Rams Team Report
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo didn't realize the half of it when he reported Monday that quarterback Marc Bulger was "pretty banged up."
Spagnuolo went on to describe how Bulger had had an MRI in the morning for a hamstring/groin problem, would have baseline testing Tuesday for a potential concussion and would be having another MRI in late afternoon because of some swelling in his knee.
That left leg MRI revealed that Bulger had a tibial plateau fracture, and he will miss anywhere from three to six weeks. The previous week, it was reported that Bulger had banged his knees, and since no one is able to pinpoint when the fracture occurred, it's possible it might have happened Nov. 15 against the Saints.
A tibial plateau fracture occurs on the top surface of the tibia or shin bone where it meets the knee. The injury can be more serious if there is displacement or if it affects the middle of the knee or on the inside because of the weight-bearing nature of the bone. The size of the fracture is also important.
Spagnuolo described the injury as "a hairline fracture" and said it is likely that the injury is to the lateral or outside part of the knee. It isn't out of the question that Bulger could be OK to play in three weeks.
It appears the Rams' plan is not to place Bulger on injured reserve, even though the team is currently 1-9. Kyle Boller will start Sunday against Seattle, with rookie sixth-round pick Keith Null the backup.
For this week, the apparent plan is to go with two quarterbacks. If another quarterback is added after this week, it likely would be Brock Berlin, who was with the team in training camp.
There are also questions about whether Null will be provided an opportunity to play at some point. Bulger's salary is scheduled to be $8.5 million in 2010, and he would count $10.5 million if there is a salary cap next year.
—In his third game for the Rams, wide receiver Brandon Gibson was targeted on 17 Marc Bulger passes, catching five for 61 yards. Afterward, the focus was more on the missed connections than the receptions.
Asked about miscommunication on a couple of plays, Bulger said, "Yeah, there was more than a couple. I think that's going to happen with a young receiver. I'm not going to put it on him. It's just a matter of us working together. The more time we spend together, the more on the same page we will be."
Gibson agreed, saying, "My biggest thing is not leaving plays on the field, and that's what I did today. I'm frustrated at myself because I know I can play at a high level. I think we've just got to get on the same page, me and Marc.
"There were just some things that I did, and we just weren't on the same page there on the goal line. That's two plays that stick out in my head, and I've got to do my best to come down with those balls."
—Running back Steven Jackson became the first running back in Rams history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in five consecutive seasons. With 116 yards Sunday, Jackson has 1,031 yards this year.
Asked about the accomplishment, Jackson said, "Well, it feels good. It would feel a lot better if we got it with a win. Although statistically it only says 'Steven Jackson' next to that, I share this with my whole offensive line and my fullback (Mike Karney). I'm really proud of the work we've done so far. Hopefully, we can turn the success into wins as a team."
Said coach Steve Spagnuolo, "I went in there and I grabbed him and told him I was really proud of him. That's something special. Everybody ought to recognize that, he ought to think about that tonight because it's special. Not a lot of guys are able to do that. I know that down deep that's not the most important thing to him because I know the kind of guy he is, but I think we ought to tip our hat to him and credit the offensive line as well."
—The offensive line had to shuffle on several occasions during the game, with Adam Goldberg ending up at three positions.
Goldberg began the game at right guard with Richie Incognito sidelined for the third game because of a foot injury. Goldberg played a series at left tackle at the start of the second half when Alex Barron was late coming out of the locker room while he was getting his ankle re-taped, and Goldberg finished the game at right tackle after rookie Jason Smith was hit in the head late in the third quarter.
When Goldberg was at tackle, Mark Setterstrom played right guard.
—A personal foul on Goldberg hurt the Rams when they were trailing 21-13 late in the fourth quarter but had a first down at the Arizona 13-yard line. A first-down pass was incomplete, but Goldberg was flagged for unnecessary roughness. After the penalty was announced, Goldberg was incredulous.
"I was extremely surprised," Goldberg said. "Anybody that knows me knows I'm not a cheap player. I think that's my first-ever personal foul in my seven-year career. But he made the call and I have to live with it. That's the world I live in.
"I apologize to my guys for putting us behind the 8-ball down-and-distance wise, and I think they all understand. They know me. They know I wouldn't do anything that stupid. They understand I couldn't see the ball gone."
In a pool report, referee Bill Leavy explained, "(He) knocked the defender down well after the pass was released, and in my judgment, unnecessarily hit the player after the ball had been gone."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—QB Marc Bulger is expected to miss three-to-six weeks after an MRI revealed he suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his left knee Sunday. Bulger had already had an MRI for a hamstring/groin injury and was scheduled for a baseline concussion test after experiencing a blow to the head against Arizona.
—RB Steven Jackson will be treated this week for some lower back soreness he experienced coming out of Sunday's game against Arizona.
—OT Alex Barron suffered a mild sprain of his ankle Sunday against Arizona, and he wasn't able to run Monday in conditioning work.
—OT Jason Smith, who missed most the fourth quarter Sunday after suffering a blow to the head, will have a concussion baseline test Tuesday. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Monday that Smith "seemed to be OK today."
—RG Richie Incognito, who has missed three games because of a foot injury, might return this week. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Incognito was able to run without irritation Monday.
—LB Chris Chamberlain, the team's leading tackler on special teams, suffered a mild ankle injury Sunday and also had a blow to the head. He will be given a concussion baseline test Tuesday.
—FB Mike Karney was undergoing an MRI Monday for a possible neck injury.
—DE Chris Long, who played with a bruised knee Sunday, came through the game OK, although he was dealing with soreness Monday.
Re: Rams Team Report
First let me say while I am not a fan of Bulger I have to give him his due props for playing while banged up.
Now I have to question his return in 3 weeks. I feel very doubtful this will happen or even should happen. I feel Bulger runs a great risk of further injury of his leg if a return is to soon & with the fact that we are 1-9 at this point why risk it. If we keep him next year I would prefer that the leg is 100% without further damage.