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  1. #1
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    Martz expected to be back next season

    By Jeff Gordon
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Monday, Dec. 20 2004

    We expect Rams coach Mike Martz to be back next season.

    Team executives John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt are rational men who don’t rush to
    judgements. Martz’s career won-loss record is still better than most head
    coaches, despite this 6-8 downturn, and he has a ton of dough left on his
    contract.

    As we noted last week, the rash of Rams casualties provides Mad Mike cover for
    this season. The decimation of the offensive line, the demise of team leaders
    Marshall Faulk and Aeneas Williams, the loss of quarterback Marc Bulger and the
    nagging injuries plaguing the front seven were too much to overcome.

    However . . .

    In order to retool this team, the franchise must also retool its football
    operation. As colleague Bernie Miklasz explained with great clarity, General
    Manager Martz left Coach Martz with too little to work with this season.

    Look no further than the decision to dump Kurt Warner and replace him with
    Chris Chandler.

    Rams insiders insist that Warner had to go, due to his eroded relationship with
    his teammates and head coach. A divorce was best for everybody. But if the team
    was happier without Kurt, it sure hasn’t shown it during this season.

    Injuries go a long way toward explaining what happened this season, but these
    Rams haven’t played with much passion – to use one of Mad Mike’s favorite
    phrases. That 31-7 loss at Arizona will stand among the franchise’s most
    embarrassing performances since coming to St. Louis.

    As for Chandler, the poor guy never had a chance. Even the most casual Rams fan
    knew he would become a liability if pressed into duty.

    Whenever the Rams faced Chandler the past few years, folks around here were
    thrilled with the match-up. He played one dreadful game after another against
    the Rams, folding whenever the going got tough.

    We pointed this out when Chandler was signed. We pointed it out when Bulger got
    hurt, forcing Chandler into the starting assignment.

    Martz became indignant when your cyber-correspondent warned of impending
    calamity. He insisted Chandler would be fine.

    He was wrong, terribly wrong, and Chandler’s miserable play probably cost the
    Rams another trip to postseason play.

    “It goes back to the inability to function at one position,” Martz told
    reporters after Sunday’s game. “You hold the whole team hostage.”

    That the Rams had to pull career back-up Jamie Martin off street, scrape off
    his 13 months of rust and hurl him into combat . . . well, that’s just
    unthinkable.

    (That Martz threw Chandler under the bus Sunday wasn’t real honorable; there is
    no way Chris should have been put in this position at this point in his life.
    Martz put Chandler in a position to fail – and fail he did.)

    On Martz’s watch, the Rams have made some great calls on personnel matters.
    Cornerbacks Travis Fisher and Jerametrius Butler have become solid performers.
    Ditto linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. Young receivers Kevin Curtis and Shaun
    McDonald seem capable.

    Running back Steven Jackson appears to be a worthy first-round pick. Offensive
    linemen Scott Tercero and Larry Turner might be fine, too, if they get an
    opportunity to develop.

    Too many other key picks have failed to become consistently good pros. Adam
    Archuleta, Damione Lewis, Ryan Pickett, Jimmy Kennedy, Tommy Polley, Robert
    Thomas – at times they excite you and at times they exasperate you.

    Were they back draft picks? Or have the Rams failed to coach them up? Either
    way, their inconsistency falls back on Martz, who, after all, demanded the
    final say on all football matters as head coach.

    So now the franchise must retool. Now the Rams must rebuild their offensive
    line and either arouse or overhaul their front seven. There will be plenty of
    tough decisions to make:

    Which young players merit further investment of time and money?

    Would different position coaches coax better results from some of the same
    players?

    Will it be possible, on Martz’s watch, to build special teams that advance the
    Rams cause rather than hinder it?

    What should the Rams do with Faulk and Aeneas Williams, two once-great players
    who broke down this season?

    How will the Rams manage their salary cap, given all the “dead money” that may
    eat up payroll space?

    Should Charley Armey become a real general manager again and make the final
    call on all personnel?

    In the months ahead Martz should focus on what he does best – devise cutting
    edge offensive strategies. And his bosses ought to help him in areas where he
    is not as strong, such as game and personnel management.

    This season may not be salvageable, but with the proper adjustments, the regime
    is.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Martz expected to be back next season

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    In the months ahead Martz should focus on what he does best – devise cutting edge offensive strategies. And his bosses ought to help him in areas where he is not as strong, such as game and personnel management.

    This season may not be salvageable, but with the proper adjustments, the regime is.
    I agree whole-heartedly.
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    Re: Martz expected to be back next season

    If there was one thing to help him, this would be it


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    Re: Martz expected to be back next season

    I'm not a huge Gordon fan, but this was a pretty good article, IMHO. Martz is the general manager, not in name, but in practice. That has shown to not be a good idea with other teams, maybe it's time to end that experiment here as well. Armey has to take the reins, and let Martz get back to coaching and revamping his once-great offense. You got too many irons in the fire, Mike. Get back to basics.
    "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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    Re: Martz expected to be back next season

    Well, after suffering thourgh that *$#@^ loss in person, I have to say that my support for Martz has faded.
    His refusal to use has backs against one of the worst run D's was mind blowing.
    He just dose not have the ability to get he's team fired up for a game.
    I saw it during pre-game warm ups. There didn't seem to be any inten
    sity at all on the Rams sideline.
    I don't know what to think of the character of this team anymore.

    I'm sooooo disappionted.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

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