St. Louis Rams  

 

Spagnuolo sticking with veteran Bulger as Rams' starting QB

  • By Associated Press
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ST. LOUIS -- Marc Bulger has thrown just three touchdown passes and owns a passer rating of 68.2 for the scuffling Rams.

But don't expect first-year St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo to change quarterbacks. He has been generally pleased with Bulger.

"I think Marc has done everything we needed him to do," Spagnuolo said. "I've said this before; it's not one position on the side of the ball, it's everybody.

"He has been a leader, he manages the game, gets the ball to 39 (running back Steven Jackson), and there are pieces that he is working through, too."

The Rams (1-7) have a bye this weekend before hosting the undefeated New Orleans Saints (7-0) on Nov. 15. The win over the Detroit Lions last weekend snapped the Rams' 17-game losing streak.

Bulger, a nine-year NFL veteran, hasn't had much help from his inexperienced crew of receivers. Laurent Robinson began the season as a favorite target, but he's out for the rest of 2009 with an injury. Donnie Avery is now the go-to guy, but he has been hurt as well.

Bulger, who replaced Kurt Warner as St. Louis' starter in 2002, signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension before the 2007 season. That followed his second Pro Bowl appearance.

Things have gone downhill since then. The Rams are 6-34 since 2007, and Bulger spent most of the previous two seasons taking a beating behind makeshift offensive lines, being sacked a combined 75 times.

Spagnuolo arrived this season and brought in a West Coast offense focused on getting the ball more to Jackson. The running back has done his part -- Jackson is tied with Minnesota's Adrian Peterson for the NFC rushing lead with 784 yards, and his 970 yards from scrimmage are just 3 yards behind Peterson's NFL-leading total.

Yet despite the improved play of the line -- Bulger has been sacked just nine times -- the Rams continue to struggle offensively. St. Louis has scored a league-low 77 points.

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It doesn't help that Bulger has been hurt. He broke the pinkie finger of his throwing hand on Aug. 17 during the preseason and missed a regular-season game with a bruised rotator cuff.

Still, Bulger has seen some improvement in the Rams, who have undergone a makeover since last season to go from one of the league's oldest teams to one of the youngest.

"I think we've improved in certain areas every week," Bulger said. "There's been times we had relapses. Hopefully, we can come back after the bye week and be more consistent, win some more ball games and come back fresh."

Bulger said he is "trying to play consistent. Trying to manage games. Just trying to put us in the right situations right now." But he's not ready for self-evaluation.

"During the season, I don't evaluate that. We have to win games," Bulger said. "I think it would be selfish to evaluate my own situation and put that on the team. We're all in this together and we're going to try and win as many as we can."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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