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Rams must face the truth Bulger had guts to reveal
By Bryan Burwell
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Now that the unvarnished, unabridged, unadulterated truth is finally out there — and now that its surprising messenger, Marc Bulger, has demonstrated that there's a seething Type A personality burning deep in his belly — here's what I don't want to see next:
I don't want him to take it back.
I don't want him to tone down, smooth over or otherwise distill his well-deserved outrage against his unnamed (but definitely not anonymous) teammates by making any politically polite, public-relations-inspired backtracking.
I'm fairly certain that as the Rams prepare for a Monday night game against the Chicago Bears, there will be more than a few folks (and maybe even a few media wags) who will try to coax, cajole or otherwise coerce the Rams quarterback into some docile retreat. But that's the last thing this struggling team needs right now. What the 5-7 Rams need is precisely what Bulger delivered in that losing locker room on Sunday.
An Inconvenient Truth.
If the Rams ever hope to return to the days of competing for division titles, conference championships and Super Bowl rings, there are more than a few young, gifted and underachieving athletes on this squad who must learn, as Bulger so eloquently put it, the difference between being a professional and being on scholarship. And the quicker they learn it, the better.
"I think the emphasis has to be on holding that person, or persons, or group accountable to those things ... Kind of like what happened," Scott Linehan said late Monday afternoon at Rams Park. "You've got vocal leaders that want to be leaders now, guys that want to step up and take the bull by the horns. There can be some things said out there on the field, too. It doesn't have to
be a coach.
"So I feel really good about the fact that guys want to step up and be heard. If that happens, it can be accepted not only by the team or the coaches, I think the players now can start kind of policing themselves. I think that's a good thing."
I don't believe for a moment that this was a rash emotional outburst by Bulger. I suspect this is something that's been seething in his gut for a long time. I also believe the reason he said it had less to do with turning around the floundering season, and more to do with trying to alter the long-term course of the rebuilding franchise.
There was a time not so long ago when the championship-era locker room was filled with mature men who went about the business of collecting glittering hardware like true, low-key professionals. Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Marshall Faulk, Orlando Pace, Adam Timmerman, Kurt Warner, Andy McCollum were all emotional low burners who knew exactly what sort of emotional, intellectual and physical investment was required to be champions.
But time, age and the harsh realities of pro football have slowly seen many of those personalities replaced by younger, less mature players who have yet to learn how to be true pros. There are too many players who have not come close to reaching their athletic potentials, and so much of it can be blamed on a failure to understand (or worse yet, care) what the commitment to winning on the professional level is all about.
This is not an indictment of the entire team, especially warriors such as Leonard Little, Pisa Tinoisamoa, Steven Jackson, Brandon Green and plenty of others. But there has to be a reason a team with this much talent has only won five games with four weeks left in a 16-game season. I'm not saying the 2006 Rams should be the 1985 Chicago Bears, but there's too much talent for them to be so mediocre and so inconsistent.
The low-key, lead-by-example approach doesn't seem to be working in the locker room where one too many knuckleheads don't take their craft seriously enough. So maybe it's way past due for Bulger and the other team leaders to try a different leadership approach.
The Inconvenient Truth doesn't always have to be a painful public cleansing. It can be done in the privacy of the locker room or in the energetic atmosphere of the practice field. But it's time for a large and steady dose of it.
Way past time.
-12-06-2006 #3Registered User
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Re: Rams must face the truth Bulger had guts to reveal
I've been saying for years that this team has lost its fight. It hasn't just been this year. People seem to be going through the motions, but not having the heart behind it. I think it really started before Alex Barron was even here. It may of just trickled down to him.
This team has had and continues to have a problem with getting emotional. There needs to be a desire to win. But it sure doesnt look like there is much of one when I watch them on the field or hear them in interviews. They go through the motions, but leaving the emotions out.
I like Marc's calm and cool demeanor. But, right now, with the pschy of the team, we need someone to get in their face and make them want it more. Whether that is the coach, Marc, or someone else. Someone needs to step forward. And I hope what happened with Marc is the first sign of life to this mostly zombie like feeling I get from most of the players.
-12-06-2006 #4rampete Guest
Re: Rams must face the truth Bulger had guts to reveal
burwell makes it sound like bulger disclosed a revelatory truth...a truth privy only to those in conspricy of it...
i find it incredulous to think that fans, players, coaches and the FO were blissfully unaware of the fact that our team, as a whole, had issues...issues most salient when things are not going well...
it may be well to point out that true character of individuals arise to the forefront when placed in dire and compromising positions...it's how they deal with the adversary that may indicate how their character will develop, or not...
Last edited by rampete; -12-06-2006 at 04:18 PM.