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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Martz must make a run this season ... or else

    John Czarnecki / FOXSports.com


    The best news in St. Louis this off-season was that the Rams, once known as the Greatest Show on Turf, will be performing on a new turf. The old surface was like playing on cement.

    Outside of drafting "a soft" offensive tackle in the first round, the Rams spent Draft Day finding defensive players that suit defensive coordinator Larry Marmie's preferred schemes, while also focusing on special-teams performers. The elevation of Marmie into Lovie Smith's role was viewed by some as Coach Mike Martz hiring an old friend and not going after well, you get the idea.


    The Rams evened up their 2004 season at 8-8 against two disinterested playoff teams, but the NFC West no longer seems their sole domain with the emergence of Seattle and now Arizona, who has the look of potential contender. The Cardinals did whip the Rams when it counted last December. The ***** still seem a year or two away from being anything other than cellar-dwellers.

    It would seem with two years remaining on his contract, barring circumstances outside his control, that Martz is entering a must-win season. Marshall Faulk and Ike Bruce are nearing the end of the line, while running back Steven Jackson should be capable of a super breakout season.

    The only concern about the Rams is that they believe old linebackers like Dexter Coakley and Chris Claiborne will correct so many missed tackles at the line of scrimmage a season ago. Claiborne is a good guy who generally has six to eight good games a season now. Coakley used to be very good, but he slipped last season with the Cowboys, who believed he was too undersized to be effective.

    There also remains this uneasy tension in the Rams' executive mansion, the preferred environment of Rams president John Shaw. While Martz has power over personnel and his working roster, Shaw has enough people in the personnel department and front office to make Martz uncomfortable about the overall direction of the club. Shaw made a bold move by promoting Martz (the Cowboys and other teams were inquiring about his availability) when Dick Vermeil was still in the building, during the club's Super Bowl season.

    Everyone knew that Martz would be replacing Vermeil. He was the architect of the offense. But when he failed to beat good buddy Bill Belichick in the 2001 Super Bowl, Martz took a major hit around the NFL. With respect to talent alone, the Patriots' win over the Rams was a bigger upset than Joe Namath and the Jets whipping the Colts.

    A lot hasn't gone Martz's way recently, starting with the antics of offensive tackle Kyle Turley, who blames the coach for everything in his life. The Rams have always been exciting on offense, but now the burden is on Martz to make the whole team exciting and truly competitive once again.


  2. #2
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Martz must make a run this season ... or else

    The Cardinals did whip the Rams when it counted last December.
    Ram bashers sure like to bring this up. Yes it was a whipping and yes it was a game that really counted, but the abscence of Marc Bulger and Stephen Jackson along with the presence of Chris Chandler may have just had a little bit of an impact on what Mike Martz did and how the final outcome played out. Martz made some bad decisions, but if Bulger has anything to say about it, I think we can hold our own, even with a "new and improved" Arizona team.

    A lot hasn't gone Martz's way recently, starting with the antics of offensive tackle Kyle Turley, who blames the coach for everything in his life. The Rams have always been exciting on offense, but now the burden is on Martz to make the whole team exciting and truly competitive once again.
    I couldn't agree more, but as someone who has been very critical of Martz, I am very optimistic about what he has done so far and that he can make the team "truely competitive once again".

  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is offline Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Martz must make a run this season ... or else

    That was a truly super article. That is, if "super" is short for "superficial."


    Man, I hate sportswriters.

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    Re: Martz must make a run this season ... or else

    they believe old linebackers like Dexter Coakley and Chris Claiborne
    Granted, Coakley is 32, but Claiborne is only 26. How, even in this league, is 26 old?
    "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

  5. #5
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Martz must make a run this season ... or else

    What a bunch of fluff. Anybody who actually believes the leagues winningest coach over the last 5 years is going to be canned, needs to step away from the pipe.

    Martz is already a good coach, though I want to strangle him sometimes for his gameday decisions. He's maturing as an NFL coach and we can see that through his playcalling (running the ball 5 straight times to open the 2nd half when we were down a large margin to the Seahawks in Game 1), and in his team management (this year's special teams overhaul).

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