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Rams Release Marc Bulger

Happy 33rd birthday, Marc Bulger! Also, step right up Sam Bradford, you are the next contestant on The Price is Rams. Bulger is the kind of wily veteran who should make a very good backup for the next few years, shades of Trent Dilfer or Neil O'Donnell. But he's cooked as an NFL starter.

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54 comments, Last at 12 Apr 2010, 12:54am

2 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Wasn't Kurt Warner just coming up to 33 when the Rams cut him in favour of Bulger? Hmmm ... wouldn't say he exactly turned out to be a fading star, didn't he ...

19 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Yeah, but in Warner's time with the Rams, the line was good. In Bulger's time it decayed from still very good to downright awful. Not saying Bulger was or is as good as Warner, but still.

There are no guarantees, but if Bulger goes somewhere where they can protect a passer competently, he could have a few more good seasons in him.

3 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I saw Torry Holt on the NFLN defending Bulger saying the team shouldn't take Bradford but they should take a OT or DT. His basic argument was that Bulger is still good, but was surrounded by a trash heap. Holt basically said no QB would do anything on that team.

It seemed like Holt's experience as a WR gave him an understanding that QB & WR is a very cerebral position and is basically a crap shoot when it comes to the draft. He knows the bust rate is high for these positions, and he thinks that putting likely Bradford ( or Claussen) behind this line will stunt their growth and make them more likely to bust.

Torry Holt's draft board was full of "big people", offensive tackles, and defensive lineman. Funny coming from a guy that played on the greatest show on turf and might be impartial to a club taking QB's and WR's.

I would agree with Holt that people gave up on Bulger and a lot of it is because of his surroundings. I mean, their WR CORPSE had one guy worth a darn. The Arizona Cardinals 3-4-5 guys were better than the Rams 1-2-3 guys.

I'd agree that Bulger could be a solid backup for a decent team, but at this point he's probably not really good enough to make that much of an impact for the Bills/Raiders/Panthers/Browns etc.

7 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I don't know about Arizona. Certainly New Orleans' 3-4-5 guys.

That said, I basically agree. I think there are several teams out there that should seriously consider giving Bulger a chance to start, beginning with Oakland and Arizona. I mean, even at 33 and as bad as he is, he has to be a better option than Derek freaking Anderson. He was good enough to beat out Warner for a starting job, which Leinart couldn't do even with Warner being five years older.

If Marc could provide a season of 2004-2005 performance, he would make the Raiders a playoff team.

8 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I also thought Arizona would make a great landing place for Bulger before the Anderson signing. He shares so many of the characteristics that made Warner good that you'd have to think he'd fit.

Yeah, I'm not sure about the Arizona receivers either. Not sure how much of their success is their being good, and how much was having a great #1 providing protection by commanding double coverage a lot, and a very accurate QB who has always been very very good at going through his reads and spreading the ball around.

We'll see whether anybody's talking about their depth this time next year.

22 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

The thing about Bulger is that playing in St. Louis under Martz was probably the peak ideal situation for that guy. He's not overly big, but was accurate and did well at making his down field reads and throwing the ball when it needed to be thrown.

That's also a good point that he DID beat out Kurt Warner for a starting job at one point in his career, and Matt Leinart was never able to do that. I think the Cards brought Derek Anderson in to be a backup to Warner but who knows ( I doubt that's set in stone). Bringing in Bulger to challenge Leinart could have risks ( or it could be a good thing for competition). Some guys respond well to contraversy ( see Donovan Mcnabb) and other guys fold.

I don't know if it was so much Bulger, but the Rams were always very good at home ( on Turf a faster game), and not nearly as good on the road ( especially on grass). It's just a slower game, and the timing was off on those speed routes that they were so famous for running in the passing game.

Warner has decent size and is known as a soldier who will hold onto the ball as long as needed ( even if it means taking hits and fumbles), but Bulger isn't as big and isn't as tough as Warner although I've seen Bulger stand in the pocket and take some nasty hits. Warner is known for holding onto the ball longer than that clock says, in an effort to get the ball downfield. It's higher risk ( more sacks/fumbles) with higher reward ( a strong mid/downfield passing game).

I'd tend to think that Bulger playing on Grass in Oakland would take a little bit away from him based on his skillset and the Rams road history. Bulger excelled in a quicker game with those speed cuts and did well with his reads and accurate mid range throws. That's ideal for playing a faster game on Turf like STL.

Arizona does have a fast field and the guy that beat out Warner once in his career would seem possible to do well again. In all honesty I'd bet that Marc Bulger would have better stats in 2010 as the Cardinals QB more so than Leinart or Anderson.

Playing in Oakland on that grass is a slower game, which would better fit a big strong QB, with a stronger arm. Think of what Jamarcuss Russell was supposed to be or maybe a Jay Cutler type guy.

40 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

"Warner is known for holding onto the ball longer than that clock says, in an effort to get the ball downfield. It's higher risk ( more sacks/fumbles) with higher reward ( a strong mid/downfield passing game)."

Well, Bulger in his heyday from 2003-2006 had a pretty high sack percentage, even when the Rams line was still rather good. While I agree from observation that Warner tended to hold the ball the way you describe, he also got rid of the ball so quickly that he avoided his overall number of sacks being ridiculously high. Bulger also has a very quick release, but he never seemed to use it that effectively to avoid sacks.

Warner's fumbles aren't the result of getting sacked a lot; they're the result of his being horrible at hanging onto the football when he got hit.*

*Will back that up with data if anyone is interested.

49 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I'd tend to agree with you on Warner's ball security. He also seemed to hold the ball low and he did also have that nagging thumb injury ( so maybe his hand strength is still weaker). There are so many bones in your hand and his hand was really damaged.

Warner does get a wrap for holding onto the ball a long time, but the guy throws the ball downfield. If you are going to be throwing longer passes, you HAVE to hold onto the ball longer than a guy throwing slants in a WCO.

Warner holds onto the ball longer but he does a good job of getting ride of it right before he has to ( he takes hits) and is a tough guy.

Bulger does have a decent release but also remember he's a smaller guy and it's easier to do that. The advantage of a smaller guy is usually a greater range of motion and getting rid of the ball quicker but at the expense of injury risk.


52 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

His ball security really took a turn for the worse in 2002, after he banged the thumb up in the Super Bowl the year before, but to that point in his career he fumbled at a perfectly normal rate.

It's really after he broke his pinkie for the second time in week 4 of the 2002 season that he started to have the ball security issues. He'd already broken the pinkie once before in 2000, and the second break was a multiple fracture.

Basically, Warner in 1999 through week 4 of the 2002 season had average ball security. Warner after that point fumbled almost 50% more often when hit than any other QB with 2000 career attempts.

My bet is that the thumb was an issue, but could be overcome. When the other side of his grip became weaker because of repeated trauma to the pinkie, it became a huge problem.

28 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

"Torry Holt's draft board was full of "big people", offensive tackles, and defensive lineman. Funny coming from a guy that played on the greatest show on turf and might be impartial to a club taking QB's and WR's."

The Greatest Show on Turf doesn't happen without solid line play or (to a lesser extent) a good defense.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

6 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I'd like (not love) Holt and Bulger to head to the Bears.

9 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Why now? Doesn't this just make your negotiations with Bradford more expensive?

11 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

But what if the Rams trade down to Oakland, who then selects Tim Tebow, and Bradford decides to hold out because everyone knows he's the true #1 QB prospect, and should be paid like one?

24 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Yes, because it's absurd that the Raiders would make an unusual choice in the draft. And your time is so precious, you not only resent the time wasted on responding to his post, you have to have the caps lock button on rather than deal with capitalizing the first letter of a sentence.

37 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

He won't get anywhere. The salaries paid are stepped. #5 earns a bit more than #6 who earns a bit more than #7 etc, etc.

Back in 2005, the 49ers chose Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers slid to #23 ... He couldn't say "Well, I'm the 2nd best QB in the draft and it's not my fault none of the top 10 teams wanted a QB, so I still deserve to be paid top 10 money". It's just tough luck ...

13 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Bluger would be good choice for Raiders. get on team as backup and play if starter get injured or falters. Bluger have simialrities to Jim Plunkett.

15 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

good accurate p[assers, slow of foot, classy guys, tough minded, take beating keep on tickling

20 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

It's a shame this was wasted on a thread that won't get the same attention as, say, the ones concerning a certain NFC East transaction. I don't usually comment on Raiderjoe responses -- although I enjoy them, I think they already get enough attention -- but "take beating keep on tickling" is easily one of the funniest things I've seen written here, intentionally or not.

16 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

oh and mian simialr thing is Plunkett crappy in Sf, took beating and then was forgotten. people thouyght carere over. Then come back from dead with Raiders and lead team to two Super b owl wi ns. just like Plunkett, Bluger beaten behind ramms line and now forgotten. good chance he come back from dead within next 3 seasons and win sopme playofof games

17 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

You know, the thing that makes RJ great is not the spelling, or the grammar, or the insane Raiders fetish. It's the fact that behind all of that, his analysis is better than most people's in the threads and worlds better than any of the other obvious homers.

The Raiders' line isn't great, but it's not shabby either, not compared to St. Louis. I don't think the one dimensional speed guys the Raiders have are that great for his skill set, but hopefully someone learns to run routes. Torry Holt is cheap...

42 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

"The Raiders' line isn't great, but it's not shabby either, not compared to St. Louis."

Ugh, you can't be serious. Mario Henderson and Cornell Green are a hideously awful tackle combination. St. Louis has Jason Brown, who is better than anyone on the Raiders' line, and Jason Smith, who will probably end up much better than anyone on the Raiders' line.

PFF also rates the Raiders' line horribly, they graded it as the worst pass blocking line in the NFL and the 5th worst run blocking line. I think it's fair to say their line is pretty shabby.

18 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I love Bradford - I think he has a very strong chance to be a truly elite quarterback - but if this move indicates that the Rams plan to start him from day one behind that joke of an offensive line, it's a big mistake. Even a team with good supporting talent would be well advised to sit him for a year.

21 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

More like three years.

He'll have to learn to read complex coverage schemes, learn to do his own audibles instead of looking at the sideline, learn to read his own receivers running pro routes, learn to read downfield during a dropback, learn to sidestep a pass rush and learn to sidestep an NFL passrush in the pocket. (All of these were second nature already to pro-style quarterbacks like Ryan, Stafford and Sanchez the minute they stepped on an NFL field.) Last and not the least, he'll have to learn to take a routine hit without getting knocked out for the year.

Bradford is basically a less prepared Tim Couch, who played in the same offensive system. If he starts in the first two years, he'll replicate Alex Smith's early career.

It's insane in my opinion to draft a spread quarterback first overall with the playing experience of a redshirt sophormore and severe durability concerns on top of that. But hey, there's a reason the Rams won six games in three seasons.

30 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I agree with Weasel, either draft (insert Raiderjoe spelling) Suh or go with Jimmy Clausen. He seems to be the most NFL-ready QB in the draft, and it's better than what's floating around in free agency.

44 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I think you are overselling the QBs who ran pro-style offenses. Many of them didn't call audibles in college.

Also, elite QBs are so rare that even if you have to wait a couple years it's still worth it to draft one.

45 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

The three I named, Ryan, Stafford, Sanchez, all called their own audibles.

Playing in a pro-style offense doesn't mean a prospect will be good. Calling his own audible doesn't mean he'll be good either. But it helps. And the fact remains that there are still very good quarterback prospects in this era of college football who played in a pro-style offense with heavy responsibilities. Many of them recently have started from day one with success. Why should the Falcons be rewarded a pro-ready QB for their sucktitude and Rams have to settle for some spread QB who'll need several years minimum to figure it out?

It's a funny point about elite QB's and the Rams, since they've passed over Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez in consecutive years. The team won 6 games in three years and all they have to show for it will be a bust DTackle, a bust OTackle and a spread QB with injury concerns and the playing experience of a redshirt sophormore.

46 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I actually don't have enough knowledge of the specific situations, I was just saying speaking in generalities.

Like you said, the Rams passed on Ryan, that's why they don't get rewarded with a pro-ready QB. Even if that wasn't true, it just comes down to life isn't fair. Look at the Bears history since 1999. They missed Culpepper by one pick in 99, and ended up with Cade McNown (who was supposed to be pro-ready). They had another top 10 pick the next year, and the only QB to go in the first two rounds was Pennington. They passed on him for Urlacher. Another year, another top 10 pick and the 3 QBs taken in the first two rounds are Vick, Brees, and Quincy Carter. Vick is the only QB to go in the first round. The next year they have a surprise winning season. Then they are about as bad as they've ever been, they just went 4-12 surely bad enough to be in line for a top QB prospect. Good news there are 4 QBs with a first round grade. The Bears end up with the 4th overall pick, if only they had been slightly worse they could have got Palmer, but no worries, they still have 3 to choose from. Angelo decides Leftwich isn't worth the 4th overall pick and makes a great trade down, where we still land Grossman. Without future knowledge, this actually looks like a great move. Grossman has a good Lewin Forecast, the scouts like him, he seems to be a high character players. Sure enough though, he just gets hurt and his play which starts good, fades fast. The next time they have a high pick, is 2005 when Grossman has played all of 5 games and is still a prospect basically.

So that whole rant was basically, shit happens.

51 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

You could argue that with Grossman, but Orton was on the team and he turned out pretty well.

I hope you are not really trying to argue that it's the Bear's fault Cade McNown didn't work out.

32 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I think you're selling their OL short.

It actually wasn't too bad last year until a bunch of guys got injured and the wheels fell off.

Granted, Jason Smith is still a big question mark, but the pedigree is there. Jacob Bell and Jason Brown are both solid, above average players. Hank Fraley should be servicable. Alex Barron - if he signs his tender - is actually very good when he's not taking penalties. Greko showed potential as a fill in last year and could push to be a starter somewhere in that mix if either tackle falters. Mark Sederstrom and Adam Goldberg aren't anything special, but for backups, they give the unit a bit of depth.

They're not chock-full of pro-bowlers, but this is hardly an awful line. I would expect, at the end of the year, that they'll probably end up in the middle of the pack on ALY and sacks allowed.

33 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

"Alex Barron - if he signs his tender - is actually very good when he's not taking penalties."

Other than that, Our American Cousin was performed without incident.

Bell is meh at best.

And what pedigree does Smith have? A converted tightend and combine warrior who only had one good year in college?

35 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

It means that on 78 of the 80 plays, Barron is going to manhandle the guy in front of him. And on 2 of the 80 plays, he's going to do something galactically stupid. Sure, you'd like him to not do the 2 dumb things, but lets not overlook the fact that he does a lot well, too.

"meh" vs "above average" probably aren't that far apart. I'm not saying he's going to Hawaii any time soon, but he's not a guy who needs to be replaced, either.

Pedigree? Great feet. Great athleticism. Long arms. Great work ethic. That doesn't guarantee anything, but the tools are there. The potential is there.

By the same token, why are you so quick to dismiss a guy who is clearly still learning the position?

36 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Why was a guy "who is clearly still learning the position" drafted second overall?

If the St.L front office thought he was a project, as he clearly is, and still drafted him second overall with the money attached to the pick, then they are idiots.

38 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Every player in the draft is a project. None of them have played a down in the NFL. You project (hence the word) that they may eventually become productive players at the NFL level. Some guys have farther to go than others. Some guys have greater potential than others.

If you don't want a project, trade away every pick in the draft every year.

41 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

If we are going to split hairs...

Sure every draft pick is a project. It's just that some projects only need camp time to be day-one starters and some need years to develop.

A second overall pick is paid like a top left tackle, which has been an easy transition historically, in the league. To pick a guy who'll need years to learn the position that high would be lunancy. St. Louis, unsurprisingly is paying for that decision.

48 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Except that the facts don't support your opinion.

Jason Smith started the first 9 games, before he got hurt. In those 9 games, the Rams only allowed 14 sacks.

If he's so awful, how come he wasn't a human turnstile?

43 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I agree, the Rams line is not that bad. I wouldn't want to start Bradford righr away because of his lack of experience in a pro-style offense, not because of the Rams line. And I'd much rather have Bradford than Jimmy Clausen, who I think is still overrated by many people.

23 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I think that Alex Smith comparison is fair where as Jimmy Claussen getting that Mark Sanchez comparison is also fair. It's not saying those guys will turn into who you compare them to, it's just to get a look at how similar guys did in the past.

I agree with your analysis and you made me laugh with this comment...

"Last and not the least, he'll have to learn to take a routine hit without getting knocked out for the year."

25 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I would love to see the Saints take a look at him as Brees' backup--he is certainly better than Brunell, and as far as I know, they haven't yet resigned Brunell. If you don't remember, the Saints drafted Bulger way back when in Haslett's first year. At that time, they had Jeff Blake, Aaron Brooks, and Jake Delhomme on the roster. IMO, no shame in not being able to get on the team as a rookie. Glad for him that he got to show what he had.

26 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Bulger was done in St. Louis since 2008. He now has battered QB syndrome. And he was never that good to start. His strengths were accuracy on the short to intermediate routes and a quick release. His weaknesses were everything else. Poor pocket awareness, slow feet, fragile body build (he weighs barely 200 lbs), poor deep ball, and the charisma of a wet mop. He could absolutely never, never, never make anything happen on a busted play.

The best he could ever do was play in a dome for Mike Martz. And he produced only one winning season in the 7 years he started for the Rams. And that was in 2003 under Martz when Bulger was extremely erratic. Martz considered benching him that year and didn't trust him the Carolina Playoff game which they lost.

The Rams had to cut their losses with Bulger. Bradford is a crap shoot like all rookie QBs. The Rams did bring in some OL talent last year, they need to stay healthy and jell, and Bradford has a chance to develop without too much time on IR.


29 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I don't think he was nearly as bad as you make him out to be in his prime, but I'll certainly agree that he's a shell of his former self, and has worn out his welcome in St. Louis. It's gotten bad enough that having Bulger on the roster is a detriment to ticket sales - which is of even more importance than usual given their ownership situation.

The scary thing is, the Rams aren't that far away. They need Bradford to pan out, they need a #1 WR, and they need 2 or 3 complementary pieces that can be had in the middle rounds of the draft, and suddenly the offense is done.

As bad as the offense was last year, long-term, the D looks to be an even bigger problem.

31 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

but how could you tell he's a shell of his former self?

He had the worst WR corps in the NFL unless you were to argue the Browns did. His line sucked. I even forgot the name of the rookie RT who didn't play well.

It's like saying Brett Favre was done after his Jets stint, but then he goes to the Vikings and has stats that blow everybody away. So was he done when he was on the Jets or did his surroundings improve? The Rams had one of the 3 worst offenses to play on in the NFL last year. Cleveland had a better line but worse RB play and both WR corpse sucked.

34 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

How can you tell? By watching him play. He's been declining for 3 years now. As has the team. You can blame the team if you want, but if you actually had the misfortune of watching Rams games, you can see that Bulger is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

You can also tell that the line didn't suck. They got worse as the year went on, but they were OK for the first half of the year or so. Jason Smith was the tackle. He got a concussion, that's why he was out of the lineup, at which point began the deterioration of the line.

I'm not saying Bulger can't rehabilitate himself, but he'll need some time.

As for comparing him to Lord Favre, it's laughable. One is one of the 10 greatest QBs to ever play the game. One had a 3 year run where he was pretty good.

47 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

Agree that the line isn't bad, and isn't the problem for the Rams. Think about it, if Steven Jackson can still put up a good season with an anemic passing attacking prominently featuring Kyle Boller, Keith Null, and the worst WR corp in the league, the line isn't bad. Though Jason Smith struggled last year, he should improve next year. I'm not concerned about the line.

Though I'm a fan, releasing Bulger was the right move. He was shell shocked in St. Louis. I believe he still has something left in the tank similar to when Chad Pennington went to Miami two years ago, but if he's going to turn his career around, it will be with another team.

53 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

bulger was a pretty good QB who fell apart like martz,s offense, when the rest of the NFL figured it out he was done. he,s a gutsy QB who i think could flurish in a system like the denver bronco,s.( hell, they made Kyle Orton look good)and he couldn't even beat out crappy grossman in Chicago!!! good luck in ST louis with bradford, he might last 4yrs if he dont get hit... Bulger on the bench somewhere will have better stats than bradford LOL!!!!

54 Re: Rams Release Marc Bulger

I wonder if he could have a late career revival like Warner?

I know that's a big if (and admittedly the only reason I think of that comparison is mainly because they used to play together), but of course there was a time when we all thought Warner was a washed up guy who couldn't stay healthy before ultimately hitting it big with another team. Maybe Bulger could do the same thing.

Admittedly, I never really thought Bulger was all of that great even at his peak, but I find a hard time blaming all of his decline on him. Given how terrible the Rams have been the past few years, I don't know there is a quarterback out there (Brady, Manning, and Brees included) who wouldn't have had a lot of struggles with all of that crap surrounding them.