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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Rumors fail to rattle Marc Bulger

    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
    [More columns]Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/01/2009

    The routine has started all over again for Marc Bulger. There is another minicamp on the horizon and yet another head coach in place. There is another offensive coordinator in his life and another playbook in his hands, full of new schemes to memorize and another elaborate football language to be mastered.

    But mostly, there is opportunity on the horizon. Opportunity to win again. Opportunity to remind a doubting public exactly why the Rams new management team still believes in him, even if so many outside Rams Park no longer do.

    So he chuckles softly when you mention things like "battered-quarterback syndrome," and all the nightmares he has endured as the Rams quarterback during the post-Greatest Show days. He chuckles again when you mention the Mark Sanchez pre-draft gossip and those angry Bulger haters who keep acting as if there is only one way to lead an NFL huddle — with the emotional decibel levels cranked wide open like a heavy metal concert.

    "Every year, winning cures all," Bulger said on the eve of the Rams second minicamp under new coach Steve Spagnuolo. "Earlier in my career we were winning and my biggest attribute was that I was steady, low-key, and my teammates knew how much I wanted to win and everything was great. Then all of a sudden, you lose a few years and that's my greatest weakness."

    The haters don't care. They still want Bulger to be something he is not and will never be: a fire-breathing Brett Favre clone. He chuckles again and tells you that it's not about personality. In the NFL, it's always about one thing and one thing only — production — and then gives you evidence.

    "There's a quarterback who won a few Super Bowls a few years ago (Favre), and he gets to New York and (the Jets) lose and suddenly those same things are his biggest faults," the Rams quarterback told me during an interview on my radio show (WXOS 101.1 FM) Thursday morning.

    So here Bulger is again, another year, another coach, another coordinator and another opportunity to prove his point that production trumps personality every time. He doesn't exactly bristle at this talk that he is too mellow to be a leader, because that's just not his personality. But this is a guy who does know how to compete, particularly when he's not being rag-dolled by pass-rushing defenders who have found too many easy routes to the Rams backfield. So now he has a real blocking fullback, a revamped offensive line and a new system that no longer puts the quarterback in peril by design.

    The Rams management tandem of general manager Billy Devaney and Spagnuolo still think he can do the job, too. That's why they spent free-agent money on center Jason Brown and fullback Mike Karney, then the second-overall pick in last week's draft on monster rookie tackle Jason Smith. Oh, yes, but there were those Mark Sanchez rumors, which we now understand were clever smoke screens to drum up a little trade interest in the Rams first-round pick. And those weren't the first rumors Bulger had ever heard. Four years ago, shortly after Scott Linehan was hired, Linehan made it rather awkward for his incumbent quarterback by openly campaigning to draft Jay Cutler in the first round, and those who know Bulger well say that privately it annoyed him.

    But Bulger never publicly protested, even though he was insulted that his new coach never bothered to talk to him before going public with his pre-draft Cutler infatuation. Last week, though, the gossip didn't bother Bulger one bit because somebody apparently was smart enough to talk to him during the entire process.

    "I'd prefer not to talk about three years ago and what happened," Bulger said. "But I will say that there is a lot more communication between the higher-ups now and the head coach than it was in the past. It's actually pretty nice to have that much communication and everyone on the same page. It makes life a whole lot easier." What would make life even easier would be if Bulger rediscovers his old quarterbacking mojo. Then all the rumors will go away. Then all the gossip about the team waiting until next year to draft their quarterback of the future will grow silent. Bulger can handle the gossip and all the unreasonable expectations. But just in case you don't understand, he'd like to make one thing very clear:

    "I'm a competitive person in everything I do," he said. "Just ask my teammates and family and the people who grew up with me and have been around me all my life. But I'm not changing who I am. If you try to get in someone's face and scream and yell and jump up and down when we score a touchdown, that wouldn't last very long. ... You have to be who you are. It's a long answer, but I'm going to stay who I am and I think my teammates appreciate that when you see me throw interceptions the reaction is the same as when I throw a touchdown. That's what I was taught when I was growing up in Pittsburgh."


  2. #2
    BEER's Avatar
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    Re: Rumors fail to rattle Marc Bulger

    Only thing that rattles Bulger is stepping left or right. Lets see if spags
    can change that. I think him and the staff can. If so we might see a
    good Qb again.

  3. #3
    jkramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Rumors fail to rattle Marc Bulger

    if I had that many zero's in my bank account things like that wouldn't bother me either.

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    Re: Rumors fail to rattle Marc Bulger

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    "Every year, winning cures all," Bulger said on the eve of the Rams second minicamp under new coach Steve Spagnuolo. "Earlier in my career we were winning and my biggest attribute was that I was steady, low-key, and my teammates knew how much I wanted to win and everything was great. Then all of a sudden, you lose a few years and that's my greatest weakness."

    I like this quote a lot. Go get 'em this year, Marc.

  5. #5
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rumors fail to rattle Marc Bulger

    Last year, Marc was lucky to take the snap and drop 3 steps before he got hit. We couldn't block anyone .. Not the sort of O-line performance that inspires trust with any quarterback. Shurmer needs to orchestrate a scheme that will help Marc to regain his confidence. A solid running attack would go a long ways toward that end. (Our newly acquired two Jasons should pay immediate dividends in that regard). High percentage passes that really spread the ball around will surely help. There is one thing about letting Tory Holt go that may have a silver lining: Marc will no longer be able to key on Torry, he'll be forced to go elsewhere, hopefully finding the open guy. Success breeds confidence, and it is up to Shurmur to find and employ schemes that play to the strengths of our group of young receivers, along with TEs and running backs ...

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    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Rumors fail to rattle Marc Bulger

    All he needs is faith restored in the O-line, and I think he will be tons better. The O-line will first have to prove they can protect him.

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