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  1. #16
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    here is a article from the St Louis Post dispatch.

    The writer knows football, read on


    By Bernie Miklasz
    Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist
    09/05/2001 12:57 PM




    Mike Martz's rookie crash course is over. He's a veteran NFL head coach now, and the Rams will be better because of him.

    Martz's head got spun around more than a few times last season, when he took over the Rams in the wake of Dick Vermeil's unexpected retirement.

    Martz believed that he'd have a year or two to watch and study and learn to prepare for the job of succeeding Vermeil, but that all changed two days after the Rams won Super Bowl 34.

    Martz wasn't ready for the job in that he'd never been a head coach before. He inherited a championship team. But he also inherited some problems that were about to explode due to events largely beyond his control. Contract controversies. Ego eruptions. Dissension. And slower, older legs couldn't prevent the defense from collapsing.

    The 471 regular-season points allowed by the Rams were the most surrendered by a team that made the playoffs. The Rams were the 14th team since 1970 to be ravaged for more than 450 points; the previous 13 averaged only 2.7 wins.

    In retrospect, it's surprising that the Rams got into the playoffs at all. They relied on the offense to get there, but their total of 540 points was achieved despite injuries to the 1999 league MVP, quarterback Kurt Warner, and the 2000 MVP, running back Marshall Faulk.

    Martz's offense saved a spot in the playoffs but could not save the season. And the way Martz responded told us a lot about him.

    Growing up in San Diego, Martz idolized Don Coryell. Coryell was the passing-game genius who coached college football at San Diego State and then in the NFL with the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers.

    Coryell never won an NFL championship because he was incapable, or unwilling, to build a respectable defense to compliment his soaring offense.

    Martz would follow Coryell's flight pattern, but not all the way. He would not go down in the manner of Air Coryell. Martz made his defense a priority after the 2000 season. There's no need to recap all of Martz's moves here; Rams fans know that the team is heading into the season with new defensive coaches and at least eight new defensive starters.

    Martz made his name by designing a Rams offense that is perhaps the best in NFL history. If the Rams score 370 points this season, they will surpass the 1993-95 San Francisco *****, who scored the most points over a three- year period in NFL history.

    But did Martz have the necessary vision to see an entire team? The answer, it appears, is yes.

    One of the silliest criticisms of Martz was in response to his natural devotion to offense. As if this was something radical and unprecedented, to have a boss who pays more attention to one side of the ball.

    Here's a quote from a defensive coordinator: "I had complete authority of the defense. (The head coach) would come in and discuss football with the defense, but not very often and seldom when we didn't ask him to."

    The speaker was Phil Bengston, who ran the Green Bay defense for the legendary Vince Lombardi. Do you think Bill Walsh spent time in defensive meetings in San Francisco? Ditto Mike Shanahan in Denver and Joe Gibbs in Washington.

    Offensive-minded coaches have won plenty of championships. It's OK for a head coach to love offense -- just as long as he doesn't neglect other areas that require his attention and touch.

    And Martz took a major step during the offseason by making the defense his No. 1 project. Mission accomplished, Martz turned the defense over to Lovie Smith, the impressive new coordinator. Smith can be to Martz what Bengston was to Lombardi, or George Seifert was to Walsh: a defensive conscience.

    Because of Martz's leadership, the Rams are balanced now.

    "My responsibility is the entire organization," Martz said. "The entire staff. All of the players. Both sides of the ball. And we don't have a different standard. We play and we work under the same standard. The goals and the aspirations of the coaches and the players are the same."

    Another mistake made by Martz critics is assuming that he isn't tough enough. The polished passing game distorts Martz's image. He's viewed as a finesse coach . . . a nerdy guy with a flat personality who always has his nose buried in a playbook.

    In reality, Martz is a fiery, demanding coach. A wishy-washy coach doesn't blow up an entire defense in one offseason. A weak coach doesn't confront star players (Kevin Carter and Todd Lyght) by benching them, as Martz did last year. A laid- back coach doesn't lure a famed defensive coach (Bud Carson) out of retirement seven games into the 2000 season.

    More recently, Martz wasn't worried about the repercussions of cutting a disappointing fourth-round draft choice, wide receiver Milton Wynn. Martz waived Wynn, even though it made him look bad for wasting the draft pick. And with less than a week remaining before the season-opener, Martz made a bold and risky decision to trade No. 2 quarterback Joe Germaine and import a new backup, Jamie Martin.

    Martz's treatment of Germaine was harsh. But Martz's goal is winning. And if a player can't keep up, Martz won't wait for long. He'll move on and turn to someone else.

    "That's what I love about this team," said cornerback Aeneas Williams, who was acquired from Arizona. "There's a standard of excellence here."

    Martz seems to enjoy being a maverick and doing things differently. His irreverent approach is personified by his offense; Martz sees no reason to observe old-school customs by trying to run the ball when his team is more successful throwing it.

    "If you're wrong about something, you'll be called a fool," Martz said. "I've been a fool most of my life. And I don't really give a damn. I've failed at so many things, criticism doesn't bother me. I'm just worried about getting it right."

    Martz also has a lively sense of humor. He's quick to deliver a good-natured insult and enjoys it when you jab back at him. And his personality bubbles over more than you'd imagine. Post-Dispatch reporters who work late at Rams Park frequently receive late-night visits from Martz in the media work room.

    Sometimes Martz wants to vent and the informal chats seem to serve as therapy for him. Other times, he just wants to break the routine by engaging in a few laughs. And on other occasions, Martz will be excited by a new play or pass- protection scheme and is eager to share (off the record) the news of his latest discovery. At those moments, Martz is like a big kid who wants to show off his science project.

    It's unusual. I don't think I've ever covered anyone quite like Martz. It's been a fascinating experience to watch him grow into the job. Even with some shaky play-calling and some slips on rough spots, Martz was a pretty good head coach last season. This season, he's poised to become one of the best in the NFL.



  2. #17
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    Smile Smart S-a-i-n-t...

    Hey Saint Nick -- thanks for your first post here! 'Was nice to read an intelligent, respectable post from a N.O. S-a-i-n-t-s fan. :cool:

    Really do appreciate your input on our/your coaches, even as a ClanRam guest. I hope it's not the last time we read yor comments. It became kind of silly - nasty - boring yesterday with all the slamming and smacking going on between us and some of you (I'm just glad RamDez tackled it after a few wild plays).

    If Ram fans go bashing into other teams forums, get'em outta there! Throw them out of the game!! Like you said, one would be the guest; it doesn't matter that we're trying to have some fun with cheap talk and all that [N.O.] jazz; it is still an issue of low class to rapport that way. It's different when teams handle their own dirty laundry within their own sites /forums. It's all in the family.

    Your kind of remark is a smart one, whether soft or severe it's good, you're sharing opinions, not trying to get a kick out of stupid or annoying arguments -- that's "illegal procedure."

    Saaaluute!

  3. #18
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    Re: Smart S-a-i-n-t...

    Originally posted by Jorge Valdivia
    Hey Saint Nick -- thanks for your first post here! 'Was nice to read an intelligent, respectable post from a N.O. S-a-i-n-t-s fan. :cool:
    Thanks Jorge! (can't type now...head swelling...obstructing the keyboard )

    In general, most Saints' fans are pretty cool. But, just like anywhere, there will be a few knuckleheads.

    I'm gonna miss this rivalry. The NFC West for so long it was the '9ers and no one else. There were a few years in the early 90s in which the Saints made things interesting and the then L.A. Rams were competitive. But there wasn't a passion-filled rivalry comperable to Cowboys and Redskins or Raiders and Chiefs...until last season.

    Having an 'arch-enemy' makes things fun. And they have to be quality teams! Rivalries with two bad football teams just don't work (Bengals and Browns come to mind). So, the Saints start winning and actually steal the division title from the Rams and look like a team that will be competitive for a long time.

    Then the NFL screws everything up by assigning us different divisions. ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!

    So I'm looking forward to a great year of football. I just wish this wasn't the end of what could've been an entire of series of NFL Films documentaries.

  4. #19
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    LAY OFF

    Martz is doing a fine job . Wait till he's a seasoned head coach. One year at the helm and you people think he should already have everything figured out? This is week 1 people, stop whining and just enjoy what we have instore for us. Cause all of us die hards who truly believe know, we are going back this year.

  5. #20
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    The Martz method...

    That's right 9er8er (good name - bad food - need strong stomach ). And welcome to ClanRam, g-r-e-a-t place to discuss Rams! Congrats on your first post.

    Coach Martz is an excellent strategist, experienced as an O coordinator and a strong, tough leader. With the very effective rebuilding of the D that he produced this year, it's clear the possibilities are renewed for the Rams to be way up there as SB take all.

    It's not enough to "inherit" a SB XXXIV winning team, Warner/Bruce/Faulk,Holt/etcX3. After all, he was the coordinator that blew the NFL away as one of the best teams ever. The challenge is to remain succesful, and he's done that. Only THIS year the Rams will be more so...

    YEAAAHH!... GO RAMS!!!

  6. #21
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    I admit I got caught up in the early smacktalk and I hope I didnt offend anyone.I tend to be very defensive when it comes to the Rams,but I was trying to keep my smacktalk comical and tongue in cheek.Having said that,I am sure most of our thoughts are not on football today.Our nation has suffered a great tragedy today and my prayers go out to the familys of the victims.I know if our country and the free world stays united we can overcome this senseless act.
    Last edited by Aries51; -09-11-2001 at 08:45 PM.
    ST.LOUIS RAMS:THE MOST FRUSTRATING TEAM IN THE NFL!!!

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