Bulger a backup no more

"I knew eventually - we didn't want it to happen - that something would happen to Kurt. The way the NFL is, I would have to step in eventually. It happened the first week. It happened quicker than I thought, but fortunately I prepared like I was going to start. But I have a long way to go before I can say the Rams are the same with me in there as they are with Kurt Warner."

Q: Did you you ever think you'd be the starter again this soon in the season?

Bulger: I was pretty much set on being a backup. Coach Martz had set back in March that Kurt was our guy and we were going to stick with him. He played well through the preseason. I knew eventually - we didn't want it to happen - that something would happen to Kurt. The way the NFL is, I would have to step in eventually. It happened the first week. It happened quicker than I thought, but fortunately I prepared like I was going to start.

Q: Was it difficult to get word that you would be the backup?

Bulger: Not necessarily, because last year I got in because of an injury. It wasn't because I beat Kurt out or anything like that. I came in and helped the team. I know what kind of player Kurt Warner is. This organization has thrived around him, so I wasn't going to be a person to try to start controversy or anything. I understood that it was his team and this year was going to be another learning experience until I got my chance.

Q: Did Warner seem out of it last game?

Bulger: No, I think we had problems with one play because it was a little bit out of the ordinary. And I think we did have something wrong with the head set. But he was getting the plays pretty quick. He had a couple of protection things, watching the film, that he usually doesn't miss, so maybe that was something. But as far as getting the plays, he seemed fine.

Q: What have you learned from being around Warner?

Bulger: Basically, I learned how to prepare. Getting to watch him every day in practice two years ago, my first year, really prepared me for last year. Now, he's going to be nothing but help to me. He's a guy who can forget the last play and just move on. I take that from him and learn everything he's done.

Q: Describe morale after last week's loss, especially after your bad start last year?

Bulger: I think we pretty much put last year behind us because there were a lot of circumstances we couldn't control. We certainly didn't want to start 0-1, but I think we put that behind us already. When you play the 49ers, you have to forget about last week or we'll get embarrassed - like the team last week. We put it behind us and we have to focus on playing the 49ers. It's a division game, so hopefully we can come out and even our record.

Q: Did teams blitz you last year?

Bulger: Some of them did at first, but we have things to counter that. I've been around long enough to recognize some of the blitzes that maybe I couldn't have last year. Certainly, teams are going to test young quarterbacks. Hopefully, we'll have the right plays and we can burn them when they do.

Q: What if 49ers try to do to you what they did to the bears?

Bulger: We'll have to see. We have a lot of good matchups that we like. That's what we try to do with our offense. Hopefully, it doesn't get into a situation where they can blitz us every down. But we'll leave it at that.

Q: Is the 49ers defense different this year?

Bulger: They seem to be playing a lot more confident together. Watching that game, when they called for a blitz, they were just confident that they were going to cover everyone and that everyone was going to be in the right spot. They made very few mistakes. When you have a team that's playing all together, that experience helps and they look like a real confident group right now.

Q: Are they difficult to prepare for?

Bulger: In the NFL, so many teams do so many different things. You try to game plan a little bit, but the 49ers especially do a lot of things. You try to be ready, but you have to be ready. "Stick to your rules" is the most important thing. Everything should work out well.

Q: How his it been for you learning Mike Martz's offense?

Bulger: I'm definitely more familiar this year just from all the games last year. In practice weeks, I got to take 50 or 60 reps a day for six or seven weeks, which really helped me. In preseason, your reps can be limited but going into the preseason this year I was a lot more comfortable with it. When they install things now, I can pick it up quicker than last year because I know the basic stuff pretty well.

Q: Are there a lot of similarities between you and Warner?

Bulger: I have a long way to go before I can say the Rams are the same with me in there as they are with Kurt Warner. But as long as I don't make any big mistakes and put the ball where it's supposed to be, we're definitely an aggressive offense. I need to know the difference between being aggressive and being greedy. I have to put the ball in the hands of Torry and Isaac and Marshall and let them make plays.

Q: Are you playing in a quarterback's dream offense?

Bulger: I think so. I don't have too much experience in too many offenses but it's pretty neat how every play definitely has an answer for any coverage. It's very rare that you get stuck in a play that you can't run the pass play because there isn't an answer. We have so many combinations on each side. If you know what you're doing and you know what coverage it is you can find an open guy.

Q: Does your team still have the same swagger as the 'Greatest Show on Turf'?

Bulger: We're certainly not putting up the numbers like we wanted to, but we know we can do the plays. If we can just eliminate some of our mistakes and if I can just put the ball in those guys' hands, it will come back. We haven't lost confidence in ourselves. We just need to start producing a little more.


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