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  1. #1
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    Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    02/08/2010

    Had Jake Locker entered the 2010 NFL Draft, Rams general manager Billy Devaney would have had an easy decision to make.

    He could have traded out of the first overall slot, banking at least one extra pick in this deep draft, then drafted Locker later in the first round.


    But Locker stayed in school, so Devaney is still weighing his options. He needs to make a sensible move at quarterback rather than aim for something sexier.

    He faces quite a dilemma. The free-agent marketplace seems devoid of real talent at that position.

    The trade mart offers more intrigue, particularly with the Eagles mulling the immediate futures of Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick.

    The NFL Draft has a couple of high-end prospects -– Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen -- and many developmental quarterbacks for the later rounds.

    Watching this play out will be great fun for the good citizens of Rams Nation. There are many ways Devaney can go.

    Keeping Marc Bulger (at a reduced rate) is an option. Former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner reminds us not to write him off.

    “I think Marc is extremely talented,” Warner said last week. “I think he brings a lot to the table. But the thing you always realize as a quarterback is that you're never going to have great success if you don't have great players around you. They've obviously been going through a rebuilding process. A lot of changes have taken place over the last few years. Although Marc can still play, he hasn't had the opportunity to really do what he is capable of doing. That has been the frustrating part.

    “You get labeled a lot of times based on the big picture, especially when you've had success. They expect, regardless of what goes on around you, you are supposed to throw for 30 touchdowns and 4,000 yards every year. I know I got caught in that mix when I went to New York and didn't have the gaudy stats, they are like, well, this guy is not the same guy, he can't bring much to the table, but so much is based on the team and what's around you and what opportunities you get.”

    Acquiring Vick from the Eagles is another option, one that is quite popular with many STLtoday.com users. Former Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon, now an Eagle, offered this character reference for his teammate:

    “(Vick) had to learn a life lesson the tough way. I think he's moved beyond it. He's just trying to get back into the game, just understanding what kind of player he can be and make sure he gets himself back into that role, understand how to get himself back to the level of player he was before. I think he is doing a great job.

    “He paid a price that was tenfold more than most anybody else out there would get. He lived up to what he did. He did prison time for what most people get a year's probation and hanging out in their back yard.”

    Drafting Bradford is a third option. Devaney is eager to see how Sam's injured shoulder is healing.

    “I think he is hell of a player,” Devaney said last week. “We all know what the key on Bradford will be. We're anxious to see him at the combine in about three weeks. It will be interesting to see where he is physically. I don't know what his rehab consists of right now, if he is throwing the ball, what his plans are. We need to find that out. But I think the guy is a great player.”

    A long-range option is Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who figures to fall to the middle rounds of this draft.

    “I think the guy will eventually play,” Devaney said. “The intangibles are rare. I think the guy is a quarterback. He is a quarterback or nothing. He's not a tight end or running back. He is a quarterback or nothing at all. He has the intangibles that you need to play that position, the leadership, the toughness, the intelligence. So there is something to work with. He just needs work with his mechanics. It is not going to happen overnight. It is going to take a year, it might take two years. I think the guy will play.”

    Some experts are convinced the Rams will make a play for Vick, who would love to move into a starting role somewhere in the NFL. At the moment, the Eagles seem ready to keep McNabb for his final contract year, hang onto Kolb as the heir apparent and move Vick.

    (If another team makes a huge play for McNabb, though, all bets are off. The Eagles could end all the drama between coach Andy Reid and his quarterback and let Vick and Kolb fight it out for the job.)

    Some local observers believe Bulger is finished as a Ram, although Devaney expects Marc to play next year and insisted Bulger is “still in the process” at Rams Park.

    Some draft experts inside the Rams will target a quarterback at the top of the draft and move away from defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, a young man Devaney describes as “an impact player at a position where it’s hard to make an impact.”

    But this franchise doesn’t HAVE to spend its first pick on a quarterback. There are other avenues to explore.

    Remember, the Rams found a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback (Warner) in the Arena Football League and a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback (Bulger) on the street.

    The Rams should employ a veteran quarterback (Bulger or somebody younger, depending on who shakes loose) as a stopgap starter next season. The Rams should also draft somebody in the middle of the upcoming draft to compete against young incumbents Keith Null and Mike Reilly.

    In another year, perhaps the Rams will finally be ready to put a young quarterback in position to succeed. At that point, perhaps investing large draft dollars in a first-round pick will make sense -– IF the other young quarterbacks don’t progress in the meantime.

    That would be the least exciting avenue to travel, but the most prudent.


  2. #2
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    Re: Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon

    Even warner wants bulger to stay! 2010 is bulgers year

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    Re: Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon


    The Rams should employ a veteran quarterback (Bulger or somebody younger, depending on who shakes loose) as a stopgap starter next season. The Rams should also draft somebody in the middle of the upcoming draft to compete against young incumbents Keith Null and Mike Reilly.

    In another year, perhaps the Rams will finally be ready to put a young quarterback in position to succeed. At that point, perhaps investing large draft dollars in a first-round pick will make sense -– IF the other young quarterbacks don’t progress in the meantime.

    That would be the least exciting avenue to travel, but the most prudent.
    He sorta went through every possible QB, which is nothing that people here don't already know. I agree with the last part of the article, which is more his opinion. Those were some interesting points made by Warner that "you're never going to have great success if you don't have great players around you."

    Right now, other than Jackson, the Rams don't have great talent. It won't really matter who is under center until the Rams find some great talent at key positions.

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    Re: Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon

    Can I be a professional sports columnist?...this article is mickey mouse

    "Had Jake Locker entered the 2010 NFL Draft, Rams general manager Billy Devaney would have had an easy decision to make.

    He could have traded out of the first overall slot, banking at least one extra pick in this deep draft, then drafted Locker later in the first round."

    What in the hell is this, no matter who stayed or went to the draft it never would have been an easy decision to pass on Suh...and its debatable whether Locker is even better than Bradford or Clausen so how in the hell is it an easy decision to make.

    Anyway interesting way to start an article.. further heightened by obligatory Tebow reference
    Last edited by npow81; -02-08-2010 at 04:47 PM.

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    Re: Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon

    Quote Originally Posted by npow81 View Post
    Can I be a professional sports columnist?...this article is mickey mouse

    "Had Jake Locker entered the 2010 NFL Draft, Rams general manager Billy Devaney would have had an easy decision to make.

    He could have traded out of the first overall slot, banking at least one extra pick in this deep draft, then drafted Locker later in the first round."

    What in the hell is this, no matter who stayed or went to the draft it never would have been an easy decision to pass on Suh...and its debatable whether Locker is even better than Bradford or Clausen so how in the hell is it an easy decision to make.

    Anyway interesting way to start an article.. further heightened by obligatory Tebow reference
    I thought exactly the same thing. Trading out of the first overall pick, let alone trading down to chase a player who may well have been a top five pick anyway, is never easy. In my opinion it wouldn't have been an easy decision at all. You can't tell me Seattle wouldn't have been pushing HARD for Locker.

    Suh is touted as a 'once in a generation' kind of player. Who else, at any position in recent years, has been branded similarly? The only names that come to mind are Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson, who are both doing great things (mind you, Bush took his time) for their respective franchises.

    Easy decisions in the NFL draft are few and far between.

    In all, I actually agree with the point Gordon's trying to make. It does make the most sense to acquire a veteran for this season and work on the talent around him. Bulger knows the system and though he's struggled the past few seasons, you'd be hard pressed finding a better available fit for the next year providing he's willing to restructure. I'd like to see Bulger in Horns for at least two more years. This year to start and the next year to compete with whoever is holding the clipboard. In my mind, that player is going to be a first round Quarterback drafted in 2011.

    Trading is a viable option and worth exploring, but I don't see Philadelphia giving up the only player I'd have any interest in, Kevin Kolb, for anything less than a first round pick. If the Rams are willing to gamble their 2011 first rounder for Kolb, so be it. In Spagnuolo we trust. But if there's more merit to be had in sitting and waiting and letting the talent around the incumbent QB develop, then I'm more than willing to watch that happen. Ideally, I'd like to have a Plug 'n' Play QB. That is, a player who can come in and have a degree of success immediately because the talent around him is so good.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
    Even warner wants bulger to stay! 2010 is bulgers year
    Warner definitely thinks more of Bulger than of Leinert. When asked if he thought Leinert was capable of success in Arizona Warner said (paraphrased), "I haven't seen him enough to make a judgment".

    Only every day in practice and replacing Warner during his injury/concussion time-outs wasn't enough to make a judgment?
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    Re: Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon

    I'm not sure which is more interesting.

    This...

    Keeping Marc Bulger (at a reduced rate) is an option. Former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner reminds us not to write him off.

    “I think Marc is extremely talented,” Warner said last week. “I think he brings a lot to the table. But the thing you always realize as a quarterback is that you're never going to have great success if you don't have great players around you. They've obviously been going through a rebuilding process. A lot of changes have taken place over the last few years. Although Marc can still play, he hasn't had the opportunity to really do what he is capable of doing. That has been the frustrating part.

    “You get labeled a lot of times based on the big picture, especially when you've had success. They expect, regardless of what goes on around you, you are supposed to throw for 30 touchdowns and 4,000 yards every year. I know I got caught in that mix when I went to New York and didn't have the gaudy stats, they are like, well, this guy is not the same guy, he can't bring much to the table, but so much is based on the team and what's around you and what opportunities you get.”
    ...or the fact that the only mention of Clausen is here...

    The NFL Draft has a couple of high-end prospects -– Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen -- and many developmental quarterbacks for the later rounds.
    ...and he's not even mentioned in the "third option" section that's devoted entirely to Bradford as the first round QB choice.
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    Re: Rams weigh their options at quarterback .. Jeff Gordon

    Why are we so convinced that Bulger "needs" to take a pay cut? We have plenty of cap room if there is a cap, and if there isn't a cap...well salaries really stop mattering then. Forget contract stuff for the year with Bulger, and if you can't secure a better veteran/tackling dummy this offseason (likely) just use Bulger.

    Actually, this leads to a more general question. Why is it a crime in this town if any Ram gets more than the veteran minimum, and yet Matt Holliday can get $120 million for blowing a playoff series without anyone saying "boo."

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