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  • Painful hit on Bulger angers Martz

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/16/2004
    MACOMB, Ill. - The Rams' afternoon practice came to a sudden and eerily quiet halt Monday when quarterback Marc Bulger was bumped during two-minute-offense drills and wheeled away, grabbing his right arm.

    Defensive end Leonard Little charged in from the left side and shoved right tackle Greg Randall into Bulger, who doubled over and appeared to be in considerable pain as trainers hustled to his side. It turned out to be little more than a scare: A Rams official reported that Bulger suffered a mild bruise.

    "I'm fine," Bulger said later.

    Still, coach Mike Martz wasn't pleased by the close call. When asked by reporters about Bulger's status, Martz snapped: "I don't know. Hell, I'm not a doctor. It just happened 30 seconds ago. ...

    "Defensively, you've got to stop; this is our No. 1 quarterback. (Little) knocked (Randall) back into the quarterback. And the right tackle's got to do a better job of blocking. He just thinks it's a walk-through, I guess."

    Polley is told to prove himself

    Never mind that he's started 36 games in three seasons since the Rams drafted him in the second round in 2001: Linebacker Tommy Polley has been dropped to the No. 2 unit and, Martz said, will stay there until he proves that he deserves to move back up.

    "This isn't just something from a practice or a situation; this is over time," Martz said. "We've discussed this with Tommy.

    "He knows the situation, what he needs to do."

    The move was made after the Rams' 13-10 exhibition-opening loss to Chicago on Thursday. Polley, who declined an interview request Monday, was credited with two tackles. Tony Newson, who has replaced him with the first team, had three.

    Martz suggested that the switch not be over-emphasized.

    "This happens all the time in camp," he said. "We're trying combinations to see what the best combination is. We haven't settled on our final three yet, by any stretch of the imagination."

    Running back update

    Running back Marshall Faulk, recovering from offseason knee surgery, has participated in three consecutive practices for the first time since camp opened.

    Martz, who said before Thursday's game that Faulk was "not ready to play physically yet," is pleased with his progress.

    "He's taking every snap with the 1's (first unit), which is what we thought we'd do this week and see how he feels," Martz said. "Provided that there's no backward movement, he should be fine.

    "When I say that, I mean swelling or soreness, those kinds of things. We'll keep this really close to the vest and make sure that if there are any indications of that, we'll rest him."

    Faulk protege Steven Jackson, who also had knee surgery earlier this year, participated in Monday morning's full-pads workout but skipped the afternoon practice. Martz said Jackson's knee is "just not all the way rehabbed. He doesn't quite have the strength he has in the other leg. It's just natural after what he's had done to the knee that it's going to swell like that."

    Jackson, the team's top draft choice, has gotten a lot of work in camp, and he had a team-high 15 carries for 73 yards vs. the Bears.

    "He's taken so many reps ... so many reps ... that it's going to happen," Martz said. "So, we've just got to back him off."

  • #2
    Re: Painful hit on Bulger angers Martz

    You would think Polley would be motivated being a Contract year!! :tough:


    steve :ramlogo:
    "The breakfast Club":helmet:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Painful hit on Bulger angers Martz

      I thought I recalled Polley playing well in the pre-season game, but I guess with two tackles, maybe he didn't. I hope this other guy isn't #51, because that guy looked terrible in the game. He reminded me of Duncan on a bad day.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Painful hit on Bulger angers Martz

        I believe Newson is #51, yes.

        Comment

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        • Nick
          Manumaleuna impresses Martz
          by Nick
          Manumaleuna impresses Martz
          By Bill Coats
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          08/17/2004

          MACOMB, Ill. - When Mike Martz said that tight end Brandon Manumaleuna has "been consistently excellent throughout practice and our preseason game; he's not had any lapses," the Rams head coach apparently had a lapse of his own.

          On the 11th play of the Rams' first series vs. Chicago on Thursday, blitzing Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer charged by Manumaleuna and sacked quarterback Marc Bulger. The 9-yard loss stalled the drive at the Chicago 15-yard line, and Jeff Wilkins booted a 33-yard field goal. The Bears won 13-10 in overtime at the Edward Jones Dome.

          So, Manumaleuna hasn't been perfect since camp opened July 27 at Western Illinois University. But he's been good enough that Martz probably can be forgiven for his episode of selective memory.

          "Brandon's come light years," Martz said. "He's done just a great job. He finally, at this point, I think, is ready to take off."

          The Rams certainly hope so, considering that in the offseason, they put up $8.3 million over five years to prevent him from going to Carolina as a restricted free agent. Manumaleuna, 24, said he appreciated the Panthers' interest. "It was good to know that you were wanted somewhere," he said.

          But he was glad that the Rams kept him. "I was comfortable with everybody here, I like everybody on the team, and the organization's fine," he said. "I looked at it as, I couldn't lose either way."

          After making only nine catches in his first two years since the Rams selected him in the fourth round of the 2001 draft, Manumaleuna came up with 29 catches for 238 yards last season, his first as the team's No. 1 tight end. He expects even more this year.

          "I would like to have better numbers after this year, so I do have some bigger goals. We'll see what happens," he said. The first step in that direction was the shedding of 13 pounds in the offseason, dropping him to 275 on his 6-foot-2 frame.

          "He felt that I'd be a better receiver, and he also wanted to get me more involved with the offense," Manumaleuna said. "So, he asked me if I'd come in a lot lighter. I did that, and ... everything's going well."

          Bulger's arm is fine

          Quarterback Marc Bulger reported that his right (throwing) arm was "a little sorer than it was" Monday, after he suffered what was termed a mild bruise. Bulger was bumped by tackle Greg Randall, who had been pushed back by defensive end Leonard Little.

          Bulger, who felt a jolt of pain to his upper arm, said he was scared "for about two seconds. But you know pretty quick if you're hurt or not, and I realized I wasn't."
          -08-18-2004, 01:26 AM
        • RamWraith
          Struggles prove value of Bulger, Martz says
          by RamWraith
          By Bill Coats
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          Monday, Dec. 20 2004

          Two weeks ago the Rams were 6-6 and in control in the NFC West. Now they're 6-8
          and a game behind Seattle, with two weeks left in the regular season. What
          changed?

          Most notably, the quarterback position, coach Mike Martz emphasized Monday, a
          day after the Rams were smothered 31-7 in Arizona. Had starter Marc Bulger
          remained healthy instead of missing the last two outings with a bruised
          throwing shoulder, the Rams' situation might be significantly different, Martz
          indicated.

          "Obviously, you can see the difference. How much of a difference would he have
          made at Carolina? It's all the difference in the world," Martz said. "I think
          he's one of the elite in the league. I've been saying that for a long time. Now
          that he was out of the picture, I think everybody can appreciate how good he
          really is. And how stymied we become in a lot of areas without him."

          Stymied, indeed. The once-powerful Rams offense produced one touchdown in a
          20-7 loss to Carolina, then was stopped cold by the Cardinals. A 61-yard fumble
          return by defensive end Leonard Little provided the Rams' only points.

          Some 111 games had passed since a 14-0 loss to Miami on Oct. 18, 1998, the last
          time the Rams offense failed to score.

          Bulger, who is expected to play Monday night against Philadelphia, was leading
          the NFL in passing yardage before he was hurt in the first quarter Dec. 5
          against San Francisco. Chris Chandler replaced him, and the Rams went on to a
          16-6 win.

          But Chandler, 39, tossed six interceptions in a woeful showing at Carolina,
          then was pulled after a grisly first quarter at Sun Devil Stadium. His future
          with the team is unclear; Martz said that Jamie Martin "more than likely" would
          back up Bulger vs. the Eagles. That presumably would leave rookie Jeff Smoker
          as the No. 3 quarterback, and Chandler, a 17-year veteran, perhaps unemployed.

          Martin, a 10-year journeyman who hadn't appeared in a regular-season game in
          two years, completed 16 of 31 passes for 188 yards, without an interception
          Sunday and earned effusive praise from Martz.

          The Rams had 185 yards on offense, their lowest total of the season. Bulger's
          presence, Martz insisted, might have changed that.

          "He gets the ball so quickly out of there under duress and pressure that you
          don't really realize it," Martz said. "There may have been a breakdown in
          protection, but he still completes the ball. Those kinds of things, you just
          don't really completely comprehend or appreciate until he's not in there."

          Davis provoked Polley,...
          -12-21-2004, 04:57 AM
        • RamWraith
          Offensive line is in rough shape
          by RamWraith
          By Jim Thomas
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          08/24/2004
          The problems on the Rams offensive line aren't going to go away in a day or two. Coach Mike Martz conceded as much Tuesday, sifting through the ashes of the previous night's 24-7 meltdown in Kansas City.

          The real question is: Can they be sorted out in 18 days, when the Rams open the regular season against Arizona?

          "Provided that we can keep what we have healthy, with the addition of Orlando (Pace), absolutely," Martz said. "And even if Orlando's not here, we'll put out a first unit that will compete and play well."

          But at the moment:

          Left tackle Grant Williams has a sprained ankle that Martz said probably needs about a week to properly heal, although Williams may keep playing through it.

          "We're so thin at this point," Martz said. "I told him, do what you can do. If he can't (play), this is his decision and I respect him. ... There's great character in that man. He wanted to be there (against Kansas City), and I appreciate that. I'm very grateful for that."

          Williams had been wearing a protective boot around the ankle in practice but scrapped the boot in favor of extra tape against Kansas City. "The boot was causing numbness," Williams said. "The ankle wore down as the night went on. Certain movements, it didn't affect me. But whenever I had to push on it, there wasn't a lot there."

          Chris Dishman is rounding into shape at left guard but still has a way to go.

          "I think Big Dish is going to be fine," Martz said. "He's obviously a few weeks away from being ready physically. He's really out of shape, but he's light years ahead of where he was when he came in. ... He played much better (against Kansas City) than I thought he would at this point."

          The recently unretired Tom Nutten still needs a couple of weeks before he's ready to play.

          Right guard Adam Timmerman is bothered by a nagging shoulder problem, and may not practice or play Friday against Washington.

          Right tackle Scott Tercero is a preseason bright spot, even though the blitz-heavy Chiefs threw a lot at him Monday. "He probably played the best of all the offensive linemen (Monday) night," Martz said.

          The situation would improve dramatically once left tackle Pace, embroiled in a contract dispute, shows up. But when does that take place?

          "When he gets here, he gets here," Martz said. "I don't have any idea how much work he needs because I don't know what kind of shape he's in. I don't know what he's been doing. I don't know anything about him.

          "I have not talked to Orlando since the end of the season. He's not returned any calls to any of the coaches, any of the players, or anything else."
          ...
          -08-25-2004, 06:44 AM
        • RamWraith
          Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special
          by RamWraith
          From Charlotte Gazette

          June 06, 2004
          Mitch Vingle

          Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special


          ST. LOUIS RAMS head coach Mike Martz flew into Charleston Friday for a good cause.

          In order to help the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, he attended a black-tie gala at the Civic Center.

          But even before putting on his tux, Martz had a tie to West Virginia. A strong one, in fact, in Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, the former WVU standout. And it didn’t take but a few minutes after landing at Yeager Airport for the subject to be broached.


          Which brought a smile to Martz’s face.

          “We just love the guy,’’ said the coach. “He’s like the players’ little brother. He’s just so humble. You can’t help but like him.’’

          Martz and the Rams more than like Bulger, though. They signed him to a four-year, $19.1 million contract in April — and released two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner, who led the team to two Super Bowls.

          Of course, there’s little to dislike about Bulger. The guy is 18-4 as the Rams’ regular-season starter. But even Martz admits the rise of the QB is storybook. Bulger was cut by the New Orleans Saints before being plucked by the Rams from the Atlanta Falcons’ roster.

          “I remember the first time I saw ,’’ Martz said. “I was breaking down tape. I was watching him and he didn’t have a real good senior year , but the guy who was running our college scouting at the time — John Becker — said, ‘I really like this guy.’ He said, ‘Don’t look at his senior tape. Go back and look at his junior season.’ ’’

          So the coach did.

          “I went back and looked at his junior tape — and was just astounded,’’ Martz said. “I’d never seen anybody with that quick of a delivery before. I mean, he was like Marino. He had that Marino quickness of getting the ball out of there.



          “He was accurate and had plenty of arm strength, but he was injured and in a new system his senior year so things didn’t go well.

          “We were fine, obviously,’’ the coach continued. “We had Kurt and didn’t feel our quarterback situation was a real big need. So we did what we call a ‘red tag.’ We put a ‘tag’ on him. We decided to follow him through his career, and if he would come up again, then we’d decide if we wanted to bring him in.’’

          Now, he’s a Rams team captain along with stars Marshall Faulk and Aeneas Williams. Sure, Bulger threw 22 interceptions last season, but he finished second in the NFL in completions. He also earned a Pro Bowl berth and was named the game’s MVP.

          Martz claims it didn’t take long to realize Bulger was special.

          “First series in his very first start in 2002,’’ said the coach. “We were playing the Oakland Raiders. We were coming off the Super Bowl loss and were 0-5. Kurt was struggling, then he broke his...
          -06-07-2004, 07:55 AM
        • RamWraith
          Bulger's Big Day Lost in the Shuffle
          by RamWraith
          Monday, September 26, 2005

          By Nick Wagoner
          Senior Writer

          It isn’t often that a quarterback’s performance will get lost in the shuffle of a football game considering that no player on the field has as much impact on a game as the signal caller. It’s even more rare for the quarterback to be overlooked when he has a really good game or a really bad game.

          But leave it to the quiet, unassuming Marc Bulger to have a tough, excellent performance and have it go pretty much unnoticed. After a tough start that left Bulger with a 20.8 quarterback rating at the end of the first quarter and more bumps and bruises than passing yards after being sacked twice and hit countless other times, Bulger rebounded to have one of his best games as a pro.

          Coach Mike Martz said you can attribute that effort to Bulger’s toughness.

          “Here’s what you have to consider about his performance, how we started, first of all,” Martz said. “He’s getting sacked and drilled back there to begin with. That normally would rattle any quarterback. I don’t care how good you are. Then, all of a sudden, you are behind by 10 points and you can’t get back to put your foot in the ground to throw, or they’re all over you. So, that can be disillusioning to any quarterback, and then to come back and do what he did the way he did it, I thought was outstanding.”

          By the end of the day Bulger had 292 yards on 21-of-28 passing and three touchdowns for a rating of 128.9. It was amazing that Bulger was even able to stand upright by the end of the game, let alone posting those kind of numbers.

          Bulger took so many hits that there were a number of occasions where it appeared he might not get up.

          “I never go there, I don’t think about that,” Martz said.

          But Bulger thinks about it, usually when he is hobbling his way back to the huddle after a particularly vicious hit.

          Take, for example, the obvious forearm to the throat delivered by Titans’ safety Tank Williams that led to a Rams’ timeout. Or the dive at the knees from defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch that resulted in a roughing the passer penalty.

          Those types of hits have become almost routine for Bulger.

          “It seems like Murphy’s Law, get hit in the same spots that you don’t want to get hit in,” Bulger said. “That’s the NFL, everyone feels the same. It feels a lot better when you win.”

          And Bulger was a big reason for that win. When the offensive line settled in during the third quarter, the offense began to click. Bulger rang up a perfect rating of 158.3 in the second half, going 13-of-15 for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions.

          “I don’t know what to tell you about Marc, he’s just an outstanding competitor,” Martz said.

          REPLAY REVISITED: Judging by Martz’s reaction to the replace challenge of the “lateral,”...
          -09-27-2005, 05:56 AM
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