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  1. #1
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    Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Since reaching the top of the mountain in 1999, the St. Louis Rams have lost more free agents than any team in the NFL.


    TONIGHT ON KTRS FROM 6:30-9:00 P.M., STEVE SAVARD AND JIM THOMAS WILL JOIN ME TO BREAKDOWN THE RAMS SEASON AND PREVIEW THE SUPER BOWL. IN ADDITION, WE'LL REPLAY CUTS FROM OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH RAMS COACH MIKE MARTZ


    ON THE SIDELINES: Many of the Rams coaches have endured harsh criticism in recent years with head coach Mike Martz in the middle of the storm.

    Despite relative success across the board, the Rams are a favorite target for the vocal minority that craves the opportunity to condemn coaches, players and sports organizations.

    Allow me a few moments to review some very simple facts before delving into personnel numbers that highlight the changeover Rams coaches have carried through to reach a point where stability is awaiting them in 2005.

    Since 2000, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles are the only two teams in the NFL to play in more postseason games than the Rams.

    Since 2000, the Rams are the fifth winningest team in the NFL.

    The Rams have registered three double-digit winning seasons since 2000.

    The Rams have won seven or more games every year since 1999, Baltimore and Green Bay are the only other two organizations to accomplish the feat.

    The Rams have won seven or more games every year since 2000, the Ravens, Packers, Denver, New Orleans and Philadelphia are the other five organizations in the NFL that hasn't dipped below seven wins in the last five years.

    The harshest of critics reference the last three years for reasoning of the Rams demise.

    Consider the following: Since 2002, the Rams are the third winningest team in the NFC with a mark of 27-21. Overall, the Rams rank ninth in the NFL in wins over the last three seasons.

    That's right, over the last three seasons, the Rams rank in the top three in the NFC and the top 10 in the NFL in wins... and by the way earned two playoff bids, during a three-year window considered horrendous by many.

    Coach Mike Martz & Co., led the team to division titles in 2001 (playing into the Super Bowl) and 2003.

    On the flip side, the focus is the fact that the Rams didn't reach the promise land in 2000 and 2002 when they were favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

    Many now point to the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl for the third time in four years.

    I preface the following the question with the fact that I have the greatest admiration for the accomplishments of the Patriots. That noted, had the Pats lost Tom Brady for five games last season and 10 games this season... what might've been?

    Over a four period both teams (Rams 2000-2002; Pats 2001-2004) missed the playoffs once, with New England reaching The Super Bowl three times, the Rams played in the season finale twice.

    I broach the question for one simple reason. The two years the Rams failed to play into the Super Bowl, Kurt Warner was wrecked by injury crippling a team built on a high-octane offense.

    Consider in 2000, Warner was on his way to the greatest season in NFL history. Through the first six games of the season (the Rams were 6-0), Warner was on pace to throw for over 6,000 yards, 45 touchdowns with 53 completions of 25 or more yards. The yardage total would've been 25 percent more than what Peyton Manning threw for this season, Warner would've been just four TDs shy of Manning's record set this season, and for comparative purposes, Manning had 41 completions for 25 or more yards this season.

    Yes, Warner did return for the playoffs, however, the five games he missed after injury (in game seven vs. Kansas City) determined the Rams fate. Had Warner remained healthy, it's safe to assume the Rams would've won the NFC West and likely earned the number one seed in the NFC. Hence, instead of opening the playoffs on the road at New Orleans, the Rams would have enjoyed the comfortable confines of the dome in postseason play.

    Even with a defense that was injured and aged quickly (Ray Agnew, D'Marco Farr, Todd Lyght, Keith Lyle, Todd Collins, etc.), had Warner remained 100 percent healthy in 2000, the script for the season would've been completely altered.

    Warner returned healthy in 2001 operating Martz' offense... the Rams advanced to The Super Bowl.

    Do I even need to relive the 2002 seasons?

    Therefore, when Warner was at his best and running Martz' offense, the Rams reached the Super Bowl on two occasions. Before being injured in 2000, Warner was on pace for his greatest season and in 2002 the clock struck midnight on the fairy tale that was The Greatest Show on Turf.

    So, I ask again, with all due respect to the Pats... if the injury bug had bitten Tom Brady as deeply and severely would the Pats be playing in The Super Bowl for the third time in four years?



    HARDCORE NUMBERS: Having backtracked to show that in relative terms the Rams truly have been successful in comparison to others in the NFL since 2000... digest these personnel facts.

    Note that despite the talent drain, the Rams have overcome to reach the playoffs four of the last five years, win two division titles in the last four years and reach the Super Bowl in 2001.

    The Rams have lost 30 players via free agency since 2000 (the end of the 1999 season). That is the most in the NFL.

    The Rams have signed 10 free agents since 2000 (the end of the 1999 season).

    On the other side, New England has signed 26 free agents since the end of the 1999 season. The 11 teams that participated in the playoffs this season (in addition to the Rams) have signed an average of 17 free agents since the end of the 1999 season.

    The 11 teams that participated in the playoffs this season (in addition to the Rams) have lost an average of 16 free agents since 2000 (the end of the 1999 season).

    In summation, the Rams have lost 30 players via free agency since the end of the 1999 season, and have signed 10... totaling a minus 20 in free agent personnel.

    The 11 teams that participated in the playoffs this season (in addition to the Rams) signed, on average, 17 free agents since 2000 (the end of the 1999 season), and averaged 16 free agents losses for a ratio of plus one since the 2000 (end of the 1999 season).

    Since 2002 (end of the 2001 season), the Rams have lost 20 free agents (signing just five).

    The Patriots have lost 13 free agents during the same timeframe while signing 15 free agents.

    Since 2002 (end of the 2001 season), the Rams have lost 20 free agents. During the same timeframe, the other seven teams that participated in the NFL Divisional playoffs (in addition to the Rams) lost an average of 10 free agents (or 50 percent fewer).

    To amplify the personnel loss, since 2002 (end of the 2001 season), the Rams have signed five free agents. During the same timeframe, the seven teams that participated in the NFL Divisional playoffs (in addition to the Rams) signed an average of 12 free agents.

    In summation, since 2002 (end of the 2001 season), the Rams have lost 20 free agents and signed five free agents.

    During the same timeframe, since 2002 (end of the 2001 season), the other seven teams that participated in the NFL Divisional playoffs lost an average of 10 free agents while signing an average of 12 free agents.

    In wrapping the take on the Rams personnel drain over the last five years, consider since 2000 (the end of the 1999 season). The Rams have signed or retained 20 free agents... again, during the timeframe the Rams have signed or retained 20 free agents.

    There are just two teams in the NFL having signed or retained fewer free agents during the timeframe... just two.

    During the same timeframe (since the end of the 1999 season), 19 teams in the NFL have signed or retained 31 or more free agents (or 61 percent of other 31 teams). FYI, New England has signed or retained 40 free agents during the timeframe... twice the number of the Rams.

    Over the weekend, I will put faces to the numbers that will highlight two complete facelifts for the defense and an overhaul of the offense. The free-agent trail will offer a glimpse at how individual positions were simply decimated by injury and free agency.

    The point of offering these numbers directly ties to the coaching staff and how the team has at least maintained over a five-year period despite losses and injuries without hitting rock bottom... and in fact reaching postseason play in four of the five seasons.

    Most importantly, this offseason, key losses will be at a minimum, while circumstance could offer the team a chance to add one or two top-drawer free agents to bolster a roster that has the key components necessary to again advance in postseason play next season.



    MAKE SURE TO TUNE INTO KTRS WEEKNIGHTS FROM 6:30-9:00 P.M.


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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    I would like to see anyone trying to argue against these figures ........................ oops, I bet those Martz haters are digging into their playbooks right now LOL


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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Great read!!!!!

    steve :ramlogo:

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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    While this does add some perspective to what's happened with the Rams, and it is an extenuating circumstance.....it does not give the organization a free pass for ALL of their boneheaded personnel decisions.

    First, not all of our free-agent losses have been a case of us having no way of retaining the player in question. Wistrom ended up leaving for 100,000 more than he was making with the Rams.

    Fletcher, and I'll beat Tx's drum on this, the biggest loss the Rams have had recently, should have been retained. Although that would have been more difficult to accomplish than retaining Wistrom, I'm sure it could have been done. These were concious decisions made by an organization that foolishly thought these players could be replaced by other players currently on the roster or players brought in through free agency (Jamie Duncan).

    There are certain players you have to do whatever you can to retain, and there are people in the organization who get payed very well to identify those players, and to assess the talent level of the team, and to find ADAQUATE replacement for those that we can't afford to keep.

    Based on the information in Hadley's article last week, it seems this organization has it's collective head up it's ass when it comes to evaluating talent. Instead of working together for the good of the organization, the three headed monster that is Martz-Zygmunt-Armey are too busy with their own agendas.

    So, yes, we have lost more than our share of free-agents, but there's alot more going on here than that. I swear, some people will jump on any excuse to try to rationalize what's going on with the Rams, versus holding certain people in the organization responsible for performing the jobs they get paid to do.
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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    So, yes, we have lost more than our share of free-agents, but there's alot more going on here than that. I swear, some people will jump on any excuse to try to rationalize what's going on with the Rams, versus holding certain people in the organization responsible for performing the jobs they get paid to do.
    I don't think anyone's saying it's acceptable that we're not making plays to retain free agents, but rather trying to give credit where credit is due - yes, this front office has done a poor job in not ponying up to retain some talent, but we also need to recognize that despite the worst turnstile of free agents leaving, the Rams have remained competitve and in the playoff hunt.
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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    exactly.

    the fact is that some fans are taking pot shots at Martz for the lack of success. This is clearly not the case but somehow I just dont see them accepting that.

    Taking a shot at Martz for a bone head play or decision is another thing


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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    NOW....

    After you all have had a good chance to absorb all of Hadley's article do you think of him any differently?? There are a lot of posters that were pretty hard on the guy through the season (Avenger) and trusted little of what he said. So are your opinions different now after reading this very biased Rams article?

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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Quote Originally Posted by RamDez
    exactly.

    the fact is that some fans are taking pot shots at Martz for the lack of success. This is clearly not the case but somehow I just dont see them accepting that.

    Taking a shot at Martz for a bone head play or decision is another thing
    The naysayers won't. They still believe Martz is ultimately responsible for everything, including parking spaces.

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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Ram Wraith makes some good points, but does seem to be presenting a very one sided arguement. One of the things that is not mentioned is that Warner (1999) and Brady (2001) were BACKUPS at the start of the season. Trent Green was of course the Rams intended starter whilst Bledsoe was the original Patriots starter, and did actually play in the AFC Championship game.

    In other words, credit DV and BB for having two quality QBs on the roster. Maybe without that depth, neither side would have won their superbowl that year.

    Yes, Kurt got injured in 2000, but who selected and coached the backups?Besides which, the reason the Rams didn't get to the Superbowl that year had more to do with the rubbish Defense that played that season than Kurt's injury.

    The fact of the matter is that after every successful Rams season (my definition of those in recent times would be 1999, 2001 and 2003) Martz has been unable to sustain that performance the following season.

    The points that Ram Wraith has made are valid, but so are these. Martz is very much a mixed bag, and if we are to assess his career to date we should look at both the good and the bad points.

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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Actually, DV wanted to bring in Jeff Hostetler when Green went down. It was Martz who convinced him on Warner.

    Another thing, DV had one of the worst records as a HC of the Rams until Martz came along. Martz talked DV into keeping Faulk instead of trading him.
    Last edited by txramsfan; -01-29-2005 at 03:48 PM.

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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    You must admit, it is becoming interesting how these Hadley articles remain untouched (for the most part) by some of Martz's harshest critics.
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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    We all got addicted to five hundred point seasons. In reality the offense has to repetedly produce these staggering numbers to compensate for sub par defenses (a Martz trademark). I can still see the loop of Warner, over and over facing six and seven man fronts; Standing in the breech, launching spectacular spirals for fourty and fiftysomething points; And to ultimately to be brought down by a pinkey. The same fate awaits our new hero.

    Repetedly placing the quarterback in jepordy and daring (taunting ?) defenses without adaquite protectors is poor coaching. Arrogance without justification is stupid in my opinion.

    I was in heaven then. But I now pray for balance. Give me two great receivers one good tightend and three meanass linebackers.

    LINEBACKERS AND THE WILL TO USE THEM.
    Last edited by live4ramin; -01-29-2005 at 05:24 PM.

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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Things are all relative for the Rams. Let's take this past season. Yes, the Rams made the playoffs, but they are playing in the weakest Div and Conference. Teams that are 8-8 should not be in the playoffs. (Yet, as a fan it sure beats not making the playoffs - I have to admit.)

    Making the playoffs was still a hollow victory this year. Can we all admit that? They got thier jocks handed to them by the Dirty Birds.

    Martzie still lacks game management and player motivation skills. The team played without any emotion for much of 2004 and lost to teams that they should have beaten (Dolfins and Cardinals). This may give some insight into Martzies play selection (and run/pass balance) and game preparation.

    Heck, Martzie even admits that he gets two wrapped up in the play to play action of games and loses sight of the overall game (big picture).

    Martzie has no respect for four key phases of the game:
    1) Ball security, because he still thinks the O can score 35+ points per game,
    2) Clock/Game management (time out usage),
    3) Player motivation (Says the wrong things at the right times...), and
    4) Special teams play.

    I would take average performance in two of the four areas above. It would be difficult to measure, but if Martzie were average in half the areas (pick any two), might the team have done better than it has since 2000? In the GSOT days, the O overwhelmed other team and lapses in any of the four areas mentioned above could be (and often were) overcome. That does not elininate the weaknesses, in fact these weaknesses are amplified in the absense of the offense.

    Furthermore, these deficient areas (along with the defensive line play) have largely remained weak areas consistently since 2000. Perhaps his ego, will not allow hom to see his own weaknesses. In fact, one could argue that Martzie was out coached by Bill Belichick(sp?)in the SB. The Pats dared Martz to throw the ball and he did....Say what you will, buy that was "The One" that got away and Martzie was the man on the hook for may key decisions.

    Yes, the Rams have lost a lot of talented FA (and some we were even happy to see leave). Yes, the Rams have a very young team defensively. Yes, the Rams have had decent success, but that success seems to have been muted by many of Martzie's shortcomings.
    Last edited by AugustaRamFan; -01-29-2005 at 10:41 PM.

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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Injuries and free agency are obviously huge factors in a teams success, and this article illustrates that the Rams have been hit as hard as any team out there, if not harder.

    I'm sure the Front Office is aware of all the circumstances that have transpired, and the fact that the Rams are still one of the better teams in the NFL is why Martz is still the coach, and deservedly so.

    I'm hoping that somehow Martz will take a few lessons from Billicheck's success though, as there could be a little more structure and discipline on this team. No excuse for such poor tackling, and way out of control turnover ratios.

  15. #15
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    Re: Hadley: RAMS MAINTAIN WITHOUT RETAINING

    Brady isn't a pimple on Warners ass when it comes to talent and I decline to agree that the same effect would be the case had Brady been injured. Brady is not throwing the ball down the field to win football games. Brady is simply doing the same dink and dunk funk that has vaulted to many quarterbacks into legends where only a few belong. Fouts, Warner, Unitas, Otto Graham. Not Montana, Young and Brady. Montana rode the rules changes aboard the spaceship Walsh and Young rode his illegally bought team (compliments of Debartolo, policy, Steinberg, Morad to name a few) along with continued dink and dunk football to acquire his overrating. Brady is now riding that same boring offensive scheme into the realms of overrated. Any quarterback with a little bit of accuracy and the ability to decide between 3 dink passes each play can achieve the success these characters have yet this article wants us to believe that Brady's absence from the team would be catastrophic to the Patriots. You saw what happened this year when the ***** tried to play without their favorite mistress (Yes the West coast Offense). Turnovers were way up because they found out that to run a legitimate offense you have to possess talent. So absent the deodorant of the west coast offense you have the 2 - 14ers.

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