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    Martz on Hakim to Lions

    Asked if he was still hopeful about signing free agent wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, who played for him in St. Louis in 1999-2001 and played for the Lions in '02-'04, Mike Martz said: 'Probably not. -- Detroit Free Press


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    Re: Martz on Hakim to Lions

    Pass the Mike

    By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
    June 2, 2006

    ALLEN PARK, Mich. Mike Martz isn't a head coach anymore he's the Detroit Lions' offensive coordinator but he sure sounds like the same old Mad Mike who used to blast his players back in St. Louis in his dry, dial-tone voice.

    He still looks like the distracted scientist who always seems to have a play swirling in the back of his mind. He still kind of acts like a guy whose rep around the NFL was that he always thinks he's the smartest guy in the room and probably is.

    In essence, Mike Martz is giving the woeful Lions (21 victories in five seasons) exactly what they need: another quality, demanding coach and a sense of long-missing cockiness.

    Whether Martz's brashness becomes a problem here remains to be seen. Rod Marinelli, Detroit's first-year head coach, had never been a coordinator in the league before taking the top job. So maybe a veteran hand is what he needs. Or maybe it will turn into a power struggle.

    Or who really knows anything except, of course, that the days of laidback Camp Mariucci are long gone. Thursday's minicamp session was about Marinelli purposely pacing around at one end of the field, defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson barking at the other and Martz being, well, Mike Martz, and not holding back the way a coach usually does.

    Martz on the overall condition of the team: "The team is grossly out of shape."

    Martz on quarterback Joey Harrington, who asked to be released after just preliminary meetings with the new regime: "It was such a drastic change from what he had been doing he felt it was going to be just too hard I was a little surprised by it."

    Martz on wide receiver Charles Rogers, the second overall pick in the 2003 draft who has battled substance-abuse problems and seemingly disinterest in the game: "[At first] he couldn't put his foot on the ground and change directions early because he wasn't in very good shape. Charles is beginning to get in shape."

    This is Martz and this is probably just what the Lions, who spent so many draft picks trying to build an offense, need. There is little doubt Martz is one of the NFL's most creative offensive minds he was the architect of St. Louis' "Greatest Show on Turf" that led the Rams to two Super Bowls (winning one when he was O.C., losing one as head coach).

    Detroit went from a player's coach to a bull dog's coach at the head man and both coordinator positions. There isn't going to be anymore coasting. There isn't going to be anymore excuses.

    It is little wonder the team was punished by the league for excessive workouts earlier this spring.

    "Who knows where this thing is going," Martz said Thursday. "That's what's so much fun about it. We didn't know in '99 [during the Rams' Super Bowl-winning season] what was going to happen. But once these guys buy into it and get in shape, they learn the pieces. Then you start mixing and matching a little bit and then it becomes a lot of fun for them, too.

    "You can't evaluate a receiver until he is completely in shape. You can't. You have a wide receiver that is out of shape and he runs a bad route and drops balls. So you have to get them in great shape before you can have an idea what they are."

    Martz mentioned shape and conditioning about every other sentence. Outside of a few guys such as wideout Eddie Drummond just about everyone was called out.

    "For what we do, they are not in very good shape," Martz said. "We want to be able to, on every snap, be able to sprint down the field. We don't run guys in and out. The conditioning of what we do lends itself to maybe a different mode in camp."

    Detroit has some weapons more wide receivers than perhaps the team can keep and two new quarterbacks in Jon Kitna and Josh McCown (not to mention holdover Dan Orlovsky who Martz likes). Then there is running back Kevin Jones, who Martz envisions in a Marshall Faulk-esque role.

    That may sound farfetched, except Martz isn't lacking for credibility.

    "We use a lot of our cut-ups from St. Louis," he said. "And they look at the cut-ups and I say, 'What you need to do is project yourself into this situation and how it was done.' Once they are in shape, they start to see themselves starting to do those types of things."

    "It is a good crew," he continued. "And they are learning the work ethic. And they are willing. That is the biggest thing I've seen. I'm not fighting anybody. They are open and receptive and learning what they are supposed to do."

    Martz didn't think he would be coaching this year. A heart illness sidelined him for the final 11 games of the 2005 season before he and the Rams parted ways. He figured he'd take it slow, recharge and see what was out there for 2007.

    "My family had really discussed with me, 'Take the time off,' " Martz said. "They wanted to make sure, 'Are you healthy?' And I had felt like maybe that is what [I was] going to do."

    Then along came the Lions and new coach Marinelli, who has never been anything but a position coach in the NFL (most recently in Tampa Bay). It's not an impossible leap to head coach it hasn't hampered Andy Reid any but that doesn't mean most guys would have the self-confidence to put a more qualified guy in a coordinator spot, which says a great deal about Marinelli.

    "Rod was real persistent," Martz said. "I am finding out and these players are too [that] you can't say no to him. When you spend a half hour with him one on one, you either want to coach for him or play for him. So I got real excited when I got to meet him. This was an environment that would be a lot of fun for me.

    "He was so easy to talk to. You know, the best quality of a leader is a servant's mentality. You never felt like as a head coach he is talking down to you. I'll tell you what, there couldn't be a better place for me. It was the right place at the right time."

    Detroit's front office is cognizant of the situation, though. No one wants to have the experienced Super Bowl coordinator overshadowing the rookie head man. Thursday's media session was Martz's first with Detroit-area press since he was hired in February. There won't be another for awhile. It is actually part of what Martz has found so enjoyable about his new job.

    "All your time and focus is on just football," he said. "And that's a lot of fun. It's who you are. I really enjoy what I am doing right now a great deal."

    Even if that means beating down and then building up a group of players Martz feels is not ready to compete after slacking for so long.

    "The conditioning part if it makes this very uncomfortable," he said. "It is hard to evaluate anyone when they are out of shape. They don't do anything well."

    Mike Martz, head coach or not, isn't going to start holding his tongue now.

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    Re: Martz on Hakim to Lions

    go ahead and get these players in shape mike, but remember there are still the detriot lions who dont have a quality qb and a bunch of underacheiving wideouts,good luck.and what about the comment that this is the best place for you, is that because no one would hire you as a head coach or are you really happy being second.

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