THE FIRE WITHIN
Congruence: The relationship between your words and your actions.
Walk your talk.
Talent is necessary however motivation is the fire that begins from a smoldering ember. Without fanning the ember into a flame, that ember will continue to smolder. The Rams have shown a smoldering ember that is capable of roaring into a bonfire. This was apparent in the final minutes of the Seattle game, in San Diego two years ago and against San Francisco in the final Monday Night football game of that same season.
So what fanned those flames into bonfires within each of the players on those days? My guess is embarrassment. Embarrassed due to being apart of a grossly underachieving team.
What fanned the flames of the New England Patriots when they upset the heavily favored Rams in the Superbowl? My guess is urgency.
I also theorize that someone on that team (Probably Belichick) saw the urgency and implored that urgency throughout the entire squad.
It seems that Mike Martz has recently discovered that talent alone is not enough. It took the Rams to drop to the parity level as far as talent before he emphasized the importance of getting his team up for games.
Only after the loss in Miami did he come out and talk about intensity with intensity. I donít know if anyone else has realized this but the recent articles from the Post Dispatch along with ďMartz on the Mikeďhave shown a noticeable escalation in Martz talking about being up and ready for games.
It looks as if he has discovered a new tool in coaching and is now going through the adolescent stages of applying it.
What I am refering to when I say "adolescent stages" is hitting on Wednesday before the Seahawk game which to Mike Martz is what fanned the ember into a flame.
I think Martz believed that it was the hitting that motivated the team. I believe it was more then that. I think the team was responding to Martzís intensity more then the hitting itself and that intensity is what carried over into the game against Seattle.
My feeling is that Martz may have put to much emphasis on the hitting and never realized that it was his own intensity and urgency that fanned the ember into a roaring fire.
In sum Mike Martz may have had the illusion that all he had to do to get his team up was hit on Wednesday; not realizing the intensity he himself brought on the prior Week.
I know there are a lot of fans here on the board that measure everything by wins and losses. This was oh so very apparent during the Warner Bulger debates. At that time, I was not compelled to look at the W/L column to base my feelings on. I saw a very good QB that looked to be getting a bum rap and I saw another QB that had great potential who probably felt as bad for Warner as anyone did.
What I see now is Martzís continued learning curve. Even the biggest Martz apologists have acknowledged that he has things to learn.
Right now Martz is going through the learning stages of what I consider to be the most important entity in coaching which is fanning the flame each week into the fiery potential that this team possesses.
I wanted Martz gone in 2000 when the defense was less then a spark because I was afraid that the Rams would waste that talent and not win at least one more world championship.
Well now I donít want him gone. To fire him now would be reacting to that waste instead of looking at the present and the future. (Again I am looking at more then wins and losses.)
That talent pool has dried up and now Martz is seeing the importance of the fire. He is still here, we have invested so much in his training and he does possess some head coaching qualities above most if not all other coaches in the NFL.
I still maintain that if were going to get rid of Martz then we have to do it 4 years ago when it would have done some good. Well that is not possible now is it?
I think now is when we have to be patient. We have to watch the rest of the season and see what happens as far as Martzís growth in team motivation.
If he makes strides in this area then I think firing him may be the football equivalent to pulling your stocks out of Microsoft prior to 1988.
All one has to do is look at Lovie Smith and the Rams defense. Is it that hard to figure out why the Rams went from worst to one of the top defenses in one year? Isnít it obvious now that Lovie Smith was getting by on motivation more then Talent?
The Rams defense last year made up for their inability to stop opposing teams with intensity that ultimately created turnovers.
Now with virtually the same players we are seeing what lack of motivation and intensity brings to a squad.
I could be wrong and most likely that is the case however the motivation, the intensity or the fire within is what I believe has been missing since 2000. Now I am seeing an urgency towards fanning that fire. Albeit another learning curve for Martz, I think we wait and see how quickly he can fan the ember but moreover how continuously he can keep the fire from smoldering.
One thing for sure, Martz must realize that the hitting in practice was not the only reason he was able to build a bonfire.