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  1. #1
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    Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    10/25/2004


    By the numbers, the Rams' defensive performance isn't pretty seven games into the season. They rank 27th in total defense, have failed to produce a takeaway in five of their seven contests and have yielded more points (165) than all but three NFL teams.

    But when asked to evaluate the work of new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, coach Mike Martz went on the offensive.

    "First of all, that's none of your business," Martz told a reporter at his Monday news conference. "What I think of my staff, my assessment of the staff, is certainly personal."

    And furthermore. ...

    "I think he's a terrific coach, and I think he's done a terrific job," Martz added. "I think he's as good a coach as there is in the National Football League. I think he's doing a terrific job over there."

    Martz and Marmie have a long history. Martz was an assistant coach under Marmie from 1988 to 1991 while Marmie was head coach at Arizona State University. After hiring him to replace Lovie Smith, Martz has been protective of his friend, limiting media access to Marmie once the regular season started.

    Big plays continue to haunt the Rams' defense. On Sunday at Pro Player Stadium, Miami scored on pass plays of 71 and 42 yards. In addition, a 48-yard completion on a trick play - a pass by wide receiver Marty Booker - carried to the Rams' 8 and led to the first Dolphins touchdown.

    Opponents have completed nine pass plays of 30 yards or longer against the Rams this season. That's the same number of 30-yard pass plays produced this season by the Rams' fifth-ranked passing offense.

    When asked if he had any thoughts on limiting those big pass plays, Martz responded: "Yeah, I have some thoughts that I shared with our staff today."

    So could he share those thoughts with reporters - and by extension - Rams fans?

    "No," Martz replied. "No, I don't think so. All these issues, as Chuck Knox used to say, will be addressed in due time. And that will be this (bye) week. Obviously, we've got some things we've got to fix."

    Knox, a former Los Angeles Rams head coach, is one of Martz's mentors.

    Among those "things" that need fixing is the secondary, which suffered through perhaps its worst outing of the season in the 31-14 loss to Miami. In his first game action since suffering a broken forearm on Aug. 23, cornerback Travis Fisher performed like somebody who hadn't played in two months. The Rams haven't gotten very good play from their safeties this season, and that was the case again in Miami.

    Injuries have kept the linebacker corps from operating at full strength since the start of the regular season. Although the defensive line played well against the Dolphins, it has struggled against the run much of the season. And the Rams have struggled to develop a second pass-rush threat to complement Leonard Little.

    As if those things weren't enough, covering tight end continues to be a problem for Rams linebackers and defensive backs.

    "I haven't looked at that," Martz said Monday. "I'll obviously talk to Larry about that."

    Miami tight end Randy McMichael caught four passes for 78 yards Sunday, including a 42-yard touchdown pass that put the Dolphins ahead to stay at 14-7 with 22 seconds remaining in the first half.

    For the year, opposing tight ends have caught 38 passes for 423 yards and three TDs. Over the course of a 16-game season, such production would translate into 87 catches for 967 yards and seven TDs - Pro Bowl numbers for the tight end position.

    In comparison, Rams tight ends Brandon Manumaleuna and Cam Cleeland have combined for eight catches for 54 yards and one TD this season.

    After the game, McMichael told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he received almost no resistance from Rams defenders at the line of scrimmage when it came to getting out on pass patterns.

    "I haven't gotten this many free releases since I was a rookie," said McMichael, who is in his third NFL season.

    But McMichael said he thought that could be the case after watching tape of San Francisco tight end Eric Johnson catch 10 passes for 113 yards against the Rams three weeks ago.

    "They pretty much didn't cover him either, and I saw how he exploited their defense," McMichael told the Sun-Sentinel.

    On Monday, Martz again defended his decision to accept a 10-yard holding penalty against Dolphins left tackle Damion McIntosh - the play that preceded McMichael's TD catch.

    "We were trying to take them out of field-goal range," Martz said. "And what we were trying to do is get them into a situation where a screen or a dump-off wouldn't put them up by three points. We felt like we could do that."


  2. #2
    elAcky Guest

    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    "First of all, that's none of your business," Martz told a reporter at his Monday news conference. "What I think of my staff, my assessment of the staff, is certainly personal."
    his loyalty is great to see but is bringing this team down... he needs to stop bringin in his mates and start beinging in qualified individuals with winning records

  3. #3
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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    If in MM's opinion Marmie is doing a good job, then:

    1) The talent on the D must be lousy - because Marmie is doing a great job with what he is working with...and they are still #27!
    2) I do not want to see a day when Marmie is having on off day...or
    3) Marmie has pictures of Martz with farm animals... I am not talking petting zoo...

    Jeeze....Martz should go, but only after Marmie....

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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    Quote Originally Posted by elAcky
    his loyalty is great to see but is bringing this team down... he needs to stop bringin in his mates and start beinging in qualified individuals with winning records
    A very fair point. You almost have to wonder though what the front office was thinking too, because I would imagine Martz wasn't the only person behind this hiring.
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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    Opposing TE production:
    AZ --- 6 rec. 39 yards 0 TD
    Atl --- 3 rec. 49 yards 0 TD
    NO --- 3 rec. 38 yards 0 TD
    SF ---10 rec. 113 yards 0 TD
    Sea --- 5 rec. 55 yards 1 TD
    TB --- 7 rec. 51 yards 1 TD
    Mia --- 4 rec. 78 yards 1 TD

    Total - 38 rec. 423 yards 3 TD
    ...and we're not even halfway through the season
    Mike, buddy, pal, tell me you're going to fix it, or even tell me it's not my business, but, under no circumstances, should you tell me...
    "I haven't looked at that," Martz said Monday. "I'll obviously talk to Larry about that."
    You've been ridiculed for putting unprepared teams on the field. This doesn't help your case.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  6. #6
    elAcky Guest

    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    Total - 38 rec. 423 yards 3 TD
    3 things immediately come to mind..
    1/ we should have some of this e.g. a TE threat will likely help Bulger and provide options to keep the defense honest (off Bruce and Holts back)
    2/ so much for Polley being good against the pass
    3/ Marmie is an idiot to let this happen week after week

  7. #7
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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    "First of all, that's none of your business," Martz told a reporter at his Monday news conference. "What I think of my staff, my assessment of the staff, is certainly personal."
    OK....fair enough. I can accept that answer.


    "I think he's a terrific coach, and I think he's done a terrific job," Martz added. "I think he's as good a coach as there is in the National Football League. I think he's doing a terrific job over there."
    Wait, didn't you just say that any assessment of your staff would be considered personal and is none of the reporter's business?
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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    I don't think it's entirely Marmie's fault. The defense was starting to slide last season and nothing was done to improve it in the offseason. The defense is unfortunately the product of bad drafting and bad pickups in free agency (albeit tough with the cap).

    Martz needs to right the ship though whether it's personnel or schemes.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    It seems to me that there are two possibilities:


    1. Martz is concerned with Marmie's performance, but does not wish to publicize it in the middle of the season. If that is what is going on, I can respect that. There is no value in Martz throwing Marmie to the wolves after seven games. The prospect of switching D coordinators mid-season is infeasible, to say the least. So, at least in public, it makes sense for Martz to support his assistants.

    2. Martz really believes what he is saying. If this is the case, I am concerned. The reason is, while I do think there are some holes, I don't think that there is a complete lack of talent on the defense. I think the Rams have some young, athletic defenders that need to be disciplined and placed in the right scheme to fit their skills. Marmie has failed to do this so far.

    I tend to think that Martz is aware of Marmie's failings, though perhaps does not perceive them to be as glaring as we do. My hope is that the bye week will provide an opportunity to heal some bumps and bruises and to get the defense pointed in the right direction.

    If that does not happen, the offense won't be able to carry this team. That much is certain.

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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    I just love how you guys crap on Marmie when you basically have a remedial understanding of football at best. There is nothing worse than an armchair QB who flaps his gums when things aren't going the right way. Instead of crapping on the guy..try explaining what he is doing wrong..on the field..in the locker room..and at practice. Guess what...YOU CAN"T!!!! you don't have the slightest idea what drills he runs...what his strategy might be and how comparable his talent might be vs the rest of the NFL. Who knows how much of an impact Wistroms exit or Fishers injury has had...What about A Williams age...The pro game is way to complex for any of us to analyze and come up with any sort of an intelligent evaluation. I don't mean to come across as a jerk, but this kind of criticism is ridiculous. You guys would have fired Bill Walsh when he went 4-12 with whiners in his first season LOL

  11. #11
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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    You rock Shades....thanks for that. And DJ is right, this defense slid backwards beginning last year. The Salary Cap coffer was bare coming into the season. I know I harp alot on the cap, but I don't really think some of you understand how the cap effects everything that happens to a ball club. Dead money is a killer. Dead money is the most detrimental aspect of any football team, ask the whiners. Pace, Holt, Bruce, Faulk and Warner take up so much cap space that the Rams can't go out and get the shut down corner that some of you thinks just grows on trees.

  12. #12
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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    Tx, this goes past the Salary Cap issue. Yes, we know the offense is sucking the life-blood and all, but last year with T. Fish, Butler, Aeneas, & Arch, we were 11th in pass yardage D and we managed 24 int. This year with the only replacement being Groce, we are 24th in pass yardage D and we have only 2 ints. I can't believe the entire difference in the dropoff is due to Groce instead of Fisher.

    Tx, you've seen this back 7 stand back and let plays develop in front of them all year. These same guys didn't do that last year. I suggest, with my "remedial understanding of football at best" that when entire units, made up of the same personnel, slip from one year to another, there is a design problem that will not be fixed by any cure that the salary cap would keep us from.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    I'm not so sure about that bison. This defense started getting torched late last year. We were good for about ten games, then our weaknesses started to show. After the Baltimore game, who could we stop running the ball? After the Bears game, who could we stop in the passing game? We were getting by on turnovers with this defense last year. That's it. And I'm a defensive guy. I could care less who plays QB.

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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    I hate when I agree this much with TX We don't have the same squad this year..A DB's best friend is a good 4 man pass rush. We consistently don't have that...Wistrom had a motor and no OT could ever take a play off vs. him. He made Little better and he made our DB's better. I coach HS football and based on last years team you would have said I was a mediocre coach at..this year I'm a good coach...Have I changed anything that I do..Nope...It's just the players I get determine the kind of season I can have. I think Marmie is in the same boat, he has had very little influence on the makeup of this squad. :ramlogo:

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    Re: Getting Defensive: Martz sticks up for Marmie

    I'm not so sure about that bison. This defense started getting torched late last year. We were good for about ten games, then our weaknesses started to show.
    For the 1st 11 games, we gave up 20.8 ppg. Over the last 6 (including playoffs), we gave up 21.3 ppg.
    After the Baltimore game, who could we stop running the ball?
    Chicago (95 yards), Cincinatti (99 yards), Detroit (112 yards).
    the Bears game, who could we stop in the passing game?
    Cleveland (147 yards), Cincinatti (187 yards), Arizona (192 yards)
    We were getting by on turnovers with this defense last year
    No question there. Last year, 2.8 TOs per game. This year, we have 6 in 7 games and 4 of those came from one game.
    And I'm a defensive guy.
    And, tx, this is the exact reason I don't understand why you're so quick to excuse Marmie on this season's performance. In the past two seasons, we have given up 270+ passing yards in 4 games, 3 of them were this year. Our best pass D performance this year was 157 yards against AZ. We bettered that 6 times last year. We're giving up 255 passing yards per game over our last 5 games. That is the worst 5 game stretch over the past 25 games.

    I could see if our D had blown up from one year to next, but these are the same people as last year. We have the personnel to be a good defense, this is not a salary cap issue. The secondary is reacting instead of creating and it is showing on the field as they watch the play develop in front of them. Our problem is internal, it's not something a $$$ FA is going to fix.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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