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    Letters to Gordo: Marmie must go

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    10/19/2005

    Rams fans don’t have Mike Martz to kick around anymore. But that doesn’t make them feel much better about Monday night’s loss at Indianapolis. The Rams looked like a playoff team for about one quarter, then fell apart against the superior Colts.

    What is Rams Nation thinking this week? Here is another sampling of electronic mail to this corner of cyberspace:


    * * *

    “I am and will remain an Air Martz fan, but for now it is a sentimental journey and I am finally willing to throw in the towel on freak show passing. This is not the Rams team I and many fans expected this year, but perhaps it can be something fun we did not expect. With Torry Holt hurt, Isaac Bruce out and Marc Bulger dinged and yes ‘Fragile,’ I think you are right -- we must hand the reins to Action Jackson and the hogs up front.

    “One last thing, I hope they have a quick leash on Jamie Martin on Sunday, he kind of scares me. Good guy and he tries hard, but I think he is done and the team knows it. Ryan Fitzpatrick has some real moxie to him and I think he would at least bring enthusiasm to the position.”

    Doug Lucina


    GORDO: The Rams ran the ball effectively in Indy, which is something to build on. I’d be careful with Martin if I were calling the plays, but I think he can do a solid job distributing the ball to all the targets. Fitzpatrick does bring a spark to the job, but I’d hate to see the Rams feed him too much too soon.


    * * *

    “How much longer must Rams Nation suffer under the incompetency of Larry Marmie? What will it take for Rams leadership to put their foot down and demand Martz fire this perennial loser? Watching them struggle with run defense last year, I thought, it couldn't possibly get worse . . . guess what? It's worse. Not only is the run defense miserable, the secondary is in shambles as well. Sure, they've had a few injuries, but what team hasn't? Why is it other pro football franchises suffer injuries, but can at least still be competitive? This Rams defense is an embarrassment, and it starts and ends with Marmie. Get rid of him and put someone in there that has a clue.”

    Jeff Accardi, Portland, Ore.


    GORDO: It doesn’t start and end with Marmie, since the players hold some accountability too, along with everybody else involved in the annual drafts. But if the Rams don’t improve dramatically on defense during their last 10 games, there is no chance Larry could survive as defensive coordinator. Even if Martz does return after recovering from his illness, I would expect major changes in the football operation.


    * * *

    “I have been a Rams fan since before the first Super Bowl. I agonized over their loss to the Steelers in ‘79 and had just about given up on them during the '90s but stayed the course and celebrated their Super Bowls. I watched Monday night as they looked like the Rams of the past until the interception. Regardless of losing Bulger, they still led at half. It was not totally Martin's fault. The entire team let down and the defense stayed in the locker room. There has been a lack of discipline, intensity and desire for too many years. With the salary cap, the talent level in pro football is fairly even across most teams. The difference comes down to coaching and leadership.

    “The Rams' defense has had a definite lack of both in recent years. So much attention was focused on the defense; new talent brought in, a new attitude theoretically installed. Result? The defense is worse than last year. The offense scored as many points against the Colts as they had given up in their first five games. Still got stomped. Where was the anger? Where was the sideline boosting of the defensive leadership? Is there any? Was anyone in anyone's face as the game slipped away?

    “The defense of the Rams under Marmie can be encapsulated in one play. The James fumble that was ruled ‘joint possession’ and returned to the Colts. Almost . . . the Rams defense almost makes plays, almost makes a tackle, almost makes a stop. The sense of desperation in the offense second half came from the realization the defense would not stop them again.

    “Marmie is a failed experiment. Joe Vitt is acting head coach. He has to have the courage to release Marmie. No one could be worse than what they have. The offense is scoring well, scoring 114 (28.5 avg.) points in the last four games. The defense has given up 153 (38.25). The numbers speak for themselves. Either make the change or prepare for next year.”

    Doug Morris, Nashville


    GORDO: Changing coordinators during the season is not unprecedented, but it isn’t easy. I still believe the position coaches and veteran players can fire up the team, if they are so inclined. You’re right, this unit isn’t flying around, playing with passion -– the things it did under Lovie Smith but the things it clearly doesn’t do under Marmie.


    * * *

    “Imagine you are a member of the offense and your quarterback has just been intentionally injured by your opponent -- if you do nothing, you have just illustrated what a team with no spirit, guts or pride looks like. Where were Mark Bulger's protectors? Bulger's health should be considered no differently by his teammates than Joe Namath’s or Dan Marino's health were by their teams. At the very least somebody on defense should have drilled Peyton Manning, but that never happened either. This team is missing intensity, anger and now their most important offensive player.”

    Douglas Smith, Erie, Pa.


    GORDO: Bulger put his own neck on the line when he tried to play safety after throwing that interception. Had he surrendered on that play and bailed out, a Colts block would have drawn a personal foul penalty. As far as retaliation, I’m sure the Rams wanted to pound Manning -– but that is easier said than done against a very good Indy team.


    * * *

    “Maybe Larry Marmie should take a sick leave. His defense sure looks sick. How about trying to stop somebody! I don't mind a finesse offense, but I really hate a finesse defense. I don't know how many times I saw the Rams defensive ends just take themselves out of plays by just rushing upfield without any regard to reading the play. I've seen this the past two years. Either he doesn't watch film or can't coach his players. Either way, he has been given enough time to turn this soft defense around. Time for him to go while there is still a chance to make the playoffs.”

    Russ Yukawa


    GORDO: I read the same point before the game in the ESPN.com scouting report on the game, so the whole world knows it. Including Edgerrin James, obviously. But again, changing coordinators in midseason is difficult.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Letters to Gordo: Marmie must go

    Doug Morris, Nashville
    sidenote - I used to go to church with this guy....it's a small world.
    "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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