an embarrassing coach! The only coach in my memory to inherit a championship team and quickly turn them into doormats. Congratulations Martz.

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger

    Bulger's played well, but it certainly is a pretty ridiculous comment at this point to say he's playing as well as any Rams QB ever.
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    Re: Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger

    I agree Nick....Bulger is playing much better than I've ever seen him play up to this point. And with hardly any help from the o-line.

    But that has got to be one of the dumbest statements from Martz I have ever read or heard.

    Bulger has improved, and it looks like with some help from the rest of the team, he will continue to do so. But to make a statement like that makes no sense to me. I wonder who he is trying to cinvince. Himself or everyone else, that he made the right decision. I don't understand his motivation at all. No one is holding Bulger responsible for the Rams' current problems. Sure he's made mistakes, but overall I give him credit for improving his game.

    Hey Martz...shut up and concentrate on closing out the rest of the season with some W's!
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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger

    Well said, Yo. Although I would suggest that there are some fans who do blame Bulger for some of these losses. I've read some of their posts (not necessarily here). Still, if Martz wanted to push some confidence into Marc Bulger's corner, there were probably other ways to do so that didn't slight the accomplishments of Kurt Warner. This kind of statement makes you wonder exactly how badly damaged their relationship was/is.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger

    Warner clearly wasn't Martz' guy, he wanted Green. if Vermeil would have stayed, then Warner would have been more appreciated.

    this is just another slap in Warner's face from Martz'. nothing new.

    as far as Martz is concerned, I agree with the previous posts. I think he thinks he needs to convince the fans and anyone else who will listen that he made the right choice.

    listen Martz, you made the decision, there is nothing you can do to change it, so shut up and get the rest of the team to play.

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    Re: Rams aren't flying high behind Bulger

    To be honest, I think you have to expect these kinda comments.

    these serve 2 purposes;

    1) vocal praise of current QB, help his play.

    Martz backing bulger over the last 2 years has seen his play improve,

    2) makes himself feel justified about cutting warner,

    Its no longer about "trying to get one over kurt", kurt is lone gone and no onger a thorn in martz's side, so too speak, but other people and plenty of them, are still not convinced he made the right choice. He is simply tring to justify his decision, too himself more than anyone else I guess, Nobody likes to be wrong, I mean NOBODY, you try telling a smoker or a drinker thry are wrong too do it, how many would say "I agree I'll never do it again" neither kurt or martz will ever stand up and say, "If I hadn't said that or done this" and admit some fault.

    is there a possibilty of another solution?

    1) he wasn't even thinking about trying to upset kurt, it was just a quick comment made to back his QB and nothing else?

    2) an atempt to bring Marc out of kurts shaddows even further, was this affecting him in a big way and martz was just trying to let bulger know he is the man?

    Warner maybe wasn't clearly martz's "guy", but its only rams fans that are having these thoughts and discussions, I have yet too meet a non rams fan that doesn't think we made the right choice (if you have they are certainly in the vast minority). Especially those who actually earn their money in the profession (writers, coachs who weren't queing for his signature, sports commenters), is it possible that they were right, for one big reason? Having both these guys on the team would have done the locker room morale a great deal of harm. Whatever happened between these guys meant a parting of ways had too happen. (this is of course totally not thinking of how kurt was playing, because most think that kurts play didn't drop in quality, the teams play did, I am not going into that though) Who has too go? Simple. The guy has has the power to get rid of the other, regardless of who that is, it happened to be martz.

    I know we are all different and I respect that, but for me worrying about kurt is unproductive and is in the past. I dont think our record would be any better today, if kurt was behind the helm. I am now making the choice to look forward and think about the present team that we have playing for us today, not yesterday and I will try my damn hardest not to reply to kurt posts again, even if this didn't strt out as one nick I know, qb posts have a habit of turning into kurt warner posts.

    I gotta move on.

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