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  • Quarterback Situation Uncertain for Sunday

    Quarterback Situation Uncertain for Sunday
    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Quarterback Marc Bulger made his return to the practice field on Wednesday. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will return to the playing field on Sunday, but it is a sign of progress.

    Bulger, who missed last week’s game against Carolina with a right shoulder sprain, threw the ball in warm-ups and about another 12 in some short team drills. He did not have as much zip on his throws as normal, but that was mostly because he was doing his best to ease back into it, according to coach Mike Martz.

    “He threw the ball much better today than I predicted,” Martz said. “He didn’t turn it loose. He feels like he could, but he didn’t attempt to. We’ll just let it go until Friday and see where is on Friday.”

    Bulger is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Arizona. In the meantime, it appears that veteran Chris Chandler will get the start for the second consecutive week. Chandler threw six interceptions in the worst outing of his career against the Panthers last week.

    Chandler was inconsolable after the game, taking all of the blame for the 20-7 loss. He still appears to be trying to get over the difficult loss. Martz attempted to help Chandler out Monday, claiming that he asked Chandler to do too much, but Chandler insists that his coach is just attempting to share in the blame.

    “Mike’s just trying to be a nice guy,” Chandler said. “It was just a bad thing on my part. I’ve never had a day like that. I’m still trying to sort it out.”

    The sooner the better for Chandler. Martz did not really consider pulling Chandler in last week’s game, mostly because rookie backup Jeff Smoker isn’t quite ready to step in and play. This week, though, Jamie Martin will likely be ready to play if needed and Martz might have a quicker hook if things go wrong.

    Bulger seemed to be solid in practice Wednesday and will probably take more repetitions as the week goes on. Martz said that most of Bulger’s pain and problems comes from his follow through and not his actual throwing motion. It could come down to a gametime decision this week if Bulger continues to perform and show that he can make all of the throws needed in practice.

    Martz said he would wait as long as he has to to make a decision on Bulger.

    “If there’s any doubt, we will keep him out,” Martz said. “I think Sunday morning is pretty good (in determining when he will play). We’ll get him out in the parking lot and pitch it around a little bit and we’ll roll. I would not hesitate one minute if on Friday he is ready to go.”

    More than likely, Bulger will not be ready to go Sunday. Regardless of who gets the start, any quarterback on the active roster will need to be ready just in case.

    RUNNING BACKS BACK: Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk returned to practice Wednesday and looked to be in fine condition. Faulk, who is listed as probable with a bruised knee, ran with the vigor that he had earlier in the season. He has not played since Nov. 29 against Buffalo. Martz said Faulk would let him know when he is ready to go again.

    Jackson missed last week’s game against Carolina with a bruised knee one week after making his first career start. Jackson is questionable. If Jackson and Faulk are both ready to play then Arlen Harris will also be active, leaving Aveion Cason as a likely inactive.

    “I think we might be at full strength at running back,” Martz said.

    WILLIAMS POSSIBLY DONE: Safety Aeneas Williams left Sunday’s game with a stinger in his neck. Martz said Wednesday that Williams’ injury is arthritis in his neck and he probably won’t return this season. Williams is doubtful for this week.

    “Aeneas is probably done for awhile,” Martz said.

    INJURY REPORT: Joining Jackson and Bulger as questionable is guard Chris Dishman. Dishman has been out with a knee injury and practiced Wednesday. He isn’t likely to be available Sunday, but could return before the end of the season.

    Joining Faulk as probable are cornerbacks Jerametrius Butler (knee) and Travis Fisher (knee), defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson (toe), linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (shoulder) and tackle Grant Williams (shoulder).

    Bulger, Butler, Dishman, Fisher, Tinoisamoa and Williams missed parts or all of practice.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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  • RamWraith
    Bulger has a shot at returning for Rams
    by RamWraith
    R.B. FALLSTROM

    Associated Press


    ST. LOUIS - Marc Bulger tested his shoulder for the second time this week on Wednesday, giving the St. Louis Rams some hope he might be able to return to the lineup.

    Bulger missed Sunday's loss to the Panthers and his backup, Chris Chandler, had a nightmare game with a career-worst six interceptions. There's urgency for his return with the Rams (6-7) one game back in the NFC West entering this week's game at Arizona.

    On Wednesday Bulger threw about a dozen passes in an individual drill after also throwing several warmups. He threw at about three-quarter speed and a bit sidearm, but it was enough for Martz to exclaim, citing Bulger's jersey number, "10's back!" after the first pass.

    Bulger didn't participate in any team drills but the plan is to gradually increase the work load and then make a decision on his availability perhaps on Friday.

    "I don't know what to tell you because he actually threw the ball much better today than I would have predicted," Martz said after practice. "He feels like he can zip it, but we just asked him to refrain from that."

    Martz said Bulger, who wasn't made available for comment, had a little trouble on the follow through.

    "I'd like to have him throw a little bit more each day just to see if he can," Martz said.

    Martz wasn't as optimistic on Monday, when he said Chandler, 39, would get another start. The Rams had been aiming at Bulger returning next week from an injury he's sustained twice this season.

    Bulger missed no games the first time around after being hurt in Miami Oct. 24, returning after a bye the following weekend. Martz said Bulger's arm didn't return to normal until a week before he was injured.

    If Bulger can't go, Chandler will try to shake off his nightmarish day. In 17 seasons, Chandler had never thrown more than four interceptions in a game.

    Martz attempted to divert some criticism, saying he could have done a better job of preparing Chandler and saying perhaps Chandler - making his first start of the season - might have reverted to running an offense from one of his previous six NFL teams. Chandler would have none of that.

    "It has nothing to do with Mike; it was just my bad day," Chandler said. "He was just trying to be a nice guy. It was just a bad thing on my part."

    Chandler said it was tough moving on from the game, which wasted a good effort from the Rams' improving defense. St. Louis shut out Carolina in the second half.

    "I've never had one like that," Chandler said. "So, I'm still trying to sort it out. I'm just going to try as usual from my end to be ready, and get back to good things."

    A much-improved backfield situation should help whoever's...
    -12-16-2004, 05:19 AM
  • RamWraith
    Bulger practices, but Chandler likely to start
    by RamWraith
    By Chris Ruddick, NFL Analyst

    (Sports Network) - St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger returned to the practice field on Wednesday, but it still remains a long shot that he will be under center when his team heads to the desert on Sunday to face the Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium.

    Bulger, who missed last week’s loss to Carolina with a right shoulder sprain, threw the ball in warm-ups and about another 12 in some short team drills.

    "He threw the ball much better today than I predicted," Martz said. "He didn’t turn it loose. He feels like he could, but he didn’t attempt to. We’ll just let it go until Friday and see where is on Friday."

    Chris Chandler, who was brutal in throwing six interceptions in the loss to the Panthers, worked with the first unit, and remains the likely starter on Sunday, despite his miserable performance.

    "It was just a bad thing on my part," said Chandler. "I’ve never had a day like that. I’m still trying to sort it out."

    Martz, though, might be more inclined to bench Chandler this week if the veteran QB struggles again. Last week Martz said it was not even a consideration, as rookie backup Jeff Smoker has yet to play a game this season. This week Jamie Martin, who was with the Rams in 1996 and from 2001-02, will be the team's backup.

    Martz, though said he would wait as long as he has to make a decision on Bulger.

    "If there’s any doubt, we will keep him out," Martz said. "I think Sunday morning is pretty good (in determining when he will play). We’ll get him out in the parking lot and pitch it around a little bit and we’ll roll. I would not hesitate one minute if on Friday he is ready to go."

    In other injury news running backs Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk returned to practice Wednesday and both could play this week.

    Faulk has not played since November 29 against Buffalo, while Jackson missed last week's game with a bruised knee one week after making his first career start.

    "I think we might be at full strength at running back," Martz said.

    The same, though, cannot be said about veteran safety Aeneas Williams, whose season could be over after suffering stinger in his neck in Sunday's loss.

    "Aeneas is probably done for awhile," Martz said.

    The Rams gave up control of the division last Sunday with the 20-7 setback.

    The St. Louis loss, coupled with a Seattle win over Minnesota, placed the Seahawks back atop the NFC West. The defeat also knocked the Rams out of the final wild card spot, as the similarly 6-7 Panthers earned that position by virtue of its head-to-head victory over St. Louis.

    In addition to Carolina, six 5-8 teams will be looking to gain ground on the Rams this Sunday. ...
    -12-16-2004, 01:36 PM
  • RamWraith
    Chandler Takes Responsibility & Martz Crticizes Pace
    by RamWraith
    Fom SI/CNN

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Marc Bulger tested his shoulder for the second time this week on Wednesday, giving the St. Louis Rams some hope he might be able to return to the lineup.

    Bulger missed Sunday's loss to the Panthers and his backup, Chris Chandler, had a nightmare game with a career-worst six interceptions. There's urgency for his return with the Rams (6-7) one game back in the NFC West entering this week's game at Arizona.

    On Wednesday Bulger threw about a dozen passes in an individual drill after also throwing several warmups. He threw at about three-quarter speed and a bit sidearm, but it was enough for Martz to exclaim, citing Bulger's jersey number, "10's back!" after the first pass.

    Bulger didn't participate in any team drills but the plan is to gradually increase the work load and then make a decision on his availability perhaps on Friday.

    "I don't know what to tell you because he actually threw the ball much better today than I would have predicted," Martz said after practice. "He feels like he can zip it, but we just asked him to refrain from that."

    Martz said Bulger, who wasn't made available for comment, had a little trouble on the follow through.

    "I'd like to have him throw a little bit more each day just to see if he can," Martz said.

    Martz wasn't as optimistic on Monday, when he said Chandler, 39, would get another start. The Rams had been aiming at Bulger returning next week from an injury he's sustained twice this season.

    Bulger missed no games the first time around after being hurt in Miami Oct. 24, returning after a bye the following weekend. Martz said Bulger's arm didn't return to normal until a week before he was injured.

    If Bulger can't go, Chandler will try to shake off his nightmarish day. In 17 seasons, Chandler had never thrown more than four interceptions in a game.

    Martz attempted to divert some criticism, saying he could have done a better job of preparing Chandler and saying perhaps Chandler -- making his first start of the season -- might have reverted to running an offense from one of his previous six NFL teams. Chandler would have none of that.

    "It has nothing to do with Mike; it was just my bad day," Chandler said. "He was just trying to be a nice guy. It was just a bad thing on my part."

    Chandler said it was tough moving on from the game, which wasted a good effort from the Rams' improving defense. St. Louis shut out Carolina in the second half.

    "I've never had one like that," Chandler said. "So, I'm still trying to sort it out. I'm just going to try as usual from my end to be ready, and get back to good things."

    A much-improved backfield situation should help whoever's at quarterback. Martz said Marshall...
    -12-16-2004, 05:52 AM
  • RamWraith
    Chandler Will Start
    by RamWraith
    Friday, December 17, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Last week the Rams faced the unenviable task of beating Carolina on the road without quarterback Marc Bulger.

    This week, only the opponent is likely to change. Bulger threw lightly on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, providing a glimmer of hope to St. Louis that he might be able to play against Arizona on Sunday.

    Coach Mike Martz said earlier in the week he would like to wait until Friday to make any determination about the quarterback situation. After Friday’s practice, it was clear what is most likely to happen.

    Bulger did not take any repetitions and said he is unlikely to have much of a chance to play or even dress Sunday. He said he had hoped to have a chance to play, but it doesn’t appear that he will.

    “It didn’t get much better the past few days,” Bulger said. “I would prefer not to (play without practicing). You don’t want to, but if you have to, guys have done it.”

    Bulger will likely return to the team against Philadelphia on Dec. 27. That was the original target date of his return and appears the most likely time. That leaves veteran Chris Chandler as the team’s starting quarterback for the second consecutive week.

    “We’ve got Chris ready to go,” Martz said. “I don’t think that we’ll have Marc.”

    The move goes as a vote of confidence in Chandler, who Martz and the Rams hope will improve. In reality, he couldn’t get much worse as he threw six interceptions against the Panthers.

    Chandler did not come out of that game, but Martz might have a quick hook if Chandler struggles again.

    Last week, rookie Jeff Smoker was the backup, but it appears that Jamie Martin, who was signed last week, will be the No. 2 man against the Cardinals.

    Martin, of course, spent most of his career with the Rams and was brought back because of his knowledge of the system. Martin said he is ready to go if needed.

    “That was kind of the best-case scenario,” Martin said. “If I could have been back in a week, that would have been a bonus, I guess. Every day I have been here, it kind of gets me back to where I was when I got back. I feel comfortable now, whereas last week I needed a couple more days.”

    O-LINE RESHUFFLES: Quarterback isn’t the only position that is dealing with injuries. Right guard Adam Timmerman and left guard Tom Nütten missed time in practice this week. Timmerman will play against Arizona, but Nütten will not get the start.

    In Nütten’s place, rookie Larry Turner will get the nod. Turner has had a busy week, alternating between first-team guard and practice squad center, but his hard work is about to pay off in the form of his first start.

    If Turner struggles or if Martz decides to go with a rotation at left guard, Darnell Alford will step in. Alford has been...
    -12-18-2004, 06:33 AM
  • RamWraith
    Chandler will start, but Jackson may not
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    12/06/2004

    No one had more fun Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome than quarterback Chris Chandler, who guided the Rams to a 16-6 victory over San Francisco in relief of the injured Marc Bulger.

    "To a certain degree, I think it's more fun as the time runs out in someone's career," Chandler said. "As the sand runs through the hourglass, and you know that (retirement) is not 10 years away anymore."

    At age 39, Chandler realizes his days in the NFL are numbered. But he'll get at least one more start - Sunday in Carolina. With Bulger still a week or two away from being ready to play, coach Mike Martz named Chandler the starter against the Panthers.

    Bulger has a bone bruise on his throwing shoulder at the top of his collarbone. The good news is, it's not a shoulder separation.

    "The AC (joint) separations that are so typical for quarterbacks was not there," Martz said. "There is a little bit of swelling in the joint, but there's no damage evidently to the ligaments that hold the joint together."

    The bad news is, Bulger's in a lot of pain.

    "He's awfully sore today," Martz said at his Monday news conference. "It's very tender. When you have a bone bruise like that, it can be very painful. So we'll just have to see how he deals with it."

    Meanwhile, the outlook on rookie running back Steven Jackson's bruised right knee was more clouded Monday.

    "I don't know if he'll be available this week or not," Martz said. "I suppose he will be, but who knows?"

    Jackson apparently suffered the injury on the last of his 26 carries against the *****. He was replaced for the final two Rams offensive plays by Arlen Harris. If neither Jackson nor Marshall Faulk is able to play against the Panthers, Harris would get the start.

    The Rams plan to hold Faulk out of practice most, if not all, of this week. As to Faulk's availability against Carolina, Martz said, "It's all based on Marshall, on his health and how he feels and how he's going. When he's healthy, he's feeling good, there's no reason to diminish what he does."

    According to team officials, Jackson complained of soreness in the knee when he reported for treatment Monday - more soreness than expected. But Jackson has another day to rest the knee before the team's first practice of the work week on Wednesday.

    The team will have a new backup quarterback on the field Wednesday in Jamie Martin.

    That's right, Jamie Martin. The Rams are bringing in Martin, who has been out of football since October 2003, as quarterback insurance while Bulger is sidelined. Tight end and fullback Nick Burley, promoted to the active roster from the practice squad last week, will be released to free up a roster...
    -12-07-2004, 04:39 AM
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