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    Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    From Charlotte Gazette

    June 06, 2004
    Mitch Vingle

    Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special


    ST. LOUIS RAMS head coach Mike Martz flew into Charleston Friday for a good cause.

    In order to help the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, he attended a black-tie gala at the Civic Center.

    But even before putting on his tux, Martz had a tie to West Virginia. A strong one, in fact, in Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, the former WVU standout. And it didn’t take but a few minutes after landing at Yeager Airport for the subject to be broached.


    Which brought a smile to Martz’s face.

    “We just love the guy,’’ said the coach. “He’s like the players’ little brother. He’s just so humble. You can’t help but like him.’’

    Martz and the Rams more than like Bulger, though. They signed him to a four-year, $19.1 million contract in April — and released two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner, who led the team to two Super Bowls.

    Of course, there’s little to dislike about Bulger. The guy is 18-4 as the Rams’ regular-season starter. But even Martz admits the rise of the QB is storybook. Bulger was cut by the New Orleans Saints before being plucked by the Rams from the Atlanta Falcons’ roster.

    “I remember the first time I saw ,’’ Martz said. “I was breaking down tape. I was watching him and he didn’t have a real good senior year , but the guy who was running our college scouting at the time — John Becker — said, ‘I really like this guy.’ He said, ‘Don’t look at his senior tape. Go back and look at his junior season.’ ’’

    So the coach did.

    “I went back and looked at his junior tape — and was just astounded,’’ Martz said. “I’d never seen anybody with that quick of a delivery before. I mean, he was like Marino. He had that Marino quickness of getting the ball out of there.



    “He was accurate and had plenty of arm strength, but he was injured and in a new system his senior year so things didn’t go well.

    “We were fine, obviously,’’ the coach continued. “We had Kurt and didn’t feel our quarterback situation was a real big need. So we did what we call a ‘red tag.’ We put a ‘tag’ on him. We decided to follow him through his career, and if he would come up again, then we’d decide if we wanted to bring him in.’’

    Now, he’s a Rams team captain along with stars Marshall Faulk and Aeneas Williams. Sure, Bulger threw 22 interceptions last season, but he finished second in the NFL in completions. He also earned a Pro Bowl berth and was named the game’s MVP.

    Martz claims it didn’t take long to realize Bulger was special.

    “First series in his very first start in 2002,’’ said the coach. “We were playing the Oakland Raiders. We were coming off the Super Bowl loss and were 0-5. Kurt was struggling, then he broke his thumb. Marc started that week. Jamie Martin had been hurt the week before.

    “Well, the Raiders were 4-0. They led the league in offense and defense. We stopped them on their first drive on our 2-yard line. They went for it on fourth down. Marc then took us 98 yards on about five plays for a touchdown.’’

    The coach still shakes his head when he thinks of Bulger’s first completion, a 30-yard out to a double-covered Isaac Bruce.

    “Marc had about a 2-yard window and stuck it right in there,’’ Martz said. “I thought, ‘I don’t know too many guys who can do that.’ ’’

    Martz, though, eventually went back to Warner — until the QB fumbled six times in last year’s season opener against the New York Giants. Bulger has been the man since, leading to the April signing and Warner’s recent ouster.

    “Very difficult decision,’’ Martz said. “But if I can’t make those decisions, I shouldn’t have this job. That’s what I get paid to do.’’


    Martz said Bulger is “more than talented,’’ calling him “astounding’’ in spring practices this past week.

    And remember how the coach compared Bulger’s release to Marino? Well, you’ll never guess to whom he compares the player’s personality.

    “Like a Joe Montana,’’ Martz said. “That’s what makes him so appealing to the other players. He doesn’t see himself like this. Also, he doesn’t want attention. He doesn’t want a TV show. He just wants to go play ball.’’

    Pretty heady stuff for a skinny kid who left WVU without much fanfare.

    “Who’s to say, right?’’ Martz asked. “I never thought I’d be an NFL coach. I just wanted to be a high school football coach. But opportunities come up, and he’s one who took advantage.’’



    Martz spoke on behalf of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, which specializes in Alzheimer’s disease and is named after Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s mother, who battled the disease for nearly a decade.

    Martz said he visited Charleston because of a call from the NFL. Apparently, Sen. Rockefeller and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue are tight.

    But the cause is also dear to Martz. His mother suffered from the disease.

    “For anybody who has ever had a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s — particularly the primary care-giver — they know it can be devastating,’’ said the coach. “It’s devastating to watch someone you love so much — someone who was always so sharp, vibrant and full of life — be robbed of years she should really enjoy. It’s a tragedy.’’


  2. #2
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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    The coach still shakes his head when he thinks of Bulger’s first completion, a 30-yard out to a double-covered Isaac Bruce.
    Why exactly is this a good thing? This was Bulger's problem all of last year. If you keep making a bad/no read and throwing into double coverage you're going to lead the league in interceptions.

    And maybe I just don't see it the same way as everyone else, but why all the candy coated compliments for Bulger? I mean, leading the league in completions? So what! If you throw the ball a LOT then you're bound to have completions. Talk about searching for something to praise him for. And now he's being mentioned in the same breath as Dan Marino and Joe Montana? It's starting to make me sick. Marc Bulger isn't even in the same country as Joe Montana and Dan Marino. We're talking about a guy who didn't even finish in the top 10 in qb rating, in a down year for qb's statistically, being comparable to Dan Marino and Joe Montana?

    I know, I know, Martz wasn't comparing their playing abilities per se, but why even mention hall of famers when you're talking about "your guy" unless you're trying to send some kind of message. I mean, why not say Bulger is very much like Wade Wilson in how the team really likes him?

    I just don't understand the double standard in Rams Nation. How can a guy who HAS accomplished something be run out of town for committing turnovers and his replacement be lauded as Dan Marino and Joe Montana for leading the league in interceptions...in 15 games?

    “We just love the guy,’’ said the coach. “He’s like the players’ little brother. He’s just so humble. You can’t help but like him.’’
    I can't think of any good/great qb's that were viewed as "little brothers" in the team's eyes. That is actually the perception that I have had of Bulger too, but the team isn't going to keep that perception for long, especially after a couple of losses. The qb has to be a leader and if the team thinks of him as an underling, I don't see how that can be a good thing. Were Marino and Montana (or Favre, Aikman, Young, Vick, Brady, etc., etc.) thought of as humble little brothers that had to be protected? Super Bowl teams are led by qb's, not coddling them.

    John Becker — said, ‘I really like this guy.’ He said, ‘Don’t look at his senior tape. Go back and look at his junior season.’ ’’
    I guess that doesn't apply to certain other qb's that used to be on the roster. Couldn't it just as easily have been said: "don't look at 2002, go back and look at 2001. He was dealing with an injury in 2002"?

    Again, it's all of the double standards and fluff being forced down my throat by the Rams that's annoying. There's nothing personal about Bulger I just want them to stop "telling" me how great he is and let him prove it on the field. I can judge for myself if he's actually great or not.

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    jjsram is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    Martz has always been like that, moklerman. He always praises his QBs. Remember before the start of last year how much he was praising KW? That sure got KW far, didn't it; one game and he canned him.
    Let's see what happens this year with Martz and Bulger.

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    Maybe he's just trying to express some optimism.

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    Optimism I can handle but "we LOVE him", "he's MORE than talented", comparing him to Marino and Montana, "he's something special", I mean c'mon, that's a little more than coach speak to me. I don't remember Martz going that overboard before. I know he's generally talking up the players but it's usually within the boundry of their own ability. "Marshall looks as good as he ever has" or something like that. Martz's praise of Bulger is almost surreal. He seems like he's trying way too hard to talk us all into something that we're not buying.

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    I assume that when you say "we" you mean you and the voices in your head?

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    Why exactly is this a good thing? This was Bulger's problem all of last year. If you keep making a bad/no read and throwing into double coverage you're going to lead the league in interceptions.
    It's good because it shows he's able to lace the ball in there. Are you telling me all of Kurt Warner's throws were in single man coverage? Is it not comforting to know that on a 30-yard out, our starting quarterback has shown the ability to deliver an accurate ball around two defenders?




    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    And maybe I just don't see it the same way as everyone else, but why all the candy coated compliments for Bulger? I mean, leading the league in completions? So what! If you throw the ball a LOT then you're bound to have completions. Talk about searching for something to praise him for. And now he's being mentioned in the same breath as Dan Marino and Joe Montana? It's starting to make me sick. Marc Bulger isn't even in the same country as Joe Montana and Dan Marino. We're talking about a guy who didn't even finish in the top 10 in qb rating, in a down year for qb's statistically, being comparable to Dan Marino and Joe Montana? I know, I know, Martz wasn't comparing their playing abilities per se, but why even mention hall of famers when you're talking about "your guy" unless you're trying to send some kind of message. I mean, why not say Bulger is very much like Wade Wilson in how the team really likes him?
    Not in the top 10 in QB rating, but he was in the top ten in attempts (4th), completion percentage (6th), total passing yards (3rd), and yards per attempt (6th). But perhaps all of that means nothing as well.

    Mok, when I read the article, I really didn't see the kind of stuff you're seeing. "I mean, he was like Marino. He had that Marino quickness of getting the ball out of there." They're comparing an aspect of his game to a strength Marino had. As for Montana, "Well, you’ll never guess to whom he compares the player’s personality. 'Like a Joe Montana,’ Martz said." It's his personality! You're flipping a lid because Martz compared Bulger's personality to Montana? You blame the article for searching for something to praise him for, but to me, you seem to be doing the exact opposite: searching for things to put him down. Clearly the article or Martz isn't comparing Bulger as an overall package to Marino or Montana at this point. That seems to be pretty clear just by reading it.



    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    I just don't understand the double standard in Rams Nation. How can a guy who HAS accomplished something be run out of town for committing turnovers and his replacement be lauded as Dan Marino and Joe Montana for leading the league in interceptions...in 15 games?
    (1) Because he was losing games. (2) Because he lost the team. (3) Because of his cap situation that he refused to help with. (4) Because of various media appearances that have stirred things up. I'm a Warner fan, but obviously Warner's release wasn't based on his turnovers alone.



    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    I can't think of any good/great qb's that were viewed as "little brothers" in the team's eyes. That is actually the perception that I have had of Bulger too, but the team isn't going to keep that perception for long, especially after a couple of losses. The qb has to be a leader and if the team thinks of him as an underling, I don't see how that can be a good thing. Were Marino and Montana (or Favre, Aikman, Young, Vick, Brady, etc., etc.) thought of as humble little brothers that had to be protected? Super Bowl teams are led by qb's, not coddling them.
    If Bulger wasn't a leader, I seriously doubt he'd even be playing quarterback, let alone be 18-4 as a regular season starter. Again, I think you're misinterpreting what is being said when he's said to be like the players' little brother. It sounds to me, according to the context of the sentence, like they're talking about how humble he is and how he's not making it about himself like he's the star.



    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    I guess that doesn't apply to certain other qb's that used to be on the roster. Couldn't it just as easily have been said: "don't look at 2002, go back and look at 2001. He was dealing with an injury in 2002"?
    Isn't that exactly what the Rams did with Kurt after 2002 when they gave him a $6 million option roster bonus and named him as their starter in Feb? I think so, so I guess I'm not seeing how this is a double standard.
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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    Optimism I can handle but "we LOVE him", "he's MORE than talented", comparing him to Marino and Montana, "he's something special", I mean c'mon, that's a little more than coach speak to me. I don't remember Martz going that overboard before. I know he's generally talking up the players but it's usually within the boundry of their own ability. "Marshall looks as good as he ever has" or something like that. Martz's praise of Bulger is almost surreal. He seems like he's trying way too hard to talk us all into something that we're not buying.
    Martz just released a Super Bowl quarterback for this guy, who last we saw, threw three INTs in a playoff game that the Rams lost. Why wouldn't he want to talk him up a bit to try and make sure the fans are behind him, especially those that -- as Marc said himself -- will never like him because they're Kurt's fans?

    When you just release a former two time MVP, it makes sense to try and boost support around the guy you chose over him.
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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    Those little symbols at the beginning and end of the statement are quote signs. That means it's a quote. In this case I was paraphrasing, but I guess that's giving too much credit to the audience to follow along.

    Oh wait, you're TRYING to be funny. I get it.


    Saying it's a joke makes it all okay doesn't it?
    Last edited by RamWraith; -06-07-2004 at 01:58 PM.

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    This praise of Bulger sounds great. I'm sure it means there won't be a repeat of the Carolina debacle in any future similar situations, since Martz thinks he is so special.

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    The "we" I was referring to was contained in your statement "we're not buying it."


    The truth is, YOU'RE not buying it. The rest of us can decide for ourselves.

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    It's good because it shows he's able to lace the ball in there. Are you telling me all of Kurt Warner's throws were in single man coverage? Is it not comforting to know that on a 30-yard out, our starting quarterback has shown the ability to deliver an accurate ball around two defenders?
    Not when the ability to read a defense has proven to be a problem. There are very few guys who can consistantly throw into double coverage and complete a pass. Favre can get away with it sometimes but he has an arm that's on a totally different level than Bulger's. Bulger is a qb that will need to learn to throw to the correct receiver if he's to be successful. That's the point I was trying to address. Just because you make the wrong read doesn't mean you won't complete the pass sometimes. It does increase the chances of an interception/incompletion though.

    Not in the top 10 in QB rating, but he was in the top ten in attempts (4th), completion percentage (6th), total passing yards (3rd), and yards per attempt (6th). But perhaps all of that means nothing as well.
    I use the qb rating as a guide to a qb's performance. It takes into account a wide range of statistics and averages them into something that measures a qb's overall (passing) performance. Attempts, passing yards and YPA are all part of that equation but can't be taken out of context to "fluff" a guys stats. Out of the three categories that you mentioned I would only take the YPA as any kind of isolated stat to measure a qb's performance. However, being clogged up in the pack of other qb's doesn't really distinguish Bulger to me in this particular area.

    If Bulger wasn't a leader, I seriously doubt he'd even be playing quarterback, let alone be 18-4 as a regular season starter.
    I have to disagree with you here. Just because a guys physically able to play qb has nothing to do with his leadership abilities. Look at Ryan Leaf. He was able to start games in the NFL. Does that mean he had any leadership abilities?

    (1) Because he was losing games
    And there it is, the famous mantra adopted by so many Rams fans. "He" was losing games. Even Martz has adopted this viewpoint. That's the saddest thing about the whole Warner situation to me, that he was made into a scapegoat for the team's struggles. By the fans and the HC alike.

    It's his personality! You're flipping a lid because Martz compared Bulger's personality to Montana?
    I addressed this in my earlier post. I clearly stated that Martz's choice of reference is clearly supposed to be a leading statement in some way. Did Martz ever coach Montana? Why would he choose to link Bulger to one of the greatest qb's of all time? There are thousands of guys who have played football and I'm sure at least a couple of them had strong character while being humble, yet Martz chose to use Joe Montana, winner of 4 Super Bowls, synonymous with champion to illustrate Marc Bulger's character? I don't think that was by accident.

    Martz just released a Super Bowl quarterback for this guy, who last we saw, threw three INTs in a playoff game that the Rams lost. Why wouldn't he want to talk him up a bit to try and make sure the fans are behind him,
    Which is why I went off on this ridiculous article in the first place. To me, the whole thing makes Martz look like he's shoveling s**t. Just shut up about how great Bulger is and let him prove it on the field. It seems very hypocritical to me to praise and bring attention to a guy by saying how humble and how much he doesn't want attention. If Martz knows that about Bulger, why is he bringing all of this attention and spotlight in his direction?

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    This is a prime example of what is going on.

    A nice article that gets turned into a "Warner debate" or a "Martz bash festival". MAN!

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    Maybe that's why I tend to stick with the defense so much J....less hyberbole...LOL

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    Re: Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special

    The sad thing is that the only thing that wil stop all this is if Warner starts for the Giants, flops and is benched. Then the Warnerites will have to let it rest (either that or they'll just blame the Giants' offensive line).

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