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Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

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  • Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

    Bulger finally escapes Rams Park

    By Jeff Gordon

    Marc Bulger is free at last. You should feel happy for him, not sad.

    His inevitable departure finally occurred Monday, under cover of the Cardinals’ Opening Day. The Rams cashiered Bulger and turned the page on his increasingly frustrating quarterback era.

    Bulger, who also turned 33 on Monday, can pursue a back-up role with a good team (his best option) or sign up to compete for work for another bad team.

    Marc should be delighted, despite losing his chance to collect $8.5 million from the Rams this season. He did what he could for this franchise, sacrificing his body in the process.

    Bulger threw for a lot of yards here (22,814) and made a couple of Pro Bowls. He led the Rams to the playoffs and dazzled fans during the good days with his pinpoint passing accuracy.

    Try as he might, though, he could not prevent the spectacular collapse of this once-great football team. He could not convince Alex Barron to remember every snap count. He could not get in sync with Donnie Avery’s free-lance route running.

    He didn’t yell and wave enough on the sideline to appease Rams fans. Many of them believed Bulger just didn’t care enough to raise his voice.

    The Rams staggered to 3-13, 2-14 and 1-15 finishes during the last three years on his watch and that relentless failure took a toll on everybody.

    He became the fall guy, figuratively (in the forums, chat rooms and sports talk radio shows) and literally (with one violent injury after another). Offensive coordinators and head coaches came and went during that span, but Bulger stayed put, taking the heat and the punishment.

    Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Orlando Pace left . . . but Bulger remained behind, trapped, as an unpopular reminder of better times. The guaranteed portion of his $65 million contract kept him on the job longer than was prudent for either side.

    The Rams refused to release Bulger after the season even though the entire free world knew he was finished here as quarterback. Other NFL quarterbacks were turned out or traded by their teams, but Bulger had to pretend he was wanted at Rams Park.

    This team held out hope that he could somehow become a trade chip, despite his unwieldy salary. When the big-spending Redskins landed Donovan McNabb, that pipe dream ended abruptly.

    His emancipation came not long after the Rams took a good look at Oklahoma star Sam Bradford at his college day workout and planned his private pre-draft session.

    (To be safe, the Rams are also taking a long look at Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. This team could still trade out of the first overall pick in the right scenario.)

    “It is always hard to part ways with someone you care for and appreciate,” said Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said in his obligatory prepared statement. “I was fortunate as a first-year head coach to have Marc on our team. I will always be indebted to him for his work ethic, character and leadership. We wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

    Given the money Bulger has already collected in his career, he’ll be fine. The only remaining question is if he has enough motivation left to revive his career elsewhere.

    If he is smart, he will seek a soft landing in a supporting role for a good team. Bulger is a bright guy and a good teammate. Arizona would have been a lovely destination, but former Browns quarterback Derek Anderson got that gig instead.

    Maybe Mike Martz will want him up in Chicago to assist with the Jay Cutler Project. Bulger wouldn’t play up there unless Cutler got hurt, but crazier things have happened.

    Most of the other good opportunities have been gobbled up by now, but somewhere in America a quarterback fails every 10 minutes. Perhaps another coach will dust off some old game video and see that Bulger could offer something now that he has finally escaped Rams Park.

  • #2
    Re: Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

    Thank you,
    I'm a bartender and I have to debate with other Rams fans all the time. You just said everything I have been saying for a while.


    • #3
      Re: Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

      He became the fall guy, figuratively (in the forums, chat rooms and sports talk radio shows) and literally (with one violent injury after another). Offensive coordinators and head coaches came and went during that span, but Bulger stayed put, taking the heat and the punishment.

      RIGHT ON!!!


      • #4
        Re: Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

        My God, this is what I"ve been saying for years now, wonderful post & an even better article. I pray that Marc lands a great job somewhere and can enjoy the rest of his career.


        • #5
          Re: Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

          If he is smart, he will seek a soft landing in a supporting role for a good team. Bulger is a bright guy and a good teammate. Arizona would have been a lovely destination, but former Browns quarterback Derek Anderson got that gig instead.
          I wonder if the Cardinals are kicking themselves for not waiting? Maybe it could have been a good fit, although the OL in Arizona didn't exactly do a lot to keep Warner from being beaten into submission and eventual retirement.

          I do agree though that this is probably the best thing for Bulger.
          Last edited by r8rh8rmike; -04-07-2010, 09:18 PM.


          • #6
            Re: Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

            At least he made a lot of money while he was suffering all of those changes and hopefully his body has survived all the hits. I wonder how old he feels now? 33 has to be old in football years.

            I have supported Bulger for most of his career with the Rams and I hope he finds football success again. These last few years have been very difficult. I wonder if he still has the desire to play the game. I wish him the best.


            • #7
              Re: Bulger Finally Escapes Rams Park

              Originally posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
              Bulger finally escapes Rams Park

              He didn’t yell and wave enough on the sideline to appease Rams fans. Many of them believed Bulger just didn’t care enough to raise his voice.

              This is such a great line. While I feel that it was time to part ways with Bulger, I grew extremely tired of the constant complaining about him not being "rah rah" enough. When he first took over the starting job, he was praised for his even keel demenor and how he never got too high or too low. Once the Rams started stinking it up, he suddenly didn't care and was labeled as not having any heart. Just another case of the QB getting either all the credit or all the blame.


              Related Topics


              • shower beers
                Bulger Requested Release
                by shower beers
                BY JIM THOMAS
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                For weeks — no, make that months —quarterback Marc Bulger kept his mouth shut and went about his business. He knew in all probability that his tenure in St. Louis was over but didn't raise a stink as the Rams sorted through their options at the position.

                But after Sam Bradford's boffo pro day performance March 29 at the University of Oklahoma, Bulger contacted Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo. His message? Please let me go.

                One week after Bradford's pro day, Bulger got his wish. The team released Bulger, the two-time Pro Bowler, on Monday — his 33rd birthday. The timing seems odd because all along it was assumed that the Rams would wait at least until the first day of the draft to release Bulger.

                Then again, with the No. 1 overall pick, who are the Rams bluffing? No one can select ahead of them in the draft. And after Washington's Easter Sunday trade for Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb, the Redskins lost their status as the team most likely to trade up to No. 1.

                So with only A.J. Feeley, Keith Null and Mike Reilly now under contract at quarterback, it seems overwhelmingly obvious the Rams will take a QB in the draft. In fact, they could be ordering that blue-and-gold Sam Bradford jersey right now at Rams Park.

                "I can't speak for the Rams," said Tom Condon, the St. Louis-based agent who represents both Bradford and Bulger. "Obviously, Sam Bradford's a very highly regarded player and I'm certain that the Rams have a lot of interest in him."

                If not Bradford, who? Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen in an upset? A trade down and selection of Colt McCoy of Texas? Those seem to be the only non-Bradford options, however remote.

                Knee-deep in draft meetings Monday, Spagnuolo and Rams general manager Billy Devaney issued only statements on Bulger's release.

                "It is always hard to part ways with someone you care for and appreciate," Spagnuolo said. "I was fortunate as a first-year head coach to have Marc on our team. I will always be indebted to him for his work ethic, character and leadership. We wish him and his family nothing but the best."

                Bulger was on hand for the first day of the team's offseason conditioning program at Rams Park, and was in the building as recently as late last week. But he knew this day was coming, and had known it for quite some time.

                After taking over for Kurt Warner on a permanent basis in 2003, Bulger led the Rams to the NFC West championship that season. The team also made the playoffs in 2004.

                But as the losses mounted, the talent level around him nose-dived. Head coaches and coordinators came and went over the succeeding seasons, and Bulger shouldered much of the blame for the team's declining fortunes.

                "I would like to thank Marc Bulger for...
                -04-06-2010, 11:17 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
              • 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
              • MauiRam
                Rumors fail to rattle Marc Bulger
                by MauiRam
                Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
                [More columns]Bryan Burwell
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                The routine has started all over again for Marc Bulger. There is another minicamp on the horizon and yet another head coach in place. There is another offensive coordinator in his life and another playbook in his hands, full of new schemes to memorize and another elaborate football language to be mastered.

                But mostly, there is opportunity on the horizon. Opportunity to win again. Opportunity to remind a doubting public exactly why the Rams new management team still believes in him, even if so many outside Rams Park no longer do.

                So he chuckles softly when you mention things like "battered-quarterback syndrome," and all the nightmares he has endured as the Rams quarterback during the post-Greatest Show days. He chuckles again when you mention the Mark Sanchez pre-draft gossip and those angry Bulger haters who keep acting as if there is only one way to lead an NFL huddle — with the emotional decibel levels cranked wide open like a heavy metal concert.

                "Every year, winning cures all," Bulger said on the eve of the Rams second minicamp under new coach Steve Spagnuolo. "Earlier in my career we were winning and my biggest attribute was that I was steady, low-key, and my teammates knew how much I wanted to win and everything was great. Then all of a sudden, you lose a few years and that's my greatest weakness."

                The haters don't care. They still want Bulger to be something he is not and will never be: a fire-breathing Brett Favre clone. He chuckles again and tells you that it's not about personality. In the NFL, it's always about one thing and one thing only — production — and then gives you evidence.

                "There's a quarterback who won a few Super Bowls a few years ago (Favre), and he gets to New York and (the Jets) lose and suddenly those same things are his biggest faults," the Rams quarterback told me during an interview on my radio show (WXOS 101.1 FM) Thursday morning.

                So here Bulger is again, another year, another coach, another coordinator and another opportunity to prove his point that production trumps personality every time. He doesn't exactly bristle at this talk that he is too mellow to be a leader, because that's just not his personality. But this is a guy who does know how to compete, particularly when he's not being rag-dolled by pass-rushing defenders who have found too many easy routes to the Rams backfield. So now he has a real blocking fullback, a revamped offensive line and a new system that no longer puts the quarterback in peril by design.

                The Rams management tandem of general manager Billy Devaney and Spagnuolo still think he can do the job, too. That's why they spent free-agent money on center Jason Brown and fullback Mike Karney, then the second-overall pick in last...
                -05-01-2009, 11:41 AM