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The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

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  • The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

    10.14.2009 11:49 am
    Can Bulger rediscover his touch?
    By Roger Hensley


    QUESTION: Given time in the pocket, do you think Marc Bulger is capable of rediscovering the accuracy that marked his play earlier in his career?

    When Bulger was at his best, 2006, he was throwing to Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kevin Curtis. And Steven Jackson was having a career year in the backfield. The last time the Rams won a playoff game, 2004, Bulger not only had Holt, Bruce and Jackson, but Marshall Faulk also contributed 1,000+ yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving). If the quality around Bulger is above-average, he can be an efficient quarterback. And there’s no doubt his completion percentage would go up. But he’s not the type of QB who can elevate a team. He needs the cast around him.

    Sure. But it pays to have receivers that can consistently gain separation and get open. And that obviously hasn’t always been the case this season with a young, unproven receiving corps.

    He’s very accurate in practice, when pressure isn’t being applied. So, you’d have to assume that he could be accurate on Sundays if protected. It also would help him if the Rams had a more formidable stable of receivers.

    Accuracy from the pocket will not be a problem for Marc IF the Rams protect him. He will make some nice throws. But will the offensive game plan allow him to attack opponents with those mid-range passes he can hit all day? Also, will his lack of mobility prevent him from succeeding on the roll-out and bootleg passes that Kyle Boller throws so well? Those questions will remain even if the offensive line can build a sturdy pocket for him.

    Time in the pocket isn’t enough to revive the passing game. The Rams need reliable receivers as well as improved pass protection.

    KEVIN WHEELER (Host of “Sports Open Line” on KMOX)
    I suppose it’s possible but a lot of that accuracy early in his career was the product of having top-shelf receivers. Those guys caught everything they were supposed to and then caught some more just for good measure. More time to see a play develop is always going to help but having proven, Pro Bowl caliber receivers like Holt and Bruce had as much to do with those high completion percentages as the amount of time Bulger had to throw the ball. More time to throw would benefit Bulger, no doubt, but more time and more talent at wide receiver would be the only way to do a true comparison between Bulger now and Bulger back then.

  • #2
    Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

    Sounds like the main problem they are acculmulating to is our lack of experience and talent at the receiving position.


    • #3
      Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

      I'll second that RockinRam. Protection has been an issue in the first couple of games but seems to be getting better. Marc has always had the touch when he's not on his back or the TEEN squad run the correct routes !

      Maineram -


      • #4
        Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

        Mach is slowly but surely returning to his first ballot pro bowl/hof status. Sure he hasn't been great last year and even at times in 06. But when healthy, it's awfully hard to argue his eliteness. 7/7 for 76 and a td against a supposed "dominant" Vikings D. He's BAAAAACCCKKK!


        • #5
          Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

          DEZ BRYANT out of OKlahoma state anyone?


          • #6
            Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

            Originally posted by MB10HOF View Post
            Mach is slowly but surely returning to his first ballot pro bowl/hof status. Sure he hasn't been great last year and even at times in 06. But when healthy, it's awfully hard to argue his eliteness. 7/7 for 76 and a td against a supposed "dominant" Vikings D. He's BAAAAACCCKKK!
            Lets not get ahead of ourselves, Bulger was playing against the reserves defense, with only 1 starter on the field... Plus I don't think the Vikings cared at that point in time when they were ahead by a large margin...


            • #7
              Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

              When you watch guys like Manning, Warner, Rodgers and Favre, they all benefit from receivers who make the routine catches as well as the great catches all day. If Bulger can get help from his young WR's and a little time from the OL, I can see him gaining confidence and looking more like the guy we know can light it up. If not, we're in for more offensive woes and frustration.


              • #8
                Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

                These guys all hit it right on the spot. We've been saying the whole time that Bulger needs a good cast around him. I don't think too many of us had stated that he's a god like football player. We all know he's not.

                But if he's got the tools around him, he will play very hard and be very efficient.


                • #9
                  Re: The Watercooler: Can Bulger Rediscover His Touch?

                  Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post

                  BERNIE MIKLASZ
                  When Bulger was at his best, 2006
                  Bulger's passer rating was higher in 2002, 2004 and 2005. In what way was he "at his best" in 2006? His figures for that season are somewhat skewed by the fact that he played 16 games that year.... for once.


                  Related Topics


                  • RamWraith
                    Marc Bulger has lost the touch as Rams quarterback
                    by RamWraith
                    By Bernie Miklasz
                    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                    Monday, Dec. 01 2008
                    Fighting hard all afternoon and poised to spring an upset, the Rams needed
                    someone to step forward, make a play and steal Sunday from the Miami Dolphins.

                    Miami's precarious 16-12 lead was hanging within reach, an easy capture. The
                    Rams required a singular act of brilliance. Someone who could convert hope into
                    victory by offering a few seconds of Joe Montana, a two-minute tribute to John
                    Unitas, a mad dash of Roger Staubach or a touch of John Elway's golden arm.

                    Just one magic moment.

                    The Rams were down by less than a touchdown throughout the entire second half.
                    They had some things working in their favor. The running attack was boosted by
                    the return of Steven Jackson, the pass protection was solid and the defense
                    repeatedly made stops.

                    Now it was time for a winner to sign in and take over. The money quarterbacks
                    live for these situations. Give them the ball and a chance and they'll take
                    care of the rest. Their careers are defined by these late, daring, all-in bids
                    at the final poker table.

                    And then there is Marc Bulger.

                    Who can't help what he is.

                    Bulger had the magic stomped out of him a long time ago.

                    Bulger has been drained of the possibility of summoning Montana, Staubach or
                    Elway — if even for just one clutch throw.

                    If Bulger is Unitas, he's the sad Johnny U. we saw in the San Diego Chargers
                    uniform, taking a whupping in the final phase of his career.

                    Bulger was back on the field Sunday, a week after having his brain scrambled by
                    the Chicago Bears.

                    Put it this way: A boxing commission wouldn't have allowed the man to step into
                    the ring.

                    So we don't have to remind you how things turned out, right?

                    Three second-half interceptions, and only 16 completions in 35 attempts overall
                    for 149 skimpy yards.

                    A QB rating of 22.2 for the afternoon.

                    Bulger was unable to emerge from the fog and make a play when his team needed
                    it most.

                    The outcome was as predictable as the tendencies picked up by appreciative
                    Dolphins defenders. "A lot of the time their quarterback would stare down a
                    guy, and it gave our guys a chance to get in the passing window and make a
                    play," Miami cornerback Renaldo Hill said. "It seemed like when he had
                    (receivers) locked in, you knew the ball was going there if you could just get
                    a jump or take a gamble here and there. Because you know where the ball was
                    going. He wasn't doing much looking off."

                    Other than getting a chance to play against the Mizzou secondary each Sunday, I
                    don't know how Bulger can pull out of this two-season...
                    -12-01-2008, 05:08 AM
                  • supachump
                    Is Bulger Playing it Too Safe?
                    by supachump
                    There seems to be less and less passes over a few yards. I haven't watched the fortyniners game for a second time, but I remember very few passes past 10 yards (that were completed).

                    Now, since Bulger is asked to be more careful with his options- are we seeing too much hesitation? The passing game has gotten very limited. I can't imagine that Holt, Bruce, and Curtis are being covered THAT well.

                    I know the O line isn't exactly in good shape, but Bulger seemed to have some time yesterday to make a pass further than 4-9 yards. His few longer passes seemed to be off target and maybe he is a little gunshy.
                    -11-27-2006, 09:50 AM
                  • AvengerRam_old
                    How to "fix" Marc Bulger
                    by AvengerRam_old
                    Here's how I see the problem.

                    Marc Bulger is what you could call a "rhythm passer." He is at his best when he is able to throw often, and has sufficient protection to allow him to scan the field and deliver the ball to the open receiver.

                    He is not the kind of QB who will excel if he has to move around, make quick throws to tight spaces, or pass only on third and long.

                    The Rams have not been playing to Marc's strengths for three reasons: (1) doing so would reduce Steven Jackson's carries, (2) the O line has been unable to protect him, and (3) the WRs have not been getting the separation they used to.

                    The third issue should resolve itself. Donnie Avery is emerging and I'm certain that Marc's confidence in him increased substantially after the last game.

                    The second issue will be difficult to address mid-season. I do think that the Rams should consider putting Romberg in for Leckey. They should also consider giving Greco and/or Schuening some reps if the line play does not improve.

                    The first issue will continue to be there, though it may be a question of mixing up the play calling. I'd like to see more downfield throws on first down. This will have the added benefit of forcing teams to back off the line, which will give Jackson more room to run.

                    Marc Bulger in this offense CAN work.
                    -10-13-2008, 07:57 AM
                  • MauiRam
                    Heat is on Bulger this season ..
                    by MauiRam
                    Columnist Jeff Gordon

                    The Rams are grinding away day after day, striving to put the past two seasons of futility behind them.

                    “Our whole building right now is trying to turn this around and have some fun again,” quarterback Marc Bulger observed after Tuesday’s morning session.

                    But few individuals feel as much heat as Bulger feels. This could be the make-or-break season of his career.

                    This is the final season his lucrative long-term contract protects him. This is the last year his exit would cause huge cap issues for the Rams.

                    That factor helped buy him another year when other Ram veterans left unceremoniously. Orlando Pace and Torry Holt, two future candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, departed after last season as the rebuilding began in earnest.

                    This could be Bulger’s final opportunity to get his career on track here. All eyes are on him and he understands that.

                    “I just concentrate on what I’m doing,” Bulger said. “We have to win football games. That is everybody’s goal right now.”

                    Now he is adapting to new head coach Steve Spagnuolo, the new offensive staff and the new system. Bulger is learning to run the West Coast scheme, which is some distance from the Air Martz attack he grew up on.

                    “I can’t say that I’m there yet,” he said. “One of my best attributes is getting rid of the ball quickly, getting it in the hands of playmakers.

                    “We have a ways to go, but we’re getting there.”

                    Bulger isn’t the most mobile quarterback ever, but he must move his feet in this scheme. The Rams don’t expect him to scramble downfield, but the staff will ask him to roll out from time to time and move around in the pocket to avoid the rush.

                    In the Al Saunders offense, the wide receivers had options, based on what they saw from the defense. That made their job more complicated . . . and that resulted in unfortunate complications for rookies Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton.

                    In this West Coast scheme, the receivers’ job is much simpler. More falls on the quarterback to adjust to what the defense is doing.

                    “There are certain things you can do, like moving in the pocket to buy a guy more time,” Bulger said. “That will be the extent of my ad libbing.”

                    This is a challenging transition for Bulger. Mike Martz groomed him to be a Pro Bowl-caliber QB.

                    Since Mad Mike’s exit, the Rams have had a revolving door of coaches and schemes. There has been no continuity.

                    “Yeah, it’s not easy,” Bulger concurred. “For five or six years I had the same voice.”

                    He still leans on Martz’s teachings, but he must adapt them to the offense he has to run now.

                    “I’m still not there yet,” he said. “I still hear my old coach’s voice, Coach Martz.”
                    -08-04-2009, 11:29 AM
                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    Time right to let beat-up Bulger go?

                    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
                    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                    When Marc Bulger took over as starting quarterback for the Rams, life was good. Bulger was able to carry on a winning tradition for a while. He led the remnants of the "Greatest Show on Turf" to a 12-4 record in 2003, and appeared to be a legitimate successor to a beaten-down Kurt Warner.

                    In perhaps his finest singular highlight, Bulger threw a beautiful, precise pass to tight end Cam Cleeland for the winning touchdown to lead the Rams to a thrilling victory at Seattle in the 2004 NFC wild-card game. Bulger played well in 2006 and signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension in the summer of '07. The job had its rewards, that's for sure.

                    But all along, Bulger was in a precarious situation. The franchise was about to blow up, and Bulger happened to be the quarterback standing near the tripwire. He wasn't going to be able to survive the carnage, not without paying a severe price.

                    When Bulger slowly limped off the field at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday, he carried the weight of another Rams loss. The comeback stalled; Arizona knocked out Bulger and the Rams 21-13. Bulger was in pain ... again. The most serious of the injuries, a broken shin bone, was discovered Monday in an MRI exam.

                    We may have seen the last of Bulger in a Rams uniform. He'll be sidelined for three to six weeks. The Rams (1-9) have only six games remaining, and it would be crazy to play him and expose him to more punishment.

                    I've been critical of Bulger the last two-plus seasons. The quality of his performance declined rapidly since the end of the 2006 season. But I'm not without empathy. Much of Bulger's downfall can be explained by the circumstances surrounding him.

                    I think I came up with the term "Battered Quarterback Syndrome" and applied it to Bulger. A quarterback can absorb only so many body slams, cracks to the ribs and blows to the head before he loses effectiveness.

                    Bulger became the favorite rag doll of NFL pass rushers. He's been sacked 242 times since the start of the 2003 season, the most among NFL quarterbacks. And that doesn't include the hundreds of times he got drilled while releasing throws.

                    If this is it for Bulger, then what is his legacy?

                    A sad one.

                    With excessive amounts of pain, frustration and losing.

                    Bulger had to replace the eternally popular Warner — a thankless task for obvious reasons. The Rams were 40-17 with Warner as a starter, advanced to two Super Bowls and won Super Bowl XXXIV. Moreover, Warner was a two-time league MVP and a Super Bowl MVP.

                    Best of luck living up to that standard. Any quarterback who followed Warner would have to deal with baggage, comparisons and resentment. It's always...
                    -11-25-2009, 10:55 PM