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  • Prisco on Bulger ...

    Camp tours: Rams' Bulger finally lands big cash, respect
    Aug. 24, 2007
    By Pete Prisco

    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Marc Bulger looks like a kid throwing passes for the local high school. He isn't big, doesn't have a rocket for an arm and when you sit down with him off the field, a baseball cap on his head, you half expect to hear him say he's late for a senior English class.

    Maybe that's why Bulger, the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, doesn't get his due. There is nothing eye-opening about the way he plays the game. He doesn't have the theatrics at the line of a Peyton Manning or the Tom Brady gun or the size of a Carson Palmer.

    But Bulger does have something those guys have: numbers and money.

    The numbers say he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The money verifies it. Before the start of training camp, Bulger signed a six-year, $65-million deal that puts him in the top five quarterbacks in terms of pay.

    Not bad for a guy who was cut by the New Orleans Saints in his first attempt to make the league without ever getting the chance to throw a pass in team drills that summer.

    "I can finally not have to worry about the stuff that stinks about the NFL," Bulger said during a sitdown in the cafeteria at the Rams Park facility. "I don't have to worry about any of that stuff. That hasn't happened since I played high school ball. I'm just playing ball again.

    There's a lot more pressure, but there's none of that stuff where I'm wondering if I get hurt if they would hold it against me in contract talks. I can play football and not worry about any of that."

    To travel the road Bulger has been forced to travel has made him a little jaded, and understandably so. Wouldn't you be if you were told so many times that you couldn't make it?

    After a stellar career at West Virginia, he wasn't drafted until the sixth round by the Saints. He was subsequently cut without a real chance, lost in a crowded field of not-so-great quarterbacks. He went home to Pittsburgh, and was offered a job in the now-defunct XFL.

    "I knew I was better than a lot of quarterbacks drafted ahead of me," Bulger said. "There was no way I was playing in that league. I knew I could play in the NFL."

    His break came one Sunday while he attended a Steelers game. During the game, he and his buddies heard that Rams quarterback Kurt Warner had injured a finger. Having already worked out for Rams coach Mike Martz, Bulger thought something might happen the next day.

    "I think I could be getting a call," he told his friends.

    The call came and the Rams brought Bulger in as a practice-squad quarterback. They let him go when Warner got healthy and he briefly toyed with the idea of signing with Atlanta, but the Rams told him he'd get a $20,000 bonus after that season if he waited.

    "That was a lot of money then," Bulger said.

    Now it's tip money.

    Bulger came to the Rams at a time when Warner was thriving, winning MVP honors and leading the Rams to a Super Bowl victory.

    Bulger would have to wait some more. The chip on his shoulder continued to grow, and it really didn't disappear until he received his contract this summer.

    "I really did have a chip," Bulger said. "Because the Saints cut me, I wished they'd lose every game. I don't do that anymore. I've gotten rid of the chip. I wouldn't be starting here if people didn't believe in me."

    When he did take over for Warner, it was a tough act to follow. Rams fans adored Warner's rags-to-riches story. Plus, he was open and accessible. Bulger was more closed off, a humble, quiet kid who didn't let a lot of people into his circle.

    Bulger said he'd walk around and often hear people say this: "You're not Kurt."

    That can take a toll on a player, which helped the chip grow even bigger. Eventually, though, Bulger has won over the fans. His constant ability to move the Rams through the air has warmed the city to him.

    Last year he sizzled, getting career highs in completions (370), yards (4,301) and touchdown passes (24).

    So how does he get it done? What are the secrets to the success of a quarterback who is clearly underwhelming in terms of the raw skills needed to play the position?

    Watching him practice, wearing the yellow No. 10 jersey, you'd hardly believe this was the quarterback with the fifth-highest passer rating in NFL history. He looks frail, the ball doesn't come out like a rocket and he doesn't move all that well.

    So here's the secret: He's deadly accurate.

    "He has unbelievable accuracy and timing," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "He'll throw it into a spot that most people wouldn't dare throw it."

    Bulger also knows how to read the field. He said a lot of that has to do with his physical limitations.

    "Not being able to run and having a big arm has helped me because I can't wait until the last second and just fire something in there," Bulger said. "And I can't look at one read and run because I can't run. I had to learn my progressions and understand why people are doing things on defense. That goes along with the best thing I can do. I have a lot of faults, but accuracy is the one thing I do have. If I can stand there and have time, I can put it where I want."

    Despite his success, doubters still say he's a good quarterback who has played in great systems with great players, rather than a great quarterback. I used to think that once, but no more. He's an elite passer now.

    Even Linehan admitted he wondered the same thing before taking over as the Rams coach in 2006.

    "I think I wondered how much of it was the personnel around him," Linehan said. "Although the personnel around him is really, really special, I kind of changed my mind. You still have to have a guy who can get the balls to those guys. Kurt Warner did it in a very, very special way. Marc doesn't have the Super Bowls yet, but he did it his way and there wasn't a dropoff. I have a lot more respect for him now."

    So do I. After talking to him, I do so even more. Here's a self-made star who still seems as down to earth as sixth-round pick hoping for a chance. The book on Bulger is that he is guarded and doesn't open up too much. But on the day I talked to him, he was anything but.

    He was funny and informative. When I brought up the fact that he was from Dan Marino's high school, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, meaning he'll always be the second-best quarterback from that school, he laughed.

    "I gave up on No. 1 a long time ago," Bulger said.

    Bulger also mentioned how he's in the process of collecting signed jerseys from all the Pittsburgh-area quarterbacks. He recently added a signed Johnny Unitas jersey and has a Jim Kelly, Marino and others. He's still working on the Joe Montana autograph, he said.

    As he talked, sitting there in his baseball cap, he sounded like a high-school kid, the excitement of it all easily readable on his face.

    But don't be fooled. This is one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, a deadly accurate passer who finally has shed the chip that has weighed him down for so long. What a great story his is, not unlike Brady, not unlike Warner.

    "It is something," Bulger said. "But I never stopped believing."

    He got up and walked away and all I could think that he looked like a high-school kid rushing to get a ride home from dad. Hard to believe this was really Marc Bulger, NFL quarterback -- make that star quarterback.

    Out of Nowhere Man
    LB Quinton Culberson
    Although he led Mississippi State in tackles, Culberson was not drafted in April. Some scouts thought he was too slow. But in camp he has played the run well and he's also swift enough to be a factor in the passing game. He played eight plays against the Chargers and had six tackles. Look for him to make the team and help out on special teams and maybe eventually see time late in the season on defense.
    '06 Rewind: OL Richie Incognito

    Miles from Nowhere: Despite a load of anger issues Buddy Rydell wouldn't be able to fix, Richie Incognito went on to play in all 16 games for the Rams at guard last season and was a key cog in an offensive line that helped tailback Steven Jackson lead the league in total yards. If he stays out of trouble, he'll be a mainstay in St. Louis for years to come.

  • #2
    Re: Prisco on Bulger ...

    Glad to hear people starting to come around and give bulger his props its a shame some people don't consider him an elite Qb
    Torry Holt Dont play that


    • #3
      Re: Prisco on Bulger ...

      Lets hope he stays humble, continues to win over his team members and show that he belongs in an elite group throughout his career.


      Related Topics


      • RamWraith
        Bulger Focusing on the Future
        by RamWraith
        Wednesday, September 20, 2006

        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        As Marc Bulger continues to look for the consistency and rhythm in the passing game that made him one of the league’s most statistically decorated quarterbacks in his first three years as a starter, he has realized that he can longer look at what’s happened.

        Instead, Bulger has come to the realization that he can only focus on the future and how he can get a better handle on grasping the new system installed by Coach Scott Linehan.

        A full grasp of that system has yet to come to Bulger as he has struggled at times in the first pair of regular season games. For a player who has made it look so easy at times in the past few years, that has been a difficult adjustment.

        “It’s tough, especially when you know what you have been able to do,” Bulger said. “But you can’t live in the past. You have to move on and just know that this is new and you have to learn this and be patient and it’s not going to come all at once. It’s not easy, but we have to deal with it. There’s no sense in forcing it or giving up now. We have to fight through.”

        Perhaps no player on any football team will have the constant scrutiny of the starting quarterback. It’s his job to know not only his tasks on every play, but also to know the whereabouts of every player on every play and have the ability to identify the opposing defensive scheme.

        With a new system comes new terminology, but it also brings a new philosophy. Things in the Mike Martz era were freewheeling and potent. And Bulger fit in to that scheme as well as anyone. Although he didn’t have as much freedom to audible or do many of the things that many quarterbacks around the league can, there was always some built in rules and regulations to help Bulger if he identified something in the defense.

        Those rules allowed Bulger to go to a fallback plan in the play and have ways to get out of trouble. Bulger says he probably never would have had a full grasp of Martz’s offense and he knows it won’t happen overnight in Linehan’s less complex system, either.

        One player who knows all about adjusting to a new system is the man who showed Bulger the NFL ropes, Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner. Warner has kept in touch with Bulger since he left for New York two years ago.

        Warner has since bounced from New York to Arizona where he is settling in as the team’s starter. He and Bulger talk about once every three or four weeks and Warner has offered Bulger advice on being patient with the adjustment to Linehan’s system.

        “We actually talk quite a bit,” Warner said. “I actually talked to him just last week. He did tell me he is working through it. It is a work in progress, but he is working to get to that point where it is second nature to him. After being where he was with Mike (Martz) and that type of...
        -09-21-2006, 04:25 AM
      • RamDez
        There's no marked change in Marc Bulger
        by RamDez
        There's no marked change in Marc Bulger
        By Jim Thomas

        Of the Post-Dispatch

        MACOMB, Ill. - Marc Bulger became Joe Millionaire when he signed a four-year, $19.1 million contract in May.

        All that money, including a $9 million signing bonus, represents a commitment by the Rams' organization to Bulger as its quarterback of the future. At least, of the near future.

        But money aside, Bulger remains Joe Quarterback - just a regular guy when it comes to his approach to the game and all that comes with being a QB in the NFL.

        He doesn't necessarily avoid the spotlight, but doesn't seek it out, either.

        He has never been about the glitter, the endorsements, the radio and TV shows. And that doesn't figure to change, even though his life changed in a big way with the new contract and the departure of Kurt Warner.

        "I really don't think it will change," Bulger said. "It is challenging sometimes. You get opportunities that you want to do. But you have to stick to who you are, and what will make you happy.

        "And I don't think that doing a show maybe for an hour a week on Monday is going to make me happy. I had opportunities to do it last year, and the year before, and it's just not something that appeals to me."

        For one, he no longer needs the money. For another, he likes to keep his own time his own time. For yet another, he wants to keep his eye on the target.

        "Now that I have a new contract, I'm pretty secure," Bulger said. "I can concentrate on football. I'm not going to go looking for things to do. When you get those few hours off, you need that to rest. You need that to get refreshed for the next week. And I think doing too many things would hurt this team rather than help it."

        So you're probably never going to see Bulger with a Monday night show on St. Louis television. ("Highly unlikely," he says.)

        You're not likely to see him pitching cars, or cell phones, or plasma screens any time soon. (OK, he does have a shoe contract.)

        And no disrespect to Warner, but you're not going to see Bulger at a table signing autographs for 45 minutes following every practice in training camp.

        "There's not going to be a table," Bulger said. "I don't have my own football card to give out (as Warner did), so I can't get the table going. ... I'll sign my share but I'm not going to go out looking or anything."

        The fact that Bulger seems intent on avoiding the trappings of success has not gone unnoticed by coach Mike Martz.

        "Football's his passion," Martz said. "It's pretty much his life right now, and he's not interested in anything else. He's squared away. He doesn't need those things. And I think that's the attraction of Marc
        -08-01-2004, 05:29 AM
      • AvengerRam_old
        No faith in Bulger? Okay. Don't like Bulger? I don't get that.
        by AvengerRam_old
        I can understand why some Rams fans may have lost faith in Marc Bulger. He certainly has not played well over the past two seasons, and there is no guarantee that he will regain the form that resulted in two Pro Bowl appearances.

        What I don't get, though, is why some Rams fans have such a dislike for the guy.

        In my book, you should dislike a player who is disruptive, who fails to give his all, who holds out unreasonably, or who has off-the-field incidents that impact the team.

        When has Bulger ever been disruptive? At worst, he was caught in a sideline eye roll prompted by a coach who essentially lost the confidence of the whole team.

        When has he failed to give his all? He has played hurt, and done so knowing that he would likely take several hits on the field.

        When has he held out unreasonably? As I recall, he may have missed a day of camp when finalizing his last contract.

        When has he had an off-the-field incident? As far as we know... never.

        Maybe for some fans it is the fact that Bulger replaced Kurt Warner. But is that a reason to dislike the guy? He didn't do anything underhanded. He just played well and, when given the call to start, did his job. Others might fall back on the old "he's not fiery enough" or "he's not a leader." The thing is, every time a player is interviewed on the subject, they say Bulger is a leader, albeit a somewhat quiet one.

        I don't know what "Act III" of Bulger's Rams career will look like. Maybe he'll rise to the top again and lead the Rams back to the playoffs. Maybe he's too far gone and will be replaced in the next year or two by a young QB.

        Whatever happens, I think he deserves the respect and admiration of Rams fans. He's a guy who has always given a full effort and utilized the talents he possesses, often in difficult circumstances. He has done so while comporting himself as a model NFL citizen.

        As fans, that might not be enough to make us say "that guy should not be replaced." It should, however, be more than enough for us to say "I respect the guy and appreciate what he's done for this team."

        All too often, Bulger does not get that level of respect.
        -05-18-2009, 08:57 AM
      • RamDez
        Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis
        by RamDez
        Bulger is QB of choice in St. Louis
        Low-key personality belies determination to lead Rams
        By Dan O'Neill contributor
        Aug. 10, 2004

        He is a Marc-ed man now. The St. Louis Rams, at least those grazing on the offensive side of the ball, officially will come under his care and direction this winter. Lock, stock, and Bulger.

        “I really don’t think things have changed,” Marc Bulger said. “It is challenging sometimes; you get opportunities that you want to do. But you have to stick to who you are and what will make you happy.”

        The Rams have done their part to make Bulger happy. In April, coach Mike Martz declared Bulger would be his starting quarterback this season. Shortly thereafter, the organization made it crystal clear, giving Bulger a four-year, $19.1 million contract and releasing former league MVP Kurt Warner. Warner resides in New York now, trying turn the pumpkin back into a coach, keeping the seat warm while The Apprentice, Eli Manning, gets his feet wet.

        Undisputed No. 1 this season
        For the first time since he came off the bench and played surprisingly well for an injured Warner in 2002, Bulger will enter a season as the Rams’ undisputed heavyweight quarterback, no controversy, no questions asked. He will call his signals without Warner — literally and figuratively — looking over his shoulder. Or as offensive lineman Andy McCollum put it: “We’re here to protect Marc. He’s the man now.”

        In turn, “the man” has looked the part. Bulger is throwing short, intermediate, and long passes with precision and purpose, he is making the right reads, choosing the right receivers. He threw for an NFC-leading 3,845 yards and completed 63 percent of his passes last season. He was named the Pro Bowl MVP when the season was over. All that was before he officially had the job. Now that he is entitled, he is infuego.

        “I’ve very pleased with him,” Martz said. “He’s been consistently very good. He is markedly improved from a year ago, no question about it, in terms of just getting the speed of seeing things and getting the ball to the right guy.”

        Bulger will tell you the presence of Warner wasn't negative. At 27 years of age, Bulger is modest and respectful, qualities that endear him to his teammates. He insists he appreciated Warner, tried to emulate him, learn from him, lean on him. But the absence of Warner World should make for a significantly less stressful environment. The new second-in-command at the quarterback position in St. Louis is 38-year old Chris Chandler, an experienced hand who has no delusions at this stage of his career. Chandler won't be standing on the sideline with a helmet in hand and a hankering to prove he can still pilot the ship. He is a walking insurance policy, and the deductible will only be exceeded on an emergency basis.

        Outside distractions avoided
        There is no media...
        -08-10-2004, 02:39 PM
      • RamsInfiniti
        For the Bulger haters ....
        by RamsInfiniti
        Rams quarterback Bulger absorbs unfair criticism
        By Bryan Burwell

        In victory or defeat, Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson are always the most interesting guys in the Rams locker room. Bulger, the quarterback, is the conservative, calculated introvert; Jackson, the power running back, is the definitive swashbuckling extrovert. Bulger often dishes details in quiet moderation, dodging around controversy like a nimble dancer. Jackson often hurls himself directly into the teeth of a maelstrom with bold proclamations.

        But in the eyes of some St. Louis Rams fans, these two conflicting personalities will always be one and the same. In good times and bad, in victory or defeat, Bulger and Jackson wear the dreaded labels of The Replacement Players, never to be judged for who they are, but always for who they are not.

        Bulger isn't Kurt Warner.

        Jackson isn't Marshall Faulk.

        On Sunday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome, they both heard and felt the wrath of those unsatisfied fans throughout the course of a 34-13 loss to Warner's Arizona Cardinals. Any time the Cardinals come to town, Bulger knows what to expect. He is going to be measured (and drawn and quartered, too) by the scoreboard and the stat sheet comparison with the Super Bowl hero he replaced six seasons ago.

        "If you want to put the blame on me (for why the offense struggled), well, I don't care," Bulger said in a quiet but combative voice. "Oh, I know everyone's going to say it's my fault. They're going to say I'm throwing off my back foot or crap like that. But you know what? I don't care what people say. All I care about are what my teammates and my family says. Everyone else? I don't give a damn."

        After seven years of this never-ending Bulger vs. Warner saga, the Rams QB no longer concerns himself with trying to win an unwinnable public debate. Those who love Warner will always love Warner, and bash Bulger. He gets that better than most. He knows that nothing shy of five Super Bowls and a Hall of Fame induction will get the haters off his back. He also knows that games like this will supply ammunition to those who always seek to praise his good friend at his expense.

        So as he stood in front of his locker stall, he prepared for the barrage because he knew there was no question that the former understudy was outplayed by his old mentor. Warner threw for more yards (342 to 186), had a better completion percentage (67 percent to 48 percent), a higher pass-efficiency rating (120.0 to 60.9), and was never harassed or frustrated by the pass rush like Bulger was. Warner is running one of the NFL's most potent offenses, and Bulger is laboring with one of the league's worst outfits (28th).

        On Sunday, that Rams offense turned from bad to worse. Within the first few minutes, Bulger was stuck with no running...
        -11-03-2008, 07:19 AM