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  • Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

    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.

    Not that Null necessarily sees it that way.

    "Actually, I'm coming out here trying to compete for a job wherever they're giving me the reps," he said. "If that's with the (second team), I'm going to be a No. 2. If it's the ones, I'm going to be trying to get the No. 1 spot.

    "Every single player out here, at every position, they're not only trying to make the team, but they're trying to play."

    Null insisted that he's not intimidated by Bradford, despite their vastly dissimilar draft spots and college pedigrees. "We're in the NFL now; that's how I look at it," Null said. "It doesn't really matter how you got here. We're all equal out on that field."

    Feeley has the current edge because he's spent nearly his entire 10-year career operating an offense similar to the scheme coordinator Pat Shurmur brought from Philadelphia. Though he has a year in the offense, Null is leaning on Feeley to advance his understanding of it.

    "He's just got a whole other mind-set, having been in this offense for so long," Null said. "Just over the last few practices, talking to him ... he's really helped me on figuring out certain plays that I just really didn't understand the concepts. He's put a whole new spin on it for me."

    Any edge that he can garner, Null figures, will help him continue to draw an NFL paycheck.

    "All I can do is come out here and compete, give it my best and do what I can do," he said. "And then let the chips fall where they may."

  • #2
    Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

    Originally posted by MauiRam View Post

    "Here's a guy that probably didn't expect to play at all, ...

    I think John Madden would agree with that assessment.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

      When you think about the issues the offense had last season, Null actually didn't do a lousy job. Seriously, how many offensive starters did we have left out on the field on December 13th? 3? Honestly, I don't think Peyton Manning could have done much better with the team we had left at the end of the season.

      Oh, well, that's overwith. Now we have 2010 to look forward to.
      temp_4394_1467243487543_20
      RAMS!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

        I like Null and I like his attitude. Who says he can't be the number two on this roster? It's only A'Jay (get off my team) Freely he's competing against.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

          To be fair, if we're all into this "earn your starting position" bit with Bradford, Null really should have started the offseason workouts as the first team QB. He's proven himself more than Feeley has in the last year.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

            Thaddeus Lewis baby!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

              Week 2, depth chart for the Saint Louis Rams at the QB spot:

              1. Keith Null

              2. "Uncle Sam" Bradford

              3. A. J. Feeley (Released)
              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

                Originally posted by PeoriaRam View Post
                To be fair, if we're all into this "earn your starting position" bit with Bradford, Null really should have started the offseason workouts as the first team QB. He's proven himself more than Feeley has in the last year.
                Clearly the last four words in that sentence are key ..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

                  I guess we should ignore Feeley's years of knowledge of this offense for Keith Null's one year and grit for sticking in there for the majority of the beating he took, and give him the starting spot temporarily out of "respect"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

                    Originally posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
                    I guess we should ignore Feeley's years of knowledge of this offense for Keith Null's one year and grit for sticking in there for the majority of the beating he took, and give him the starting spot temporarily out of "respect"
                    In this case, knowledge should not trump a complete lack of skill on Feeley's part. If you really want to get down to it, Feeley hasn't demonstrated on field competence with the football since 2006. And Null has had a year to work with the bloody offense, so I don't think he has an OMG! steep learning curve with Shurmur's playbook.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

                      If we're going by experience of the offense, then it would go:

                      Feeley
                      Null
                      Bradford


                      I'm not a big fan of Feeley, and I feel that he hasn't ever really shown flashes of greatness. But, in technical terms here of experience, Feeley gets the edge.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Null continues fight for his QB position with St. Louis Rams

                        Who knows, maybe Keith Null will be our franchise quarterback.

                        Comment

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                        • 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, 02:53 PM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          "Accent-ing The Positives With Null
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          12.15.2009 12:11 pm
                          “Accent-ing” the positives with Null
                          By Jim Thomas
                          St. Louis Post-Dispatch


                          Even in the midst of Sunday’s 47-7 drubbing to Tennessee, the St. Louis Rams’ offensive unit found some humor in the Texas twang of rookie quarterback Keith Null.

                          “They love it when I say ‘nek-ked right, nek-ked left,’ ” Null said.

                          That’s “nek-ked” as in “naked bootleg” to those who grew up north of Mason-Dixon.

                          “That’s one of the things they just love to give me heck about,” Null said. “So they even did it during the game.”

                          Right in the huddle.

                          “Oh yeah. Every single time I say it, they give me something about it,” Null said.

                          But starting left guard Jacob Bell said he liked what he saw and heard from Null in the huddle Sunday at LP Field, accent and all.

                          “It was very impressive to see a young guy with such poise in the huddle,” Bell said. “He’s southern as it is, so he speaks slow which I like. I can understand what he’s saying. But he didn’t lose his cool. He had a little laugh in there. He looked like a veteran almost.”
                          -12-15-2009, 06:56 PM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Null Should Be On '10 Roster, But Starting Is Another Question
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          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,...
                          -12-21-2009, 03:53 PM
                        • 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, 07:01 PM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Round Two: Why Not Null At QB For Rams?
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          11.25.2009 11:53 am
                          Why not Null at QB for Rams?
                          By Roger Hensley



                          QUESTION: With only six games remaining and the St. Louis Rams sitting at 1-9, and with QB Marc Bulger injured, why are the Rams not considering Keith Null at QB so they can see what they’ve got there? Rookie QBs play all the time, surely he’s prepared after being with the team since training camp, right?

                          JIM THOMAS

                          Apparently this is hard for some to fathom, but Keith Null IS NOT READY. He played at WEST Texas A&M, not Texas A&M. It wasn’t until October that he even felt comfortable taking snaps from center. If you think Marc Bulger had communication and timing issues with Brandon Gibson, what do you think will happen with Null? To borrow from a Rams Park colleague, about the best thing Null has going for him right now is an absence of failure. And whether you’re 1-9 or 9-1 — this is the NFL. You play to win. This is November, not August. And right now, Kyle Boller gives the Rams their best chance to win.

                          BERNIE MIKLASZ

                          No. 1, Null is a very raw project. A small-college guy from a spread offense. He needs a lot of time to prep before he can start an NFL game. He’s at a disadvantage compared to other rookie QBs who played in major-college programs and in more pro-style offenses.

                          No. 2, he has had virtually no practice time at all in running this offense. It would be a disservice to the kid to throw him to the wolves. Why do people want to see him fail at a job before he’s ready to take on that job? What’s the point? Why get him massacred? Irresponsible.

                          No. 3, the Rams aren’t as high on Null as people seem to think that they are.

                          BRYAN BURWELL

                          Unless there is a major medical disaster to Kyle Boller, there is no reason to put a rookie QB who doesn’t forecast as a star into the lineup as a starter. Would I like to see him in for a look-see? Sure, but perhaps the Rams staff has already seen enough of Null and they don’t think he is ready yet.

                          BILL COATS

                          Null’s simply not ready. As the No. 3 QB, he’s gotten very few reps in practice since the start of the regular season because Kyle Boller does the scout-team work. It would be unfair to Null to toss him in there now. You would set him up to fail by doing so.
                          -11-25-2009, 10:41 AM
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