Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Best QB You Don't Know

He doesn't make the headlines. You won't see his name in the papers for his latest arrest, his newest Hollywood girlfriend or his exciting dog fighting business.

You'll here nothing about him during the off-season. He won't be uppermost in the public consciousness.

His name is Marc Bulger and he's the best quarterback in the NFL not named Peyton Manning.

Bulger is the unassuming leader of the St. Louis Rams, who has slowly but surely proven to the world and the NFL that he is more substance than the flash (in the pan)and glitz of Michael Vick.

He won't be featured in any magazines, news shows, or celebrity gossip rags. You'll be lucky if anyone mentions him at all. Too bad, because he's the best quarterback you never heard off.

Don't believe me? Well, numbers don't lie.

Last season, Bulger threw for 4,301 yards, only Manning and Drew Brees had more. He had 24 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions, as well as a 63 percent completion percentage.

Not bad when you consider he was learning a brand new offense under first-year coach Scott Linehan last season.

For his career, Bulger has thrown for 16,233 yards with 95 touchdowns and 59 interceptions for a 91.3 passer rating and a career 64.4 percent completion percentage. Not bad for a guy who was a sixth round draft pick.

For comparison, Manning has a 64 percent completion percentage and a 94.4 passer rating. Not much difference is there?

He doesn't have the Super Bowl rings of Tom Brady or Manning, nor the arm of a Carson Palmer, but he has the heart of a lion and the determination of a Hannibal, leading his soldiers over the Alps. Bulger won't let adversity stop him.

He was considered too small in stature and arm strength coming out of West Virginia. How did he answer the critics?

All he's done is go to two Pro Bowls, winning an MVP in one of them, while leading the Rams to the playoffs three times in his five years as a starter. Bulger may have had a Super Bowl ring on his finger by now if the Rams defense would have been sturdier.

His accuracy is tops in the league. Most of the other quarterbacks would agree with that. He can hit a receiver in stride without breaking his rhythm. He's a silent leader who does his talking on the field. Simply put, he's the best quarterback no one knows about.

His name is Marc Bulger and he's one of the best of his generation. Maybe someday he'll get the respect he so richly deserves.

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