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  1. #1
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    Don't toast Martz yet: Rams still have work to do (by Bernie the DOLT)

    Don't toast Martz yet: Rams still have work to do
    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Nov. 15 2004

    Please hold all confetti. Let's hold off on the victory parade on Market
    Street. Before Mayor Francis Slay declares "Mike Martz Day" in St. Louis and
    hands the keys to the city to the Rams' controversial head coach, let's calm
    down and ask a couple of questions:

    1. Why did Martz allow the Rams to slip into inertia and flawed football
    fundamentals, and fail to do something about it until after the eighth game of
    the season? I compliment Martz for recognizing that he had to drill his sloppy
    team to sharpen their blocking, tackling and mental edge in a mini
    basic-training football camp this week. I just wish Martz had closed the doors
    to the country club and set off the alarms sooner. And perhaps the Rams would
    be in better position than 5-4 and fighting for a playoff spot.

    2. Defeating the soft-hearted, underachieving Seattle Seahawks and teflon head
    coach Mike Holmgren is nice, but what can we expect Sunday in Buffalo, followed
    by a Monday night game in Green Bay? Beating Seattle 23-12 was a positive
    rebound from consecutive losses to Miami and New England, but this wasn't the
    Super Bowl. The Rams must carry this momentum to the next game, and beyond, and
    sustain their success.

    To his credit, Martz understands that. In his postgame news conference, he
    repeatedly emphasized the need to march forward. Martz was happy and he praised
    his players, but he wasn't in the mood to take bows or jab a finger at his
    critics. Martz's humility in triumph was admirable.

    "I'm very proud of this football team and how they responded," he said. "But
    the most important thing at this point now is next week we've got to continue
    with this type of effort."

    That's the right attitude. The Rams play four of their next five on the road.
    They'll make the cold-weather stops at Buffalo and Green Bay. They'll have home
    game against the sorry San Francisco ***** on Dec. 5, then head to Carolina on
    Dec. 12. The Panthers don't have a good record but always play hard. And then
    it's off to the desert to play an improved Arizona team on Dec. 19.

    If the Rams (5-4) can't take the lessons learned over the past few weeks -
    namely, you can't play football at a high level without passion, emotion and an
    urgent desire to win - then Sunday's uprising over Seattle won't mean much. It
    will be worthless. Remember the last win over Seattle? The Rams proceeded to
    lose two of the next three games.

    "How big this is, I don't know yet," said running back Marshall Faulk, who
    averaged an astounding 7.7 yards per carry in rushing for 139 yards Sunday.
    "How far it catapults us, you really don't know. When we played (Seattle) the
    last time and came back and won, it was, 'how big was that win for us.' And at
    the time it was a very big win, but we went on and didn't do as well. Hopefully
    we can learn from that and keep this winning going."

    I'm sorry to be so contrary, but the win over Seattle was irritating in a way.
    For instance, why can't the Rams' offensive line show this much heart every
    week? How could the O-line lay down against New England but then fire out
    against Seattle and refuse to fold even after injuries and the unwarranted
    ejection of offensive tackle Orlando Pace? Can the Rams and their fans count on
    this line from now on, or was this a fluke?

    Obviously, the Rams have much to work on. That's why holding the celebration to
    a minimum is probably a smart idea. The Rams offense managed only three field
    goals after opening a 14-0 lead. And that Rams' rushing defense ... oh, my.

    Seattle's Shaun Alexander rushed 22 times for 176 yards. Only one man really
    stopped Alexander: his own coach. What was Holmgren thinking, putting the ball
    into the hands of incompetent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on numerous trips
    inside the red zone? Why did Holmgren run the fullback - who was stuffed - on a
    fourth-and-1 play from the Rams' 39-yard line? Was Holmgren the only person
    inside The Ed who couldn't see Alexander bruising the Rams for 8.0 yards per
    carry?

    And if I may digress for a moment ... why does Holmgren continue to elude
    criticism? If Martz screws up a game, or even a timeout, the national media
    grills him for a week. (Not to mention the hissing in St. Louis.) Let Martz
    call a stupid play, and every talking head on ESPN pounds him as if he's the
    cable network's personal pinata.

    Meanwhile, Holmgren gets a free pass as he cruises along in his sixth season in
    Seattle with a mediocre overall record of 46-43. He's winless in his last four
    playoff games, having lost his last two as coach in Green Bay, plus an 0-2 mark
    in Seattle. Holmgren's team blew a 27-10 lead in a humiliating loss to the Rams
    earlier this season. And on Sunday Holmgren got nearly 200 yards from Alexander
    the Great, saw his defense limit the Rams to nine points over the final 51
    minutes, 51 seconds and still couldn't win.

    And Holmgren is a genius?

    Huh?

    Martz routinely outcoaches him when their teams meet.

    After taking too long to get mad and address his team's decline, Martz had the
    Rams ready to play Sunday. He took them back to school, brushed up on Football
    101 and raised the standards. The Rams responded with increased energy and
    determination. But this was only one win, one step. It was a re-start to the
    season, and that's all. In the coming weeks we'll see if this victory had true
    meaning, or was just a tease.



  2. #2
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    Re: Don't toast Martz yet: Rams still have work to do (by Bernie the DOLT)

    Rams still have work to do. :tough:

    GO RAMS!

  3. #3
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    Re: Don't toast Martz yet: Rams still have work to do (by Bernie the DOLT)

    Bernie really likes to write these "straw man" arguments. In other words, he responds to mind sets that - though perhaps might appear from a minority of fans - has not been expressed.


    Who is saying that the Rams and Martz are ready for a parade? Nobody. Anyone with a lick of sense realizes that there is still a lot of work to do. The Rams have to stay even with the Seahawks for the next seven weeks - during which time the Rams have the tougher schedule.

    The problem with Bernie's article is that it places the focus on the wrong thing. Instead of attacking those few fans who might go overboard in celebrating this win, he should be focusing on those things that the Rams can build on.

    Of course, that presumse that Bernie wants to write quality journalistic pieces instead of just going for shock value.

    It was a good win. Ram fans have a right to be happy about it.

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