The quarterback position on an NFL team is considered to be one of the most demanding and complex in all of the major sports, especially if you are the starter. When your team wins you may get more credit than you deserve, and more blame for the losses as well.
Now there are many factors that contribute to the position such as line play, talent at the skill positions and don't forget coach / coordinator turnover. However, the weight of the offense's success rests squarely on the qb's shoulders because a good to great quarterback can overcome these deficiencies and still lead his team to victory.
Then there are the numbers, and boy do they tell a story for the Rams over the past 3 seasons. Since the 2006 season in which the Rams were among the top ten in all major team passing categories with the only exception being sacks allowed (27th). They have since plummeted like the stock market of recent history to the cellar of most categories.
The team passing stats will be in order from 06' - 08' with their NFL rank in parenthesis.
Total Passing Yards: 3962 (4th), -729 = 3233 (19th), -286 = 2947 (26th)
Total Yards Per Game: 247.6 (4th), -45.5 = 202.1 (19th), -17.9 = 184.2 (26th)
Completion %: 62.7 (5th), -4.7 = 58 (24th), -1.8 = 56.2 (28th)
Touchdowns: 24 (8th), -5 = 19 (17th), -8 = 11 (30th)
Interceptions: 8 (1st), +20 = 28 (32nd), -9 = 19 (26th)
QB Rating: 92.7 (6th), -25.7 = 67 (31st), -0.1 = 66.9 (31st)
Sacks Allowed: 49 (27th), -1 = 48 (27th), -3 = 45 (29th)
With that being said, let's break down the candidates for the St. Louis Rams Quarterback depth chart.
Projected Starter(Marc Bulger) - Bulger has been the starting quarterback since he replaced fan favorite, and future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner in the 2002 season. Although he has missed 5 full games and parts of others due to injury over the last two years and his production has declined sharply over that span. He is still the clear-cut starter and has no real competition yet to speak of.
Bulger once considered a top-tier quarterback in the league has now become injury-prone, inaccurate, and the term "Battered Quarterback" has been attached to almost every conversation involving his status.
Here is a breakdown of his stats over the past 3 seasons
08' - 15 gms - 251 / 440 = 57% - 2720 yds - 6.2 yd avg - 71.4 QB rating
11 td's / 13 int's
07' - 12 gms - 221 / 378 = 58.5% - 2392 yds - 6.3 yd avg - 70.3 QB rating
11 td's / 15 int's
06' - 16 gms - 370 / 588 = 62.9% - 4301 yds - 7.3 yd avg - 92.9 QB rating
24 td's / 8 int's
Projected Backup (Kyle Boller) - Boller was a highly touted prospect coming out of the University of California who was drafted 19th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2003 draft. He has spent his entire six year career with the Ravens even though all of last season was spent on the IR with a shoulder injury.
He played in 53 games with 42 starts. He is currently the franchise leader in passing yards with 7,846. He also posted 45 td's and 44 int's, a completion percentage of 56.9 and a QB rating of 71.9 for his career up until now. His best season came in 2004 when he posted 2,559 passing yards with 13 td's and 11 int's. Along with missing all of last season he only totaled 17 starts the two seasons before which is just fewer than 6 starts per season over the last three years.
3rd String Project(Keith Null) - Null was drafted 196th overall in the 6th round of this year's draft out of West Texas A&M. The Rams hope he can carry his small school success into the NFL. He has excellent size at 6'4" 220 lbs which will only help his transition to the pros. He started 13 games his Sr. year throwing for 5,099 yards with 48 td's and 15 int's for a completion percentage of 68.5 and an efficiancy rating of 167.54. His college QB coach just happens to be the recently arrested former # 2 overall pick of the San Diego Chargers - Ryan Leaf.
4th String QB (Brock Berlin) - Berlin has manned the 3rd string since 2007 when he spent most of the season on the practice squad, then was assigned to the active roster for his first and only career start at Cincinnati on 12/9/07 where he completed 17 of 28 passes for 153 yards and 1 interception.
In conclusion, The Rams quarterback position is average at best with almost nothing in terms of depth. Now i do believe that Marc Bulger still has the tools to be an above average QB in the NFL but he will need help from the other starters on offense. It seems that Bulger is adapting quickly to the new offensive scheme that the Rams are installing this training camp.
Health is the key factor for this position as the main back-up Kyle Boller has missed more games the past three years than Bulger. But one good thing can be said for Boller, at least the organization and its fans won't fear for his safety as they did with Trent Green if he does need to enter a game.
As for Null we will have to wait and see how quickly he can translate his abilities to the pro game if at all and whether or not Ryan Leaf had any good advice for him about the NFL. And then there's always Brock Berlin, hey at least he's got one NFL start under his belt.
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