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  1. #1
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    Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Nov. 22 2004

    Sleepless in St. Louis.

    It has come to that for Rams coach Mike Martz as he grapples with how to keep
    his team afloat. And more precisely, how to get a handle on the ongoing
    nightmare that is Rams special teams.

    "I went back and looked at it really hard this morning," Martz said Monday
    afternoon. "Didn't sleep at all last night. This is the first night in my
    coaching career that I didn't sleep. A lot of things went through my head. But
    the more I thought about it, the more clear it became.

    "And as I was able to talk to more coaches this morning, it even became more
    clear. I do know what the approach is and the course that we'll take."

    Martz declined to provide specifics. But a couple of things were clear by late
    Monday afternoon. For one, veteran punter Sean Landeta is now officially on
    notice. That became clear during Martz's Monday news conference.

    Buffalo returned three Landeta punts for 148 yards Sunday - a Bills franchise
    record.

    The punt return yardage total also was the second-highest ever recorded against
    a Rams team - exceeded only by Washington's 155 yards in punt returns against
    the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 21, 1963. Martz made it a point Monday to mention
    that not all of those Buffalo return yards were caused by faulty coverage.

    "We just punted the ball very poorly," Martz said. "A 26- yard punt, you know,
    that's not good. That's going to come back at you no matter how you look at it.
    Sean didn't punt well at all. He hasn't for some time now. So that's a major
    issue."

    Landeta's 26-yard punt came in the first half Sunday. Actually, there was no
    return on the play, with Nate Clements fielding it on a fair catch. But Buffalo
    took over on its 49 and scored its second touchdown of the game three plays
    later.

    Of course, the major damage occurred in the third quarter, when a 39-yard
    Landeta punt was returned 53 yards by Jonathan Smith to the Rams' 5, setting up
    a Buffalo TD. Less than 3 minutes later, Clements returned a 54-yard punt 86
    yards for a TD. Martz said the hang time on the 54-yarder was not good enough.

    "No, it wasn't," Martz said. "And those always come back at you - those rockets
    that go down the middle of the field."

    During his news conference, Martz also indicated in general that some players
    were in the process of playing themselves out of jobs - at least jobs with the
    Rams beyond this season. And in the case of defensive back Tod McBride, the
    Rams didn't wait until next season.

    The Rams were unhappy with his special teams play against Buffalo. So unhappy,
    in fact, that he was released by the team Monday. McBride was signed by the
    Rams on Oct. 27, and the Buffalo game was just his second with the club.

    But there are more suspects, even if they are currently unnamed.

    "There's some guys that we obviously counted very heavily on, that have not
    rose to the occasion," Martz said. "I can't put it any other way. This isn't a
    right to be here in the National Football League. It's a privilege.

    "We've got some young players here that feel like they're on scholarship or
    something. Some of them don't get it yet. It's a small group of guys. We've got
    a real good football team by and large in that respect.'

    But it's clear that Martz thinks some of the younger players are letting him
    and the team down.

    "... When you have rookies that come in here, they just feel like it's kind of
    a rite of passage," Martz said. "'What can you expect? I'm a rookie.' That kind
    of a deal. That happens on every team. Unfortunately, we're in a position where
    we're expecting them to play at a high level, so they've got to pick it up."

    Martz wasn't just talking about rookies, but younger players in general. It's
    clear, for example, that the coaching staff isn't pleased with the play of
    second-year cornerback Kevin Garrett, who for a time in training camp appeared
    to be even with DeJuan Groce in the battle for the No. 3 job.

    "If I'm Kevin Garrett, and the two corners are down and I'm in there (playing),
    then I should've been prepared for this all week long," Martz said Monday.

    It has been Martz's contention since becoming Rams head coach in 2000 that
    backups shouldn't be on the roster if they didn't feel like they were good
    enough to be starters and prepared that way every week.

    "These guys are on our roster now because we like them," Martz said. "And we
    think they can play. Now, if we didn't think they could play they shouldn't be
    on our roster. That's what I tell them every day, and that's what I believe in.
    You're preparing yourself for your moment in the sun so to speak."

    So far, there has been more stormy weather than sunshine for too many of those
    players.


  2. #2
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    Well then, let's do it. Change the punter, make adjustments. Whatever. :angryram:

    I'm older than Landeta, that qualifies me for the job.

    Serioulsy, there are some obvious needs with our ST. I hope improvement is on its way!

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    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Nov. 22 2004

    "We just punted the ball very poorly," Martz said. "A 26- yard punt, you know,
    that's not good. That's going to come back at you no matter how you look at it. Sean didn't punt well at all. He hasn't for some time now."

    Was someone afraid to give sMartz the smelling salts sooner? This is no news flash. You can't expect deadmen to understand anything about directional punting. As much as some wanted to point to Landeada's GROSS average, the issue has been lack of placement. Even when it seems obvious that a coffin corner kick was in order, Landeada has always just lofted the ball hoping the bounce would hide his inadequacies.

    Kick the friggin' ball OUT OF BOUNDS. 20 years in the league and he can't figure that out on his own? Just goes to show that it really is another case of Deadman Walking.

    Since zombies can't think on their own, here is the solution for now. Have the up back, position Landeada at a 45 degree angle to the line facing the nearest hash mark and then hike the ball to him. Ball is bound to go out of bounds. Hang time becomes immaterial. And distance? Well, at least there is no return. And the team will save itself the further embarrassment of having Landeada's coffin move faster down the field than he moves in his futile attempt at adding to his stellar career tackling stats.

  4. #4
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    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    For one, veteran punter Sean Landeta is now officially on
    Landeta needs to learn how to tackle opposing teams' return men the way Wilkens does, that should fix what's wrong with the punt coverage unit.
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    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    Landeta needs to learn how to tackle opposing teams' return men the way Wilkens does, that should fix what's wrong with the punt coverage unit.
    You're kidding right? It's the job of the ST players to make the tackle. The last thing you want is for your punter to be forced to make a ton of tackles. Just means nobody else is doing their jobs. Also the fact that Wilkens has 5 or so ST tackles is just another indictment to how poorly the kickoff unit has played.

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    Angry Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable
    You're kidding right? It's the job of the ST players to make the tackle. The last thing you want is for your punter to be forced to make a ton of tackles. Just means nobody else is doing their jobs. Also the fact that Wilkens has 5 or so ST tackles is just another indictment to how poorly the kickoff unit has played.
    Martz has cracked. He's blaming this 58 yr old punter for the faulty play of his football team!!?? I'm personally ok with a punter blasting a 54 yard punt. You've got to have some hang time to get it 54 yards downfield. Punter is not the problem. Inspiring your players to play is the problem. Martz has cracked. Send him down the road. This is ridiculous.

    What's next....blaming the equipment guy or the holder of field goals for our bad defense? All Martz has to do to fix this is hire another of his good old pals to come coach the special teams. It worked so well for the defense, right?

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    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable
    You're kidding right?
    Yes, actually.......the statement was meant to be read sarcastically.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    I wonder which rookies Martz is silently calling out here. I'm betting it's probably Shivers, maybe Hargrove and Chillar. I doubt Larry Turner, but who knows.
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    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    I don't know about the rookies nick, but he's all over Garrett and he should BE!!! the guy was all over the place, you would think he had never played a down before!!!

    steve :ramlogo:

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