Rams review: quarterback

The first year of the St. Louis Rams rebuilding project is in the books. Fans swallowed the early returns, a 1-15 season, with surprising amount of optimism due to their confidence in the vision of the franchise's new leadership. As the makeover continues and before roster gets any more reconfiguration, TST delves in for a look at the positions and players, grading their performance from the 2009 season and assessing their status for the next season. The review turns its eyes today to the quarterbacks. QB represents the last skill position on the offense we have left to cover, having put the receiverstight ends and running backs under the microscope previously. 

Marc Bulger

2009 Season: 9 games, 8 starts, 140 completions, 247 attempts, 56.7%, 1,469 yards, 5 TD, 6 INT, 14 sacks, 70.7 rating
Bulger's career continued its downward spiral this season, a glaring reminder that the human body can only take so much punishment. I feel kind of bad for the guy. This year, he actually had time in the pocket, thanks to the team's decision to finally bolster the offense line, but he had no weapons to work with, a new offensive system and most of his ability beaten out of him. It's easy to forget that Bulger was once a pretty good quarterback. And he had his moments this year, replacing Boller against the Vikings, the Jacksonville game, and a near upset of the undefeated New Orleans Saints.
Contract Status: Signed through 2013
Outlook: As first reported here at TST, word is that Bulger is leaning toward retirement. That's probably the best course for him at this point. I have a hard time imagining the situation in which he would have success. The possibility remains that he could return to the Rams for a renegotiated contract, mentoring whatever youngsters the Rams bring in at the position. I doubt either the team or Bulger would go for that. 
Grade: D

Kyle Boller

2009 Season: 7 games, 4 starts, 98/176, 55.7%, 899 yards, 3 TD, 6 INT, 17 sacks, 61.2 rating
Kyle Boller used his 2009 season to remind everyone that he was, in fact, still Kyle Boller. This seemed like a good move when the Rams signed him after pursuit of Gus Frerotte didn't work out. Boller was young, had some tools and maybe just needed a fresh start. Nope. Boller still had the tools, but didn't show the head for the game.
Contract Status: Free agent
Outlook: Out of the league in 2010
Grade: F

Keith Null

2009 Season: 4 games, 4 starts, 73/119, 61.3%. 566 yards, 3 TD, 9 INT, 13 sacks, 49.9 rating
Null became a rallying cry, sort of a great white hope for Rams fans long disgruntled with the team's QB play. It was a rough debut, throwing 5 INTs in a blowout loss to the Titans. It wasn't all bad though. Null had poise and toughness, and showed some ability to read his receivers well. The completion percentage alone is impressive for a greenhorn from a Division II school. We all chortled as the coaches kept saying he wasn't ready. Uh, yeah, they were right.
Contract status: Signed through 2012
Outlook: Null has some ability, and I look forward to what he can do with some time and work in spring practices and camp this year. He needs to show that he can adjust to the NFL game. That said, I wouldn't pencil him in as the Rams starter. 
Grade: D

The Rams need a QB, desperately, for the 2010 season and beyond. There will be, there should be, a healthy debate around who the Rams will select in the draft this year. They have an adequate developmental prospect in Null, so taking another QB beyond the first round just doesn't make much sense, especially since they could always wait a year for guys like Locker or Mallet. GM Billy Devaney could pursue a veteran, but the team can't afford to give up a pot full o' draft picks for Mike Vick. It's just not worth it with all the needs we have. The free agent market could be thin too, leaving the Rams with very few options, so they'd better do their homework on Clausen and Bradford, just in case. There's no bigger need for the Rams than QB going forward.

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