Trent Green ready to take charge as Rams QB in Kansas City game
Bulger will sit out preseason finale
BY STEVE KORTE
News-Democrat

ST. LOUIS --
Backup quarterback Trent Green has thrown only eight passes in the St. Louis Rams' three preseason games so far, but he'll get a chance to knock any rust off his passing arm during the team's preseason finale on Saturday.

Rams coach Scott Linehan announced on Tuesday that Green will be the starting quarterback when the team plays the Kansas City Chiefs at 6 p.m. Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Starting quarterback Marc Bulger, who played the entire first half in the Rams' 24-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens last Saturday, will sit out the game.

"Everybody wants work," Green said. "That's why I came back. I love playing. But I told Coach Linehan, 'I'll play as little or as much as you want me to play."'

Green said he understands why he has played so sparingly in the preseason up to this point.

"I understand that they are trying to get Marc ready, they're trying to get the new offense ready, they're trying to get the linemen and everybody acclimated to a new set of calls, and they're also trying to develop two young quarterbacks," Green said. "Because of my experience level -- I won't say age -- I feel comfortable with where I am right now."

Green, 38, is entering his 15th NFL season and his second tour of duty with the Rams.

The game against the Chiefs is the first stop on Green's personal reunion tour as the Rams play all three of the other NFL teams where he has also been a starting quarterback. They play Washington on Oct. 12 and Miami on Nov. 30.

"It's been a great run, it's been a great career," said Green, a graduate of Vianney High School in St. Louis. "I've enjoyed every minute of it. You learn from all the different experiences. My time in Kansas City, the six years that I was there, I have a lot of great memories from that."

Green said he actually was looking forward to standing in the pocket and feeling the pressure of the pass rush.

"It's good to get in the pocket when you have guys flying around you and you have to move around and slide your feet," Green said. "Anytime you get the pocket closing around, that's stuff that you can't really simulate in a practice setting. Those are all good things."

Green had his season cut short by concussions in each of the last two years, yet he said he wasn't apprehensive about getting hit.

"As crazy as this sounds, no," Green said, "and everybody has a hard time believing that. When I came back in 2000 off the knee injury, there was really no apprehension then. A lot of people told me there would be, that you have to get used to people diving at your feet and all of that stuff. That first year back I did wear a knee brace to protect myself, but mentally it never really crossed my mind as far as people falling around my legs."

Green sustained a season-ending knee injury during the preseason in 1999, leading to Kurt Warner's rise to stardom and the Rams' Super Bowl championship.

Prior to the 2001 season, Green was traded to Kansas City, where he guided the Chiefs to two playoff appearances and earned two Pro Bowl invitations. He was traded to the Dolphins in June, 2007.

Green said he has been experimenting with several different helmets after having his season end prematurely after five starts with the Dolphins last season, due to a concussion.

"When I came back from the concussion a year ago, I wore the same helmet, I did everything the same," Green said. "Unfortunately, I had another one last year, so this year I've probably had three or four different helmets I'm experimenting with, just to find one that is comfortable."

Green said the helmets, which have all been approved by the NFL for safety, run the gamut with the protection that they provide.

"There is air, there is liquid, some are bigger, some are smaller, some have more depth, some protect the jaw more," Green said. "It's just finding one that is comfortable."

Green said he's had no problem making the transition from starter to backup. His close relationship with Bulger has helped in that regard.

"Marc and I have known each other since the 2000 season, and even in the offseasons over the years we have been in contact with each other, whether it be charity events or quarterback challenges or Pro Bowls or whatever," Green said. "We've had a relationship prior to this. That was one of the reasons I decided to come here. I had talked to Marc before I signed. Because of that existing relationship, we knew it was one that would work for both of us."

Green has helped Bulger learn offensive coordinator Al Saunders' system.

It's similar to the offense that Bulger ran under former Rams coach Mike Martz. It's also the same offense that Green ran under Saunders in Kansas City with the exception of a few new wrinkles.

"Al has changed some of the terminology," Green said. "He's even changed it a little bit since I was with him in Kansas City. He adapted some things with Joe Gibbs and that staff in Washington. There have been some new things for me to learn. I think Marc has picked it up well."