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  • Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

    Time right to let beat-up Bulger go?

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/26/2009

    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 that way when you replace a legend.

    Bulger was on duty at the time coach Mike Martz began feuding with general manager Jay Zygmunt and team president John Shaw. The rift led to a nasty split and a period of substantial turmoil.

    Bulger was on duty when Marshall Faulk's knees went creaky. He was on duty when wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt got older and slower. Bulger was on duty when left offensive tackle Orlando Pace missed frequent time to injury, and when the offensive line required rebuilding.

    Bulger was the unlucky transition quarterback. He inherited the huddle of a fading era. And he was still in charge when the franchise launched a massive reconstruction project.

    In short: wrong place, wrong time.

    Except for his bank account.

    Bulger began his Rams career by throwing to Bruce and Holt. And if this was the end of his Rams career, he concluded it by throwing to Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson.

    Since he won that 2004 playoff game, Bulger's record as a starter is 15-45. He's played for five head coaches in the last five seasons: Martz, Joe Vitt, Scott Linehan, Jim Haslett and Steve Spagnuolo. And I lost track of all the offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches who gave Bulger instructions.

    Is it really any surprise that Bulger cowered at times? Was it really shocking to see Bulger slide and duck to safety a yard short of a first down in a close game at Detroit? If this QB were a boxer, a ref would have intervened to stop the fight a long time ago.

    "Marc deserves a lot of credit," Rams general manager Billy Devaney said Tuesday. "And he knows that he could have played better. He puts a lot on himself. In addition to the physical beating he takes, I don't think people really know the extent of the psychological beating Marc has taken behind the scenes. All of those head coaches, coordinators, quarterback coaches, schemes, receivers. It was always changing on him. I really respect his toughness."

    Maybe Bulger comes back in 2010. Maybe he keeps the job for a while, until the Rams find another quarterback to take over. But the 2010 draft class isn't rich in quarterback talent not for a team looking to use a top-five pick on a QB, anyway. So maybe Bulger will stick around another year.

    But Bulger is due to make $8.5 million next season, and that's a lot of jack to pay a battered quarterback. According to Post-Dispatch football writer Jim Thomas, the Rams would save around $4.5 million by releasing Bulger after the season.

    Besides, how would that make Bulger feel to start on a temporary basis as fans and media holler for the coach to start a fresh quarterback? Why extend the agony and the futility of a losing battle?

    It would be an act of mercy to allow Bulger to walk away while he's still physically capable of walking.

  • #2
    Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

    How comes Bernie can only come out with these articles after everyone has already said this stuff? This is hardly some revalation that he is coming out with

    Also, id say my Marc Bulger highlight would be when we were in Seattle, down 17 in the fourth quarter. With 5:34 on the clock he throws a TD to Brandon Manumaleuna. Then after a three and out and a good punt return from Shaun McDonald he hits Kevin Curtis on a 41 yard TD to bring the Rams within 3. After a defensive stand the Rams got the ball back on their own 36 with 1:14 to play and no timeouts.

    Bulger hit Bruce for a 26 yard strike, and then connected with Dane Looker for an 18 yard completion, with Looker getting out of bounds. Jeff Wilkins tied it up at 27-27 and the game went to OT. Shortly into overtime, its 3rd and 8 at midfield. The called play would be a slant to Torry Holt, but Bulger checks out because he knew his slot guy, Shaun McDonald, has the speed and ability to beat the safety covering him. Bulger hit McDonald in stride, and he ran to the endzone for a 52 yard TD and the Rams OT win.
    @EssexRam_

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

      Originally posted by tomahawk247 View Post
      How comes Bernie can only come out with these articles after everyone has already said this stuff? This is hardly some revalation that he is coming out with

      Also, id say my Marc Bulger highlight would be when we were in Seattle, down 17 in the fourth quarter. With 5:34 on the clock he throws a TD to Brandon Manumaleuna. Then after a three and out and a good punt return from Shaun McDonald he hits Kevin Curtis on a 41 yard TD to bring the Rams within 3. After a defensive stand the Rams got the ball back on their own 36 with 1:14 to play and no timeouts.

      Bulger hit Bruce for a 26 yard strike, and then connected with Dane Looker for an 18 yard completion, with Looker getting out of bounds. Jeff Wilkins tied it up at 27-27 and the game went to OT. Shortly into overtime, its 3rd and 8 at midfield. The called play would be a slant to Torry Holt, but Bulger checks out because he knew his slot guy, Shaun McDonald, has the speed and ability to beat the safety covering him. Bulger hit McDonald in stride, and he ran to the endzone for a 52 yard TD and the Rams OT win.
      Damn i remember that game, I specifically remembering me giving up on them, so I went to church with my grandma, when I came back my brother was like guess who won? I said the seahawks obviously, he said no the Rams did I was like what?? I was amazed! Lol I remember that game..

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

        Originally posted by tomahawk247 View Post
        How comes Bernie can only come out with these articles after everyone has already said this stuff? This is hardly some revalation that he is coming out with

        Also, id say my Marc Bulger highlight would be when we were in Seattle, down 17 in the fourth quarter. With 5:34 on the clock he throws a TD to Brandon Manumaleuna. Then after a three and out and a good punt return from Shaun McDonald he hits Kevin Curtis on a 41 yard TD to bring the Rams within 3. After a defensive stand the Rams got the ball back on their own 36 with 1:14 to play and no timeouts.

        Bulger hit Bruce for a 26 yard strike, and then connected with Dane Looker for an 18 yard completion, with Looker getting out of bounds. Jeff Wilkins tied it up at 27-27 and the game went to OT. Shortly into overtime, its 3rd and 8 at midfield. The called play would be a slant to Torry Holt, but Bulger checks out because he knew his slot guy, Shaun McDonald, has the speed and ability to beat the safety covering him. Bulger hit McDonald in stride, and he ran to the endzone for a 52 yard TD and the Rams OT win.
        Loved that game. Didn't we sweep the Seahawks 3 for 3 (including playoffs) that year? I miss Martz and his crazy offense - like you said we were down 17 points in the 4th quarter. Did any Rams fan anywhere lose faith? I doubt it, I sure didn't. With Martz directing we may have been uneven and sometimes too risky on offense - but damnit we had a chance ANY time we touched the ball of going the distance for the TD. I didn't believe for a second that game was over yet - and we made a terrific comeback. I think that is probably my Bulger highlight number 1 also.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

          Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
          Time right to let beat-up Bulger go?

          Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
          11/26/2009


          Maybe Bulger comes back in 2010. Maybe he keeps the job for a while, until the Rams find another quarterback to take over. But the 2010 draft class isn't rich in quarterback talent not for a team looking to use a top-five pick on a QB, anyway. So maybe Bulger will stick around another year.

          But Bulger is due to make $8.5 million next season, and that's a lot of jack to pay a battered quarterback. According to Post-Dispatch football writer Jim Thomas, the Rams would save around $4.5 million by releasing Bulger after the season.
          Maybe Kyle Boller plays well the last 6 games of the season? Maybe Kyle Boller doesn't play well but the front office does think there is QB talent in the 2010 draft? Maybe Bulger isn't what Spags wants as his QB of the future? Spags made a ton of changes so far and I'm sure there will be a ton more.

          The thing that jumps out at me is that the RAMS can save $4.5 million by releasing Bulger. Certainly seems like the cards are stacked against Bulger.
          sigpic :ram::helmet:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

            I'd be willing to bet money on contract renegotiation.
            temp_4394_1467243487543_20
            RAMS!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

              I actually like this article. Gives people the realization of what Bulger actually goes through.


              I'm addressing this to all you "Bulger is terrible, release his arse" people.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

                Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
                I actually like this article. Gives people the realization of what Bulger actually goes through.


                I'm addressing this to all you "Bulger is terrible, release his arse" people.
                Yeah, I'm sure he's the only QB who's had to face some adversity. He'd have my sympathy if he weren't the highest paid Ram of all time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

                  Originally posted by RamsFanSam View Post
                  I'd be willing to bet money on contract renegotiation.
                  Exactly. And if he doesn't, bye bye. I would love for him to stay around...but not at that price.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bernie: Time Right To Let Beat-Up Bulger Go?

                    It's a good thing Bernie can say it. If I said it, I had have more red power reps. And the whole time I was right.

                    Comment

                    Related Topics

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                    • RamWraith
                      Thrown for a loss
                      by RamWraith
                      By Bernie Miklasz
                      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                      Thursday, Oct. 25 2007

                      Late last season, Marc Bulger called out unnamed teammates for giving less than
                      maximum effort. The remarks played well in the community, and in the locker
                      room. And Bulger took a step forward as a leader.

                      OK, so where is that guy now?

                      Can we get Bulger to take charge?

                      The Rams need him to be a positive leader.

                      Bulger has taken a terrible step back this season, in his performance, and in
                      his attitude. And this is especially troubling in that Bulger's decline comes a
                      few months after the franchise gave him a $65 million contract that includes
                      $27 million in guaranteed money.

                      Here's what the Rams have gotten, so far, for their investment:

                      An 0-7 record.

                      The lowest-scoring offense of the Rams' 13 seasons in St. Louis.

                      An average of nine points per game in Bulger's five starts.

                      A Bulger passer rating of 58.7, which is the lowest by a Rams' starting
                      quarterback (minimum five starts) since the team moved here in 1995.

                      Yes, what Bulger has done this season is worse than anything served up by Tony
                      Banks, the object of hostile ridicule and derision during his term as the Rams'
                      starting QB from 1996 to 1998. With Bulger teaming with backup Gus Frerotte
                      (two starts), the Rams are at the

                      bottom of the NFL in passer rating.

                      Bulger is playing with a couple of broken ribs, and I respect him for that.
                      Wednesday, Bulger said he's feeling better about 80 percent healthy. "It's
                      not that bad," he said.

                      Plenty of NFL quarterbacks are hurting. I watched Arizona's Kurt Warner play at
                      Washington on Sunday with a brace on his left arm, to stabilize a torn elbow
                      ligament. Warner couldn't use the left arm to hand the ball off; he was a
                      one-armed QB.

                      Warner, shaky early, never stopped battling. He refused to give in to his pain,
                      the hostile stadium, the physical Redskins defense. Warner completed 13 of 21
                      for 211 yards in the second half to nearly rally the Cardinals back from a
                      15-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Washington held on to win by two.

                      After the game, Redskins assistant Al Saunders, the former Rams assistant,
                      waited for Warner outside the locker room and commented to reporters, "What a
                      courageous guy. He can't even lift his left arm. You've got to be tough to play
                      that position, but that guy's really tough."

                      Warner left everything he had on that field. No one who saw the game had any
                      questions about Warner's fire, his competitiveness. That isn't true of Bulger
                      these days.

                      I realize the offensive line is mostly a collection of spare parts and...
                      -10-25-2007, 06:01 AM
                    • RamWraith
                      Playoffs will be the ultimate test of Bulger's ability
                      by RamWraith
                      By Bernie Miklasz
                      Of the Post-Dispatch
                      Thursday, Jan. 06 2005

                      The best thing that ever happened to Marc Bulger was getting injured. When
                      Bulger went down with a shoulder injury, and Chris Chandler took over for two
                      starts, we saw what life without Bulger was really like.

                      And it was quite ugly. The offense crashed. The Rams were stranded. The team
                      was in a crisis. Quick, sound the bugle call ... or the Bulger call.

                      Bulger returned, with the Rams needing to sweep their final two regular-season
                      games to inch their way into the NFC playoffs. In victories over the Eagles and
                      Jets, Bulger completed 74.2 percent of his passes for 675 yards and four
                      touchdowns. Save for one poor red-zone interception against the Jets, Bulger
                      performed brilliantly.

                      "He's played marvelously this year," wide receiver Isaac Bruce said.

                      Still, as the Rams prepare to barrel into Seattle for Saturday's first-round
                      playoff game, Bulger is in a tough spot. Critics will always hold it against
                      him because he replaced Kurt Warner. Others will insist that Warner is still
                      better than Bulger. (He isn't.) And though skeptics will concede that Bulger is
                      the right man for now, they won't fully be converted until Bulger books the
                      Rams into a Super Bowl.

                      That's what Warner did. Fair or not, it's the standard for quarterbacks in St.
                      Louis. Bulger is the first to be held to it. And it didn't help that Bulger
                      flunked his first test, last January, getting intercepted three times (with no
                      touchdowns) in the overtime playoff loss at home to Carolina. With a chance to
                      go for a winning touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter, coach
                      Mike Martz feared another interception and settled for a tying field goal.

                      In the aftermath, Martz thought about going back to Warner as the starter. He
                      thought about trading for prospect Drew Henson, who ended up in Dallas. But
                      after reviewing the 2003 season, Martz came to the conclusion that Bulger was
                      close to being the QB that Martz needed for this offense. Martz invested a new
                      contract in Bulger and released Warner.

                      So far, it's paying off. Bulger improved this season in completion percentage,
                      yards per passing attempt, touchdown-interception ratio and passer efficiency
                      rating. He connected on more deep throws. Teammates voted him the Rams MVP.

                      "I've been a lot more consistent this year," Bulger said Wednesday at Rams
                      Park. "I've learned a lot from last year ... as long as I didn't repeat the
                      same mistakes this year I thought that I would be better, and fortunately I
                      haven't."

                      Ah, but questions remain ...

                      Can Bulger play QB outside...
                      -01-07-2005, 04:40 AM
                    • 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
                    • Nick
                      Bernie's Bits: A point of view that Mok will love
                      by Nick
                      Rams hype Bulger but worry about him, too
                      By Bernie Miklasz
                      Of the Post-Dispatch
                      08/28/2004

                      A few Rams fans probably choked on their nachos the other night when an ESPN football pundit offered this piece of information: A member of Rams management told ESPN that Marc Bulger could become the greatest quarterback in franchise history.

                      Please.

                      Can we ship some sedatives out to Rams Park?

                      I'm not knocking ESPN; I have no doubt that one of the Rams' insiders dished the Bulger hype to the reporter. Loose lips are easy to find at Rams Park, and front-office agendas are pushed the way offensive linemen drive the blocking sleds.

                      The organization is debating with itself over Bulger, and it's a peculiar, contradictory exercise. On one hand, you have head coach Mike Martz already portraying Bulger as a victim - feeling the burden of extra pressure, being punished and penalized simply because he replaced Kurt Warner, the beloved Bambi of St. Louis pro athletes.

                      And in the other ear, you have another Rams voice saying Bulger could be the best quarterback ever to wear the Rams horns. That's not only bonkers, it goes against Martz's desire to lessen the scrutiny on Bulger.

                      Both agendas are off base. First of all, Bulger isn't a baby. He has a big new contract. He's 18-4 as the team's starter. He starred in last season's Pro Bowl. He has no reason to be jittery. But why do Rams insiders feel compelled to justify the decision to invest in Bulger by overly inflating his ability? How does that help him? Early in Friday's exhibition game against Washington at The Ed, Bulger was awful. He appeared rattled, indecisive. He missed open receivers. He completed only three of his first nine passes. And then Bulger settled down and made three sweet throws for 44 yards. He capped off an impressive touchdown drive by rolling right, eluding pursuing Redskins and connecting with Torry Holt on a 7-yard touchdown pass. Bulger finished the half with a 98.6 QB rating.

                      Bulger will succeed, or fail, on his own merits. Bulger must prove his value, all season, good or bad. So let's put an end to the spin. Let Bulger be Bulger. Let his passes fall where they may.

                      Free Orlando Pace.

                      Michael Matsko, a freshman safety from Lake Saint Louis, is a walk-on at Mizzou. His dad is Rams offensive line coach John Matsko. ... Monday on ESPN, Rams coach Mike Martz raised some eyebrows when he said that Kurt Warner didn't help Marc Bulger last season. I asked Martz to elaborate on his comment, but he declined. ... The Rams, thin on the offensive line, probably won't like hearing that former Ram John St. Clair is a big hit in the Miami Dolphins training camp. "In St. Louis, he was moved between right tackle, left tackle, guard and center, and got no better," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt told reporters. "He's...
                      -08-27-2004, 10:57 PM
                    • RamWraith
                      This season, Martz keeps ball in Bulger's hot hand
                      by RamWraith
                      By Bernie Miklasz
                      Of the Post-Dispatch
                      Saturday, Jan. 08 2005

                      SEATTLE - In last year's NFL playoffs, Marc Bulger threw three interceptions in
                      a bitterly disappointing, and shocking, home loss to Carolina. Bulger was so
                      unreliable, the shakiness caused a radical transformation in Mike Martz,
                      turning him into an arch-conservative for the first time in his coaching
                      career.

                      With a chance to win at the end of the fourth quarter by going for a touchdown,
                      Martz removed the ball, and the trust, and the game, from Bulger's grip. Martz
                      uncharacteristically settled for a field goal. But after Bulger's final
                      interception, the Rams lost in overtime.

                      Fast forward to Saturday.

                      The day Marc Bulger made up for all that went wrong in his initial venture into
                      the NFL playoffs, one year ago. The day that Bulger made the bad memories, the
                      doubts, and the ghost of a departed QB superstar all disappear in the course of
                      two late drives that enhanced his reputation.

                      On this day, with the Rams trailing by three in the fourth quarter, Bulger
                      picked this precise time and situation to take a firm step in his development
                      as an NFL quarterback. Bulger air-lifted the Rams out of trouble, pulled them
                      out of a crisis, and calmly directed a stirring 27-20 comeback victory over the
                      Seattle Seahawks.

                      On this day, there would be no fear, no worry, no pulling in the horns to
                      settle for field goals. On the final two possessions, Bulger got the Rams the
                      field goal to tie and the touchdown they needed to escape Seattle and move
                      forward in the NFC playoffs. To get those 10 points that kept the Rams going,
                      Bulger completed five of seven passes for 80 yards including the game-winning
                      17-yard touchdown on a beautiful play-action pass to tight end Cam Cleeland.
                      Bulger had to make the perfect throw, drilling it into a narrow opening just
                      before the arrival of a Seattle safety. Bulger was ice. He got the ball in
                      there, right into Cleeland's mitt, just a nano-second ahead of the defender's
                      fingertips.

                      On those final two drives, Bulger was money.

                      "Marc was throwing DIMES to people," wideout Kevin Curtis said.

                      Yes, 313 yards worth of dimes.

                      Let it be known that Rams are Bulger's team now. He's grown so much in the last
                      year. There would be no repeat of the Carolina caution and conservatism. On
                      this occasion, the football, and fate, were placed squarely in Bulger's hands
                      on a brisk Saturday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.

                      And Bulger responded the way winners do. With his helmet transmitter on the
                      fritz, with his pass protection breaking down, with his offense in a rut, with
                      the...
                      -01-09-2005, 05:09 AM
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