BY BILL COATS
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
01/04/2010

The worst season in franchise history is over, and the Rams' quarterback situation is as cloudy as it was six weeks ago when starter Marc Bulger's year ended with a leg injury.

Neither veteran Kyle Boller nor rookie Keith Null did enough to assure themselves a significant role in 2010, and Bulger's return isn't guaranteed.

Null made his fourth consecutive start in Sunday's 28-6 loss to visiting San Francisco. Boller entered when Null came up woozy after being sacked by ex-Missouri star Justin Smith early in the third quarter.

"I just hit my head on the turf real hard," Null said. "I came off and my body didn't feel right and my head didn't feel right."

Sacked five times, Null completed seven of 17 passes for 57 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. His passer rating was 50.4.

Boller, who started the first two games after Bulger was hurt before a thigh injury and illness forced him to the sideline, fared even worse. He was sacked three times in going four for 11 for 23 yards, also without a TD or interception. His rating was 44.9.

"It's just frustrating," Boller said. "It's been a tough year. We've got awhile to rebound here now."

Quarterback play all season was spotty, at best. Together, the three completed just 57.4 percent of their passes, and threw more interceptions (21) than touchdowns (11).

Bulger, 32, has four years remaining on the $65 million contract extension he received in 2007. Boller, 28, was brought in on a one-year deal as the backup and wants to return. Null, 24, was a sixth-round draft choice from NCAA Division II West Texas A&M who spent the first 10 weeks as the No. 3 quarterback.

If any of the three pressed his case for a longer look, it was Null.

"Having the experience playing and then having the whole NFL season under my belt now is definitely going to help," he said. "I know that it may take some time and some development, but I know that I have the ability to do it."

Null added that he would return in the spring "with a lot more confidence. Now I have a heads-up on how to do things, how to prepare. I still need to learn a lot more in that area, but it's a start and I'm on the right track. ...

"I want to hang around here as much as possible (in the offseason), be around the coaches, be around the facility, do everything I can possibly do to try to get better."

All the better to position himself for a run at a full-time job.

"I think the best situation would be to have a chance to compete for that No. 1 spot, and that's what I want," Null said. "But I did start off as the third-string guy this year, so ... anywhere better than third string is a move up for me."