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Thursday, November 13, 2008
Haslett: Bulger needs better supporting cast

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Steven Jackson's inability to practice was the big news story from Rams headquarters Thursday. Jim Haslett's comments to reporters about quarterback Marc Bulger might mean more for the long term.

Haslett pointed to Bulger's standing among a short list of quarterbacks to approach 20,000 yards passing this early in their careers.

Haslett on Bulger: "We just have to surround him with people, playmakers, and I think we have a bunch of young kids that can do that. We have to protect him and do some things that make him feel comfortable. I think every quarterback goes through a phase in their career where it's not going. When he came in, he stepped in with great personnel around him, playmakers galore -- three or four receivers, a running back, a great line that had been together for a long time. He's not in that situation right now. It's a little bit different. Obviously, we'll try to get back to that some day, but right now it's not that situation."

Bulger's career passing stats remain solid: 63 percent completion rate, 7.4 yards per attempt, 112 touchdowns, 80 interceptions and an 86.9 passer rating.

Comparing strictly numbers, consider that Eli Manning has never completed higher than 60.5 percent of his passes in a season. He has never exceeded 6.9 yards per attempt in a season. And his passer rating this season -- easily a career best at 88.8 -- is about what Bulger has averaged for his career.

I draw the comparison only to illustrate what Haslett is talking about. Bulger, like Manning, is good enough to win games with a strong supporting cast.