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  • [*****] Martz instrumental in demise of Rams

    Ira Miller
    Wednesday, September 29, 2004



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    chart attached


    In the Super Bowl following the 2001 season, the New England Patriots played a nickel defense virtually the entire game, daring St. Louis to run.

    The Rams didn't take the bait. Of course, you might remember, New England, a two-touchdown underdog, won the game -- the second-biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

    St. Louis coach Mike Martz did not get his reputation as an offensive wizard by ordering his quarterbacks to hand off. Three seasons later, Martz has not changed. The Rams still live -- and, frequently these days, die -- by the pass.

    St. Louis, which is averaging fewer running plays than any other team in the NFL, will bring a 1-2 record to San Francisco for a Sunday night game against the *****. The Rams have beaten only winless Arizona -- in a game the Cardinals led after three quarters -- and their roster includes better talent than their won-lost record shows.

    The quarterback, Marc Bulger, leads the NFL in completions and has a completion percentage of 69.3. One receiver, Isaac Bruce, leads the league in receptions and receiving yardage, and the other, Torry Holt, was the league leader in 2003. Left tackle Orlando Pace might be the best in the game. Running back Marshall Faulk has slipped with age, but remains effective. And nine of the 11 starters return on a defense that at least was decent in the recent past.

    So how come the Rams stink?

    Yeah, it's time to take another look at Mad Mike.

    As a head coach, Martz makes an easy target because he is outgoing, outspoken and different. But for all his offensive flair, Martz still doesn't get it. The Rams thought they were starting a dynasty when they won the Super Bowl under Dick Vermeil following the 1999 season, but they haven't come close to fulfilling their promise.

    A month ago, this game looked like a certain loss for San Francisco. Now, despite how wretchedly the ***** played at Seattle, it's up for grabs.

    The Rams have had the same problems for five seasons under Martz. They lack attention to detail, play sloppily, allow their quarterback to take too many hits (which is what happened to Kurt Warner) and use questionable strategy and play-calling that ignore the running game.

    Since Martz became their head coach, the Rams have been more than 37 percent above the league average in losing turnovers and 17 percent above the league average in giving up quarterback sacks. Except for last season, they also have been penalized at a rate well above the league average.

    Yet, rather than change, Martz apparently has become defiant about doing it his way.

    When he was questioned in St. Louis this week about the abject lack of balance on offense -- 29 runs, 91 passes called in the past two games, both losses -- he said, "Look, you can find another coach, then. ... That's just the way it is. Get used to it.''

    In three games, the Rams have allowed Bulger to be sacked 10 times, a team-record pace of more than 50 for the season. They are the only team in the league that has not forced a turnover. They have been penalized 50 percent more than their opponents. And Martz continues to confound with questionable strategy:

    -- The play-calling. Even with Faulk and first-round pick Steven Jackson as running backs, the Rams won't run. In a tight game against New Orleans, which allowed 349 yards rushing in its two previous games, the Rams called runs on only 14 of 69 offensive plays.

    -- Replay challenges that waste timeouts. In each of the first two games, Martz challenged a call that probably should not have been challenged.

    -- Game management. Against the Saints, Bulger ran 19 yards for a touchdown that put the Rams three points ahead with 28 seconds remaining. Martz then called for a squib kickoff by Jeff Wilkins, even though Wilkins' two previous kickoffs had forced New Orleans to start drives at its own 20- and 15-yard lines. The Saints started at their 42 after this kick, and needed only three plays to move close enough for a tying field goal.

    Even for Martz, it has been a strange month. The Rams did more contact work than usual in training camp and emphasized getting physical and running the ball. In the final exhibition game against the Raiders, they ran 45 times and, against Arizona in the opener, they ran the ball effectively.

    Then they stopped running.

    Meanwhile, the defense, which was supposed to be more aggressive under first-year coordinator Larry Marmie, is struggling, even with most of last year's starters. The Rams can't stop the run, allowing 5.4 yards a carry. They were forced to make adjustments in the secondary because of injuries. And they are the only team in the league that has not forced a single turnover.

    All that's missing is someone saying, "Same old Rams.'' But they're getting close.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Details, details
    Under head coach Mike Martz, the Rams have been a sloppy team. Here's how their annual number of turnovers lost, sacks allowed and penalty yards compares with the league average since Martz became head coach in 2000, and how they have ranked in the league turnover differential:

    E-mail Ira Miller at [email protected].

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  • RamWraith
    Whiner press blasts Martz
    by RamWraith
    Wednesday, September 29, 2004


    Martz instrumental in demise of Rams


    Ira Miller

    In the Super Bowl following the 2001 season, the New England Patriots played a nickel defense virtually the entire game, daring St. Louis to run.

    The Rams didn't take the bait. Of course, you might remember, New England, a two-touchdown underdog, won the game -- the second-biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

    St. Louis coach Mike Martz did not get his reputation as an offensive wizard by ordering his quarterbacks to hand off. Three seasons later, Martz has not changed. The Rams still live -- and, frequently these days, die -- by the pass.

    St. Louis, which is averaging fewer running plays than any other team in the NFL, will bring a 1-2 record to San Francisco for a Sunday night game against the *****. The Rams have beaten only winless Arizona -- in a game the Cardinals led after three quarters -- and their roster includes better talent than their won-lost record shows.

    The quarterback, Marc Bulger, leads the NFL in completions and has a completion percentage of 69.3. One receiver, Isaac Bruce, leads the league in receptions and receiving yardage, and the other, Torry Holt, was the league leader in 2003. Left tackle Orlando Pace might be the best in the game. Running back Marshall Faulk has slipped with age, but remains effective. And nine of the 11 starters return on a defense that at least was decent in the recent past.

    So how come the Rams stink?

    Yeah, it's time to take another look at Mad Mike.

    As a head coach, Martz makes an easy target because he is outgoing, outspoken and different. But for all his offensive flair, Martz still doesn't get it. The Rams thought they were starting a dynasty when they won the Super Bowl under Dick Vermeil following the 1999 season, but they haven't come close to fulfilling their promise.

    A month ago, this game looked like a certain loss for San Francisco. Now, despite how wretchedly the ***** played at Seattle, it's up for grabs.

    The Rams have had the same problems for five seasons under Martz. They lack attention to detail, play sloppily, allow their quarterback to take too many hits (which is what happened to Kurt Warner) and use questionable strategy and play-calling that ignore the running game.

    Since Martz became their head coach, the Rams have been more than 37 percent above the league average in losing turnovers and 17 percent above the league average in giving up quarterback sacks. Except for last season, they also have been penalized at a rate well above the league average.

    Yet, rather than change, Martz apparently has become defiant about doing it his way.

    When he was questioned in St. Louis this week about the abject lack of balance on offense -- 29 runs, 91 passes called in...
    -09-30-2004, 05:40 AM
  • MauiRam
    How Mike Martz and The Greatest Show on Turf kicked off an NFL revolution
    by MauiRam
    Ben Baskin
    Tuesday May 23rd, 2017

    Sometimes a catalyzing event occurs, one so extreme that it disrupts the natural order, compelling a species to change. Those are the anomalies, the aberrations, the hurricanes and tornados, extreme mutations, phenomena that upend the system. In those instances the evolution is rapid, sudden and without warning. In biology, they call it the punctuated equilibrium theory. In football, we called it the Greatest Show on Turf.

    Dick Vermeil got his first NFL coaching job in 1969, hired by Marv Levy to be a special teams coach with the Los Angeles Rams. Roman Gabriel, the Rams quarterback that season, threw for 2,549 yards and completed 54.4% of his passes—good enough to be named NFL MVP. Thirty seasons later Vermeil returned to the Rams, this time to be the head coach of a very different team, in a new city, with a very different MVP under center.

    “I saw the evolution,” Vermeil says. “It was slow. Every year teams threw a little more, scoring went up a little more. When you have 32 teams, they don’t all transcend to a new philosophy at the same time.”

    But the 1999 Rams transcended. For decades the NFL had been slowly inching towards putting a greater emphasis on the passing game, with incremental changes coming every year. But then along came the Rams. And they blew the whole damn thing up.

    In the three decades between 1969 and ’98 the average quarterback rating in the NFL rose 6.7 points, passing totals increased 27.5 yards per game and completion percentage grew 4.0%. In the seasons since 1999, when those Rams upended and redefined the NFL’s status quo, QB rating has risen 11.0 points, passing output 36.5 yards, and completion percentage 6.4%—nearly double the increase, in roughly half the time.


    The Rams were the tornado, the anomaly that compelled a sudden and rapid evolution of football. They were the catalyzing event that disrupted the equipoise of the NFL, a punctuated equilibrium of pigskin.

    “At the time, we knew we were doing something special,” Rams receiver Torry Holt says. “But we didn’t know we were revolutionizing the game.”

    Last season, the Atlanta Falcons scored 540 offensive points, which tied the Rams for seventh most in NFL history. The Falcons’ offense, led by Kyle Shanahan, was as close to a direct descendent of the 1999 St. Louis team as we’ve seen. Aaron Rodgers leading the NFL in fantasy points? Thank the Rams. Record books that have been razed and rewritten? Blame the Rams. Running backs who now need to run routes and catch passes as part of their job description; tight ends who now are no longer glorified blockers, but athletic freaks and dynamic pass catchers; receivers who now are no longer just big and tall and asked to run one route, but small and shifty and running every route in the book? Rams, Rams, Rams.

    “The more and more I sit back and think about it,” Holt...
    -05-24-2017, 10:17 AM
  • txramsfan
    Chris Mortensen gets it....from ESPN.com
    by txramsfan
    Tuesday, October 12, 2004
    Criticizing is easy; winning isn't

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By Chris Mortensen
    ESPN Insider

    Before I wax a lot about Mike Martz and a little about Marty Schottenheimer, let me concede something.

    One of the flaws in my game, so to speak, is that I give head coaches a lot of rope in analyzing their performance on the sidelines. There are reasons for that. My career goal was to be a coach – my high school coaches were great influences on me. I ended up in journalism, and at one stretch I spent 10 years covering major league baseball only to switch to the NFL on a full-time basis 20 years ago. I immersed myself in the offices and film rooms of coaches who were willing to re-teach me the game of football. Even then, the constant evolution of the sport leaves me as a remedial observer.

    I have a great appreciation and respect for the amount of time coaches pour into their jobs. I understood perfectly what former Saints coach Jim Mora meant when he told the New Orleans media, "You think you know, but you don't know." It was blunt but true. The game is never as simple as we think. The quarterback isn't at fault for half his interceptions. The offensive line isn't guilty of about half the sacks you see. That cornerback you think blew coverage may have been doing exactly what he had been taught.

    So only reluctantly will you see me criticize coaches, and seldom will you see me attack a coach, although as Giants owner Wellington Mara reminds me, "The great thing about our profession is that every (coach) ultimately grades his own performance by his record." Yes, the bottom line is winning.

    That brings me to Martz and Schottenheimer, two coaches who have been slapped around in recent years. If I I trusted everything I heard on TV, heard on the radio and read in print, you would think Martz and Schottenheimer are two of the biggest buffoons in the history of football. This follows the same line more than a month ago when our media world was demonizing Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

    Martz and Schottenheimer are different in many respects. Schottenheimer is a great fundamentalist coach, and Martz is, well, he's just out there, on the edge – so much so that former ***** coach Bill Walsh has said, "You can't emulate what Martz does."

    I know they should never be characterized as buffoons. These guys have won a lot of football games.


    * * *

    Has anyone noticed what Martz has done for the St. Louis Rams? True, his team is only 3-2, which makes him 46-22 during the regular season since he became the Rams' head coach in 2000. And, I'm sorry, but I have a difficult time not crediting him with 13 more wins and a Super Bowl championship in 1999, when the Rams won it all with Kurt...
    -10-12-2004, 01:33 PM
  • ramsbruce
    Mike Martz' fall from grace
    by ramsbruce
    Mike Martz' fall from grace
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/01/2006


    He steered the Rams to the Super Bowl. But politics and personality conflicts obscured his genius, and now head coach Mike Martz appears on the way out.

    With his silver hair, glasses and polite manners, the Rams' new offensive coordinator looked almost bookish - more scholar than football coach. When he accepted the job after two years as an assistant coach in Washington, Mike Martz didn't look or act much different than he did in 1995 and 1996, when he was a Rams assistant under Rich Brooks: quiet, low-key and unassuming.

    Back then, he was in charge of wide receivers. But in January 1999, Martz was put in charge of the entire Rams offense under head coach Dick Vermeil. By the time training camp started that summer, the offense looked a lot different than it did when Martz accepted the job.

    "It's like winning the lotto," Martz said at the time. "I came to the Rams, and we signed Trent Green, and we have a healthy Isaac Bruce, and then we draft Torry Holt. All of that, and then it's, 'Oh yeah, here's Marshall Faulk at running back.'

    "Dick has made a lot of outstanding personnel decisions, and he should get the credit for that. At this point, my job is, 'Don't screw them up.' "

    He didn't, of course. Even back in July 1999, Martz gave a hint of what would come.

    "We're going to be aggressive," Martz said. "You have to let these guys play and not be afraid to take chances. You can't go out there and be afraid to lose. You have to play to win. And our talent level on offense is good enough to win with."

    Those seemed like bold words at the time. The Rams, after all, were 22-42 during their first four seasons in St. Louis. Dating back to their days in Southern California, they had endured nine consecutive losing seasons.

    For all his talents, Faulk was part of an Indianapolis team that went 3-13 in 1998. Bruce had not won more than seven games in any season as a Ram. Holt was a rookie. Green had only 14 starts on his NFL resume.

    And when Green went down with a season-ending knee injury in late August, it looked hopeless. The obscure Kurt Warner took over at quarterback, and the early results were encouraging.

    After the Rams scored 35 points and gained 442 yards to defeat reigning NFC champion Atlanta, Martz was awarded a game ball.

    "I've never had as much fun in my whole life," Martz said afterward. "I probably will never have a group like this again. I'm under a star right now. ... Who knows how long this will go?"

    On one level, those were bold words, considering the Rams were a mere 2-0 at the time. But they proved to be prophetic. By the end of the 1999 regular season, the Rams were playoff-bound,...
    -12-31-2005, 07:32 PM
  • RamWraith
    Martz does things his own way--ESPN Insider
    by RamWraith
    By Jeff Reynolds
    Pro Football Weekly

    ST. LOUIS – It's June 1, and the temperature, climbing above 85 degrees on a cloudless day at a tucked-away corporate park west of St. Louis, creates the slightest haze outside the oversized windows at Rams Park.

    The blinds, tilted upward in his second-floor corner office, rob Rams head coach Mike Martz of a view of an empty practice field and a justifiably quiet blacktop parking lot.

    Even in a navy and gray floral printed polo shirt embroidered with the logo of a past golf tournament, Martz portrays perfectly the image of a studious football coach. Angling toward the front edge of his mahogany U-shaped desk, Martz shifts an iced Diet Pepsi to the right to uncover a bound, double-sided printout. The standard white, 8½-by-11-inch paper stands about two inches thick, lying flat in Martz's outstretched hand.

    "Third-down plays we had ready and never called," Martz says, a sense of dissatisfaction in his voice. "We don't have a playbook. We have a book with the system in it as described with some of the base offense. If you put everything together on that top rack , that is about half of what we do. … It's never-ending."



    Mike Martz has a 51-29 regular-season record as the Rams head coach.This is Mike Martz, the subject of justifiably passionate debate among football fans who can't agree whether he's brilliant, smarmy, stubborn, ignorant or some combination of those traits. The man often portrayed as a prima-donna dictator displays only pictures of his dogs, Rocky and Buddy, and his family. There is no Super Bowl ring, no glamorous display of career achievements. Nothing that says Martz is the extroverted narcissist many assume him to be.

    He is asked about defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, who has been ridiculed frequently since replacing Lovie Smith, who went on to become the head coach of the Bears.

    "Criticism, most often, is without understanding," Martz says in a persuasive tone, sounding like an attorney during closing arguments.

    He's not back on his heels, but there is evidence in his irritatingly relaxed posture that Martz has been here before.

    Many things make Martz an easy target. For one, his offense sits with some traditionalists – the 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust generation – as well as poetry does with a butcher. He also refuses to bother with self-defense, leading second-guessers to keep guessing. Take Super Bowl XXXVI for example, a loss that one confidant says still "haunts him" as has been widely speculated.

    Smith, who worked with Martz at Arizona State, was on the St. Louis coaching staff from 2001-03 and called that game "the toughest loss I've ever been a part of."

    The Rams lost to the Patriots 20-17 on a last-second field goal, and following the game, the Rams'...
    -06-30-2005, 01:01 PM
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