St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo offered some pretty strong words of praise for starting QB Marc Bulger yesterday. The coaches comments should put to rest speculation that the Rams will remove Bulger as starter, at least in the near term, to the chagrin of plenty of Rams fans. Here's what Spags had to say about his QB:
I think Marc has done exactly what we've needed. He's been a leader, manages the game, gets the ball to 39 [Steven Jackson]. There's pieces that he's working through, too. There's been a lot of guys we've thrown in there as wideouts because of injury and what-not. I think he's been a pro about everything.
Bulger's getting some cushion thanks to the Rams atrocious situation at wide receiver, understandlably so. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is a young group of WRs, with the second year guys being among the most experienced. And in case you forgot, it's a new offensive system.
I'll bite. Sure, those are definitely factors in Marc Bulger's third disappointing season, but anyone who watched the Detroit game saw a QB who looks well past his prime. The slide's a distraction. The Jim Everett comparison that matters most isn't the slide to Everett's famous sack dodge in '89, it's the one pointed out by Football Outsiders this week, comparing numbers of two players at the end of their careers. The fact that Bulger failed to get much done against Detroit's inferior pass defense is a scathing indictment on his ability going forward.
So what's next for Bulger? Mike Sando sees Bulger reviving his career with a change of scenery next season, but that may be too generous. Yes, he doesn't have the receiving options he needs, but he does have solid pass protection and enough time in the pocket to find open receivers. On top of that, passes batted down at the line underscore Bulger's fading ability. I think a more realistic scenario is Bulger finding a backup role somewhere.
And what about the rest of the Rams 2009 season? I think it's a safe assumption that as of now, the Rams plan to stick with Bulger. I think a better way of making this decision would be to ask, as 3k suggested on TSR last night, which QB is the best option for developing the young guys on this team? I don't think that's Bulger, but to be honest, I'm not sure who else that would be.