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St. Louis Rams Offense Back Together

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  • St. Louis Rams Offense Back Together

    St. Louis Rams offense back together

    BY JIM THOMAS [email protected]

    09/10/2009

    Quarterback Marc Bulger took snaps under center for the first time in 3˝ 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.

  • #2
    Re: St. Louis Rams Offense Back Together

    Ahh this is so exciting. hahaha

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    • r8rh8rmike
      Injuries Add Up For Rams
      by r8rh8rmike
      Injuries add up for Rams

      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      10/08/2009

      Coach Steve Spagnuolo entered the week hoping for a little luck on the injury front.

      "We do have to get healthy," he said Monday. "We've got some guys that are banged up. We need to get some guys back."

      Instead, things went the other way Wednesday at Rams Park. Both starting wide receivers, Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton, couldn't finish practice because of what Spagnuolo termed sore hamstrings. Backup safety Anthony Smith, who spent most of the San Francisco game with the starting defense following Craig Dahl's concussion, couldn't finish practice because of an Achilles tendon problem.

      All told, the Rams' official injury report had seven players listed as limited participation. Six are potential starters Sunday when the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings visit the Edward Jones Dome.

      "We got a little more dinged today," Spagnuolo said following Wednesday's practice. "It's that time of the year in the NFL. Guys are going to be sore. They've just got to fight through 'em, and our guys are doing that."

      To cut down on wear and tear, the Rams weren't in full pads Wednesday, usually the one day of the week where most teams work in full gear during the regular season.

      Among the walking wounded, cornerback Ron Bartell (thigh) and Dahl appear the most ready to play Sunday ... just in time for Brett Favre.

      "It feels 10 times better — the week off really helped," said Bartell, who missed his first game since high school Sunday against San Francisco because of his thigh injury. "I feel like with the next four or five days, I'll make enough progress to play. I have every intention of playing and starting Sunday, and helping us win. So barring no setbacks, I'll be playing."

      Dahl, the starter at strong safety until James Butler (knee) returns in a week or so, suffered his concussion in the first quarter against the *****. "On a tackle I had made, I got hit in the side of the head by the running back," Dahl said. "I came up fine, but just a little disoriented. Could tell things weren't right. I stayed in the rest of the series and then came out."

      But Dahl passed the "baseline" memory and cognitive skills test Tuesday, a necessary first step for players returning from concussions. If he gets through the practice week without any post-concussion symptoms, he will be back in the lineup against Minnesota.

      Things aren't as clear cut at quarterback, where Marc Bulger is trying to work his way back to game readiness after suffering a bruised rotator cuff Sept. 27 against Green Bay.

      Last week, Bulger had test results sent to noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews for a second opinion on his injured right shoulder....
      -10-08-2009, 09:05 AM
    • Alec22
      Bulgers Back - Kind Of
      by Alec22
      Bulger takes direct snaps in practice for first time since breaking pinkie
      Associated Press


      ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger is taking direct snaps for the first time since breaking his right pinkie.


      Bulger missed the last three preseason games after being injured in practice. In recent workouts, he had been working only out of the shotgun.

      Bulger said last week he'd be ready for the opener Sunday at Seattle, and added he wouldn't use his injury as an excuse. The pinkie was taped for Wednesday's workout.

      Bulger took several snaps from center Jason Brown off to the side before the team session began. New coach Steve Spagnuolo is closing practices after the first half-hour this week.
      -09-09-2009, 12:54 PM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Bulger Finally Takes Snaps At Center
      by r8rh8rmike
      09.09.2009 12:18 pm
      Bulger finally takes snaps under center
      By Bill Coats
      St. Louis Post-Dispatch

      For the first time since breaking the little finger on his right hand 3 1/2 weeks ago, St. Louis Rams QB Marc Bulger moved under center and took snaps Wednesday at practice. That would seem to remove any lingering doubt over Bulger’s availability for Sunday’s regular-season opener at Seattle.

      Rookie Jason Smith was lined up at right tackle with the first-team offense early in the workout (reporters were permitted to watch only the first 30 minutes).

      Two players have switched numbers: running back Samkon Gado, to 35 from 38; and cornerback Cord Parks, to 23 from 42.

      All for now . . . more later.
      -09-09-2009, 11:27 AM
    • MauiRam
      Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride
      by MauiRam
      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      11/05/2009

      Bulger-bashers everywhere received more ammunition Sunday when the Rams quarterback went into a slide to avoid contact on a third-down scramble in Detroit.

      In what was a 10-2 game in the Rams' favor at the time, Marc Bulger's slide ended a 5-yard gain to the St. Louis 46. Trouble was, the Rams needed 6 yards for a first down with 9 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter.

      On Wednesday, in his first comments about the controversial slide, Bulger offered no apologies or mea culpas for the play. "I was close (to a first down)," Bulger said. "There's been times this year I've gone in head first and it's hurt me for a couple weeks. So I thought I had it, but I didn't."

      And then, cognizant of the criticism the play has come under from fans and some members of the media, Bulger paused and added, "I'm really not worried about it."

      On one hand, Bulger did miss two games entirely and most of a third with a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. In addition, Detroit safety Louis Delmas, who had temporarily knocked tight end Randy McMichael out of the game with an earlier big hit, had Bulger in his sights for another "kill shot."

      On the other hand, when contrasted with the fight-to-the-last-drop approach of running back Steven Jackson at Ford Field, the slide didn't come across well. Some have referred to it as Bulger's "Jim Everett moment," a reference to the play in which the former Los Angeles Rams quarterback hit the deck to avoid a sack in the 1989 NFC championship game.

      When asked about the slide earlier this week, coach Steve Spagnuolo didn't seem to have a problem with it.

      "Marc's usually pretty good at that," Spagnuolo said. "If any guy is going to make the first down on that ... he usually finds ways to get a first down."

      In his own words prior to this season, Bulger termed 2009 a make-or-break year for him. But as he and his teammates began a four-day break to conclude their bye week, it was a topic Bulger didn't want to discuss Wednesday.

      "During the season, I don't want to evaluate that," Bulger said. "We have to win games, I understand that. I think it'd be selfish to look at my own situation and put that on the team. We're all in this together, and we're just going to try to win as many as we can in the second half."

      With a rebuilt offensive line and a revolving door at wide receiver, Bulger's numbers are way down for the third consecutive season. He ranks in the bottom fourth of the NFL in almost all the major statistical passing categories except for interceptions (he's thrown only four).

      For his part, Spagnuolo remains unwavering in his public support of Bulger as his starting quarterback.

      "I've...
      -11-05-2009, 08:22 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Bulger Not Ready To Discuss Future
      by r8rh8rmike
      Bulger not ready to discuss future
      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      11/28/2009

      "Sure," Marc Bulger said, when asked if he'd like to be back with the Rams next season.

      But that's as far as he cared to discuss that topic Friday, in his first comments since suffering a fractured shin bone in his left leg against Arizona.

      "I don't even want to talk about that," Bulger said. "We're going to have plenty of time in the offseason to make those decisions around here. But we've got a quarter — or a third — of the season to go, and I don't want to be a distraction in any way that way."

      The original prognosis was that Bulger would be sidelined for three to six weeks with the injury, which will not require surgery. With only six games to play, including Sunday's contest with Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome, there's no guarantee that Bulger will be healthy enough to play again in 2009. And that in turn prompted speculation that he may have taken his last snap at quarterback as a St. Louis Ram.
      "There's been a lot of numbers thrown out there on how long it's going to be (before the injury heals)," Bulger said. "It's been five days, I think, since I've done it. Only time will tell how long it's going to be."

      Bulger said it might be another week or so before he has a better idea if he'll be able to play in '09.

      "I'm just going to keep rehabbing — getting bone stem (treatment) and ice," Bulger said. "There's really not much you can do for it. But I'd love to come back and play a couple games."

      Bulger hobbled into the locker room on one crutch Friday afternoon to meet with reporters. He hasn't been out on the practice field all week because the Rams' medical staff wants him off his feet for a while.

      "I think the doctor said the first 10 days is important to keep any weight off of it, since it is a weight-bearing bone, to help the healing process," Bulger said.

      But Bulger made every meeting this week and will continue to do so throughout the rehab and healing process.

      "I'll still be in all the meetings, doing whatever I can to help Kyle (Boller)," Bulger said. "But he's been there, done that, so it's more I think to help Keith (Null) along. Hopefully, we don't have to use (Null), but I'll try to get him a little bit more ready."

      Bulger may have originally suffered the injury two Sundays ago against New Orleans. He remembers coming out of that game with some soreness in the left knee area, but no real swelling.

      "It wasn't anything visible," Bulger said. "We checked it out. You have sore knees every week, and I think when you check knees that's all you're looking for is ligaments. I never even thought in a million years that it could possibly...
      -11-28-2009, 12:43 PM
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