I opened up my father in law’s Sun paper yesterday and one of the leading stories on the front page of the Sports section advised me that the Baltimore Ravens had signed veteran quarterback Marc Bulger to a deal worth around $3.8 million. I stopped for a second, and decided that I should probably read the whole article before I make any judgments. Did they grant Troy Smith his long sought trade? Does this mean the end for third stringer John Beck?
The answer to both of those questions appears to be NO. Troy Smith and John Beck are still with the team, and it appears that they will both have to beat out Marc Bulger now for the #2 spot behind Joe Flacco.
Ok, I understand that this move is geared towards strengthening the backup spot behind Flacco. Understood. I’ve always been suspect of Troy Smith’s ability to be a decent NFL quarterback, and i was never comfortable with the fact that this team was just one knee injury away from being “Troy’s team.” But I don’t know that Bulger is much better.
I believe that he is, but it all depends on which Marc Bulger arrives in Westminister this July. The one who threw at least 20 touchdowns in 3 for his first 5 seasons? Or the one who has under-performed and gotten worse each of the past 3 seasons. Although in his defense, he hasn’t exactly been surrounded by the cream of the NFL’s crop the past 3 years. The Rams decline from their “Greatest Show on Turf” days has been swift and steady, and Bulger has been beaten around the last few years. Like I’ve always said, it’s hard to complete a pass when you’re lying on your back.
All of this of course could end up being a mute point if Flacco once again plays all 16 games again. The ideal situation, for any team, is that the backup QB stays on the sidelines with his ball cap securely fastened to his head, and the clipboard resting in his hands. Hell, forget Bulger, I’ll do that for almost $4 mil. I guess in the end, the Ravens shared our concerns with Troy and John Beck as being viable options should the unthinkable happen to Joe Cool. That’s one heck of a drop off.
I’m just not sure that Bulger is that much of an improvement. But, the one thing that Bulger brings to the table, that neither Smith or Beck have, is success as a starting NFL quarterback. A two-time Pro Bowler, Bulger took over seamlessly from Kurt Warner when he was handed the keys to a then good St. Louis football team. Injuries (which is what worries me) and a rebuilding project derailed Bulger, but when he was good, he was good. And I can honestly say, that the more I write and think on this issue, the more comfortable I am becoming with Bulger right behind Flacco, then I am with Smith sitting in the passenger’s seat. Not to mention the fact that I’m sure Ozzie and John have already told Bulger that Joe is #1 here. It’s his team. And if Bulger wasn’t comfortable with that, then he wouldn’t have signed on here. Bulger knows he’s the #2 guy. He’s content with that. And we ALL know that Smith believes he’s deserving of the top spot, and he feels slighted that he hasn’t been given, what he perceives to be, a fair shot. Hence his clamoring for a trade.
So, in the end, I do believe that Bulger is an upgrade over what we already have on the roster. But as I said before, with all do respect to Bulger, I hope he doesn’t get the chance to prove it.
Go Ravens!!!!!! Keep Flacco healthy!!!!