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Letters to Gordo: Martz's stock soars with fans
BY JEFF GORDON
Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
Online Columnist Jeff Gordon
The Rams beat the New York Jets in overtime to slip into the playoffs. Then they rallied to beat the Seahawks in Seattle in another thrilling game.
Suddenly, the stock of head coach Mike Martz is trading higher among readers of STLtoday.com. These electronic missives to the “Letters to Gordo” bin are a sampling of which way the wind is blowing:
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“My attitude toward Mike Martz changed completely a few weeks ago. Instead of wanting him to leave, I want him to remain the head coach of the Rams. However, I still hope he has a shake-down meeting during the offseason with John Shaw and all of his non-coaching duties taken away. No one can deny Martz knows football, especially offense. If he is allowed to focus on nothing but coaching the Rams, some of these little in-game problems that seem to crop up repeatedly during the regular season may be eliminated.
“If Bill Belichick were to express a desire to take over the Rams, then make him head coach and ask Martz to remain as the offensive coordinator. Other than Belichick, the Rams already have the best NFL mind as head coach. One thing's for sure: I certainly wouldn't want to play against his offense, especially in a big game such as we witnessed last Saturday.”
-- David Cooke, Blytheville, Arkansas
GORDO: Actually, Martz’s imput into the recent drafts is looking a whole lot better as the young players rally this season. In the last three weeks, a whole lot of draft picks have started looking a whole lot better.
Some of the mistakes (Eric Crouch!) can’t be undone, but Martz’s across-the-board performance as head coach holds up very well compared to his peers.
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“As a Californian and Ram fan since 1972 (as a wee bitty boy) I have to say these are the most exciting years of Ram football I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I've been a mad Kurt Warner fan but always seen the pure talent of Marc Bulger as well.
"What I can’t believe is that St. Louis fans can give Martz such a hard time. In 30 years, I've never experienced a five- to six-year span of excitement, pride and success. Martz may be unconventional, unapologetic and (fill in the blank here), but he brings Rams fans an eternal optimism that the team can win on any given Sunday. It's time for Ram fans to shut up and be appreciative! Go Rams, Go Mike!”
-- Greg Blume, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
GORDO: By regenerating his offense with Bulger, Kevin Curtis, Steven Jackson and Shaun McDonald, Martz is reviving the “Greatest Show on Turf.” His ability to retool the offense after losing talent to age and free agency has been very impressive.
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“Just recovering my voice from being at the Rams game. They’re screaming for Holmgren's head in Seattle on their way out of the stadium. Why? They’re so jealous of the Rams downfield passing its funny. Here we (the Rams fans) are begging for more running like Seattle, and on the other side, they want more aggressive play calling. Any guess what's best for us now?
“Nobody that watched the game on TV saw the two plays early in the game where Cam Cleeland was streaking down the middle of the field completely uncovered. He left the field waving his arms and pleading at Martz. You could see his TD pass coming. Kudos to the coaching staff for identifying that and taking advantage of it.
“I employed my best reverse psychology on Martz being on the 50-yard line right behind the Rams bench. I (nicely) yelled at him to "RUN THE BALL!" and, of course, he did the opposite. So, I figure if we yell at Martz to pass more next year, we'll see a ton of Jackson.”
-- Dave Rostowsky, Seattle
GORDO: Rams Nation thanks you for helping Martz coach. Yes, the man does like to do the opposite of what people want. That’s what drives defensive coordinators on the other side so crazy,
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“The people who refuse to see a positive turnaround the last three weeks, are they really fans of the team? The hatred for Martz is unreal. Why? Because he does it differently than everyone else. Marty Schottenheimer has lost in the playoffs routinely, by playing not to lose. Does anyone remember the football Cardinals? Martz has been to the playoffs four out of five years and he is a main reason they won the SUPER BOWL. I'll take Martz.
-- Neil Osborne
GORDO: Great point about Marty. He is a slave to convention and that predictability has kept him from enjoying postseason success.
We love Martz when his weird stuff works, so maybe we should all be more patient when his unconventional approach fails him.
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“I still think because of the past three years, upper management should fire Martz. Obviously, he's not the offensive genius we thought he was when he became head coach. The team basically quit on him during the regular season. He walks around with this big chip on his shoulder, but is yellow-bellied when it comes to the playoffs and gambling. Why he went away from what he did under Vermeil is the biggest question and gaffe of this century!
“. . . The upper management needs to put Martz in his place and let him know he is not the GM and owner. Martz is still ruining this team, regardless of our playoff win. He should've been fired four years ago! If I was Kyle Turley, I would kick his behind, too!”
-- Richard McCormick
GORDO: Martz has his offense back on the fast track, so you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that Mad Mike will be around a while.
What’s happened in the last three weeks is propelling the franchise back toward Super Bowl contention -– like it or not.
Re: Letters to Gordo: Martz's stock soars with fans
With my new found enlightenment, put me in line with one of those that wants Martz to stay. I remember sometimes during the 80's, by week eight, when were out of it, just checking the results on Mondays as I knew we were going to do the expected and probably not win by doing it. You can't say that for Martz. Totally unpredictable. He is still Rainman to me, but he does make it exciting.This space for rent...
-01-15-2005 #3Rudy85 Guest
Re: Letters to Gordo: Martz's stock soars with fansOriginally Posted by RamWraith
Kick a friggin' FG at the Minnesota half yard line, with Lawrence McCutcheon,Cullen Bryant and John Cappeletti in your backfield rotation?
Of course, as was common during the Knox administration... The football gods made the horns pay dearly for that lack of faith
Which is EXACTLY what Martz did last year at home against Carolina.
Hopefully Martz has learned from letting the final 40 seconds of that game tick off, 3 points down, at home, while at the Carolina 15 yard line and sitting on a time out against a tired and reeling Panther defense.
Yes, the Rams have been invited to the dance 4 out of the last 5 years, but one never knows if and or when that limo will pull up in front of your house again. When it's win or go home time, and you have a chance to WIN the game without giving the ball back to the opponent and send them home for the season, you take a shot. If you're unsure of taking that shot, then you don't deserve playing for the ultimate prize.
Time comes, you have to sack up, and give your players a chance to execute and become stuff of legend, not we played for the tie afterthoughts.