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St. Louis Rams Offense Back Together
St. Louis Rams offense back together
BY JIM THOMAS firstname.lastname@example.org
Quarterback Marc Bulger took snaps under center for the first time in 3½ weeks. Rookie Jason Smith has been officially named the starting right tackle.
So for the first time since the start of training camp, the entire Rams offense — starters and key contributors — was in place and on the field Wednesday.
"We had a comment in the huddle today," tight end Randy McMichael said after practice. "It was like, 'Wow, we're all together again, finally, after a long layoff.' "
Just in time for opening day in Seattle.
"It was almost like: We're back," wide receiver Derek Stanley said. "It feels good. I think we've got big things coming up this year. Everybody's working hard, paying attention to the little things. Everybody's got that desire to win."
Smith's "promotion" was no great surprise. It had become increasingly obvious over the past week or so that the No. 2 overall draft pick from Baylor would open the regular season in the lineup.
"Obviously, it's a privilege to be able to say I'm going to (start) for the St. Louis Rams," Smith said. "The main thing is just proving myself and just being part of a great offensive line."
There was more uncertainty about Bulger and the broken little finger on his throwing hand. Bulger has thrown the ball well lately, but the final test was taking snaps under center. By all accounts, he passed that test Wednesday in practice.
"It went well, and I think we're where we want to be," Bulger said.
Although listed as limited participation on the team's official injury report, Bulger said he took part in every drill in practice. However, he didn't take 100 percent of the snaps in every drill.
"But it wasn't because of discomfort," Bulger said. "It was to keep Kyle (Boller) going. I was happy with the amount of reps I took."
So no discomfort?
"I wouldn't say no discomfort," Bulger said. "But it was bearable, and it's not going to affect whether I can get the ball (from center), which is a good thing."
Bulger confessed to some anxiety about taking his first snaps since the one from center Jason Brown on Aug. 17 resulted in the broken finger.
"Sure. I definitely lost some sleep over it," Bulger said. "You kind of worry that that first snap isn't going to go how you want it. You don't want to let your teammates down."
But 20 minutes into taking snaps during practice, Bulger said he felt confident again. "It was good to be back out practicing," he said.
From his, uh, end of things, Brown said everything went well
"Actually, I didn't look behind to see who was back there," Brown deadpanned. "I mean, unless I can distinguish whose hands feel differently. Was he back there taking the snaps behind me today? But I hear that he did very well. There were no 'C-Q' exchange problems at all. Everything worked smoothly."
Only the first 30 minutes of practice were open to reporters Wednesday, but coach Steve Spagnuolo said there was only one botched center-quarterback exchange involving Bulger. And that came after the coaches had changed centers without telling Bulger.
"So I don't think it was anything that had to do with the finger," Spagnuolo said.
Barring a setback over the next couple of practice days, Bulger will be the starter Sunday at Qwest Field.
"If it goes like today, I'd say I'm starting — 100 percent," Bulger said. "Obviously it's up to the coaches if they feel I'm ready to go. But I feel (good)."
Just to be on the safe side, the Rams are making sure Boller gets some reps with the starting offense this week. "We're going to protect ourselves either way there," Spagnuolo said.
Bulger is still throwing with the little finger taped. But even he concedes it's more of a security blanket than anything else, giving him peace of mind. The tape isn't really providing more stability or support to the finger at this point. However, Bulger said there's a chance he will still have the finger taped on game day.
Bulger threw the ball well during pregame warmups last Thursday before the preseason finale against Kansas City. That apparently was the case Wednesday as well.
"He looked like the same old Marc," wide receiver Keenan Burton said.
"You would never really know that he even broke his finger at all," Stanley added.
"Marc's a professional," McMichael said. "Marc's played with a hurt hand before. I'm sure it's not the first time his finger's been bothering him while he's playing quarterback. ... He looked fine today. He was on time with all his passes, so I think he's going to be ready."
Bulger is one of six Rams offensive starters who have missed at least one preseason game because of injury over the past month. But wide receiver Donnie Avery (foot), tackle Alex Barron (knee), guard Jacob Bell (concussion), guard Richie Incognito (knee) and fullback Mike Karney (ankle) all participated in practice Wednesday. Bulger and Karney were the only players in that group listed on the team's injury report.
"It's good to have guys back," Spagnuolo said.
-09-10-2009 #2Mooselini Guest
Re: St. Louis Rams Offense Back Together
Ahh this is so exciting. hahaha
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