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  • Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

    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 said this before, it's not one position on (that) side of the ball, it's everybody," Spagnuolo said. "When the running back runs real well, Steven (Jackson) will tell you it's because the offensive line did well. When the quarterback does well, he gets help. When the quarterback doesn't do well, that doesn't mean it's just his fault. There's 11 guys that are involved with it.

    "I think Marc has done exactly what we've needed. He's been a leader, manages the game, gets the ball to 39 (Jackson). There's pieces that he's working through, too. There's been a lot of guys we've thrown in there as wideouts because of injury and what-not. I think he's been a pro about everything."

    Even so, wouldn't Spagnuolo like to see more production out of the passing game?

    "Yeah, if you just look at stats," he said. "But we're moving the football. We're concentrating this bye week on the red zone both sides of the ball. Both defensively and offensively. So if we can move it a little bit further in each one of those drives, we'll have a lot of points."

    Bulger said he's trying to play consistent, manage the game, and put the team in the right situations. Sometimes it looks as if he's trying to minimize mistakes in this scheme, more than has been the case in the past.

    "It's tough because there's been some games we've played from behind, and that's when you have to avoid mistakes," Bulger said.

    Actually, with the exception of the Detroit and Jacksonville games, the Rams have played from behind all season.

    "When you make one (mistake), it gets magnified because you're behind," Bulger said. "So if we can play maybe more with the lead in the second half (of the season), that lets us take more shots and be a little bit more risky. But it's tough to make any mistakes when you've got to play near-perfect to win right now."

    After spending most of his time here with veteran Pro Bowlers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt at wide receiver, Bulger has had to make a radical adjustment to a younger, less experienced and less talented unit. In addition, injuries slowed Donnie Avery and ended Laurent Robinson's season just three games into '09.

    "It's a learning curve," Bulger said. "We're real young at receiver. We've had a revolving door, so just getting on the same page takes time. I think we're starting to get there."

  • #2
    Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

    About time this guy takes some critisism! He hasn't done anything since we gave him that huge contract. Keith null

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

      Yes, he's certainly never been criticized before. Everyone here just loves him to death.
      "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

        I could find a lot worse things to criticize him for than that slide. It was hard for me to judge whether he started sliding cowardly to avoid the hit or whether he honestly thought he already had the first down. If he thought he had the first down it's simply the smart thing to do - if he knew he didn't have it then he should have fought for every inch in that situation even with the risk of injury IMO.

        But like I said, who knows what his awareness of the first down marker was at that time, he's not used to scrambling and keeping half an eye on the markers on the sideline (like RB's and WR's are) so his awareness in that respect may not be very good so it's hard to judge afterwards.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

          Funny how there was very little criticism when two guys named Bruce and Holt made it a common practice to dive for the turf before being hit after a reception. I guess it's all about who's being judged.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

            It was the right thing to do, take the slide and dont get hurt. Does anyone really want boller in at qb right now?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

              Geez, leave the guy alone. Like that slide is our biggest issue. Bulger is so punch drunk it is lucky he finds his way back to the huddle

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
                Funny how there was very little criticism when two guys named Bruce and Holt made it a common practice to dive for the turf before being hit after a reception. I guess it's all about who's being judged.
                I wouldn't say that. I heard a lot of complaints about exactly that a few years ago, including on this board. It was a fairly common discussion whether they should take the added risk of injury or not.

                Even if there were virtually no complaints as you say (an assertion I have to disagree with) it was probably because Bruce & Holt were constantly delivering the goods on the field and producing. Unlike, you know, a certain other player...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                  Originally posted by RamOfDenmark View Post
                  I wouldn't say that. I heard a lot of complaints about exactly that a few years ago, including on this board. It was a fairly common discussion whether they should take the added risk of injury or not.

                  Even if there were virtually no complaints as you say (an assertion I have to disagree with) it was probably because Bruce & Holt were constantly delivering the goods on the field and producing. Unlike, you know, a certain other player...
                  Well, there certainly weren't articles written about Bruce and Holt hitting the deck, and the degree of outrage isn't close to being comparable IMO.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                    Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
                    Funny how there was very little criticism when two guys named Bruce and Holt made it a common practice to dive for the turf before being hit after a reception. I guess it's all about who's being judged.

                    Au contraire my friend, I seem to recall many posts whose authors were lamenting the lack of RACs on the behalf of Big Game and The Reverend.

                    I don't think Bulger's short sided slide compares to the infamous 'Phantom Sack', however!
                    RnD

                    GO RAMS!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                      Originally posted by ramsanddodgers View Post
                      Au contraire my friend, I seem to recall many posts whose authors were lamenting the lack of RACs on the behalf of Big Game and The Reverend.
                      People did comment on it, but I honestly don't recall it being that big of an issue. Certainly not comparable to the intensity we're seeing over one incident with Bulger.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                        BREAKING NEWS: Marc Bulger, star QB of the St. Louis Rams has not found the cure for every known disease in the world.

                        BY: Iama Douche
                        The Negative News
                        11/05/2009

                        Marc Bulger of the Rams it seems has not found the cure for ANY known disease in the world. He hasn't even come close to finding the cure for one of them. What a jerk. He sucks. Oh and further he slid one yard to early last Sunday in the game. Pathetic
                        Yeah Bulger doesn't get criticized enough lets bash him during the only positive outcome for us so far this weekend... GIVE IT A REST! Hell yeah Bulger enjoy the win buddy. Another one next week please!

                        GO RAMS!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                          Heck, I thought he had the first down, and quarterbacks are supposed to slide if they're about to get hit. It's generally worse to risk losing the starting quarterback to injury than to come up short on one play.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                            It really isn't THAT big of a deal but considering how hard Jackson is fighting for every yard, it sort of reinforces the opinion that Bulger doesn't care all that much.

                            And I remember PLENTY of articles and complaints about Bulger and Holt falling down to avoid hits. Have no idea where that is coming from.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Marc Bulger takes criticism for slide in stride

                              Originally posted by RebelYell View Post
                              It really isn't THAT big of a deal but considering how hard Jackson is fighting for every yard, it sort of reinforces the opinion that Bulger doesn't care all that much.

                              And I remember PLENTY of articles and complaints about Bulger and Holt falling down to avoid hits. Have no idea where that is coming from.
                              Bulger thought he had the first down, so he slid. He made a misjudgement as to where the marker was. It's something players do all the time in the NFL. It's not a big deal.

                              PLENTY of articles? Articles published by media outlets like the one we're referencing here? I'd be interested in seeing them. Since there was PLENTY of them, they shouldn't be hard to find.

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Bulger Admits This Is His Last Chance
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Bulger admits this is his last chance
                                by Alex Marvez

                                Updated: June 18, 2009

                                EARTH CITY, Mo. - Quarterbacks like Marc Bulger sometimes don't get a second chance.

                                Rarely will they get a third.

                                This isn't lost on Bulger when the subject is broached inside an office at St. Louis Rams headquarters. The franchise has won just five games in two seasons the NFL's longest stretch of futility for a non-expansion team since the 1995-1996 New York Jets. That's usually enough losing to trigger a change under center.

                                Bulger got a mulligan last offseason when the Rams passed on drafting Matt Ryan, instead selecting DE Chris Long No. 2 overall. But after another miserable season, the Rams could very well have opted to start from scratch at the position.

                                They didn't. Then this spring St. Louis eschewed acquiring another veteran starter or selecting a quarterback with the second overall pick in April's draft.

                                For this, Bulger is grateful. But he also knows the Rams aren't going to have much more patience without a relatively quick turnaround.

                                "I understand we have to win," Bulger told FOXSports.com after a recent offseason practice. "It's not fair to our fans or the ownership. If we don't, I know it starts with me.

                                "It's probably my final chance."

                                Bulger and defensive end Leonard Little are the last player ties to the franchise's glory days from early this decade. Both are the only remaining members of the 2001 Rams that were upset by New England in Super Bowl XXXV. Bulger went from reserve to starter the following season when replacing an injured Kurt Warner and won the position outright in 2003. For a spell, Bulger was considered in the upper tier of NFL quarterbacks.

                                But while Warner has since reinvented himself in Arizona, the 32-year-old Bulger has faded in what should be the prime of his career. Playing behind a shoddy offensive line, Bulger has completed a full 16-game season just once while being sacked 228 times in a six-year span.

                                At same time, the franchise around Bulger has crumbled because of poor personnel decisions and ineffective head coaching. Team owner Georgia Frontiere died in January 2008, leaving an uncertain future for the club in St. Louis.

                                "I remember when we were winning, the days were longer and it was fun coming in," Bulger said. "You go out to eat with your buddies and tell stories. But the last two years when you're losing every week, you just go home after. You don't celebrate. You think, 'What did I do?'

                                "The whole building had a different feeling. Not just the players, but everybody used to want to come to work and be part of the Rams. It just seems like when you lose, people wanted to start to disassociate themselves. There's supposed to be some fun involved in professional...
                                -06-18-2009, 09:06 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Bulger Values Another Chance To Shine
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                By Jeffri Chadiha
                                ESPN.com

                                ST. LOUIS -- It isn't hard to determine the smartest move made by new St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo so far -- it involved a candid talk with quarterback Marc Bulger.

                                Spagnuolo got right to the point after meeting with Bulger at Rams headquarters a few months ago. Bulger didn't have to worry about the Rams looking for another quarterback this offseason. He was the man, Spagnuolo told him, and that's all he needed to know.

                                This was an invaluable endorsement because Bulger needed to understand the organization was behind him this year. He'd had two subpar seasons and the Rams easily could have selected a quarterback with the second overall pick in this year's draft.

                                As Bulger said: "I think it was important for me to hear that. This team has changed so much over the last few years that a new coach could've come in and decided he didn't like me at all. I wouldn't say that it put me at ease. But it definitely allowed me to just go out and focus on my work."

                                What Bulger clearly realizes is that he's reached a critical juncture in his career. He's a 32-year-old quarterback who's thrown 28 interceptions and 22 touchdowns over the past two seasons for a team that won five games during that span. Numbers like those don't make people wonder if a guy is just going through a long slump. Those numbers inspire clamor for a new quarterback.

                                That's the kind of scrutiny Bulger is facing in St. Louis these days. Over the past two years, the Rams have hired a new coach and a new general manager (Billy Devaney). That means all eyes will turn to Bulger if the Rams continue to show no signs of improvement, even with Spagnuolo's endorsement. But what's important to remember about Bulger is that he should be up to the challenge, particularly because he's used to thriving when there are doubters all around him.

                                This is a man who became a successful starter at West Virginia after no other school offered him a Division I scholarship. The New Orleans Saints also gave up on Bulger after making him a sixth-round pick in 2000 and the Atlanta Falcons kept him on their practice squad for just two weeks shortly thereafter. By the time Bulger wound up in St. Louis as a third-string quarterback in 2001, nobody was giving him a shot to be a difference-maker in the league. The bottom line: This isn't a guy you write off easily.

                                Even when Bulger was at his best in St. Louis -- he's led the Rams to two playoff appearances in his seven seasons as a starter -- he had to operate in a town that never really embraced him. His first problem was that he was the man who replaced Kurt Warner, who was a beloved figure. Bulger's second issue was that his play declined as the team fell apart under former head coach Scott Linehan.

                                Last season after an 0-3 start, Bulger briefly lost his starting job to Trent Green....
                                -06-03-2009, 07:57 PM
                              • RamWraith
                                It's so far, so good, for Bulger
                                by RamWraith
                                Veteran QB enjoyed first minicamp with new coaching staff
                                BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat

                                ST. LOUIS -- Quarterback Marc Bulger undoubtedly has gotten new St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo's team-first message.

                                Bulger is coming off his two worst seasons as a starter in the NFL, but when asked about wanting to get back to his former Pro Bowl form, he said he hasn't thought about any individual goals.

                                "If we can get 10 guys on the offense to the Pro Bowl, and I'm the guy who is not there, that would be great," Bulger said. "As long as we are playing in January and early February, it doesn't matter."


                                The past two seasons have been difficult for Bulger beyond the Rams' 5-27 record over that span.

                                Bulger's passer rating was 70.3 in 2007 and 71.4 in 2008. His career passer rating before 2007 was 91.3.

                                Bulger has thrown more interceptions (28) than touchdown passes (22) over the past two seasons.

                                "You have to put it behind you, whether it's a player, a season or a game," Bulger said. "As a quarterback, you just can't let it bother you. Obviously, it has been two difficult years.

                                "With the team mentality right now, it would be selfish of myself to start thinking about how rough it was, or feel sorry for myself for how rough it has been. It's a clean slate. Coach told us in team meetings that we all have to act like we're rookies again, and I think everyone has taken that approach."

                                Bulger said he was unsure of his status when Spagnuolo, previously the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, was hired in mid-January.

                                "Everything happened pretty quick this offseason," Bulger said. "New staff's hired, you obviously don't know, but they welcomed me in, as I welcomed them, and it's been a great relationship so far.

                                "I think once we start winning games it will even get stronger."

                                Bulger made a favorable first impression on Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur during the Rams' minicamp this weekend.

                                "He threw the ball well," Spagnuolo said of Bulger. "He's probably going to be upset at me because we had the red zone drill going into the wind instead of with the wind. But I tell him it's already on the script what direction we're going."

                                Bulger was reminding Spagnuolo that the Rams play half of their games in a domed stadium.

                                "That's what I was kind of kidding around with him about," Bulger said. "The NFC East, it's kind of windy up in the Meadowlands and Philly. I guess I have to get used to it. It'll be good practice."

                                Shurmur also was pleased with Bulger's passing in the minicamp.

                                "What Marc showed me and us is that he's a good decision-maker, he's a very accurate...
                                -04-05-2009, 09:57 AM
                              • RamFan_Til_I_Die
                                Bulger is grateful for new support
                                by RamFan_Til_I_Die
                                By Bill Coats
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                                05/22/2009

                                Steve Spagnuolo didn't want to leave any doubt in Marc Bulger's mind. Soon after he was hired as the Rams' new head coach, Spagnuolo sought out Bulger and assured him that he was his quarterback.

                                Period. End of discussion.

                                Given the struggles that Bulger and the Rams had experienced recently, there might have been some question about that. But Spagnuolo pledged to Bulger that he, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, quarterbacks coach Dick Curl "and the rest of this team have all the confidence in the world in him."

                                After a two-hour practice Thursday during organized team activities at Rams Park, Bulger acknowledged that Spagnuolo's words provided considerable relief.

                                "Any time a new staff comes in, they're going to bring in the people they want," Bulger said. "He made it clear to me from the get-go that he wanted me to be his quarterback, and I appreciate that."

                                In 2003, Bulger's first full season as the starting quarterback, the Rams went 12-4 and won the NFC West title. They were 8-8 the next year, but made the postseason and reached the second round of the playoffs.

                                Over those two seasons, Bulger established himself as one of the league's most accurate QBs, connecting on 64.6 percent of his passes, piling up 7,809 yards and 43 touchdowns. He played in the Pro Bowl in '04. Life was good for the former West Virginia University standout.

                                But just as quickly, it all came apart.

                                The Rams failed to post a winning record in the subsequent four seasons, crumbling to a 19-45 mark over that span. Even in 2006, when Bulger earned his second Pro Bowl invitation by registering career highs for yards (4,301) and TDs (24), the Rams mustered just an 8-8 finish.

                                As the team's fortunes dipped to their lowest point since arriving in St. Louis in 1995, going 3-13 in 2007 and then 2-14 last year, Bulger became a lightning rod for those seeking to vent over the club's downturn.

                                "It's tough at times," Bulger conceded. "But it comes with the position. Hopefully when we start winning again, it'll make it feel all that much better."

                                But ... can the Rams win again with Bulger, who has endured an uncommon pounding the last few seasons? Obviously, Spagnuolo believes so.

                                "I've tried to defend him as a coordinator or a defensive coach (with Philadelphia and the New York Giants) in a number of different games," Spagnuolo said. "I still think he's a tough guy to defend."

                                Nevertheless, 2009 almost certainly is a make-or-break season for Bulger, 32. He knows that he has to shrug off the bruises and ratchet up his game, or the Rams likely will be looking for his successor in 2010.

                                "Now it's my turn to keep my side of...
                                -05-22-2009, 11:07 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Bulger gets on track, but he's not ready to reassess the Rams
                                by RamWraith
                                By Bill Coats
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                                Thursday, Nov. 15 2007

                                Brutal honesty is as much a part of quarterback Marc Bulger's repertoire as his
                                quick release and precision accuracy. In the locker room Sunday after the Rams'
                                halted their eight-game skid with a 37-29 victory at New Orleans, Bulger
                                offered this sober observation: "We're still a really bad team."

                                On Wednesday, he defended that assessment. "In this business, it's about
                                winning and the bottom line," Bulger explained. "We're still 1-8 and that's a
                                bad football team, in my opinion."

                                Still, the Rams are three-point favorites for Sunday's game at San Francisco.
                                That's due largely to their offense, which has perked up considerably after a
                                stunningly inept start to the season. Bulger has been on the rise, too.

                                He shredded the Saints for 302 yards and two touchdowns, completing 81.8
                                percent of his passes (27 of 33), a single-game best in his seven-year career.
                                His passer rating was a season-high 125.0, and he was named the NFC offensive
                                player of the week.

                                The award, Bulger said, is "not a big deal." But getting back into sync with
                                his receivers and churning out yards and points again is.

                                "If you're not winning, you're turning the ball over and things keep going
                                wrong, you keep looking at yourself in the mirror and try to figure out what
                                you're doing wrong," he said. "I really didn't change anything. I prepared the
                                same. So, you can take a deep breath and say, 'It's not what you're doing, it's
                                just the execution.'"

                                Bulger pointed to two specific areas that helped boost the offense's efficiency:

                                The presence of Steven Jackson in the backfield. "You can't ignore the fact
                                that when he's in there, good things happen," Bulger said. "If we can keep him
                                healthy, I think we'll continue to get better and score more points."

                                The offensive line protecting effectively. "When I'm getting hit early, (the
                                receivers) have to break their routes off short and our timing gets off,"
                                Bulger said. "When I'm getting time ... they can get separation. There was
                                definitely more separation than in the past, and that's because of the line
                                giving me more time."

                                So, what do the Rams have to do to soften Bulger's evaluation of their
                                standing? "Keep winning games," he said. "If we can win a couple more and get a
                                more respectable record, then I can say we're a better team."
                                -11-15-2007, 06:37 AM
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