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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bye-Bye, Vacation: Martz, Rams back to work

    Bye-Bye, Vacation: Martz, Rams back to work
    By Jeff Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Nov. 01 2004

    As far as the Rams are concerned, the NFL bye week is the pause that refreshes.

    For basically the fifth season under coach Mike Martz, the Rams have gone
    through their entire bye week without a practice. Such a regimen - or
    non-regimen - was almost unheard of in the NFL when Martz first instituted it
    in 2000, his rookie season as Rams head coach.

    "It was hard to do initially, because people just don't do it," Martz said
    Monday, after the Rams' first practice since their loss Oct. 24 to Miami. "You
    don't know how the players will take it. You trust these guys, and you tell
    them why you're doing it."

    The only asterisk to the Martz bye week plan came in 2001, when 18 players
    engaged in seven-on-seven passing drills on Wednesday and Thursday of the bye
    week. Everybody else was off. Most of the participants were special teams or
    scout team players, and almost all were rookies or young players.

    In 2000, '02, and '03 - and now, '04 - the bye week routine has consisted of
    only two weightlifting and conditioning sessions sometime between Tuesday and
    Friday. Otherwise, the players are off.

    "When you look at camp, and the preseason, and the first half of the season,
    their bodies kind of need the break," Martz said. "And when they come out of a
    bye, they usually feel pretty good. ... When we first did it, I was a little
    nervous about it, but I just felt like it was the right thing to do. It seems
    to work pretty good."

    It's hard to argue with the results. The Rams are 4-0 coming out of bye weeks
    under Martz, and an emphatic 4-0 at that. The combined score of those games has
    been 156- 57.

    Granted, the Rams had some very good teams in 2000 and '03. But even in '02,
    when given a week off for the bye following a 2-5 start, the Rams returned with
    a 27-14 victory at Arizona.

    "Hopefully, we can make it 5-0 on Sunday," linebacker Trev Faulk said.

    Easier said than done, considering Sunday's opponent is New England- 6-1 this
    season and the reigning Super Bowl champ.

    In five seasons with Tampa Bay, defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson remembers
    practicing every year during the Buccaneers' bye week.

    "And after the week was over, it didn't feel like a bye week at all," Jackson
    recalled. "It just felt like you had the weekend off."

    Things are done differently in St. Louis, at least under Martz. Under
    predecessors Rich Brooks and Dick Vermeil, the Rams usually practiced on
    Wednesday and Thursday of the bye week. In 1997, Vermeil's first year with the
    Rams, the team practiced Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of its bye week.

    Martz changed the routine in 2000, after the team got off to a 5-0 start.

    "The way he handles our (bye week) schedule, I think he does it the right way,"
    Jackson said. "You come back fresh and re- energized. It gives everybody a
    chance to take a deep breath, refocus themselves."

    When asked if he liked the bye-week concept, veteran offensive guard Tom Nutten
    replied: "What's not to like? Especially when it's in Week 8, halfway through
    the season more or less. It's nice the way Coach Martz has it, where it really
    gives us a good break, mentally and physically.

    "You get your lifts in, and you're done. You almost feel like doing extra. More
    than you have to do."

    Once the bye week ends, the Rams get an extra practice in on Monday - a day
    almost never used for practice in today's NFL. Martz uses it to knock the rust
    off from the bye week. And on this Monday, the team went at it in full pads.

    Many players used the time off to go home, or visit their alma maters.
    Offensive guard Chris Dishman, for example, attended Saturday's
    Missouri-Nebraska football game in Lincoln, Neb. The former Cornhusker
    participated in the 10-year reunion of Nebraska's 1994 national championship
    team.

    "It was a fun time," Dishman said. "A lot of guys came back, about 95 to 100
    guys, from that time. It's amazing how much memory loss you have. You come back
    and you don't recognize people. Ten years is a long time. I'm glad we had name
    tags."

    Tight end Cameron Cleeland didn't go home. He went to Arizona to work on some
    real estate business, and then took his wife to Chicago.

    "I got to shop with my wife, if that's fun," Cleeland said. He added,
    sarcastically, "That's really exciting."

    Rookie defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove stayed in St. Louis and played Mr.
    Fix-it.

    "Painted on my garage and my walls," he said.

    Jackson stayed close to Rams Park, getting treatment on his hamstring injury,
    but also found the time to attend Game 3 of the World Series and see the movie
    "Ray," about singer Ray Charles.

    "If Jamie Foxx doesn't win an Oscar, it's a shame," Jackson said. "That's one
    of the best performances I've ever seen."

    Offensive tackle Grant Williams spent some quality time - Halloween style -
    with his three daughters.

    "A couple costume parties that you have to do," he said.

    So was the 6-foot-7 Williams in costume?

    "Yeah," he said. "We're not going to talk about that."


  2. #2
    adarian_too's Avatar
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    Re: Bye-Bye, Vacation: Martz, Rams back to work

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    Bye-Bye, Vacation: Martz, Rams back to work
    By Jeff Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Nov. 01 2004

    For basically the fifth season under coach Mike Martz, the Rams have gone
    through their entire bye week without a practice. Such a regimen - or
    non-regimen - was almost unheard of in the NFL when Martz first instituted it
    in 2000, his rookie season as Rams head coach.
    I think the measuring stick is misleading. Just because the immediate game after the bye week has been a success, does not mean that there were elements of the game not needing addressed. Repeatedly sMartz has acknowledged the lack of preparation being a contributing factor in the team's failures at the most inopportune time.

    Although I can see easing speed and contact drills during this time, I don't see why the mental aspects shouldn't be addressed during the free time. Belichik refers to "situational training" where groups of people are forced to walk through dress rehearsals of possible game time situations. Whether it was STs in the past or the D in the present things need worked on. The Rams are not that good that they can ignore using their time more productively.

  3. #3
    sbramfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bye-Bye, Vacation: Martz, Rams back to work

    I think every starter should have the week off and every guy who is not a starter and plays on special teams should be doing 2-aday's until they get it right.

    I was really frustrated to see the jets rip Miami, given the rams performance vs. Miami.

  4. #4
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bye-Bye, Vacation: Martz, Rams back to work

    This defense needs a lot of work, work that should've been done in the bye week. It's nice to let your players rest up, but I still think they should've had practices on Thursday-Saturday.

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