Bring Mike Back
By Howard Balzer
Friday, January 09, 2009
It's official now. It's been rumored for about a week that Jim Haslett has mentioned bringing back Mike Martz as offensive coordinator if he ends up as the Rams' head coach for 2009 and beyond. Well, Martz acknowledged Thursday he has talked to Haslett about it, and would seriously consider the job if it's offered.
Talk about great theater, but most important, think about the football aspect of it. If there's anything that might re-energize wide receiver Torry Holt, it would be the return of Martz. Who knows, maybe even Isaac Bruce would end up back where he belongs. Martz could hopefully get quarterback Marc Bulger back on track, and who better than to identify a young quarterback that could be developed as Bulger's eventual replacement.
Say what you want about Haslett, and I realize there are many strong feelings out there, but I will ask this one question of those against him keeping the job: Who among all the other names being considered can anyone guarantee (and that includes general manager Billy Devaney) will be a better head coach than Haslett?
Add Martz to the mix and potentially Dom Capers as defensive coordinator, and I seriously doubt any of the other candidates could attract better coordinators. Throw stones at Haslett if you must, but he remains the best choice of anyone being considered.
Devaney said Haslett did a very good job in his presentation to ownership earlier this week in Los Angeles, and he has a detailed plan for what he would do in conjunction with Devaney to improve the team. But it isn't only about coaching and player changes.
One aspect not considered by those that simply point to the losses as a reason not to bring Haslett back, is the offseason program and training camp. Haslett has strong opinions on how those should be run, and he believes that is the time where a team's attitude and identity are built and a head coach instills his personality on the team.
IS THIS REX'S TIME?
Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is on a lot of teams' list as a potential head coach, including the Rams, and while he stayed in Baltimore last year after John Harbaugh was hired to replace Brian Billick, Ryan believes the season working with Harbaugh has been eye-opening.
Ryan added the title of assistant head coach, and he said, "I think I'm twice as prepared to become a head coach than I was last year, I really do. I think being under John and really working with him, John has really allowed me to experience what he's experienced.
"He's made me part of the process of how we're dealing with things, whether it's a discipline issue, how we set up practice, all that kind of stuff. It's been great because I think he's an outstanding leader and I've been fortunate to be in the spot this year that I've been in."
While many teams place a lot of emphasis on how a coach presents himself in an interview, Ryan acknowledged he is what he is. He said, "I'm not real good at it, I don't think. I'm not blessed with a silver tongue like some of these guys. What you see is what you get. I think, I know, I'm a great football coach. I know I'm a leader of men, especially guys that play this game, and I think that's probably my edge over other people.
"I've worked all my life to get ready for opportunities to become a head coach. I'm not going to be a phony. I'm going to be myself, and, hopefully, it's good enough for somebody. If it's not, then I'll stay here and coach this defense like I've been doing."
PIG BROWN SURFACES
After suffering a bad injury late in the 2007 Missouri season, safety Pig Brown went undrafted. Since then, like running back Tony Temple, he has been out of sight, out of mind.
Well, no more. The RiverCity Rage will introduce Brown at a press conference Tuesday. The Rage season begins in March at the Family Arena in St. Charles.
AROUND THE NFL
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner might have a reason not to have his team win the Super Bowl. Why is that?
Said Warner, "My wife (Brenda) kind of put words in my mouth and told (the kids) if we won the Super Bowl, they could get a puppy. I want to win the Super Bowl, but I still don't want to get a puppy."
Said coach Ken Whisenhunt: "I hope he gets a puppy."
Unlikely. Arizona's run ends this weekend in Carolina, especially if wide receiver Anquan Boldin doesn't play. Even if he does, Boldin will be hampered by a hamstring injury.
It still is difficult to believe that Scott Linehan actually thought he was improving the team when he cut fullback Madison Hedgecock in 2007 and replaced him with Richard Owens. Hedgecock, of course, has a Super Bowl ring, and this year is a Pro Bowl first alternate.
Here's what Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said when asked about Hedgecock's tangible and intangible contributions to the team: "The physical or tangible contribution is obvious. He does a tremendous job of matching up against the linebackers that he is assigned to block both in the run game and the passing game. I think he also has continued to evolve in his sophistication so that not only can he block his guy but when there is a breakdown somewhere else he has gotten better and better of cleaning up somebody elseís mistake on his way to doing his job. He does a very, very good job. It wonít be noticeable necessarily to the outside world but I think his teammates appreciate and I know his coaches do - the fact that he is able to see a problem and on the way to doing his job, maybe knock the guy back onto the respective blocker that is supposed to be blocking him, and he has just gotten better and better at that.
"I think the intangible contribution is that he adds significantly to the toughness that we have as an offense and I think one of the things we are very, very proud of is that we view ourselves and I think most people that play us view us as a very physical offense. Itís something we strive to have as an identity and he certainly contributes to that impression.
It's scapegoat time in the NFL, and it happens every year. To be sure, it goes beyond the teams that fire head coaches and extends to head coaches with jobs that suddenly can't stomach the thought of having their assistants around anymore.
In Green Bay, after having a very good defensive year in 2007, that side of the ball slumped this past season, so coach Mike McCarthy canned five defensive coaches, including coordinator Bob Sanders. It's always amazing how guys can become bad coaches so quickly, as if the players had nothing to do with it.
The Bears' defense also had some troubles, so three positions coaches got the ax, but not coordinator Bob Babich. That's a strange one. The coordinator puts in the plan, while position coaches teach technique and help communicate the plan. You would think if all those position coaches forgot how to coach, the coordinator would exit along with them.
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was shocked when he learned his position coach Lloyd Lee had lost his job. Lee has been with the team for five years, and had been invited to Hawaii as Briggs' guest for the pro Bowl.
ďIíve always liked Lloyd Lee,Ē Briggs said. ďHe was a preacher of fundamentals. He didnít miss out on any details. If there was something in the playbook we needed to know or prepare for, Lloyd made sure we knew it. He would repeat it until it was beat into our minds.Ē
As for what might happen next amid speculation some of the firings were carried out so head coach Lovie Smith could hire Rod Marinelli and Joe Barry, Briggs said, ďI donít know whatís going to happen. Iím a player. Players play, coaches coach.Ē
Barry, of course, is Marinelli's son-in-law and was the defensive coordinator on Marinelli's staff in Detroit. They were with Smith in the past on Tampa Bay's staff. Barry also must love the word "cherish." Why is that? Well, listen to these words:
When asked about being with the Bears, Barry said, "If I had an opportunity to work for Lovie Smith, I would cherish it."
After interviewing with the Buccaneers, Barry said, "To have an opportunity to come back here would be unbelievable. This is a place I used to call Mecca. If an opportunity came about where I could come back, I'd cherish it."
HEAVY FINE COMING?
There have been some large fines as high as $25,000 this season for players and coaches for publicly criticizing officials.
Expect a big one after Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney teed off after his team's playoff loss to San Diego.
Said Freeney, ďThose were the worst (expletive) calls Iíve seen in a long time. To have a game of that magnitude taken out of your hands, itís just disgusting. Itís not like they made one (expletive) bad call Ė itís three calls, in overtime. On one, the ballís 50 feet over (Chris Chambersí) head. And they have the nerve to call defensive holding? When they canít even call one frigginí offensive holding the whole game? Whatís going on? They need to start investigating some other (expletive).Ē
WHAT WILL TONY DO?
Tony Dungy is expected to decide this week whether to return for another season as the Colts' coach, and he said his routine of often going home to visit his family in Tampa won't be a deciding factor.
Asked how it worked out, Dungy said, "It was good. This year went well and I had fun doing it. I had fun watching my son play. They spent a lot of time up here on the weekends. It was actually probably time-wise better than the first two years I was here. So that part of it I know is doable, and that really wasn't a problem."
FINAL NON-NFL NOTE
The national championship game Thursday night was certainly entertaining despite the lower-than-expected score, but play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brenneman was so over the top, viewers had to be hoping someone would put a sock in his mouth.
And no, that wasn't a sock in his pants, that had to be a woody because of the obvious man-crush he has on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Even watching the game with my wife Bernie (yes, she's a big sports fan), she was virtually gagging, and near the end of the game, was asking me to turn down the sound because she couldn't bear listening to him.
Early on, he declared Tebow, "The unquestioned greatest leader in college football today." Great leader? Yes, Tebow is. But the "unquestioned greatest leader." Please. Just because you say it, that means no one can question it? How full of yourself are you?
Later, after a good, but not great play, Brenneman said, "Superman strikes again." When he went into an excruciatingly long recital of all the great deeds Tebow has done off the field, with a reverence usually reserved for saints, it became truly embarrassing.
An ironic moment came when a story was related where an Oklahoma player claimed Tebow would be only the fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12. Brenneman called that the most ridiculous thing ever said. I guess he should know, considering the things he was saying. When the saint was called foul for taunting a Florida player, Breeneman stunningly said that was probably the first thing Tebow has ever done wrong.
This morning, I did a search for Brenneman, and discovered a thread on a Detroit Internet message board. These were some of the comments:
"Get a room."
"I don't think I could ever watch another Tebow game again. I hope he's sainted soon. It's too bad he didn't stay in that damn leper colony. Praise Tebow!"
"It was funny, every time Florida did something, Brenneman would scream like a little girl."
"In the pre-game, some clown for Fox said Tebow was 'part football guru, part Ghandi.' I almost puked."
Then, I went to Bernie's press box at stltoday.com and found these classics:
"A lot of man love going on that's for sure."
"He is Jesus' cousin and Pujols' brother."
"Everyone in the national media has a ridiculous crush on him. It's getting pretty old. If I have to hear one more time about the speech he made after they lost to Ole Miss, I may puke."
"Did anyone hear the line last night that went something like this: "Anyone that gets to spend 5 or 10 minutes of their life with Tim Tebow is a better human being because of it"? I hit the mute button after that."
"The University of Florida will put in a Tebowology course. It's a history of Tim Tebow class. Sign up quickly before it fills up."
"Tim Tebow vs. Kurt Warner in a steel cage match to decide who is the messiah. Who wins?"
Meanwhile, the production aspects and replays seemed sub-standard for a game of this magnitude, especially for questionable plays.
Early in the game, an Oklahoma player was called for excessive celebration. No comments by the broadcasters, no replay. Later in the game, the same thing happened when a Florida defensive lineman was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
But the worst came on Oklahoma's final offensive play of the game. The receiver appeared to be held and interfered with, but there was no flag. The player was knocked to the ground, then got up and stormed toward the official, yelling and waving his arm.
Naturally, no comment from the announcers, and no replay.
Re: Bring Mike Back
Can't blame the woman for gagging if Bernie Balzer.
Re: Bring Mike Back
This I think is a good in-depth look on having Haslett/Martz as the Rams HC and OC. I dont think Haslett is great, and I personally do NOT like Martz. Even though I would love to see Ryan or McDaniels land the job, I seriously believe these two could make a definite change in attitude and performance. The article is right, how can anybody possibly KNOW anybody else can do better? That the players will react to the system or ideas of a new person in a positive way? The truth is players like and shown they want to play for Haslett, and when Martz was here positive things happen. Besides, they've both been here and both have something to prove considering their past.
And whats so bad about having Martz back anyway? Some of you have said, " I dont care who's here 'long as were winning". Well like it or not, under Martz we were WiNNiNG. Im thinking Haslett has really and overall done a BAD job for the team, but NONE of you are actually on the inside to know why, or how the hell the players could react to him in a good way. They may not take us to the SB the first time around or even have a winning season, but again whos to say someone else will??..
Of course alot of people say one thing now(hell i said i didnt want martz back at first), but what happened after we beat the Redskins??...... Cowboys??...OMG Haslett for President!!!...and now were here, politicking on what we think is best, and in my honest opinion, i think this would be the way to go...
Re: Bring Mike Back
Haslett/martz/capers coached team is a great lineup along if we would keep ellard and valero as coaches
Re: Bring Mike Back
Agreed! Just do it. A Haslett / Martz combo would make me happy -- and I think the Rams players too. :ram:
Originally Posted by Bruce4life
Interesting article, BTW. // PS: ...You mean there's still a chance Bruce might retire as a Ram? :)
Re: Bring Mike Back
I would think that Isaac would do what some other teams do when a star retires,bring him back for 1 day sign him and then let him retire with the team he made his name with,I hope the Rams would be willing to do that.
Originally Posted by RealRam
Re: Bring Mike Back
Well, Mike. It says here in your resume that it was Singletary's fault the whiners didn't win the Super Bowl. You don't mind if we call Mike Singletary to check this out do you?
(Mad Martz in his best Captain Queeg voice)
No...I don't see any need of that. Now that I recall, he ahhhh...he might of said something about running the ball more....or he might not....
I've been through so many quarterbacks...and ehhhhh...O'Sullivan wasn't the most reliable quarterback. I know exactly what he'll tell you.....LIES.....he was no different that all the rest of the players in the locker room. They were all disloyal....I tried to run the offense properly...by my genius playbook....but they fought me at every turn. The players wanted to walk around with their shirt tails hanging out...that's all right...let them........
Take the ball tosser...defective equipment...no more, no less.........
The other coaches encouraged the players to go around scoffing at me and spreading rumors about running plays that go in circles...and old yellow stain....like I was to blame for Davis's incompetence and poor sportsmanship........
Like Mike Singletary would be the perfect head coach and not Mike Martz..........
Ahhhhh, but the strawberries. That's... that's where I had them....they laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt with geometric logic that a duplicate key to the locker room did exist and I would have produced it if they hadn't dismissed me from the team. I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow player..............
can only cover these things from memory......
I've left anything out....
ask me specific questions....
and I'll gladly answer them one...by one.
(rattling of metal ball bearings only sound remaining in room).