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Marc Bulger – Most Hated Man in St. Louis

So, I was looking at some preseason write-ups in the Post-Dispatch and reading some of the comments on this site and I came to the realization that a lot of people hate Marc Bulger.  They really hate him.  Marc Bulger has been an up and down quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, he has had some amazing seasons, but he has had some equally poor seasons.  So, is Marc Bulger being unfairly victimized for his play?

Let’s take a look after the jump!

Quarterbacks by the nature of the position are unfairly credited for good play of the offense and unfairly victimized for bad play by the offense.  They get all the credit and all the blame.  Bulger has received all the blame for the offense’s terrible play over the past two years.  He has had playmakers at running back and wide receiver, but one thing he didn’t have was the Offensive Line.

Bulger took a pounding in Mike Martz’s timing offense, which relies on the quarterback to stay in the pocket a little longer as the longer wide receiver routes develop.  That usually results in a hit or knockdown of the quarterback after the throw is released.  Bulger got whacked around in the last few days of Martz’s tenure in St. Louis.  He had a decent season in Scott Linehan’s offense in 2006, but everything went downhill from there for the Rams offense. The offensive line deteriorated and Marc Bulger’s play suffered.  In 2008, the Rams brought back a Mike Martz type offense with Offensive Coordinator Al Saunders and didn’t have the offensive line to make it happen.  Bulger was battered around again.  When he did have time to throw, he instinctively did not step into his throws and either sailed them over the head of the receiver or didn’t get enough strength on the throw and it arrived late.  Adjustments were not made to work with the players on the offense.  Instead the Rams kept pounded a square peg into a round hole.  If Bulger is to bounce back, he will need protection as some of his struggles can be attributed to the offensive line in front of him.

Marc Bulger is also seen as weak and wimpy because he does not usually attempt to avoid the rush, he knows when he has no chance to make a throw and he’ll curl up in a ball to absorb the hit.  That is not exactly the bravest move in the NFL.  He’s certainly not built like Ben Roethlisberger and he knows it.  Marc also does not show much emotion on the field (or off the field for that matter); excepting the infamous eye-roll at former head coach Scott Linehan.  His lack of emotion is seen by fans as lack of leadership, indifference and lack of strength.  It is hard to speculate if his other teammates see Bulger as a leader, but fans have a hard time seeing past his permanently cool demeanor.  He looks exactly the same after a touchdown or after a sack.  The advantage there is that Bulger is cool under pressure, but the fans like to see emotion out of their players.  I’m not suggesting some Grammatica-like celebrations, but flash a smile once in a while for us, Marc.

Marc Bulger also takes a lot of heat for who he is and who he is not.  He is not Kurt Warner.  Bulger replaced Kurt Warner after Kurt went through the exact struggles Bulger is going through after being bludgeoned by Mike Martz offense.  Warner will always be loved in St. Louis for bringing home a Super Bowl victory first and foremost.  I don’t think that can be understated.  Kurt Warner won a Super Bowl for St. Louis, and Marc Bulger replaced him and has not yet won one.  Kurt Warner was charismatic, outspoken quarterback who always stepped into his throws regardless of the rush.  He absorbed a lot of hits and took a few years to get back to peak form.  We have seen with Warner, the damage is not permanent.  Will the damage be permanent for Bulger?

Marc Bulger is the Rams quarterback in 2009 for better or for worse and still the fans do not like him.  He’s been the Rams quarterback longer than Kurt Warner and will have a rebuilt offensive line and offensive scheme to support him.  Some of the criticisms leveled are Bulger are relevant, but some are not.  The fans may deride him on blogs, forums and talk radio, but if Marc Bulger does not have a good season in 2009, the Rams will not have a good season in 2009.

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