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Rams' decision to sign Boller put to early test

8/17/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The finger injury Marc Bulger suffered during a routine center exchange Monday morning -- a non-displaced fracture that could sideline him for two weeks -- comes after the quarterback played through more violent collisions than he would care to remember.

Not that center exchanges are non-contact affairs.

Quarterbacks have a hard time recovering from finger and hand injuries because taking snaps from center involves a contact more forceful that we might realize watching from afar. The center snaps the ball with significant force because he needs his snapping hand for blocking and self-defense -- as soon as possible.

It's the sort of thing a quarterback doesn't think about much until he breaks a finger.

Bulger's absence from the lineup will allow the Rams to get a much better feel for how backup Kyle Boller fits in their system. Boller should be better prepared to replace Bulger if needed at any point during the regular season.

The decision to sign Boller seemed like a good one for the Rams as they tried to get younger -- releasing Trent Green -- without handing the backup job to a player with no experience. Boller's status as a 2003 first-round choice means he has more physical ability than some backups. Now he'll get a chance to see how that talent projects to Pat Shurmur's West Coast system.