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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    SO YOU NEED A QB: It seems like just yesterday that Marc Bulger was being proclaimed one of the best quarterbacks in the game. That was when he was being signed to a six-year, $65 million contract extension that made him the highest-paid player in St. Louis Rams franchise history. It was July 2007. Two sub-par seasons later and Bulger has become a lightning rod of scorn for Rams fans.

    But what is new coach Steve Spagnuolo to do? He certainly can’t trade Bulger with that price tag hanging around his neck, and to cut Bulger would slam the team’s salary cap. But can Spags afford to stick with Bulger through another season like the last two? Probably not. Spagnuolo needs to win now … or at least show marked improvement. That’s why many fans would like to see the team address the position in this year’s draft. The crop of talent is high (see Matt Stafford below.) But the team has so many needs to address, is it best to take a QB as high as No. 2? Again, probably not. And it may be difficult to get a QB in the lower rounds that could feasibly play and make an impact next season if needed.

    But there could be another option. That guy from New England. No, not that one. But the man behind the man: Matt Cassel. You may remember him as the guy who stepped in when Tom Brady went down in Week 1 last season. Cassel, who had not started a game since high school, became an overnight NFL sensation. He threw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions and ranked 10th in the NFL in QB rating at 89.4

    Cassel is now at a crossroads and his future will be determined soon … a future that could have him becoming an unrestricted free agent as soon as Feb. 27. A lot could depend on Brady’s return to health, and there have been mixed reports on whether or not Brady will be ready to start the season. But the clock starts ticking for the Patriots on Feb. 5, when they’ll have two weeks to decide if they want to put the franchise tag on Cassel … at a cost of about $14 million. Can the Patriots afford to pay their backup QB that kind of dough? We’ll see. But if not, Cassel will be free to sign with any team.

    “This is Tom’s team,” Cassel told ESPNEWS Thursday. “The Patriots have been Tom’s team. He’s built that franchise up with his own two hands. He’s the guy, and he was the MVP the year before. I realize that. He’s been such a mentor for me that I would say, ‘No, there is no quarterback competition.’ ”

    That could be read as, “I’m perfectly happy backing up Tom,” or as, “He’s the guy, and if I get a chance elsewhere, I may need to move on.” Only Cassel knows.

    How much has Cassel proven in one year and how much would it cost to lock him up for three or four years? Who knows. But if I worked in the Rams’ front office, I’d be trying to figure it out. Logically, though, it won’t come at a $14 million-per-year rate … that’s just the figure for the franchise tag, when a player must be paid among the top five at his position. A longer-term contract for Cassel most certainly will not reach that number … and maybe he ends up back with the Patriots anyway after becoming a UFA under a new contract with them.

    But Brady’s still young and it’s his team … how long does Cassel want to remain a backup? Wouldn’t he rather be running an offense of his own? Stay tuned.

    NHL LEARNS FROM HISTORY, MOVES FORWARD: According to the Associated Press, the NHL Players’ Association decided today not to reopen the collective bargaining agreement with the NHL, ensuring labor peace through the 2010-11 season. “The players and their executive board decided that due to the current economic conditions as well as the players’ focus on continuing to help grow this game and expose our great athletes to many more fans, now is not the appropriate time to enter complex labor negotiations,” NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly told the A.P.

    Obviously the NHL learned some valuable lessons from their shutdown a few years ago. The game is reclaiming fans and regaining speed in attendance. The last thing the league needs is any labor strife. But I wonder to myself: Would MLB, NFL and NBA players take the same stance in this tough economy? I bet puckheads everywhere would answer: “No.”

    ****

    THE WATERCOOLER

    QUESTION: Who do you think is the best player available in this year’s NFL draft?

    JEFF GORDON
    Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree is the can’t-miss guy. As a big wide-out with great skill, he can step in and have a huge impact immediately. Not even the Detroit Lions could screw this guy up. Quarterbacks Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez have obvious potential, but neither comes with guarantees. Experts have the Rams taking Alabama tackle Andre Smith, but his body type makes you wonder if he can handle NFL speed rushers.

    BILL COATS
    Alabama tackle Andre Smith. He’ll step in and start at left tackle — the second-most-important position on offense — for somebody. He’ll make an immediate impact. Not many rookies are able to do that.

    KATHLEEN NELSON
    Michael Crabtree. Scouts love the measurables: 6-3, 215. He’s strong and smooth, seems to run routes crisply and has a feature-length reel of acrobatic catches.

    STU DURANDO
    Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford. It’s time for the Rams to start grooming a new quarterback and Stafford would be perfect — if he’s not already gone. He didn’t put up spectacular numbers like the quarterbacks in the Big 12, but he’s considered a better prospect with a strong arm and accuracy on deep passes.

    VAHE GREGORIAN
    Michael Crabtree: Breathtaking skills make him a sure gamebreaker.

    ****

    THINGS TO PONDER

    HOPEFUL FOR LEADERSHIP: New Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was one of the hotter prospects this offseason to move into a head coaching position — though he had no previous head coaching experience at any level. Whether he ultimately succeeds or fails remains to be seen. But I find the optimism about Spagnuolo’s hiring to be strikingly similar to Obama-mania (another new leader moving into unchartered waters.) The sentiment that I see providing such optimism for both: Anything’s better than what we had.

    For Rams fans and for America, I hope the optimism for both is validated by history. (Note: They both got four-year contracts, so we’ll see soon enough.)

    ****

    :ramlogo:

  2. #2
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    I would most certainly take Cassel over Bulger...

    He is a mobile QB, that can pass so he can escape on some potential bad plays

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    AlphaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Until we fix the O-line, no QB stands a chance.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Cassel is great and i dont have a doubt plenty of teams will pursue him next year..would I take him over Bulger??..yes but I also wouldnt have a problem keeping Bulger either..but Cassels story along with Bulgers salary is the reason I think we dont need to rush in the draft for a qb..

  5. #5
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    Until we fix the O-line, no QB stands a chance.
    THAT is the right answer. I still thing Bulger can be a good QB, but not until the O-line protects him. Saw on stat on ESPN, and over the past few years (could have started in 2004, but whatever) Bulger has been the 2nd most sacked QB in the league.

    I wouldn't mind us getting a QB in the early-middle rounds though. That way if Bulger is still struggling, we have a guy to put in there and develop. If Bulger comes around and is playing well, then we got a pretty good backup (and with Bulger being hurt fairly often that would be important).

  6. #6
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    we need a tough quarterback not a fragile one.

  7. #7
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Long answer? I'm sorry, but Cassel doesn't win many points from me for one year of success on a talented Patriots team a year removed from an unbeaten regular season. Even though the Patriots didn't field a feature back 1,000 yard rusher, they boasted the sixth best rushing offense in the NFL in yards per game, fourth in total attempts, which certainly helped Cassel. Their defense, though not quite as feared as they've been in the past, still ranked in the top ten in scoring D, allowing less than 20 points per game. Oh, and Cassel certainly benefited from having Randy Moss and Wes Welker to throw to. Nearly 73% of Cassel's throws were to Moss, Welker, or Kevin Faulk as a checkdown. Meaning he wasn't exactly spreading the ball around. Also consider that 90% of Welker's 111 receptions were within ten yards of the line of scrimmage, which one would have to think are rather high percentage routes. He didn't exactly do well against playoff teams in 2008 either, boasting an unimpressive 2-4 record. His cumulative performance stat-wise against the six playoff teams he faced is respectable but greatly benefited from two exceptional outtings, one on the road against Miami and the other at home versus Arizona. In those two games, Cassel threw six touchdowns and only one INT. In his other four contests - at San Diego, at Indianapolis, at home versus Pittsburgh, and at home versus Miami - he was pedstrian at best. In those four contests, all losses mind you, he had a 1-to-5 TD to INT ratio. I say all this fully acknowledging that Cassel did have very impressive moments, especially considering this was really the longest streak of football he's actually gotten to play since, well, probably high school. But that needs to be tempered with the situation he was in, and an honest assessment has to conclude it was a pretty good one. It's certainly possible he goes on to have additional success in the NFL, either with the Patriots or another team. But given the whole picture of what he accomplished this season, where he accomplished it, and how he accomplished it, he's not a guy I'd throw big money behind after only one year of time on the field, nor could I say I'd want to trade the barn for him if New England decides to franchise tag him, which they probably will.


    Short answer? No.

  8. #8
    LA Rammer's Avatar
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    bulger still has a few left in the tank, and yes he is mobile enough to be successful in the league. If we can get some offensive line help, as already posted we can get far.

    How about this LT might be available??? SJ and LT in the same backfield???
    LA RAMMER

    It's Jim not Chris
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  9. #9
    Tony Banks's Avatar
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Not for the two first rounders it would cost if they franchise him. By the way, has a team ever actually given up the two first rounders for a franchised player? Plus, I'm not ready to give up on Bulger just yet.
    :1:

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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Quote Originally Posted by awnryRam View Post
    we need a tough quarterback not a fragile one.

    I guess we need a "tough" QB that can stand getting sacked 5 times a game.
    :1:

  11. #11
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    Until we fix the O-line, no QB stands a chance.
    I'm not making a case for a QB in the draft, but if what you're saying were the rule then the Lions would pass on Stafford/Sanchez and take Smith. However, most likely they will take the QB and then sit him while they build from the line out before playing him. Obviously no QB can play behind a porous line, which is why if they take a QB (this goes for first or late round) or if we were to take one that he would sit on the bench while the line is filled.

  12. #12
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    Until we fix the O-line, no QB stands a chance.
    Cassel had time to throw and plenty of lanes to run. You can't compare the two unless Cassel was put behind a line Bulger was in back of. Keep Cassel in New England, He's safer there. No need to torture another player that might have a future in this league.

  13. #13
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    No. I wouldn't take Brady over Marc, either. See the "o-line' reasoning above.

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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    Yes I would, and this is the reason.

    1) I believe that Marc Bulger is broken in a way he can't be fixed. Not with the Rams at least.

    2) Cassell is fresh and coming off a solid and comfortable season. We need a quarterback with confidence, and I believe that our new coaching staff will recognize the busted Offensive line that protects the Rams quarterbacks, and fix it this offseason. So start fresh, start new, go Cassell if the opportunity knocks.

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    Re: Would you take Cassel over Bulger?

    I wouldn't take Cassel over Marc, but I would take their OL over ours, how's that work?

    But . . . I would take Kurt over ANYBODY

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