The Case for Null — More than Just Frustration

There have been people clamoring for Null since draft day — Bulger-haters, mostly, or magical thinkers who see first chapter of the Kurt Warner story reborn in the sixth-round pick from the back woods of football. And the noise has only gotten louder as the Rams’ offense has seemingly run out of gas. But few have presented real reasons, other than frustration with the status quo.

However, lest you think from yesterday’s cautionary tale that I’m satisfied by holding the standard for the Kyle Boller experience, allow me to present the most cogent and complete argument I’ve read to date in favor of starting Null yesterday. It comes courtesy of Cameron Hollway at the St Louis Beacon, an online-only newspaper whose very existence was only recently made known to me. New to me, perhaps, but not new to the business of writing intelligent commentary.

Hollway wrote this just after Bulger’s tibial fracture was revealed:

Coach Steve Spagnuolo was right to steadfastly stand behind Bulger as his guy. A veteran and proven winner (when there is talent around him), Bulger was the Rams’ best chance to win this season. And I can understand the nod to Boller this week, since Null had taken no snaps in practice with the No. 1 offense before Bulger went down.

Boller should be the starter for a week or two while sharing first-team practice snaps with Null in a hurry-up process to get ready. A fine backup, a great locker room guy, a fellow you’d like to go bar-hopping with, Boller is not the future. The Rams have to see if Null is.

Asked Wednesday if Null is ready, Spagnuolo said, “You never know until you put him out there and see.” Asked whether Null would get playing time, Spags replied, “I hope not.”

So if I’m following:

1. Players learn by playing;
2. The Rams don’t know if Null is ready because he hasn’t played;
3. The Rams hope Null doesn’t play.

What am I missing? More important, what is the franchise missing by failing to see what it has in Null?

The full article is a must read, nearly 2000 words exploring his background, his ability, and his potential fit in the system: Time to see whether Null could be the future.

Of course, there’s nothing close to conclusive proof until he gets on the field. But quotes like this are what have Rams fans all abuzz for Null:

“The thing about Keith is that he is extremely intelligent,” his high school coach, Mark Kehoe, told me in August. “There were a couple of games there where he got us out of every bad play we could call.

“What’s funny is that my offensive coordinator and I were talking about him going to West Texas A&M, and we said that if he hangs in there and just waits his turn and he gets to play those last two years in that system, he’s going to throw for about 10,000 yards. And then somebody is going to look at him. That’s a big old prototype NFL quarterback.”