Q: How do you feel your offense is coming around right now?
Bulger: We're definitely getting better. I don't want to say that we're there yet, because we were 1-1 in those two games. Getting Steven (Jackson) back has been the difference. We got him for a quarter two weeks ago and he scored 14 points, then he went out. We got him for a full game last week and it just makes a huge difference. It takes a lot of pressure off our line and our receivers with the play action game.
Q: How important is it to have Steven Jackson back for this team?
Bulger: He's what gets us going. He brings us the energy that we need and he can impact the game like no other guy on our team, because when he's not in there, teams can play their Cover-2 and stop the run, which is bad. When teams play Cover-2, you should be able to run the ball, and when they close the show, you should be able to throw it. He brings it back to equal there. When teams want to close it, we can hold up and we can throw the ball. When they don't bring that extra guy down, he's a good enough back to make guys miss. We have success from it.
Q: For a team coming off their first win going against a team on a seven game losing streak, who do you think has the advantage?
Bulger: Probably neither team. If I had to pick one I'd say San Fran, because it's a home game and they've had our number lately. We haven't been playing well against them in the last three or four years. We've been struggling out there. We understand that fortunately, we got a win on the road last week, so we're going to build on that momentum. We take nothing for granted, we understand that it's a rivalry. We're going to have to be careful with the ball and try to get some field position and create turnovers.
Q: Why do you think it's been a one possession game every time you've played the 49ers in the last few years?
Bulger: I don't know. I think this rivalry goes back 20 years. It's something I didn't understand, how big a rivalry it really was, especially in the L.A. days. I think it started back then. I think we had their number in the late 90's, but like I said, they have kicked our butts the past couple years.
Q: What do you guys have to do better than what you did in the first meeting?
Bulger: I don't think it's a secret. We have to protect me a little better. We didn't finish in the red zone and took a pounding. We have to get our running game going, get better protection, and finishing in the red zone will be important. Not only that, we did give the ball away a couple times at critical points, so winning the turnover battle is equally important.
Q: Would the season have been any different if you guys would have won that first meeting?
Bulger: You never know. We had a close game against Carolina the week before. If Steven Jackson doesn't get hurt or our line is healthy, there are just too many if's you can play, and you hate to point to one thing because it will drive you nuts. Maybe it would have got us going in a better direction, but I don't want to point to the one game.
Q: What is the attitude in the locker room right now?
Bulger: It's the same as it has been the first nine weeks. We still understand we are a 1-8 football team, but it's a lot better this week than it was last week because we got a win. The building has a little more energy and we want to turn this thing around. And it's not just something we have been talking about, we actually got it done last week. There is a freshness from winning that has helped us right now.
Q: At 1-8, what is the motivation for the players?
Bulger: I don't think, once you are a pro, that you need motivation. Your motivation is to go out and do your job, whether it's for the next contract or for each other. Everyone comes in and puts in the same work they did in the spring and all season. I think 99 percent of our guys have enough pride that they don't want to lose. Just like kids, if you are 0-8, you still want to win because you have pride and that's how you got to this level, so I don't think that's an issue.
Q: As a veteran QB, is it still common to have confidence issues?
Bulger: Maybe at times during a game you can get frustrated, but as far myself, I don't worry about that. I've played long enough to understand there are ups and downs and things you can't control as a quarterback. You stay consistent and keep your work ethic high, things will turn around. Getting that win last week helped me, because you look in the mirror and you want to fix problems, but you don't know how to do it and you do too much. But to finally get a win and stay consistent in how you are and how you work keeps you sane.
Q: As someone who has played with injuries, is it possible to entirely forget about the injury when you are on the field?
Bulger I think so, as long as it is just pain, because you know everyone is going through it. Some injuries are worse than others, in terms of dealing with them during a game. Football is a crazy game. It is really violent, really fast, and there is no time to think about the pain. It might bother you in between series or at halftime, but if you're not healthy enough to play at a pretty high level, it's going to show really quick and he won't be in there. It's just a pain and tolerance thing.
Bulger back and so are Rams?
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