Lions fire Mike Martz
January 2, 2008
By NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
Mike Martz confirmed today the Lions had fired him as offensive coordinator.
“The only thing I will tell you is, I came here because of Rod,” Martz said in a brief telephone interview with the Free Press. “Rod’s a terrific coach, a man of great character.
“We fell short of what we wanted to do offensively, and I regret that. Nonetheless, he’s going to be successful, and I wish he and the Lions all the best. My experience there was very positive.”
ESPN reported Martz would be succeeded by offensive line coach Jim Colletto and receivers coach Kippy Brown would become assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and running backs coach.
Shawn Jefferson was promoted from offensive assistant to receivers coach, and Tim Martz, Martz’s son, was fired as an offensive assistant.
Lions spokesman Bill Keenist said the team had nothing to announce today and had no comment on the report.
Mike Martz declined to comment on reports Colletto clashed with him about the running game early in the season.
“No,” Martz said. “Jim’s an excellent coach. That’s a good staff, and they’ll do well. They really will. Like I said, I’ve got no regrets about anything. I have no anger. I’m not upset about anything. I went as far as I could there, and now it’s time for me to move on.”
In his introductory news conference in January 2006, Marinelli said he wanted to run the ball with power. Later, he hired Martz, who is known for his aggressive passing attack. The Lions often were unbalanced this season.
Asked if the firing came down to philosophical differences, Martz said: “Sure. More or less. I believe in Rod. I believe he’s a great coach and a great man. I think people need to understand that, and I think he’s done a great job there. He’ll be successful. He will. He’ll do well there. It’s just time that I moved on, really, more than anything else.”
The NFL record for fewest rushing attempts in a game is six. The Lions had games with seven, eight and nine rushing attempts this season.
Martz said repeatedly this season that the run/pass ratio didn’t matter. What mattered was execution and the circumstances in the game.
“I think when you’re playing from a lead or the game’s in the balance, I think you have a tendency to mix things in pretty good,” Martz said. “But things kind of got out of hand occasionally, and you have to do what you can to stay in the game. That happened on a couple of occasions. But that really doesn’t matter. What matters it that we fell short. We didn’t succeed in the way we all felt like we would. That’s the way it goes.
“I was disappointed we just didn’t do as well as we should have, and really, that’s about it.”
Asked about his future, Martz said: “It’s awfully early yet. We’ll just kind of see what happens. I wish them the best. I really do. The Ford family deserves a winner, and I think they’ll bring them one.”