Letters to Gordo: Rams Nation in revolt
BY JEFF GORDON
STLtoday.com Sports Columnist
Things were pretty bleak in Rams Nation this week. If the Rams manage to lose at Arizona, I shudder to think of the electronic mail that will roll into this corner of cyberspace.
Because as you can see, Rams fans are NOT happy:
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“Outcoached by a rookie and outplayed by average players . . . The offensive line was exposed (Marc Bulger will be lucky to last three games) and Rex Tucker is in WAY over his head. The defense was decent but Jimmy Kennedy is an overpaid cheerleader. Pass, Pass, Pass. Mike Martz is in midseason form . . . what a joke! Somebody has to reel this jerk in. Needed a field goal to tie, pass to the middle of the field?”
GORDO: The Tucker issue has been resolved, for now, by his calf injury. With his leg in a boot, Blaine Saipaia takes another crack at the right tackle job, ahead of Matt Willig. No Alex Barron, at least not yet . . .
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“The ominous foreshadowing of the misery of the upcoming season took all of one second. With 14:59 to go in the first quarter, of the first game, of the 2005 season, the Rams had already committed a horrendous special teams blunder, and Martz had already burned a timeout on a ridiculous, useless challenge. The special teams mistakes were, as usual, to last throughout the game; however, to change up the pace, Martz replaced his inept decision making on challenges with inept clock management at the end of the game.
"You just have to love being down by multiple scores late in the fourth quarter and watching run after run get called, with the entire team walking back to the huddle after the play. As usual, there were a few solid individual performances (Bulger, Torry Holt), but with Martz at the helm, this team is destined to go nowhere -- again.”
Keith Kuhlmann, Ladera Ranch, Calif.
GORDO: The Rams have gone somewhere under Martz, to multiple postseason berths. And I believe they are capable of repeating that feat again. But, yes, the clock management continues to make one scratch his head.
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“I coach pony football and can manage the clock better than him.”
GORDO: Keep that resume updated.
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"One would think that with the debacle of special teams play last year, Martz would have learned something and FIXED THE PROBLEM! He, and the general manager also knew they had problems with the offensive line, or lack of, in the offseason. Once again, failure. The five up front now can't pass block, seven sacks, and numerous hurries are proof of that. I read one person's comment that said Steven Jackson looked hesitant. Maybe that's because there weren't ANY HOLES TO RUN THROUGH! How long have these clowns been playing football? What, they've never seen a 3-4 before?
“And what was Moronic Martz doing in the fourth quarter going for two points? Take your shoes off, Mike. Count your stinkin' toes. A TD and a field goal, YOU WIN! By going for two and failing (a running play Mike -- those idiots up front hadn't been able to open a hole all day for a rabbit to squeeze through let alone Steven Jackson), the best you could do was tie. Instead of Bulger throwing behind a receiver, you could have kicked a field goal from that spot AND WON!
“I've said it before and I'll say it again, MARTZ IS NOT A HEAD COACH! How many times does he have to prove it before someone in the front office finally gets a clue!”
Tim M. Jones
GORDO: Yeah, the two-point run call was baffling. The offensive line had spent most of the day backing up in pass protection. It’s not like they had downhill momentum going.
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“I'm a Rams fan from North Dakota. Here in the land of the Vikings and Packers, I'm constantly asked ‘Why am I a Rams fan?’ After watching the embarrassing loss to the ***** yesterday, I'm beginning to wonder that myself. Actually, I love the Rams. It's Mike Martz that's getting harder and harder to defend. Who calls a timeout to save 2 seconds? Two seconds?
“Mike Martz is a great offensive mind, no doubt. He'll exploit weaknesses and attack a defense. But he's not a head coach. He's just not. I hope he proves me wrong this year, but I'm fairly confident that he won't. Still, I'll be in front of my TV every weekend, cheering the Rams on, feeling a surge of confidence and ‘maybe Martz isn't so bad’ when then win.
"But it'll be back to the same sickening feeling later, because he's bound to make some boneheaded play call or time out decision the next week. Please, Mike, don't waste this talented team this year. We have the talent to be Super Bowl champions, no matter what some of the national ‘experts’ say. Just do your part and let the players do their part.”
GORDO: The timeout was OK, because it, combined with the two-minute warning, got the Rams the ball back with plenty of time to score. Had Martz not taken a T.O. there, the Niners could have run two plays after the two-minute warning before punting and the Rams would have only stopped the clock once. As for the team’s talent, I agree that the Rams have enough to get to the playoffs if they stay healthy and if they don’t squander games where they should bank wins.
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“I have never complained about Mike Martz. However, being a Rams fan of 35 years and yes, as much for St Louis as Los Angeles, I can't NOT complain. Not only were the Rams fairly complacent, which always can be linked to the coach, but three HUGE things:
“-- Not only did our kick returner make a bonehead play on grabbing a kick and stepping on the one yard line, but we used a challenge. I mean, is our team blind? That was absolutely the worst use of a challenge I ever saw. (Steve Spurrier tried some stupid challenges. but the refs always told him he couldn't.) And I would've challenged that ‘catch’ the 49er lost as he hit the ground later in the game. That had a better chance of being overturned than the kickoff.
“-- Giving up on the run. How many times have we heard it? Fifty-six passes? While Jackson looked tentative, it was mostly in the second half when they were down by 19 points and it looked like he was trying to hit a big run rather than plowing into smaller holes. The ***** had so many people in coverage and why not? We weren't going to run the ball.
“-- Passing across the middle with no timeouts and only needing five to 10 yards for a Wilkins kick? You might as well run the ball if you were going to throw it across the middle? Is this the same ‘coach’ (I use the term lightly) that didn't want to throw the ball into the end zone at the end of a playoff game from the 10 yard line, with one timeout? He is too erratic in his thought process.
“Face it Gordo, we may be competitive and make some runs under Martz, but because he doesn't appear to fully grasp the flow of the game, during the game, we will never win it all under Martz and since we've tasted the champagne, just making the playoffs doesn't feed the bulldog anymore. Just ask Chuck Knox.”
Steve Teets, Gilbert S.C.
GORDO: I had no problem with that last pass because the Rams execute it all the time. And it was there. Bulger just missed his throw. A catch there and the team is in easy field goal range, with a chance to take a crack or two at the end zone after stopping the clock. The other points I can’t argue with.
Re: Letters to Gordo: Rams Nation in revolt
How can the O-Line woes and the Spec Teams issues last so long? How many teams have the same issues kill them for 3 or 4 years straight?
It's frustrating because we've all seen it before. We've even seen an opener just like this year's SF debacle. 2 years ago against the NY Giants. 6 sacks, Rams looked unprepared and incompetent in their blocking attempts.