The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Don't Blame Bulger

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Marc Bulger's situation is hardly his fault alone, and Trent Green's last few stops give little indication that he'll be a better alternative. Especially with the Dolphins, where his slow release got him in a great deal of trouble behind a bad offensive line. It doesn't matter how familiar you are with your offensive coordinator's playbook if you're taken to the ground ten times a game. And it's not as if Bulger can't deal with the complexity of the offense -- the man has a post-graduate degree in the Mike Martz system. This is, above all, the end result of a big string of bad personnel decisions coming back to bite the Rams.

They have very little in the way of an offensive line. Their receivers are too young or too old. They have a pass defense destined to make any quarterback who faces it look like Peyton Manning. Running back Steven Jackson is still a great player, but it's hard to tell when he's facing traffic jams in his own backfield all the time. Sure, there are times that Bulger will have open receivers and miss -- but there are more times in which Bulger will find himself running for his life with no checkdowns and no opportunity. If the Rams think that Green can solve that problem, they're kidding themselves.

Basically, Rams quarterback = Raiders coach at this point. It doesn't really matter who's out there. This is more about a bad team proving a point than any real strategic advantage.

Derek Anderson's situation is a little different. The Browns have talented (if erratic) receivers, a decent running game, and a potentially great offensive line. I have heard it said that the league has caught up to Anderson -- through enough game review and film study on the part of his opponents, any young quarterback will hit a wall and have to break through.

Since the NFL hasn't caught up to Brady Quinn just yet, Quinn might be able to pull off a few decent performances and get the Browns in the win column. On the other hand, he may be just as flustered by the fact that Braylon Edwards can't hold on to the ball.

Anderson almost got the Browns to the playoffs last year, despite a late-season fade. I think he's got the ability to turn things around and fight through his current malaise, but the Browns may feel that it's time to see what the first-round draft pick Quinn can do. That's a situation where the pecking order might be determined by draft status, and the need to prove a pick right. Generally, I'd be less likely to bench a kid who's trying to blow through his first NFL brick wall.

By Doug Farrar  |  September 24, 2008; 10:53 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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