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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist

    Online Columnist Jeff Gordon

    It wouldn't be Week 1 of the NFL season if folks weren't already complaining about Rams coach Mike Martz. Of course, we stirred it up by highlighting the fact that Martz admitted losing track of the score in the last minute of that preseason game at Oakland – but we were just doing our job.

    Anyway, here is a sampling of the electronic mail we received long before the Rams played any real games this season:

    * * *

    "Martz is not a good head coach. He is a great coordinator. He has a good football mind, but he lacks the 'it.' His teams lack an identity. He is terrible at game management. Even in their last Super Bowl year, they used timeouts wastefully. Martz will be let go after this year.

    -- Kurt Asmussen

    GORDO: I believe this season will define Martz as a head coach. If he succeeds against THIS schedule with all the talent gaps on his roster, then he will command the respect of his peers and (we hope) all the citizens of Rams Nation. We'll know much more about him by Christmas.

    * * *

    "I love the guy. Can you remember when we didn't have Mike and the dumb, unimaginative play calling we used to have both in Anaheim and when they first moved to St. Louis? Go Mike, you're the best."

    -- Roger Nustad

    GORDO: Hey, Rich Brooks did try some stunts during his ill-fated regime. Alas, Chris Miller got hurt and the long, terrible tailspin began. But yes, life was bleak before Martz organized The Greatest Show on Turf."

    * * *

    "Did I misread your column? I thought it said you think Mike Martz is good. What is he good at? Messing up? I have been a St. Louis fan my entire life, which even goes back to the football Cardinals in St. Louis. I became a Rams fan when they came in. I have always said I would remain a Rams fan as long as they stayed in St. Louis. Well, it is getting harder every day when Mike Martz and his usual mess-ups are leading the way. Most people have known for a long time Martz didn't know the score -- so him admitting it after the Raider loss was just maybe what the ownership needed to FINALLY wake up, smell the coffee, and dump him.

    "He has shown his lack of football intelligence ever since he became the head coach of the Rams. Maybe I can root for Kurt and the New York Giants. He never gave Warner the time to prove he was ready for action and always defends Marc Bulger when he throws an interception or just misses the open man, etc. Maybe he can find a good place to go and take Bulger with him. Neither have impressed me. Sorry Gordo, but Martz needs to go back to offensive coordinator and we need to find someone who at least knows the score when they are the head coach of our beloved Rams!"

    -- "Fat Cat" Mack

    GORDO: Sounds like somebody didn't want to give up that seat on the Kurt Warner bandwagon . . .

    * * *

    "I recommend Mike Martz hire two no-nothing reporters to keep score for him. I wonder if they could do that correctly?"

    -- Bill Ragan, Lusby Md.

    GORDO: Hmmmm . . . this sounds like a joke: "How many no-nothing reporters does it take to keep score of a football game?"

    * * *

    "Martz may be an excellent offensive coordinator; he uses poor judgment as a coach.

    "1. He blew last year's NFC title game. 2. He pushed Kyle Turley into practicing inappropriately. 3. Not only does he NOT know the score, why run Gordon 22 TIMES his first time back from injury? 4. If Parcells was coachng the Rams they would win the next two Super Bowls. 5. When Martz screws it up again this year, will management do something, or are they in a fog too?"

    -- Sheldon Manaster, Santa Ana Calif.

    GORDO: Let's not blame him for Turley's re-injury. The doctors cleared Turley to take another crack at playing and he did. Martz can only operate on what the doctors and the player tell him.

    Gordon got 22 carries to prove he could play this year, a fact the Dolphins picked up on. I won't argue Parcells' brilliance, but the hair dye kind of bothers me.

    * * *

    "Here is the familiar rant I hear about Mad Mike. 'Mike Martz is an idiot who was given everything he has by Dick Vermeil. He wastes timeouts. He can't win the big games on his own, including the Super Bowl and the playoffs. He knows nothing about recruiting talent for the team. Think of some of the gems that he has brought us. Gems like Scott Covington, Jamie Martin, Trung Candidate, Jimmy Kennedy and so on.'

    "Not knowing the score at the end of the Oakland game only proves what my friends always tell me. He is simply nursing the success of the victorious Super Bowl team and is one player away (Marshall Faulk) from the Greatest Show on Turf being mediocrity on turf.

    "But I disagree. I know I am in the lonely minority in thinking that Martz has done quite a good job within the parameters of salary cap, free agency, injury and post-Super Bowl-loss depression. I would grade him as a head coach at least in the B-plus to A-minus range.

    "I actually think that the area he really could improve is in the timeouts and game management. I know that you can't take timeouts with you, but it is always wise to save one or two. I also think that Mad Mike ought to give up play calling to an offensive coordinator. Perhaps the offensive genius is afraid to trust the reins to someone else. But if he did, he could have a better overall feel of the game. He probably will not do this, however.

    "When Mad Mike moves on, I will go back to spending Sundays being bored. I love his style and will take the flaws with the good traits."

    -- Paul Holder, Oxford, Miss.

    GORDO: Hear, hear. I couldn't agree more with every single point you made.

  2. #2
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

    I never thought in my wildest imagination that me, a graduate of Memphis State University, would actually agree with someone who lives in the same city as Ole P iss, but I do.

  3. #3
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    Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

    His teams lack an identity
    Your right. Other coaches' Ram teams had identities. The last quarter of Robinson's tenure, Knox part 2, Brooks, & pre-'99 Vermeil all had a singular identity. And what was that identity...I'll give you a hint, it starts with an "L" and ends with a "oser". There's an identity for you.

    Honestly, guys we are making waaaaaaaaaay too much of a deal out of who is coaching anyway. No coach has ever made a tackle, caught a pass, run for a TD, etc. Look at some of our other coaches and their records.

    In '55, Sid Gilman took over the Rams and managed an 8-3-1 record including the #4 offense and #5 defense. He must be a genius. Four years later he takes the Rams to 2-10. He must be an idiot.

    From '73-77, Chuck Knox had a win-loss of 54-15-1. He won over 77% of his games. From '92-'94, he went 15-33. He lost 69% of his games. What happened? Were the 80's so tough on him that he forgot how to coach?

    Ray Malavasi went 20-12, then finished 8-17.

    John Robinson owned the 80's. He went 67-44 or .604 w%. Then the 90's roll around...8-24 or .250 w%

    In '97 & '98, Vermeil went 9-23. Then the planets lined up and 13-3 and SB in '99.

    Which brings us to Martz. Yes, he has had success for 4 seasons...43-21 or .672 w%, but that is indicative of nothing. Other coaches (Stydahar, Allen, Knox, Malavasi, Robinson) all had similar or better stretches and later had failing seasons. The point is this: A team's success has little to do with who the head coach is. He's just a piece of the puzzle. Getting rid of Martz will be the determining factor in neither our subsequent success or failure, just as keeping him won't guarantee victory or defeat.

    The game is played on the field.

  4. #4
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    Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    The game is played on the field.
    I'm with you until when it sounds as if you shift responsibility to the players exclusively. Of course their effort is a huge factor in the season's outcome. But the emphasis must be spread around. From ownership, to front office, to coaching staff, to players, all at some time play a huge role in someone else's fate. Each has a part in the drama. Unfortunately for some, it is easier for their misjudgments to be spotlighted. So while I don't want to make too much out of who is coaching a team I also don't want to forget that the right coach can make a difference.

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    Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

    I also think that Mad Mike ought to give up play calling to an offensive coordinator. Perhaps the offensive genius is afraid to trust the reins to someone else. But if he did, he could have a better overall feel of the game. He probably will not do this, however
    I may be wrong, but didn't Steve Fairchild take over calling the plays from the booth last year?

    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

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