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  1. #1
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West
    Dan Pompei | The Chicago Tribune | On the NFL
    9:39 PM CDT, September 2, 2008

    How the NFC West plays out this year will have a lot to do with Mike Martz. No one is leaving bigger footprints on the division than the former Rams head coach.

    In San Francisco, Martz is the new offensive coordinator, and his guy, J.T. O'Sullivan, was chosen to start at quarterback ahead of Alex Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft.

    In St. Louis, where Martz once lorded over the Greatest Show on Turf, the Rams brought in Al Saunders to run a spinoff of the offense Martz used for seven years with the team.

    And in Arizona, Martz's most successful protégé, Kurt Warner, has beaten out Matt Leinart to start at quarterback.

    Only the Seahawks have no ties to Martz, but they will be dealing with him or things he has influenced every time they play a division game.

    It will be interesting to see how Martz's aggressive style melds with the conservative approach of ***** head coach Mike Nolan. It also will be interesting to see which players become stars under Martz.

    O'Sullivan is positioned to be the Cinderella story of 2008. Martz says he fits his system perfectly and gushes about his ability to read defenses and how quickly he gets rid of the ball. Martz isn't the only one who is impressed. O'Sullivan's former Lions teammate Jon Kitna was quoted as saying O'Sullivan has the quickest release he has seen since Dan Marino.

    The other player who seems certain to excel under Martz is tailback Frank Gore. Martz calls Gore "an elite player," and "the core of what you do on offense." Martz also promises to run the ball more than he did in Detroit because of Gore's presence.

    Of course, Martz is likely to call Isaac Bruce's number frequently. The wide receiver played his best ball under Martz in St. Louis, and his familiarity with the system was a factor in the *****' decision to sign him this year.

    It's interesting that Martz says tight end Vernon Davis' production might not increase substantially. "I don't care how many passes he catches," Martz said. "I just see him making big plays."

    On Martz's old team, veterans like quarterback Marc Bulger are relearning the Don Coryell offense that Martz and Saunders use. But Saunders' offense is different from Martz's, and his playbook is known as the most voluminous in the NFL.

    Bulger said he met with Saunders between seven and eight hours a day in the off-season, and he spent 15 hours a day with him in training camp. "He's trying to get to know what I do well, I'm trying to get to know what he calls," Bulger said.

    Rams coach Scott Linehan says he is not concerned about the size of the offensive playbook or the learning curve that is likely to result from making a change. "The demand for execution in a complex system is going to be our key this year," Linehan said.

    There is at least a possibility the Rams will struggle initially on offense, but they are comforted because most of the mainstays in the offense—Bulger, wide receiver Torry Holt, offensive tackle Orlando Pace and running back Steven Jackson—have at least been exposed to this verbiage in the past.

    Judging from his history, Saunders is likely to rely heavily on Jackson, as he did on Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis. It's also likely that tight end Randy McMichael's numbers could spike.

    Warner has never been quite the same since leaving St. Louis, but he finished strong last season, throwing more touchdown passes over the second half than any other quarterback. Despite starting only 11 games, he finished in the top 10 in the NFL in several important statistical categories, including passer rating, average yards per pass, touchdowns, first-down percentage and pass plays of 20 yards or more.

    Warner is in the starting lineup again even though the Cardinals clearly planned on the 37-year-old being a backup.

    This season Warner will need to beat his old team and his old coach to get the Cardinals where they want to go. But then there will be a lot of that going on in the NFC West.



    IMPRESSIONS
    Does any 4-3 defense have a better linebacker trio than the Seahawks? Lofa Tatupu is close to becoming the premier middle linebacker in the game. Julian Peterson is an absolute beast on the strong side. And Leroy Hill is an underrated weak-side linebacker.

    With the way Anquan Boldin is wired, his anger over his contract situation could result in his having a great season for the Cardinals. No receiver in football is tougher to take down.

    Isaac Bruce is the most dynamic play-making wide receiver the ***** have. But whether he will remain the most dynamic play-making wide receiver through the course of the season is in question. Bruce, 35, will probably get worn down or banged up. The ***** will have to make a concentrated effort to keep him fresh.

    With the addition of Chris Long, the Rams could have the best defensive line in football. The team expects big things from Long and Adam Carriker, the team's last two first-round picks. Leonard Little has the fourth-most sacks in the NFL since 2000. And La'Roi Glover has been to six Pro Bowls. This group should put plenty of heat on opposing QBs.

    Gone are the days when Walter Jones could be expected to dominate every defensive end, but the Seahawks' left tackle still can pass-block with the best of them. His run blocking has fallen off, however.

    Arizona's Antrell Rolle should be a better free safety than he was a cornerback. But that isn't saying much.



    SCOUT’S TAKE
    An NFL scout gives his views on the NFC West:

    "Seattle is the best team in the division. Matt Hasselbeck is a veteran quarterback who has played in big games. On defense, they can get to the quarterback with their pass rush. Kicker might be their Achilles' heel after losing Josh Brown.

    "No. 2 by default is St. Louis. Really, after the Seahawks it's a pick 'em. The Rams aren't a great team, but Steven Jackson will be happy, Orlando Pace will be back and Torry Holt will get the ball more.

    "The Cardinals have a lot of issues permeating through the team. Anquan Boldin is mad about his contract. The quarterback scenario is in a state of flux. The running back [ Edgerrin James] is getting old. The offensive line is not blocking well. Their star defensive lineman [Darnell Dockett] wants a new contract.

    "The ***** are starting a journeyman quarterback. If they can't run, they'll have a lot of problems, and I'm not sure they can run with that offensive line. On defense, the secondary and the line are iffy. They do have a good group of linebackers."


    BREAKOUT PLAYER
    O.J. Atogwe led the NFC in interceptions last season with eight, but the Rams free safety is capable of lifting his game another notch in his fourth NFL season. He appears ready to become a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

    Fellow Rams safety Corey Chavous, a voracious tape watcher, says Otogwe is the best young safety in the league.

    "Atogwe has great range," one NFC personnel director said. "He is the whole package. He should have even more interceptions this year."

    Atogwe should benefit from the added pressure the Rams' front four will create. And if the Rams can stay in more games, they will force opponents to pass more, leading to more interception opportunities for Atogwe.

    A Nigerian by way of Stanford, Atogwe should have his best football ahead of him.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West
    Dan Pompei | The Chicago Tribune | On the NFL
    9:39 PM CDT, September 2, 2008

    How the NFC West plays out this year will have a lot to do with Mike Martz. No one is leaving bigger footprints on the division than the former Rams head coach.

    In San Francisco, Martz is the new offensive coordinator, and his guy, J.T. O'Sullivan, was chosen to start at quarterback ahead of Alex Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft.

    In St. Louis, where Martz once lorded over the Greatest Show on Turf, the Rams brought in Al Saunders to run a spinoff of the offense Martz used for seven years with the team.

    And in Arizona, Martz's most successful protégé, Kurt Warner, has beaten out Matt Leinart to start at quarterback.

    Only the Seahawks have no ties to Martz, but they will be dealing with him or things he has influenced every time they play a division game.

    It will be interesting to see how Martz's aggressive style melds with the conservative approach of ***** head coach Mike Nolan. It also will be interesting to see which players become stars under Martz.

    O'Sullivan is positioned to be the Cinderella story of 2008. Martz says he fits his system perfectly and gushes about his ability to read defenses and how quickly he gets rid of the ball. Martz isn't the only one who is impressed. O'Sullivan's former Lions teammate Jon Kitna was quoted as saying O'Sullivan has the quickest release he has seen since Dan Marino.

    The other player who seems certain to excel under Martz is tailback Frank Gore. Martz calls Gore "an elite player," and "the core of what you do on offense." Martz also promises to run the ball more than he did in Detroit because of Gore's presence.

    Of course, Martz is likely to call Isaac Bruce's number frequently. The wide receiver played his best ball under Martz in St. Louis, and his familiarity with the system was a factor in the *****' decision to sign him this year.

    It's interesting that Martz says tight end Vernon Davis' production might not increase substantially. "I don't care how many passes he catches," Martz said. "I just see him making big plays."

    On Martz's old team, veterans like quarterback Marc Bulger are relearning the Don Coryell offense that Martz and Saunders use. But Saunders' offense is different from Martz's, and his playbook is known as the most voluminous in the NFL.

    Bulger said he met with Saunders between seven and eight hours a day in the off-season, and he spent 15 hours a day with him in training camp. "He's trying to get to know what I do well, I'm trying to get to know what he calls," Bulger said.

    Rams coach Scott Linehan says he is not concerned about the size of the offensive playbook or the learning curve that is likely to result from making a change. "The demand for execution in a complex system is going to be our key this year," Linehan said.

    There is at least a possibility the Rams will struggle initially on offense, but they are comforted because most of the mainstays in the offense—Bulger, wide receiver Torry Holt, offensive tackle Orlando Pace and running back Steven Jackson—have at least been exposed to this verbiage in the past.

    Judging from his history, Saunders is likely to rely heavily on Jackson, as he did on Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis. It's also likely that tight end Randy McMichael's numbers could spike.

    Warner has never been quite the same since leaving St. Louis, but he finished strong last season, throwing more touchdown passes over the second half than any other quarterback. Despite starting only 11 games, he finished in the top 10 in the NFL in several important statistical categories, including passer rating, average yards per pass, touchdowns, first-down percentage and pass plays of 20 yards or more.

    Warner is in the starting lineup again even though the Cardinals clearly planned on the 37-year-old being a backup.

    This season Warner will need to beat his old team and his old coach to get the Cardinals where they want to go. But then there will be a lot of that going on in the NFC West.



    IMPRESSIONS
    Does any 4-3 defense have a better linebacker trio than the Seahawks? Lofa Tatupu is close to becoming the premier middle linebacker in the game. Julian Peterson is an absolute beast on the strong side. And Leroy Hill is an underrated weak-side linebacker.

    With the way Anquan Boldin is wired, his anger over his contract situation could result in his having a great season for the Cardinals. No receiver in football is tougher to take down.

    Isaac Bruce is the most dynamic play-making wide receiver the ***** have. But whether he will remain the most dynamic play-making wide receiver through the course of the season is in question. Bruce, 35, will probably get worn down or banged up. The ***** will have to make a concentrated effort to keep him fresh.

    With the addition of Chris Long, the Rams could have the best defensive line in football. The team expects big things from Long and Adam Carriker, the team's last two first-round picks. Leonard Little has the fourth-most sacks in the NFL since 2000. And La'Roi Glover has been to six Pro Bowls. This group should put plenty of heat on opposing QBs.

    Gone are the days when Walter Jones could be expected to dominate every defensive end, but the Seahawks' left tackle still can pass-block with the best of them. His run blocking has fallen off, however.

    Arizona's Antrell Rolle should be a better free safety than he was a cornerback. But that isn't saying much.



    SCOUT’S TAKE
    An NFL scout gives his views on the NFC West:

    "Seattle is the best team in the division. Matt Hasselbeck is a veteran quarterback who has played in big games. On defense, they can get to the quarterback with their pass rush. Kicker might be their Achilles' heel after losing Josh Brown.

    "No. 2 by default is St. Louis. Really, after the Seahawks it's a pick 'em. The Rams aren't a great team, but Steven Jackson will be happy, Orlando Pace will be back and Torry Holt will get the ball more.

    "The Cardinals have a lot of issues permeating through the team. Anquan Boldin is mad about his contract. The quarterback scenario is in a state of flux. The running back [ Edgerrin James] is getting old. The offensive line is not blocking well. Their star defensive lineman [Darnell Dockett] wants a new contract.

    "The ***** are starting a journeyman quarterback. If they can't run, they'll have a lot of problems, and I'm not sure they can run with that offensive line. On defense, the secondary and the line are iffy. They do have a good group of linebackers."


    BREAKOUT PLAYER
    O.J. Atogwe led the NFC in interceptions last season with eight, but the Rams free safety is capable of lifting his game another notch in his fourth NFL season. He appears ready to become a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

    Fellow Rams safety Corey Chavous, a voracious tape watcher, says Otogwe is the best young safety in the league.

    "Atogwe has great range," one NFC personnel director said. "He is the whole package. He should have even more interceptions this year."

    Atogwe should benefit from the added pressure the Rams' front four will create. And if the Rams can stay in more games, they will force opponents to pass more, leading to more interception opportunities for Atogwe.

    A Nigerian by way of Stanford, Atogwe should have his best football ahead of him.
    Lots of props for our RAMS. Finally a writer that knows what he's talking about. I especially like the paragraph about our RAMS having possibly the best D-line in football.

    GO RAMS!!!

  3. #3
    moklerman Guest

    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    The sad thing is, with all of those fingerprints on 3 of the 4 NFC West teams the Seahawks are the one's who win the division each year. Relatively conservative offense and good defense seems to win out more often than what Mad Mike preaches.

  4. #4
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    I especially like the paragraph about our RAMS having possibly the best D-line in football.
    Sounds great and I hope he's right, but it's a pretty bold statement for an untested unit.

    In San Francisco, Martz is the new offensive coordinator, and his guy, J.T. O'Sullivan, was chosen to start at quarterback ahead of Alex Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft.
    So much for seeing if Martz could work his magic on Smith.

    It's interesting that Martz says tight end Vernon Davis' production might not increase substantially. "I don't care how many passes he catches," Martz said. "I just see him making big plays."
    I wonder how a big ego like Davis feels about that.

    Warner has never been quite the same since leaving St. Louis, but he finished strong last season, throwing more touchdown passes over the second half than any other quarterback. Despite starting only 11 games, he finished in the top 10 in the NFL in several important statistical categories, including passer rating, average yards per pass, touchdowns, first-down percentage and pass plays of 20 yards or more.
    Maybe Warner hasn't been quite the same since leaving St. Louis, but I watched all his performances last year and IMO he was close.

  5. #5
    RedArcher7 Guest

    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Having the best D-line in football? The hawks is better and they're in the division. The Jags, Vikes, Eagles, Pats, Browns...we're not even in the top half. There's no way we go from one of the worst to one of the best just because we added a rookie.

  6. #6
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    In St. Louis, where Martz once lorded over the Greatest Show on Turf, the Rams brought in Al Saunders to run a spinoff of the offense Martz used for seven years with the team.
    They really brought in Saunders to run "spinoff" of Martz's offense?? lol


    Of course, Martz is likely to call Isaac Bruce's number frequently. The wide receiver played his best ball under Martz in St. Louis, and his familiarity with the system was a factor in the *****' decision to sign him this year.
    I guess Bruce's 119 catches for 1781 yds in 1995 don't count as his playing his "best ball"??

    And in Arizona, Martz's most successful protégé, Kurt Warner, has beaten out Matt Leinart to start at quarterback.
    His accidental "protégé" that was cut from the team in 2003.

    With the addition of Chris Long, the Rams could have the best defensive line in football.
    Are you freaking kidding me?? I don't know exactly who this guy is but keep on trying guy. Hopefully you'll find things to put a real "spin" on after the season starts. WOW
    Steve

    What you see is what you get, but what you see depends on where you stand.

  7. #7
    bigredman Guest

    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Personally, I think it's because he had cheeto fingers...

  8. #8
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    With Martzs' finger prints everywhere in the west he's bound to get busted. Everyone knows what he brings to the table now and he didnt exactly blow things up in Detroit.

    With our DB's , this front 4 doesnt have to be the best, they just have to be good. if that O-line can't open up holes for Gore, we'll be duck hunting all day long.

  9. #9
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Lol!!!he even left some on your avatar beard....i just had to big red sorry.

  10. #10
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    I'm not moved by the cheers or jeers, just the results baby.

  11. #11
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Only the Seahawks have no ties to Martz
    Well, I beg to differ.

    Last time I checked; the seahawks still had Mike's good ole buddy on their staff as a defensive assistant coach.

    That being one Larry Marmie.



  12. #12
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    With the addition of Chris Long, the Rams could have the best defensive line in football. The team expects big things from Long and Adam Carriker, the team's last two first-round picks. Leonard Little has the fourth-most sacks in the NFL since 2000. And La'Roi Glover has been to six Pro Bowls. This group should put plenty of heat on opposing QBs.
    that is a massive statement there
    if that pans out then great, but after our DL play over the last few years i just dont see it

  13. #13
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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman View Post
    The sad thing is, with all of those fingerprints on 3 of the 4 NFC West teams the Seahawks are the one's who win the division each year. Relatively conservative offense and good defense seems to win out more often than what Mad Mike preaches.
    Ah, now that's not really fair. Martz had no ties to San Francisco until this off-season, so anything they've done in the past is irrelevant to his success or failing. The Cardinals haven't been all that successful, but you can hardly pin that on Warner, who has been playing sharp and putting up big numbers the last two years. Linehan's conservatism on offense the last two seasons isn't a Martz legacy either. Al Saunders can't be blamed for the last few years of Seahawks dominance because he just rejoined the Rams this off-season. When Martz actually was in St. Louis, the Rams stayed in control of the division for most of his tenure.

  14. #14
    moklerman Guest

    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    When Martz actually was in St. Louis, the Rams stayed in control of the division for most of his tenure.
    That's true, and I'm not really down on Martz. He takes a lot of undeserved criticism(along with the deserved) and the even sadder thing is at this point the Rams have to look back with fond memories of 8-8 and in the playoffs under Martz. The team was pretty much his by 2005 and he was still, some how, some way getting the team in the playoffs. Even advancing. I wonder if the expectations were just too high?

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    Re: Mike Martz's fingerprints all over the NFC West

    Mad Martz is asset is his ability to find a passing scheme that picks apart an opponent. However his greatest liability is his KNOW IT ALL ego.

    To under estimate Martz is to do so at your peril!

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