Let's just agree to disagree Daddoram.
Let's just agree to disagree Daddoram.
I have a lot of time for those whose loyalty to their team enables them to skip over those emotional hurdles that spring up when said team starts to tank. Personally, and I stated at the start of last season, I've always attempted to look at the Rams as objectively as I possibly can and in the context of the organisation as a whole. This means that I don't accept that whatever is wrong with the team can wholly be laid at the door of a single person or that, even in the unlikely event that it can, that the person concerned should be villified to an unpleasant degree. It's just not the way I'm built and so I have a lot of sympathy for Daddoram in what he says even if he displays an equinimity that I can't always match.
I was a fan of Martz for what was worth and am of the belief that he was primarily responsible for the rise of the franchise from the hopelessness of '98 to the heights of '99. If for nothing else that would entitle him to be remembered with fondness despite events subsequent to that glorious night. I have argued consistently in these and other pages, that the opprobrium he attracted towards the end of his career was disproportionate and unworthy of those who saw fit to provide it. That is not to say that I don't share in some of the criticisms of Martz' gameday management and draft day gambles but that I think it important to focus on his achievments in spite of his shortcomings. To be blunt about it, he won more than he lost and that is all you can reasonably hope for over a period of 5-6 years. I am aware however that there are those who don't see things the way I do and as long as the criticism steers clear of some of the more unecessary guff, then I'll be content to agree to disagree and look forward to the rest of the season.
Context is everything and there were times last season, particularly in the mid-season where I thought that there were criticisms being aired of a quality and in a manner which betrayed a short-termist, win-now philosophy ignoring very important contextual flavours. Coaching change, personnel change, front-office change and divisional change all meant that the best that could be reasonably hoped for was anything from 6-10 to 9-7. Personally I thought 8-8 was par. We were that kind of team and barring some very early return on the talent pool from this years draft, I feel that 8-8 to 10-6 should be the range in which we hope to operate come season end.
Many of the criticisms related to offensive playcalling, particularly in the red zone. Martz himself was always subject to similar criticisms but the explosiveness of his offence between the 20's meant that this was much more of a problem toward the end of his tenure than at the start. The flair displayed by the offensive side of the ball was sufficient to mask his shortcomings, sufficient to win games, sufficient to paint him as 'arrogant', sufficient to rub certain members of the media the wrong way and also sufficient to give those who demanded for an immediate turnaround of the programme a stick to hit Linehan with when things started going wrong. There was a widespread conviction that 'if only we could fix the D' we were a sure-fire SuperBowl team, the argument being that the talent on our roster, upon which Martz had ridden all these years was of sufficient quality to bear just a tinkering. That has been proven to be patently wrong.
Martz, can perhaps be said to be the architect of the slide in the talent pool available to the Rams but he was also largely responsible for assembling it in the first place or making it appear that it was far more talented than it was. The latter may well be true in my opinion. But he was not wholly responsible for this and part of the blame was must at least be shifted onto a front office that has proven to be, at the very least, of suspect quality in an NFL where those front-office types who are very good make a hell of a difference. A well known hobby-horse of mine, I see no need to repeat the point here, suffice to say that they could have done far more, far sooner.
And so Linehan, arriving in what was seen as a defensive mess with the reputation as an offensive guru, shadowed by the reputation of his predecessor, seen by some to be blessed with a roster with playoff talent and of an unassuming approach, was always going to hit a bump in the road and then have it pointed out to him at length and at some volume. Not entirely reasonable in my view and I said so at the time stating that calling for his head was more than a little previous after less than a season.
So this season will be interesting but should it go base over apex, I wil still resist calls for his head on the basis that Linehan should be given three seasons to make his mark and I won't be joining any party-without-portfolio.
Wow. :O Talk about an editorial to an editorial!
Great post DaddoRam, really made me feel better about my support to Coach Martz. I appreciate your time and commitment to write your positive commentary in response to Fat Pang's view. Impressive. Well done.
Hope to see you post more often, even if in abbreviated mode. :) Keep up the good work.