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  • Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

    Null should be on '10 roster, but starting is another question

    Jeff Gordon
    POST-DISPATCH ONLINE SPORTS COLUMNIST
    12/21/2009

    Rookie quarterback Keith Null has earned a spot on the 2010 Rams. This much we know for sure.

    Could he compete for the starting job next season? It is too soon to stay that.

    Could he blossom into the franchise’s Quarterback of the Future? It is much, MUCH too soon to make such an optimistic assessment.

    We do know that Null has pretty good tools. And we know he has some nerve, too, since he shrugged off his ghastly five-interception debut in Week 14.

    Clearly Null learned from his first NFL start. His second outing went much more smoothly than his first. He settled down and got into a nice passing rhythm.

    "It was a lot different," Null told reporters after the game. "It seemed like things slowed down a little bit for me a lot more than it did last week. It was a great opportunity to get out there and play again."

    He made just two glaring mistakes during the Rams’ 16-13 loss to the visiting Texans Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

    1) After a botched exchange, Null tried to execute the running play. He needed to eat the football instead, as he learned while losing a costly fumble. Job One for young NFL quarterbacks is ball security.

    2) While scrambling for his life, Null tried to make a play. He needed to just throw the ball away, as he learned while throwing a costly interception.

    Other than those errors of aggression, Null was just fine.

    He took a couple of big sacks after failing to locate a receiver, but at least he pulled the ball back instead of forcing throws into coverage. That was progress.

    Null completed 18 of 27 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. He looked like a veteran while converting that one red zone opportunity.

    The Rams lined up with three wide receivers on the short side of the field on a first-and-goal play from the Houston 3. The other two wideouts cleared room for Danny Amendola, who caught a quick pass from Null to score.

    That is a routine touchdown play for most teams, but it was like scaling a mountain for this group. Week after week after week the Rams have come up short in the red zone.

    So fans saw glimmers of hope in this game. The Rams offense appeared more assertive than it had been for most of this season. We saw a lot of three- and four-receiver sets, which is highly unusual for the Steve Spagnuolo regime.

    Null demonstrated a strong arm while taking some deep shots. He threw intermediate passes with authority. He made generally good reads, too.

    Some fans have gotten way too excited in our forums and chats here at STLtoday, but Null did a lot of good things. During a season of unrelenting failure, his performance was a rare sign of progress for this sad sack team.

    If I’m Spagnuolo, I would want to take at least one more look at Kyle Boller to see if there is something there. And I would still be very careful with the rookie quarterback, so as not to beat him down the way the Raiders beat down JaMarcus Russell.

    Right now Null is feeling good about himself. The coaching staff needs to keep it that way.

    "I feel like I did a pretty good job," Null told reporters. "There were definitely some plays I wanted back. Especially the pick, that just wasn’t a smart play by me but I felt like I improved a lot from last week.

    "I think I still need to get a lot better and still need to keep working to improve my game."

    The Rams coaching staff needs to keep working Null, who is adapting to life behind center in the NFL after running a spread offense in college.

    The staff must continue to work with newcomer Mike Reilly, too, to see if the rookie from Central Washington offers long-range potential as well.

    The Rams braintrust must compare Boller and Marc Bulger to what might become available through free agency trade during the off-season.

    Drafting a quarterback still seems like a good idea, too, since this team needs to bring four strong candidates to training camp.

    Null is panning out to be fine sixth-round draft pick. That is a start. But like the rest of this team, the kid from West Texas A&M is a long way from the finish.

  • #2
    Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

    Spags does not need to take one more look at Boller...... Boller sucks end of story...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

      Hey raiderhatermike, I'm with you on your assessment of Keith Null and am hoping that the coaching staff really grooms him the way Aaron Rodgers was in Green Bay. I know that there's a big diifference in competing in the Pac 10 for the Califonia Bears and a division 2 team where Null came out of . But I believe that an athlete who puts up numbers like Null did has got to have potential with the right people around him. My hopes would be that Bulger help him as he matures in the league, but even if he doesn't it wouldn't be any different than how much help I here Rodgers got at Green Bay from you know who.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

        Originally posted by rayzorram View Post
        Hey raiderhatermike, I'm with you on your assessment of Keith Null and am hoping that the coaching staff really grooms him the way Aaron Rodgers was in Green Bay.
        I'd love to take the credit, but you mean your with Jeff Gordon, who wrote the article.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

          My Baaaaaaaad!:ram:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

            Unless he throws 3td's and o int's in each of the next two games, i dont see him nailing down the starting job for next season. He might earn it in training camp next season though. The kid obviously has some potential, but how much exactly.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

              I am exactly on par with this article...while he certainly hasn't done anything to warrant a starting job, he at least has shown the tools (arm strength, accuracy, pocket presence) to warrant a spot on the team. Whether his transition to the NFL and his decision making improve to the point where he can be a starter is still in question, but its worth a shot at this point.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

                Of the QBs on the Rams' current roster, Null has the best chance of returning in 2010.

                Of course, at this point, that's not saying much.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

                  Why wouldn't he be back. He signed through next year and at least he is 3rd QB. Got potential no doubting that. Franchise QB no one knows at this point

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

                    Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
                    I'd love to take the credit, but you mean your with Jeff Gordon, who wrote the article.
                    Good thing I read this entire thread. I was going to throw you some rep points for a great read Mike.

                    Right now Null has as much chance at being our starter next season as does Bulger and/or Boller if they're both still with us.
                    sigpic :ram::helmet:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

                      I'd rather start Null next year than have Vick wearing horns.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question

                        Originally posted by Al_B_Badd View Post
                        I'd rather start Null next year than have Vick wearing horns.
                        I'd like to have both competing for the job and use a 3rd or 4rth pick as number 3.

                        Comment

                        Related Topics

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                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Null Learns Plenty In First Start
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Null Learns Plenty in First Start
                          Monday, December 14, 2009


                          By Nick Wagoner
                          Senior Writer

                          Although he was nervous, rookie quarterback Keith Null let nobody know that the moment of making his first start was too big for him.

                          And, like most players making their NFL debut, Null’s nerves went away quickly.

                          “I’d say after the first play,” Null said. “I went out there pretty comfortable. It definitely helps to go out and throw a completion on your first pass so after that any player would tell you, you get that first play then you are out there playing football again.”

                          It was a long road from tiny West Texas A&M to taking the reigns of the Rams offense for Null but on the first play from scrimmage, Null had a number of firsts.

                          Null took his first snap in a regular season game (and from under center, something he hadn’t done much of in his shotgun-heavy career), dropped back and delivered his first pass to tight end Daniel Fells for a gain of 7 yards.

                          It wasn’t the flashiest opening to a NFL career, but it was enough to shake the butterflies loose from Null’s stomach and allow him to settle in.

                          By the end of his first busy NFL Sunday, Null had a rough statistical day in line with what many rookie signal callers – let alone sixth-round draft choices with Division II pedigrees – would have.

                          But in retrospect, it wasn’t so much the numbers Null posted as the way he handled an extremely difficult situation that impressed teammates and coaches alike.

                          “Under the circumstances and how it all went down, I thought he handled himself well in the huddle, I thought he was composed, he had command of what he was doing,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “He’d like some throws back. I thought he stepped up in the pocket well and actually had some pretty nice throws. That part of it was encouraging.”

                          Null finished the game 27-of-43 for 157 yards with a touchdown and five interceptions for a rating of 37.8.

                          Considering that Tennessee represents one of the most hostile environments in the league with one of its toughest defenses, Null’s assignment was loaded with landmines before he ever was even declared the starter.

                          Last week, Null split repetitions with Kyle Boller in practice for most of the week. With Boller battling a thigh injury, Null got more and more reps as the week went on.

                          By Saturday, it had become clear that Boller would be a game time decision and Null was a viable candidate to start.
                          That made for some interesting moments for Null in the run up to the game as he awaited word on his role.

                          “I was going out, getting ready to play not really know what was going to happen and trying to prepare myself for whatever they tell me,” Null said. “I went back in the locker room, they told me I was going to...
                          -12-15-2009, 08:01 PM
                        • MauiRam
                          Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams
                          by MauiRam
                          BY BILL COATS
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          05/26/2010

                          In a way, it almost seems unfair.

                          Keith Null was the Rams' starting quarterback for the last four games of the 2009 season. The two players ahead of him on the depth chart for most of the season, Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, no longer are with the team.

                          And yet as organized team activities continue at Rams Park, Null is in exactly the same situation that he was last spring: fighting to land the No. 3 QB job.

                          "Wherever I end up by the season, I trust the coaches enough to put me in the right position," said Null, a sixth-round draft pick last year from NCAA Division II West Texas A&M.


                          Null beat out Brock Berlin to make the 53-man roster as a rookie. Null dressed as the No. 3 quarterback until injuries felled Bulger and then Boller.

                          That thrust Null into the lineup Dec. 13 at Tennessee for an NFL debut that was short on personal highlights. Null did throw a touchdown pass, an 11-yard toss to tight end Randy McMichael. But Null also was intercepted five times in a 47-7 thumping.

                          The Rams were outscored 122-36 and went 0-4 with Null as the starter, wrapping up their franchise-worst 1-15 season. Null completed 73 of 119 passes (61.3 percent) for 566 yards and three touchdowns, with nine interceptions. His passer rating was a woeful 49.9.

                          "I definitely wish I could get another chance to get back in and sort of redeem myself," Null said. "I don't think that I played as good as I could have."

                          Coach Steve Spagnuolo agreed. "He had some ups and downs, like you would think in a rookie," Spagnuolo said. "Here's a guy that probably didn't expect to play at all, and we had the injury situation. He made some good plays, and he made some bad ones. I know it wasn't probably as good as he wanted it to go overall.

                          "But I do think the reps he got were invaluable."

                          Again, coach and player were in agreement.

                          "These OTAs, as far as knowing the plays and calling the plays in the huddle, it's way easier than it was last year at this time," Null said. "Having one year under my belt, and then getting to go in and play four games, I'm taking all that with me ... and using that experience to help me."

                          The Rams signed veteran quarterback A.J. Feeley to a free-agent deal in the offseason, then spent the No. 1 overall draft choice on Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford.

                          Feeley has been getting all the first-team snaps during OTAs, with Null and Bradford alternating with the second and third units. Ultimately, though, Bradford will be starting and Feeley will be backing him up.

                          That means that the 6-foot-4, 219-pound Null, 24, seemingly will have to best rookie free agent Thaddeus Lewis to retain his roster spot.
                          ...
                          -05-26-2010, 09:39 AM
                        • BEER
                          Article on Kieth Null.
                          by BEER
                          By Jeff Gordon
                          STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                          08/20/2009

                          Ryan Leaf was one of the most egregious draft busts in NFL history. He went second overall to the San Diego Chargers and failed miserably.

                          He alienated teammates, fans and media types. He suffered serious shoulder and wrist injuries. Later, after the Chargers turned him out, he failed to sustain comebacks in Tampa Bay and Dallas.


                          Now his protégé is trying to succeed where he failed.

                          As an assistant coach at West Texas A&M, Leaf helped develop Keith Null into a hugely productive Division II quarterback. Now Null is getting his shot under much different circumstances than Leaf enjoyed -– as a sixth-round Rams draft pick fighting for the No. 3 quarterback slot.

                          Many experts left him out of their pre-draft rankings. Others mentioned him as a potential street free agent, or “camp arm” as they say in the business.

                          But Null could become much more than that. He is a big prospect (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) with a big arm and a nice passing touch.

                          He offers intriguing physical tools and a productive collegiate background.

                          With starting quarterback Marc Bulger missing the rest of preseason play with a broken finger, Null will get additional work as he battles Brock Berlin for the No. 3 job behind Bulger and Kyle Boller.

                          Maybe, just maybe, Null could become a true developmental quarterback. His considerable potential could earn him a roster spot if he continues progressing through the preseason.

                          Null did not look like a small-town, small-school rube during training camp. He knew exactly what he was getting into when he reported to work at Rams Park.

                          Leaf helped get him ready. Null learned from Leaf’s fortune and misfortune.

                          “He has gone through it all, to say the last,” Null said. “He’s definitely had a lot of experiences. He has learned from all of those.

                          “We really enjoyed each other. I enjoyed having him as a coach and I know he enjoyed having me as a player. We got along great.”

                          Leaf’s tenure at the school ended abruptly and badly. He developed a painkiller addiction after his NFL career ended and that led to his arrest on drug charges.

                          But Leaf has stayed connected with Null while working through his personal and legal issues.

                          “He just called me two or three days ago and left me a message,” Null said. “I actually have to call him back. It’s been pretty busy around here.

                          “We talk every two or three weeks, He says in touch. He is very encouraging and helpful for me.”

                          Null threw for 5,097 yards in his senior season and capped his career with stellar Division II playoff and all-star game performances. Null threw for 595 yards and seven touchdowns against Abilene Christian in a playoff game and later earned MVP honors at the Valero Cactus Bowl.
                          ...
                          -08-20-2009, 03:53 PM
                        • realchamp11
                          keith null
                          by realchamp11
                          i dont understand why people thought null was ready to start. He's a rookie and not even from the D1 level. He was/is NO WHERE close to being ready to be a starter
                          -12-13-2009, 06:52 PM
                        • Guest's Avatar
                          Keith Null
                          by Guest
                          I thought Keith looked good out there. He's accurate and seems to get rid of the ball fast.

                          Does anyone think he looks better than any of our other backups? I'm curious because we gave Gado the 2nd spot after his good performance. I'd be fun to see Null in there either with the 2nd or even the 1st stringers.

                          Get the kid in it.
                          -08-22-2009, 02:53 PM
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