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Thread: Mike to get madder
-08-26-2005 #1psycho9985 Guest
Mike to get madder
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Martz plotting more madness
Rams' offensive skills second to none
By CLARE FARNSWORTH
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
ST. LOUIS -- No question, Steven Jackson is emerging as a beast of a running back in his second season, providing the St. Louis Rams' already potent offense with the perfect counter to the NFL's best collection of wide receivers.
But will rookie Alex Barron be able to slam the revolving door that has been the right tackle spot?
No question, the Rams defense will be improved with the free-agent additions of linebackers Dexter Coakley and Chris Claiborne, the improvement of tackles Jimmy Kennedy and Ryan Pickett and the move of Adam Archuleta from strong to free safety.
But can right guard Adam Timmerman hold up through an entire season after having surgery on both shoulders and a foot during the offseason?
That is the way things are going for Mike Martz in his sixth season as Rams head coach. Every time he seemingly finds the answer for one problem, another pops up.
"It's nice to have all the options we do, but the biggest issue is the offensive line," the Rams coach offered.
Martz -- aka "Mad Mike" because of his throw-everything-into-the-wind approach to play calling -- does have options. From quarterback Marc Bulger, to wide receivers Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald, to Jackson and former league MVP Marshall Faulk, the Rams have as much talent at the skill positions as any team in the league.
"Those things don't mean anything if you can't block them," Martz said. "The quarterback can't throw it, and it doesn't make any difference who's out there (to catch it) if the protection isn't there.
"And if you're not blocking them, it doesn't make any difference who the runner is," he added. "So, as I've said many times, everything on this football team -- offense, defense, special teams -- all starts from the offensive line. If we're good there, it sets the tone for everything else."
http://ads.nwsource.com/ads/adv.gif http://dist.belnk.com/4/placement/1963/alt_offer/var campaignID = "Claria_0705_TM_PI_NWS-300"; var maxViews = 1; var maxMinutes = 1440; var classID = "remnant300"; var capit = 1; Talk about pressure. Isn't that assessment just the latest example of Martz taking things to the extreme?
"I think there's a lot to that," Timmerman said when asked about the burden that's being placed on the line. "If we can't give Marc time to throw deep or just throw the ball at all, he can't do anything. Or Steven can't run without us. So it's a lot of pressure, but it's needed. We know it's on us. We have that pressure. We have to respond to it."
So far, not so good.
Barron, the team's first-round draft choice, finally reported, after missing 19 days and 21 full-squad practices. But rather than stepping in at right tackle, the rookie from Florida State is playing the left side because Pro Bowler Orlando Pace (thigh) and backup Grant Williams (back) have been sidelined with injuries.
That has left Rex Tucker to play right tackle, even though he was signed in free agency to be the left guard and has played in only 11 games since 2001 because of an assortment of injuries. Left guard? It's been rookie Claude Terrill, a fourth-round draft choice. Timmerman is being brought along slowly after his trifecta of surgeries, so recently re-signed, 34-year-old ex-retiree Tom Nutten is back in the lineup. Center Andy McCollum is 35.
No wonder Martz is so centered on accentuating the negative, rather than all those positives.
But the positives do exist, which is why the Rams can't be written off when it comes to winning the NFC West:
Jackson. Last year's first-round draft choice from Oregon State is bigger, better and even more of a basher than he was while rushing for 673 yards and a 5-yard average as a rookie. But Jackson also has the quickness and speed to bounce outside when the middle is too clogged.
"I just have visions of him doing great things," Martz said.
Offered Bulger: "From where he was at this point last year, it's obvious he feels comfortable, and he has that attitude that all good backs have -- he wants the ball every down."
Good hands guys. All Holt did last season was share the NFC lead in receptions (94) and score 10 touchdowns. All Bruce did, after being slapped with his annual lost-a-step epitaph, was open the season with four consecutive 100-yard games.
But the real story here is the emergence of Curtis and McDonald. Their coming-out party was hosted by the Seahawks last October at Qwest Field. The Rams rallied from a 27-10 deficit to win 33-27 in overtime. Curtis caught a 41-yard touchdown pass that cut the Seahawks' lead to 27-24. McDonald had a 39-yard punt return to set up that play, and then got behind strong safety Terreal Bierria to score the game-winner on a 52-yard pass play.
"His speed is really truly remarkable," Martz said of Curtis, who has run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds -- just a tick faster than McDonald (4.4). "The refinement of that position has been complete for him. Now, it's just how to use him and where to use him."
Bulger. The Rams quarterback is the equivalent of a streak shooter in basketball. Given time, he settles into a rhythm and can pass any defense silly. When pressured, however, it disrupts the timing of the team's precision passing game.
"You have to find a way to get to him, or he can make life miserable for you," said Tony Parrish, strong safety for the San Francisco ***** and a former Washington Husky. "You can say their offense starts with him, but the real key for them is the line being able to protect him."
Which brings this discussion full circle. The Rams' success is on the line.
"Offensively, if the line holds up," Holt said, "we can go as far as Steven and Shaun and Kevin and Marc can take us."
P-I reporter Clare Farnsworth can be reached at 206-448-8016 or
And this from a Seahag site.
-08-26-2005 #2psycho9985 Guest
Re: Mike to get madder
This from a seahawk site? I think their worried.
Re: Mike to get madderJackson. Last year's first-round draft choice from Oregon State is bigger, better and even more of a basher than he was while rushing for 673 yards and a 5-yard average as a rookie.
Offensive line importance is pretty basic stuff, but it will stick out more with the Rams this year since they have so much offensive talent that needs the line to perform.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
-08-26-2005 #4Tony Soprano Guest
Re: Mike to get madder
The O-line is the only thing stopping us on Offense. It's the achilles heel and it'll be a real shame if a ORT hamstrings this offense and all it's weapons. Think the Ram's braintrust made an huge error by not correcting this.. They are depending on a rookie and some stopgap journeymen. That's hard to take when the same postion has hampered this offense under this same regime.. Some never learn?
Re: Mike to get madder
I don't think you can say the FO made a huge error Tony. They brought in a lot of players for the line and they signed Pace. They are trying to correct it.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
-08-26-2005 #6Registered User
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Re: Mike to get madder
do you blame the FO for the injuries Kyle Turley suffered?