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  • Bulger affirmed as Rams' top QB

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/13/2009

    There is no quarterback competition, much less a quarterback controversy in St. Louis.

    "Marc's the quarterback," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Monday.

    Kyle Boller had played most of the past three games after Bulger suffered a bruised rotator cuff in his right shoulder late in the first quarter against Green Bay on Sept. 27. Boller started against San Francisco and Minnesota but left the Vikings game early in the fourth quarter with what Spagnuolo termed a mild concussion.


    The Rams didn't plan to play Bulger against the Vikings, or he would've started. The idea was to give the shoulder one more Sunday off. Obviously it didn't work out that way, and now Spagnuolo thinks Bulger will be ready for this week's game in Jacksonville.

    "Again, I'm going to be careful because he took a hit in there, too (against Minnesota)," Spagnuolo said.

    Assuming Bulger is fit and looks good throwing the ball Wednesday when the team returns to practice, Spagnuolo said Bulger will start against the Jaguars.

    "I would think, yeah," Spagnuolo said. "But we have the luxury of having two guys that know how to manage the game; I think two guys that the offense has confidence in."

    Maybe so, but now there's uncertainty about Boller's health after he was dinged by Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards. Boller is scheduled for a neurological exam today and won't be cleared to play unless he passes it.

    Bulger and Boller have played roughly 10 quarters apiece this season, with the Rams scoring 14 points with Bulger in the game and 20 points with Boller playing. Boller's mobility was an asset, but his turnovers were a problem, with three interceptions and a lost fumble in his 10 quarters of play. Bulger has no interceptions and one lost fumble this season.

    Two of Boller's turnovers were returned directly for touchdowns, including the lost fumble against Minnesota on a play where the ball squirted out of his hand while Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams was bearing down on him.

    "When a ball slips out of your hand, and you miss a routine handoff, those are tough things to explain," Spagnuolo said.

    The "routine handoff" was a reference to a lost fumble on a first-and-goal play from the Minnesota 1 early in the second quarter on what was supposed to be a run by Steven Jackson. Jackson took the blame for the play, but it might have been caused by a botched exchange from Boller.

    As for the earlier Boller fumble, which was returned for a TD by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen in the first quarter, the play was supposed to be a screen pass. Right guard Richie Incognito was supposed to let Williams through to set up the screen but was supposed to get at least a piece of him.

    "There probably could've been a little bit more of that," Spagnuolo said. "But I think if you ask Kyle, he'd tell you that all that being considered, he was going to get (the ball) out, and it was going to be a pretty positive play at least from where we were standing."

    As for the interception on the play in which Boller suffered his concussion, wide receivers Danny Amendola and Keenan Burton practically ran into each other running their routes. In the process, they drew a host of Vikings defenders.

    Spagnuolo rebuffed several queries on what went wrong on the play, saying only, "It was an interception"... and "they made a heck of a play."

    Amendola was slightly more enlightening. "Stuff could've been done better," he said. "I'd like to say it was one guy's fault, but it really wasn't. It was an accumulation of the defense they were playing and the routes that we were running."

    Whatever the cause, it was the fourth turnover of the day for St. Louis. The Rams have committed 12 turnovers this season — only Tennessee (13) and Carolina (14) have committed more. And the Rams are at minus-7 in takeaway-giveaway differential. Only Carolina at minus-9 is worse.

    "It's a ball security thing," Spagnuolo said. "We're preaching it all the time. ... It'll get solved. It's funny they're all a different way. If you think back, they're all different. But it's the same result."

    Namely, a turnover, and a lost opportunity for the offense or special teams units.

    "I don't know if we can emphasize it more," Spagnuolo said. "We will continue to emphasize it."

    Ball security hasn't been a problem with Bulger so far this season. He has gone 75 passes without an interception. Although it came at mop-up time against Minnesota, his seven-for-seven performance Sunday, for 88 yards and a touchdown, probably reasserted Bulger's claim to the starting job.

    "It was good to see Marc go in there and zip the ball around," Spagnuolo said.
    :ramlogo:

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  • eldfan
    Winless Rams having trouble with mistakes
    by eldfan
    By R.B. FALLSTROM
    AP Sports Writer

    ST. LOUIS — Marc Bulger is expected to start this week for
    the St. Louis Rams, whether or not backup Kyle Boller gets
    cleared from a mild concussion.

    Whoever’s taking the snaps on Sunday at Jacksonville, the larger
    problem is cutting down on the epidemic of mistakes that are
    dragging down a winless, rebuilding team that has little margin
    for error.

    The Rams (0-5) committed four turnovers in Sunday’s 38-10 loss
    to the Vikings, three of them inside the Minnesota 10, and have
    totaled 10 giveaways the last three weeks.

    “Right now I think that’s the only thing that’s separating us
    from winning games,” defensive end Leonard Little said Monday.
    “The mistakes we’ve been making, it’s something we’ve got to
    correct.

    “We always correct them in practice but in the games it seems
    like everything falls apart for us.”

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo said at his weekly day-after news
    conference that it was “correction day.”

    Every Monday, it seems.

    “The ball slips out of your hand, you miss a routine handoff,
    those are tough things to explain,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll hone
    in on them, get better at them and move on.”

    The Rams (0-5) had a 400-377 edge in total yards over unbeaten
    Minnesota (5-0) and rolled up 27 first downs. Boller and Bulger
    were a combined 27 for 38 for 297 yards with one touchdown and
    an interception, and the offensive line limited the dangerous
    Vikings pass rush to two sacks.

    The giveaways negated those numbers, in a big way.

    Jared Allen had a 52-yard fumble return for touchdown after the
    ball somehow slipped out of Boller’s hand as he dropped back for
    a screen pass. Boller and Steven Jackson didn’t connect on a
    handoff from the Vikings 1. Tight end Daniel Fells tried to back
    into the end zone after a catch and got stripped. Boller threw
    an interception in the end zone.

    That was more than enough to ensure the Rams’ 15th straight
    loss, the longest slump in the NFL. They’ve been outscored by a
    whopping 146-34 on the season.

    Jackson took the hit for the fumble, although it officially went
    to Boller.

    “It really hurt the team and our momentum, and I think after
    that we just snowballed downwards,” Jackson said. “We just have
    to get over this spell of turnovers.”

    Boller, starting for the second straight game in place of Bulger
    (shoulder), was injured early in the fourth quarter and will
    undergo testing Tuesday to determine his availability. Though
    Boller moved the offense, Spagnuolo said there’s no competition
    for the job and if Bulger’s OK he’ll be back as the starter.
    ...
    -10-13-2009, 10:46 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    QB Decision May Be Needed
    by r8rh8rmike
    QB decision may be needed

    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/12/2009

    Concerning the quarterbacks, it could be an interesting week at Rams Park.

    Between Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, which — if either — will emerge as the healthiest? And which — if either — will be running the No. 1 unit when practice resumes Wednesday?

    The odds probably are with Bulger. Yet throughout the bulk of Sunday's 38-10 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Boller appeared to be pushing hard to hold on to the starting job he's had the past two weeks while Bulger recovers from an injured shoulder.

    That changed on the second play of the fourth quarter. Boller was clobbered by defensive end Ray Edwards just as he released a pass into the end zone. The ball was intercepted and Boller was shaken up.

    "I took a pretty good shot and I was a little fuzzy, a little dizzy," Boller said. "I don't think I was out completely ... (or) a hundred percent concussed."

    Still, he was dazed enough that coach Steve Spagnuolo turned to Bulger, who served as Boller's backup after suiting up as the No. 3 quarterback last week.

    "I don't think (playing) was the plan," said Bulger, who suffered a bruised rotator cuff Sept. 27 vs. Green Bay. "But when it happened to Kyle, we had to do it."

    Although he was going against Minnesota's defensive reserves with the Vikings cruising 24-3, Bulger came back with a bang: He hit on all seven of his passes for 88 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Donnie Avery, and compiled a "perfect" passer rating of 158.3.

    "I'm just glad we could go in and get some points and escape without hurting the shoulder again," said Bulger, who added that he believes he'll be sound enough to return to the lineup Sunday at Jacksonville.

    "It's getting close," he said. "I still need a little more velocity throwing the ball. You never know till you get hit, so we'll see. But ... I think I'll be ready to play the game next week."

    If asked, that is. Should Boller bounce back quickly, Spagnuolo might have a decision to make.

    Boller was at the helm most of the way as the Rams cobbled together their most productive offensive showing of the year. They rolled up 400 yards, including a season-high 278 through the air, against the NFL's 11th-ranked defense. Four turnovers, three inside the Vikings' 10-yard line, snuffed scoring chances.

    "Both quarterbacks looked really sharp," running back Steven Jackson said. "We were able to move the ball. We actually were able to stretch the field, and our receivers made plays."

    Boller wound up completing 20 of 31 passes for 209 yards, with the interception; his passer rating was 70.5. He also lost...
    -10-12-2009, 04:20 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Spagnuolo Makes It Clear: Bulger Is The No. 1 Quarterback/Avery Appologizes To Team
    by r8rh8rmike
    10.12.2009 4:18 pm
    Spagnuolo makes it clear: Bulger is the No. 1 quarterback
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch


    Coach Steve Spagnuolo made it crystal clear Monday: There will be no quarterback controversy at Rams Park. At least not this week.

    Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller are both a little banged-up. Bulger is recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered Sept. 27 vs. the Packers and Boller sustained what Spagnuolo termed a “mild concussion” in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 38-10 home loss to the Vikings.

    But even if both show up for practice Wednesday in the pink of health, there will be no competition for the starting job. “Marc’s the quarterback,” Spagnuolo said unequivocally.

    Boller started the last two games after Bulger went down. On Sunday, he guided the offense on three drives deep into Vikings territory, but each was scuttled by a turnover. He also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and threw an interception in the end zone.

    After Boller was hurt, Bulger hit on all seven of his passes, including a 27-yard TD to WR Donnie Avery. Granted, Bulger was going against Minny’s defensive reserves.

    “We have the luxury of two guys who know how to manage the game, two guys that the offense has confidence in,” Spagnuolo said. But make no mistake: If he’s ready, Bulger will start Sunday in Jacksonville.

    Notes & quotes:

    *DT Gary Gibson is done for the season after breaking his left ankle Sunday.

    *The other injuries were minor: DE Chris Long (chest), TE Daniel Fells (neck), CB Justin King (bruised knee).

    *Spagnuolo said S James Butler (knee) and T Jason Smith (knee) will be day-to-day. Smith dressed Sunday but didn’t play.

    *In one of his best games, LT Alex Barron held Pro Bowl DE Jared Allen without a sack or a quarterback hit.

    *Without Gibson, Spagnuolo indicated that the Rams might go with a three-man rotation up front, or retain their four-man rotation by adding someone, perhaps fourth-round draftee Darell Scott.

    *WR Donnie Avery said he apologized to the team for his ill-timed, fourth-quarter end-zone dance following his TD catch. The Rams were trailing by 21 points at the time. “I wasn’t real fond of it,” Spagnuolo said.

    All for now . . .
    -10-12-2009, 04:26 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams' Marc Bulger Is Out, Kyle Boller Steps In
    by r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams' Marc Bulger is out, Kyle Boller steps in

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/18/2009

    Life as a backup quarterback means you're always one play away from the spotlight. For Kyle Boller, that play took place Monday at Rams Park.

    With the Rams working indoors because of rain, a center snap from Jason Brown doinked off the hands of quarterback Marc Bulger midway through practice. X-rays subsequently showed that Bulger had suffered a fractured pinky finger on his throwing hand. The two-time Pro Bowler will be sidelined at least two weeks.

    "It kind of — not really popped — but I could tell he was hurting a little bit," Boller said. "He kind of stuck in there and went for a couple more (plays)."

    But then Bulger headed off the practice field, and the next thing Boller knew, coach Steve Spagnuolo was in his ear.

    "He said, 'You've got to go in right now,'" Boller said.

    Boller took the rest of the practice reps with the starters in the morning, and took the full load with the first team in the afternoon.

    During a situational goal-line period in the morning, Spagnuolo said Boller "pretty much did all the right things." And in the 7-on-7 passing period, "he stuck out," the coach said.

    Nervous?

    "Nah. You can't be nervous," Boller said. "That's part of the deal of being a backup. You've got to just be prepared to jump in there no matter the situation.

    "It's not my first rodeo. I've been a starter. I've been out there. So I'm just going to go out there and be myself. Be a leader, and lead this team to hopefully a lot of scoring drives."

    The No. 19 overall pick by Baltimore in 2003, Boller appeared in 53 games with 42 starts for the Ravens. He's that franchise's career leader in passing yards (7,846) but threw 44 interceptions to go with his 46 touchdown passes.

    Last year in the Ravens' second exhibition game, a season-ending shoulder injury to Boller opened the door for rookie Joe Flacco at quarterback. Flacco nearly got the Ravens into the Super Bowl; Boller became expendable as an unrestricted free agent.

    He signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with St. Louis, but only after the Rams got tired of waiting on Gus Frerotte. So Boller, 28, will start Friday against Atlanta, as well as the Rams' Aug. 27 contest at Cincinnati. But that should be it, unless Bulger's injury takes longer to heal than expected.

    "There's what I'm going to call a small fracture in the pinky finger," Spagnuolo said. "It's not displaced, which is a good thing. ... You can't cast it. You don't do anything to it. He'll just tape it. We'll keep it immobilized for a couple of weeks, and we'll see where we are after that. He won't do very much for two...
    -08-17-2009, 09:33 PM
  • eldfan
    St. Louis Rams' Bulger has bruise; Robinson is done Spagnuolo says we will be ok
    by eldfan
    St. Louis Rams' Bulger has bruise; Robinson is done

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/29/2009

    As he stepped to the podium for his regular Monday news conference, coach Steve Spagnuolo looked out the window at Rams Park and quipped: "The sun's out, that's a good sign, right? The sun came up. Everybody's OK."

    If only everybody were OK.

    The news could've been worse on quarterback Marc Bulger. Even so, he'll still probably miss a minimum of a week or two with what Spagnuolo called a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.

    "It's not torn; it's a bruised rotator cuff," Spagnuolo said.

    Wide receiver Laurent Robinson wasn't so "lucky." Robinson, easily the Rams' top pass catcher through the preseason and early regular season, is almost certainly out for the season with a high ankle sprain and fractured fibula that will require surgery.

    Safety James Butler, in some ways the quarterback of the back seven because of his familiarity with the defensive scheme, will miss two to four weeks with a ligament injury to his left knee.

    At least there was good news with wide receiver Donnie Avery, who took a shot to the ribs late in Sunday's 36-17 loss to Green Bay. His X-rays came back negative.

    "We think he's going to be OK," Spagnuolo said. "He's a little bit sore."

    As for Bulger, he was more than a little sore. Had he suffered a torn rotator cuff, that might have ended his season. Nonetheless, sources said he couldn't lift his throwing arm Monday. And just to make sure there's no tear, he may seek a second opinion from James Andrews, the nationally known orthopedic surgeon who has offices in Birmingham, Ala., and Gulf Breeze, Fla.

    "He's very sore today," Spagnuolo said. "We'll see where he's at (today) and Wednesday, and if he'll do anything at all. ... We're going to be careful with it."

    Bulger went straight from the doctor's office Monday evening to Frontenac, where he was host of the 14th annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Celebrity Server Dinner. If Bulger helped teammates Steven Jackson, Randy McMichael, James Laurinaitis, Chris Massey and others serve dinner, he had to do so one-handed Monday night.

    On the football field, quarterback Kyle Boller will be serving up passes in the near term. Boller replaced Bulger in the first half Sunday and helped the Rams fight their way back into the contest before Green Bay pulled away with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

    "Kyle's a fiery guy," Spagnuolo said. "Very confident in what he does. He'd tell you that he'd like to have his first two throws back (Sunday). ... But then he settled down. I thought he did a nice job."

    Boller says he'll be ready for whatever the week brings him. Against...
    -09-29-2009, 08:12 AM
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