Scout.com Senior NFL Analyst Ed Thompson ranks the starting quarterbacks based on their results…
Rams QB Marc Bulger
September 30, 2008
(On when he got the news that he was the starting quarterback again)
"Coach Jim (Haslett) told me this morning before practice so I am trying to get a good day of practice in today and tomorrow. I think he just wanted to get me back in there and in the rhythm of things."
(On if coach Jim Haslett told him he was the starter for the rest of the season)
"He made everything pretty clear to me. Coach (Scott) Linehan told me last week that it wasn't a permanent thing. I knew at sometime I was going to be back, sooner rather than later."
(On what these past two weeks have been like)
"It has been pretty nuts for everyone. Last week was certainly a difficult week but I did not have to play so it is tougher on guys who had to go out and play physically and get all the bumps and bruises."
(On what it felt like running the scout team in practice)
"I ran it a little bit last year unfortunately too. It is one of those things where you just have to go out there and swallow your pride and stay in game shape because at any point in the game you could be in there. I have seen it with guys having to back me up, (QB) Gus (Frerotte) had to come in before. It is a tough position to be in but you just have to be ready. Watching the game, I know myself, I hate watching but (QB) Trent (Green) did a great job. You just want to be out there helping your guys going through these pains because it will be easy once we turn this around but you want to be there even in the bad times."
(On why he had a football in his hands on the sidelines the whole game against the Buffalo Bills)
"I don't know. I know I was throwing a lot. I don't know if it is my body type but I get tight pretty quick so I kept the rock close to me and keep myself loose. I just wanted to be ready. I did not realize I had it the whole game."
(On if he said he never wanted to play for Coach Scott Linehan again)
"I know that I did not talk to you guys (last week) and there was no particular reason why I did not talk to you guys last week, it was just, I was definitely upset about the decision but it was the head coach's decision and I lived with it. I think me speaking on it would not have done anything. I did not want to distraction to the team. That is not who I am and coach Linehan knew that I would be ready. The minute I wasn't sure he knew it or not and the report came out, we talked in his office and he knew I would be ready. First quarter, half time, third quarter, so I don't think it was ever an issue. I practiced hard and I took every rep with the practice squad so don't think it was ever going to be an issue."
(On how the team can get their confidence back)
"I think coach (Jim Haslett) has made it pretty clear to us this morning that we have to win. Offensively, if we can get a rhythm, we got a little bit of that in the first half last week, but if we can keep the pressure on defenses, it is one of those things, when defenses are back on their heels, you can sense it, the crowd can sense it, and you get that momentum. If we can finish drives and put more points on the broad just from an offensive stand point and keep defenses on the heels, we will get that. And that goes to the rest of the team. And if the defense can get turnovers then that will get us going so it is going to be a collective thing. We have been good with stints but we all just have to mesh at the same time to get that going."
(On if it feels like a fresh start with the coaching change and bye week)
"Yeah, I mean it's definitely a different feeling today. No Coach (Scott) Linehan coming up and speaking to you, the team. Things have changed a little bit, I know the schedule is kind of the same, but their personalities are little bit different. I think it will be good for us to get three or four days away and come back and with that fresh start because certainly it didn't start out the way we wanted. But guys haven't quit and we honestly still think we do have a chance in the division, believe it or not."
(On if he thinks the coaching change is the change they needed)
"I'm smarter than that one. No one likes change, you know what I mean, from coaching or players, I've been cut, all the coaches have probably been fired at one point or another, it's not pleasant for families, for them, so it's not a thing where anything was happy. But that's the way this business is and I think that's why the NFL is so great is because there's such fine line and if you don't win you're gone and that's why the parity is so close, but it wasn't a happy day by any stretch of the imagination."
(On how he would describe his relationship with former Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan)
"It was just a lot of situations. When you're not winning there's going to be strains on any relationship, but I think we spent a lot of time this off season together and just trying to find ways to win…I think he handled himself professionally and I hope I did the same and I think we left on good terms."
(On if he didn't talk to the media last week because he didn't have anything good to say)
"Yeah, like I said, I didn't want to distract the team. I was like I said, upset, disappointed, I didn't think it was the right decision, but that doesn't matter. It's the decision the head coach made and I had to live with it. I mean there's no point in me telling you guys how disappointed I was because we had to get (QB) Trent (Green) ready. He hadn't played in a year and had three days to get ready and that would have been unfair to him. Whether it would have distracted him or not, probably not because Trent's been through it, but I didn't want that to be the case at all."
(On if he was bombarded by phone calls and texts when the quarterback change was made)
"Certainly you have friends and family and everyone that wanted to know. I found out before everyone still, so from a family stand point you let them know and work through it, but with friends that's everyday, every week. Whether how bad you played or how bad everyone else is playing that's just something that I think every NFL player deals with."
(On what he thinks about RB Steven Jackson criticizing the quarterback change and his radio show last week)
"Steven's just an outspoken guy, he's going to say how he feels. He's a good friend and I think just like anyone else, you guys have good friends; you're going to stand up for people. I don't think he meant anything by it. Like he said, I don't think it was anything to (QB) Trent (Green) or anything or coach (Scott) Linehan it was just an emotion that he said and I'm glad he stood up for me, but at the same time I'm sure he didn't want all the attention that came from it."
(On if there was anything that was different about this practice)
"Today was obviously quicker, it was a shorter practice. I don't want to be too obvious towards you and so it was just a shorter practice, usually we're in at least shoulder pads, so it's definitely more physical on a Wednesday or Thursday, just more, it's usually longer and usually we don't work versus each other. Usually we'd work against our twos who would act as the scout team and our two offense would work against our No. 1 defense, so it's a little more competitive probably today because it's ones versus ones. So it may not seem as crisp offensively, but it's because you're not getting the coaches telling the safety to move over in the right spot, it was more competitive."
(On if TE Joe Klopfenstein is ready and if he thinks Joe is ready to step up)
"Sure. I think Randy will be back. I was with him last night. He thinks four weeks and I think he's stretching it a little bit but I have a feeling he'll be back, the competitor he is. Joe, it's his time. He's been playing well. He's been practicing hard. I know he was sick last week, but he doesn't have an option, we need him. (TE) Anthony (Becht) is going to do a great job for us too, so we'll have two of them. Right now, Joe doesn't have a choice, he's going to be our guy. We can't scale down our offense and take our tight end out of it. It's what we worked on all spring and all camp. I think it's a great opportunity for him."
(On his relationship with QB Trent Green after trading places on the depth chart twice)
"It's the same. Trent is a great guy and I've learned a lot from him. That's why last week was kind of tough for me to help him. I told him during the game if you have a question to ask me, I don't want to be the guy that has all of the answers or gives too much information, so I would rather relay it through the coaches during the game. If he had a question, which he did, he could ask me and I would tell him, but you can see everything from the sideline or on film so I'm glad he understands that I understood that there's a fine line between helping and being a know-it-all. We have a good relationship."
(On if the team plans to do more of what they did in the first half)
"That was our plan. We finally got Donnie (Avery) healthy and we know how explosive he is. It was just (offensive coordinator) Al's (Saunders) way to get creative and get ways to get him the ball. We almost had one the first play of the game and his touchdown, he looked like a D1 (Division 1) kid versus a D3 (Division 3) guy. He's explosive, so we'll keep doing that. We'll keep doing reverses. We had Trent (Green) roll out, had him do a naked (bootleg) just moving the pocket. I think Al can be a lot more aggressive now. A major point is to protect the quarterback early in the year, but it limits other things. When you're 0-4, I think your options, we have to lay it on the table now. It's not about protecting one guy… you have to throw it out the window and go for it."
(On if a healthy Donnie Avery was the biggest difference in the change in attack)
"I think his health and he finally got going. He's learning every week. He's learning so much. Those young guys, it's weird because you get to a point in your career, when okay, this is what you know and you are kind of there. With young guys, there is so much to learn every week. You don't want to overload them, though. We're giving them little bits and little bits and putting some special plays in for them so we don't overload them. If we just throw them in there, run our normal offense, he's going to be everywhere."
(On if he has a larger arsenal now than earlier in the season)
"I think Donnie (Avery) definitely adds something. We'll get Keenan (Burton) back and Torry (Holt) can do so many things too, which we'll keep going. Losing Dane (Looker), hopefully he's back and we'll get Drew (Bennett) back. I think every week getting guys will help. Donnie is a special player and we have to find a way get him the ball. Steven (Jackson) is running strong now too so we have to find ways to get him the ball. Hopefully we run into a good problem here the next couple of weeks."
(On what he hopes to get out of the rest of the season)
"I haven't thought about the final total. I'm honestly thinking about Washington and how we can get out first win. That will be the most important one. If we can get that, especially against a Washington team that just beat Dallas, they're the best division in all of sports maybe, if we can somehow go there and get a win, I think that would do wonders for our team. I think it's a possibility. It's definitely an uphill climb, but we'll see. An 0-4 team, we can't sit here and say we're confident. I think Coach (Jim) Haslett will have us ready to go."
(On if sometimes he thinks he should have chosen a different profession)
"It crosses your mind here and there. Your priorities are in line and I have a good family. There are so many worse things you could be doing in so many worse situations in life, you almost laugh at yourself and look in the mirror for taking it so serious. I understand how lucky I am to be in the position I am, the country I'm in, the job I have. If I have to take a little scrutiny over whether I'm starting on a week, I think my priorities would a little out of whack."