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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Rams Team Report - 5/21

    Rams Team Report
    Yahoo! Sports
    10 hours, 17 minutes ago

    Inside Slant

    Marc Bulger(notes) loves to play golf. He also obviously loves football. So it was that Bulger joked after the Rams completed their first week of organized team activities (OTAs), “I can’t wait for us to win some games and not change coaches.”

    That comment came after he was asked whether there has been time for much golf this offseason. Clearly, there has not as Bulger has been busy learning another new offense, this one being implemented by new coordinator Pat Shurmur.

    It has been a whirlwind for Bulger since the 2005 season, when head coach Mike Martz became ill and Steve Fairchild took over as offensive coordinator. Since then, the coordinating and play-calling has gone from Scott Linehan to Greg Olson, back to Linehan, and then Al Saunders.

    For those counting, including this year, that’s seven changes in five seasons.

    Contrast that to Peyton Manning(notes), for example, who has had the same coordinator during his entire 11-year career with the Colts.

    Said Bulger, “I think when you look at teams that are successful there’s some sort of stability. Obviously, New England had some changeover. Yet, when you’re successful guys leave, but at the same time the ground work is set. That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re building a foundation. We can go through the whole thing that he (coach Steve Spagnuolo) is preaching right now, but it’s true. Once we have that foundation set we can lose myself, we can lose a coach, we can lose a player here and there. It’s a culture you form and I think that the Patriots showed how in the NFL you can win if you just get the right culture.”

    For now, Bulger is simply concentrating on the new offense, and being prepared, knowing training camp is just a little over two months away.

    Asked if progress was being made, he said, “Getting there. This week we put a lot in. We’re not as crisp as we need to be. I think the base things are in, but now we’re adding a lot of formations and different looks which can be confusing when you’re shuffling guys and finding out what they can do, but we’re making good progress.”

    Despite knowing Bulger had two difficult seasons, Spagnuolo has been his No. 1 supporter since being hired in January.

    Asked if he made it a point to boost the psyche or confidence of Bulger at the start, Spagnuolo said, “Well, it wasn’t anything psyche or confidence-wise, it was honesty. I told him those exact words. Myself, Pat, (quarterbacks coach) Dick (Curl), and the rest of this team have all the confidence in the world in him. And you have to have that in a quarterback. Again, I’ve said this before about Marc, the guy’s been to the Pro Bowl. I’ve tried to defend him before as a (defensive) coordinator or defensive coach in a number of different games and I still think he’s a tough guy to defend.”

    As for getting that “vote of confidence,” Bulger admitted it was important. He said, “Any time a new staff comes in I think that they’re going to bring in the people they want. He made it clear to me from the get-go that he wanted me to be his quarterback and I appreciate that, but now it’s my turn to keep my side of the bargain and play better and get this team winning. I think that’s the way it has to work. It’s a two-way street.”

    Of course, Bulger never lacked for confidence, even as things were collapsing around him. A new start has him confident again.

    Asked about being able to play at a high level again, Bulger said, “I do. But I always say, it’s one thing saying it and it’s another thing to do it. We have these young guys coming up at receiver. Our line’s pretty much all new. Steven (Jackson)’s going to be healthy. So I’m really, really optimistic. I’m excited, especially to start winning games. But talk’s cheap.”

    He understands in the end it’s about winning. When asked if he ever thought about just coming out and talking about the obvious problems around him, Bulger said, “No, I think 99 percent of the quarterbacks in the NFL understand that doesn’t do any good. Your teammates don’t want to hear it, coaches don’t want to hear it and the fans don’t want to hear it, so you can sit there and cry over spilled milk.

    “You can make every excuse in the world, but there’s no point in it because in this business it’s wins and losses. ‘Just win baby’ and that’s so true, I’ve started to learn that. The tough stretch isn’t over; we have to start winning games before we can say it’s over.”

    Notes, Quotes

    • Coach Steve Spagnuolo wouldn’t respond to speculation the Rams might have an interest in wide receiver Plaxico Burress(notes), but he did address the potential need for an experienced receiver.

    Said Spagnuolo, “Well, you can always use a vet to teach the guys, but I don’t think it’s a necessity. Heck, we’re paying the coaches to coach them up. I think that it can be good in some ways, but I don’t think you have to have that. I really don’t.”

    As for adding anyone to the roster at this point, Spagnuolo said, “If you can improve the team, if you can create competition at a particular spot we’ll do that. If we can’t find that outside, then we’ll go to war with the guys that we got.”

    The Rams still have an interest in CB Rod Hood, who was recently released by the Cardinals. Hood was with the Eagles when Spagnuolo was the team’s linebackers coach.

    After Arizona cut Hood, the Rams presented the parameters of an offer. Since then, he has continued to look at other teams, recently visiting Detroit and Chicago.

    • QB Marc Bulger said he sees a difference in guard Richie Incognito(notes), who has the ability to play at a high level, but often struggles to keep him emotions in check.

    “I have,” Bulger said. “There’s been a growing process for him every year. Obviously last year we had some things with him go on and I’m sure he wishes he could have that back, but as a person from when he first came in to now, is night and day. I think he learned from last year and I think he’s going to grow and be better football player. But just like we say with everything else he has to prove that during the season and I think he’s up for the challenge.”

    • Spagnuolo estimated about 70 percent of the team’s offense and defense have been installed.

    “We still have a little ways to go,” he said. “We’ve at least touched on about 70 percent of it. We start getting into more situational things as we go through in these OTAs and that will bring out more of the packages.”

    Quote To Note: “It’s tough at times, but it comes with the position. If you only had success it wouldn’t be that tough of a position. Hopefully, when we start winning again it will make it feel all that much better again because when I first came (to St. Louis) that’s all we did was win. You have to learn from your mistakes, but that’s the NFL and you have to deal with it.”—QB Marc Bulger

    Strategy And Personnel

    After the release of LB Pisa Tinoisamoa(notes), it was assumed rookie MLB James Laurinaitis(notes) will be the starter and veteran Chris Draft(notes) would move to the strong side. That’s still the way it could end up, but as OTAs began, Draft was still in the middle, with Larry Grant(notes) on the strong side. Laurinaitis is with the second team. Grant is second-year player who was added to the Rams’ roster from San Francisco’s practice squad last season.

    Medical Watch: WR Keenan Burton(notes) missed OTA work May 21 because of a tight hamstring … LS Chris Massey(notes) is still nursing a calf injury.

    FRANCHISE PLAYER: S Oshiomogho Atogwe(notes): Tendered at $6.342M.

    TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

    • CB Fakhir Brown

    • CB Jason Craft

    • OT Anthony Davis

    • DT La’Roi Glover

    • WR/KR Dante Hall

    • WR Dane Looker

    • CB Ricky Manning.

    • RB Travis Minor

    • OT Rob Petitti

    • LB Gary Stills

    • C Cory Withrow

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

    EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

    PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

    • DE Victor Adeyanju(notes): RFA; $1.01M/1 yr.

    • CB Ron Bartell(notes): UFA; $25M/4 yrs, $4.1M SB/$8.6M base guarantees; 2009 cap: $5.35M.

    • QB Brock Berlin(notes): Potential ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    • LB Quinton Culberson(notes): Potential ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    • T/G Adam Goldberg(notes): UFA; $1.52M/2 yrs, $100,000 SB; 2009 cap: $670,000.

    • OG Richie Incognito: RFA; $1.01M/1 yr.

    • DE Eric Moore(notes): UFA; terms unknown.

    • OG Mark Setterstrom(notes): Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

    PLAYERS ACQUIRED

    • TE Billy Bajema(notes): UFA *****; terms unknown.

    • QB Kyle Boller(notes): UFA Ravens; $1.5M/1 yr.

    • C Jason Brown(notes): UFA Ravens; $37.5M/5 yrs, $11M SB/$9M base guarantees; 2009 cap: $6.2M.

    • SS James Butler(notes): UFA Giants; $12M/4 yrs, $1.075M SB; 2009 cap: $2.194M.

    • WR Tim Carter(notes): FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    • S Craig Dahl(notes): Not tendered as ERFA by Giants; terms unknown.

    • DT Gary Gibson(notes): Not tendered as RFA by Panthers; terms unknown.

    • DT Orien Harris(notes) (trade Bengals).

    • FB Mike Karney(notes): FA Saints; $3.5M/3 yrs, $275,000 SB/$225,000 RB; 2009 cap: $1.017M.

    • WR Laurent Robinson(notes) (trade Falcons).

    PLAYERS LOST

    • TE Anthony Becht(notes) (released).

    • WR Drew Bennett(notes) (released).

    • S Corey Chavous(notes) (released).

    • OT Brandon Gorin(notes): UFA Broncos; terms unknown.

    • QB Trent Green(notes) (released/failed physical).

    • WR Torry Holt(notes) (released).

    • C Nick Leckey(notes): UFA Saints; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    • RB Brian Leonard(notes) (traded Bengals).

    • OT Orlando Pace(notes) (released).

    • C Brett Romberg(notes): UFA Falcons; terms unknown.

    • LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (released)


  2. #2
    mikhal5569's Avatar
    mikhal5569 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Team Report - 5/21

    It's looking more and more like the players are really buying into the new coaches and scheme. Slowly but surely, my hopes are starting to rise a little. It will be interesting to see which veterans the coaches go after when teams start making the final roster cuts.

  3. #3
    chucknbob is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Team Report - 5/21

    I'm just hoping he's right about Incognito. The last thing we need is him blowing off at the mouth while we're trying to rebuild.

  4. #4
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Team Report - 5/21

    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknbob View Post
    I'm just hoping he [Bulger] is right about Incognito. The last thing we need is him blowing off at the mouth while we're trying to rebuild.
    Oh, I think MB's positive comments on the Cog are true and sincere. I for one am very confident that Richie has grown, will continue to mature, and become a better / fiercer / more effective OL.

    Hey, 'Welcome to the Clan' Chucknob!

  5. #5
    BEER's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Team Report - 5/21

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Oh, I think MB's positive comments on the Cog are true and sincere. I for one am very confident that Richie has grown, will continue to mature, and become a better / fiercer / more effective OL.

    Hey, 'Welcome to the Clan' Chucknob!
    I believe it to, I meet Richie's mom and dad at the Diego Rams pre Season game a

    couple of years a go. They were great character people.

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