New RT, Faulk will be back as starter, Little has huge week and more!
Rams Q-and-A: Martz on Monday
Compiled by Jeff Gordon
Rams coach Mike Martz announced that Chris Chandler would start in place of injured Marc Bulger on Sunday at Carolina – and that veteran Jamie Martin has rejoined the team as his back-up.
Chandler relieved Bulger on Sunday and led the Rams to their 16-6 victory over the *****.
“Chris Chandler was outstanding under the circumstances,” Martz said. “I’m excited about the potential of what he can do for us this week.”
Bulger, Martz said, “is awfully sore today. It’s a bone bruise right at the tip of the clavicle. The ligament, the AC separation that is so typical for quarterbacks was not there, which is good news. That’s something you play with the rest of your career. To me, that’s good news. There is a little bit of swelling in the joint, but there is no damage to the ligaments that hold the joint together. Hopefully we can get him back in short order, but we’ll have to see.
“He was really flinging it in the pre-game warm-up. He had terrific zip, he was very aggressive, just his whole demeanor, he was getting more confident every week. I just felt bad for him at that point that he couldn’t finish the game.”
Rookie Jeff Smoker remains in the No. 3 role for the Rams. “Because he’s a rookie,” Martz said. “The pressure of playing, particularly when you are in a race . . . now if we were out of this thing, if we were a bad team, then maybe you would go with a rookie. But we’re not going with a rookie. We’re hoping Jamie can get himself ready.”
Here are some other highlights of Martz’s Monday news conference:
On beating the *****:
“The biggest difference in that game for us, than the last two games, was the emotion, I guess, and the passion by which all the players played. I was very pleased with the effort by everybody.”
On the overall play of the defense:
“We really stepped up. I said after the game that there were very few mental errors by our defense. From what I could see (on film), I think that was true. Added to that is the fact that if you do get out of position, somebody was always there to pick up the slack and finish the play. We had a lot of people on the ball. We didn’t tackle as well again as we would like at times, but by and large we gave up just the one run for about 13 yards and the one pass for 50. You take away the pass and it’s really a dominating performance by the defense.
“This is not an easy defense to run, and we know that. And it’s one of the reasons why we just didn’t jump into it right away. But we’re at the point right now where we feel like these players are committed and understand what we are trying to accomplish. It is complicated. It’s what I want for our defense. It’s pressure-oriented. We’ve got lots of speed and good coverage ability on the outside and I think we made real good progress.
“The transition from one defense to the other defense was significant. I think there was a tremendous attachment to Lovie (Smith), and rightfully so, and the system we were in. We kept the same system, but we want to move a different direction with some of this stuff. The other system worked well, there was nothing wrong with it. I’d like to be more like Philadelphia’s defense and Baltimore, the pressure stuff. In order to do that, we have to prepare like we prepare on offense.”
On the play of defensive end Leonard Little:
"He had a quarterback hit, three pressures on the quarterback, a sack and 12 tackles. That is a big game for anybody in this league."
On the play of linebacker Tommy Polley:
“He had three passes that he broke up, nine tackles. The thing about that, Tommy is on that tight end most of the afternoon. This tight end had over 60 catches. He limited him to one catch up until the last series of the game. I thought that was an extraordinary performance by Tommy.”
On the play of cornerback Jerametrius Butler:
“He continues to play well, as he has every week. He had the interception, a great play by J.B., a pass broken up and four tackles.”
On his change on the offensive line:
“Blaine Saipaia will be our right tackle. There are a lot of things I like about Blaine. He has great feet, he’s very strong, he has a terrific punch in pass protection. He’s very athletic and can recover. A good run blocker. He has all the tools to develop into a really good player.”
On the play of defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy:
“He played very well. He had five tackles. He’s gotten better every week. I’m very pleased with his progress. I just hope that it continues the way he’s headed. If it does, he’ll be significant.
“I feel like that hit on the quarterback was not a penalty. We get three or four of those a game as a matter of routine, as you guys have all witnessed.”
On Chandler’s play in relief of Bulger:
“He was a little off-balance, particularly early. He wasn’t setting his feet very well. He was just trying to get under control. As the game went on, I think he got better and better. He settled down. Things were going a little quick for him early, but he really managed the game well, all the way down to the end. He brought us off our own end zone, made some key throws there.
“He had a terrific preseason. That’s why we played him as much as we did. You could see, as that game went on, the tempo, the ball getting out, the timing of the throws, all of those things got significantly better with each series. This week of practice will be good for him.”
On bringing back Martin:
“He was in the system here and knows it well. I know Jamie. I’m very comfortable with Jamie. When he (last) played, we had probably five or six starters out and he just got physically, physically mauled, which was very unfair to him and his career. Everybody was out of position, it was a mess.
“I’d rather have him as the back-up. We’re still in this race, we’re still in this thing pretty good. We don’t want to leave anything to chance. Rookie quarterbacks, I think . . . that’s just a hard one to swallow.”
On whether Steven Jackson would continue starting at running back:
“It’s all based on Marshall, on his health, how he feels, how he’s doing. When he’s healthy, he’s feeling good, there is no reason to diminish what he does.”
Re: New RT, Faulk will be back as starter, Little has huge week and more!
They HAVE to hang on to that emotion. We've been missing it all year, and now that there's a spark there, they have to hang on to it. And going in to Carolina won't be the easiest place to maintain that kind of emotion.
“The biggest difference in that game for us, than the last two games, was the emotion, I guess, and the passion by which all the players played.