Martz defends special teams coach
Compiled by Jeff Gordon Sports
Rams Martz
Rams coach Mike Martz watches Sunday's game at San Francisco.

Rams coach Mike Martz rallied behind special teams coach Bob Ligashesky one day after colossal kicking-team blunders doomed the team to defeat in San Francisco.

“Here is my frustration: I know, I sit here and listen to Bob coach these guys,” Martz said during his Monday news conference at Rams Park. “I know every little detail, from how guys line up on the kickoff teams to the footwork to where the kicker stands . . . every little detail gets covered and coached on that field. I know that.

"I can’t tell you that’s always been the case here.”

The burden, Martz suggested, falls on the players.

“I can tell you they aren’t going to get better coaching,” he said. “At one point, it really becomes their responsibility, it really does. That’s my frustration. I didn’t do as good a job coaching that offense as I can, I know that, I’ll take that responsibility.

“Bob has done a great job with that group on special teams. Now, perhaps we need to change some people and we probably will in certain situations. I’m disappointed that some of the younger players on special teams didn’t step up and play as well as they should, some key players for us.

“We’ll have to fix that, unfortunately. But that’s very disheartening, particularly with the punt return, after going through practice and watching what your guys have done, and to have it come out like that was very disturbing.”

Here are some other highlights of Martz’s brief confab:

On his overall impression of the game: “We had a lot of opportunities there present themselves to make plays, particularly on offense. Defensively, I think we had a couple of bad plays in terms of the passing game.

“But I was pleased with the defense overall, other than a couple of the breakdowns there, with the long ball, obviously. I thought the linebackers were outstanding, Leonard (Little) was outstanding.

“Offensively, we had a lot of opportunities, we really did, to make some plays and just didn’t make them, for whatever reason. They had a few opportunities to make plays and made them. You have to give them credit. We’re a little jittery, if you will, out of sync there for a half, trying to kind of figure out . . . when you don’t see a defense, you tend to prepare them for too much.”

On problems caused by San Francisco’s 3-4 defense: “I think sometimes we over-coach them in some respects. If they do this, you’ve got to do that, look out for this, all that good stuff. We’re playing a team you don’t have too much history on, in terms of their defense. I’m sure that is some of it. By and large, we didn’t play very well offensively in that game. I’m not happy with that offense whatsoever. But we obviously can play much better and obviously will.”

On his team’s offensive struggle in the red zone: “We just had a lack of execution on a couple of things in particular. We had some real nice things going on down there. We had a run that would have gone in from the 20 had it been blocked properly. Some broken plays, some things where guys didn’t execute very well. I can do a better job. I had too much on our list in the red zone, not being sure what they were going to do with it. We just couldn’t execute very well throughout the day offensively.”

On whether rookie punter Reggie Hodges suffered from the first-game jitters: “I don’t know. I think that he’s been a little inconsistent through the preseason. I think he’ll be fine. He should be all right.”