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  • New defensive coordinator making his mark-and another

    Associated Press

    MACOMB, Ill. - St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz stumbled a bit earlier this week, referring to his defensive coordinator as Lovie Smith before quickly correcting himself.

    Smith is now the head coach of the Bears, who'll be in town for three days of joint practices plus a scrimmage Thursday through Saturday. And Martz is looking forward to the reunion.

    "Of course, I'm excited to see Lovie," Martz said. "Lovie is a very good friend and these players will be very excited to see Lovie."

    But Martz is just as enthusiastic about his new defensive coordinator, Larry Marmie. The two go back a long way; Martz was Marmie's offensive coordinator at Arizona State from 1988-91.

    Now, Marmie is working for Martz. So far it seems like a good fit.

    "You never know," Marmie said. "I've always had great respect for Mike as a coach and have worked with him and coached against him.

    "I'm excited about coaching with him again."

    How excited? Only six days after Smith got the Bears job, ending his three-year stay in St. Louis, Martz hired Marmie away from the Cardinals where he had been defensive coordinator the previous four seasons.

    "We share the same philosophies from a football standpoint, but the character he brings is unmatchable," Martz said. "He really should be a head coach in this league."

    There will be no sweeping changes in defensive style or strategy under Marmie, 61. The Rams were in the middle of the pack overall in defense last year but they were an opportunistic bunch under Smith, leading the NFL with 46 takeaways.

    They'll play the same aggressive style this season.

    "I think there's a lot of similarities," Marmie said. "All we want to do is get better at what we're doing.

    "We have some outstanding talent and we want to get them in position to make plays."

    One change he will make is installing more multiple looks to confuse the offense.

    "Philosophically there's not a lot of change, but every year you look to get better," Marmie said. "I'm sure if Lovie was still here, he would have been tweaking the defense."

    The Rams also might blitz more under Marmie.

    "Hopefully we blitz not because we have to," Marmie said. "I don't think there's any defense you can play that's not aggressive. You'd better be aggressive when you're not blitzing as well."

    Marmie is more of an overseer than Smith, who is hands-on. He's pretty quiet on the practice field, having delegated the responsibility to his assistant coaches.

    "Coach Marmie is more the type to put in the defense," said safety Aeneas Williams, who was with Marmie in Arizona. "He establishes and installs the defense, communicates with the players, but also relies heavily on the coaches."

    Behind closed doors, though, Marmie's in control.

    "You say something when you have something to say," Marmie said. "We do a lot of things in our meeting rooms, so sometimes what you see on the field might not be what you get in the meeting room.

    "Coaching is about teaching and everybody does it a little differently."

    The biggest challenge is finding a replacement for Grant Wistrom, who signed as a free agent with the Seahawks, at right defensive end. There are several viable candidates, including rookie third-round pick Anthony Hargrove and former Bills draft pick Bryce Fisher, who entered camp as the first-stringer.

    Marmie said the competition will sort itself out over the next month.

    "We've got some guys we've been pleased with what we've seen," Marmie said. "That's what the preseason is about, trying to get the best players lined up."


    Larry Marmie: No loafing on his watch

    MACOMB - It's easy to pick out defensive coordinator Larry Marmie during a St. Louis Rams practice.

    Marmie is the only coach on the defensive side of the ball who isn't yelling.

    "You say something when you have something to say," Marmie said. "Coaching is about teaching. I think everybody does it a little differently."

    Like his predecessor, Lovie Smith, who left the Rams after three seasons as the team's defensive coordinator to become the head coach of the Chicago Bears, Marmie walks softly and carries a big stick.

    But then, Marmie doesn't have to say much with three extremely vocal coaches -- defensive line coach Bill Kollar, linebackers coach Joe Vitt and secondary coach Perry Fewell -- on his staff.

    "I don't think there is any questions these guys have a passion," Marmie said of his spirited staff. "The players can feel that. That's really the kind of game you want to play."

    Marmie, 61, who spent the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, said he has made only minor changes in the Rams' defensive scheme since replacing Smith.

    "There's not a whole lot of difference," Marmie said. "I am a believer in speed. I've admired the way they have played defense here for several years now. I don't think philosophically a lot has changed."

    Expect the Rams to play the same Cover 2 base defense this season. Having 11 guys flying to the ball on every play will be emphasized.

    " We're basically doing the same thing, and I like that because we have some veteran players who have been doing this for at least two some of us four years now," Rams defensive captain Tyoka Jackson said. " I think that's a smart thing not to change much. He's doing some things for the better that we can work on, but basically it's the same defense. That's what this game is all about, trying to be consistent and getting better at what you do."

    Like Smith, who had his "Loaf Chart," nothing less than maximum effort will be tolerated.

    "We'll keep track of them," Marmie said when asked about loafs. "That's no secret in this game. Lovie wasn't the only one to talk about loafs. I think most guys that coach know something about watching their players play hard, and whether they take plays off. Some emphasize it more than others, and I am sure that was one of the things that Lovie emphasized."

    Marmie also promised to be take advantage of the pass-rushing ability of strong safety Adam Archuleta, who had five sacks last season.

    "We're going to blitz when we want to blitz," Marmie said. "Hopefully, we blitz not because we have to. Adam is obviously a good blitzer. He's a guy you want to turn loose. Guys like to do that. They like to hear their number called."

    Marmie doesn't equate blitzing a lot with playing aggressively.

    "We want to be a pressure team," Marmie said. "A lot of people ask me, 'Do you want to play an aggressive defense?' I don't know any defense that you can play that is not aggressive. Just because you blitz don't make you aggressive. You better be aggressive when you are not blitzing as well."

    Archuleta welcomed the opportunity to play close to the line of scrimmage. He was used as a linebacker in the Rams' 4-1-6 defense the past two seasons.

    "I like my role as it stands," Archuleta said. "As long as I continue to move around and be involved in the blitz game and the run game, as long as I feel like I'm being stretched as a player, I'm happy."

    Marmie and Rams coach Mike Martz are longtime friends and colleagues. Martz was an assistant coach under Marmie at Arizona State from 1998-91.

    "He's a pretty intense individual," Martz said of Marmie. "I've been with Larry for so many years. He has the intensity and focus to help these guys get to the point where they are as good as they can be.

    "We share a lot of philosophies from a football standpoint, but the character he brings is unmatchable. He's somebody like Lovie in that respect. He really should be a head coach in this league."

Related Topics


  • Nick
    Marmie takes charge of Rams defense
    by Nick
    Marmie takes charge of Rams defense
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Aug. 27 2004

    As defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, Larry Marmie had the
    unenviable task of trying to slow the high-powered Rams offense twice a season
    since 2002, when both teams were assigned to the realigned NFC West. He didn't
    have much luck.

    The Rams went 4-0 vs. the Cardinals in that span, averaging 31 points per game.
    So as coach Mike Martz's new defensive coordinator, Marmie can relax now that
    he doesn't have to make a game-plan for the Rams anymore, right?

    "No, I've just got to practice against it every day," Marmie said, laughing.
    "But in the long run, working against our offense here has to really prepare us
    for a lot of things down the road. Because we're not going to see anybody that
    does any more offensively in terms of stretching the field and the wide-open
    type of offense, the shifts and the motion and all those things."

    Marmie (pronounced mar-MEE) lost his job in Arizona on Dec. 29 when head coach
    Dave McGinnis was fired after the Cardinals finished last in the division with
    a 4-12 record. Martz, who served as Marmie's offensive coordinator at Arizona
    State from 1988-91, hired his former boss three weeks later.

    "We share a lot of the same philosophies," Martz said. "He has the intensity
    and the focus to help these guys get to the point where they're as good as they
    can be."

    Safety Aeneas Williams, who played under Marmie in Arizona, said his calm
    demeanor on the practice field contrasts sharply with his forceful presence
    behind closed doors. "There won't be any threatening, but he's going to back up
    what he says," Williams said.

    Marmie, 61, succeeds Lovie Smith, the Chicago Bears' new head coach. It's not
    an easy role to assume: Not only was Smith highly popular with the players, he
    turned the Rams defense from one of the league's worst into a solid, if not
    spectacular, unit during his three seasons.

    "I know what a great job Lovie did here," said Marmie, who is working on
    building his trust among the players. "I would like for them to have a
    confidence that what we're doing is right and fits our personnel, and that they
    understand what we're doing," he said.

    Although the Rams led the 32-team NFL in takeaways last year with 46, they
    ranked 16th in total defense and only 20th in rushing defense. That's an area
    Marmie is targeting, although he promises no major overhaul in the team's basic

    "He's tweaked some things for the better, but basically it's the same defense," ...
    -08-29-2004, 12:31 PM
  • RamWraith
    Defense has struggled under Rams' Marmie
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Dec. 18 2004

    The first time Larry Marmie faced his old team, there was no cause for alarm.
    Little reason for disappointment.

    Back on Sept. 12, the Arizona Cardinals were limited to 10 points, managed a
    modest 14 first downs and gained only 260 yards. But a lot has happened to the
    Rams' defense since their season-opening 17-10 victory over the Big Red - and
    most of it not good:

    They have been ranked as low as 30th in total defense in the NFL, or
    third to last.

    They currently have just 13 takeaways, ahead of only Green Bay and
    Oakland (with 12 each).

    In eight of their 13 games this season, the Rams have allowed a
    100-yard rusher.

    "Certainly, it hasn't gone like I envisioned it would go," said Marmie, the
    Rams' first-year defensive coordinator. "I thought that it would be smoother.
    That we would be more productive defensively. That we would have continued to
    do a lot of the things that they had done here in the past. ... I didn't
    envision it being like it is right now."

    Some things have been out of Marmie's control. Such as the broken forearm that
    sidelined cornerback Travis Fisher for nearly half the season. Or the bad back
    that has taken much of the pop out of Adam Archuleta at strong safety.

    Or the fact that age and injury have conspired against eight- time Pro Bowler
    Aeneas Williams. Or the five lineup combinations at linebacker in the team's
    first 10 games.

    "There were some key (injuries)," Marmie said. "But people really don't want to
    hear about that. People really don't care who's out there. They just assume
    that who ever's out there ought to all play the same way."

    Without a doubt, the most confounding thing about this season for Marmie has
    been the dearth of turnovers. Last season, the Rams' defense led the league
    with 46 takeaways. Since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995, only the
    2000 season Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens have had more (49). This
    season, the Rams are on pace for just 16.

    "I know it's been disappointing to our players, because they took great pride
    in the turnovers that they created last year," Marmie said. "We've got the same
    players, and I think we're coaching it the same way. Because Bill (Kollar) was
    here and Perry (Fewell) was here - and they were a part of the emphasis that
    was put on it last year."

    Kollar is the Rams' defensive line coach; Fewell coaches the secondary.

    "So if you're not careful, you look at it and say, 'What's the difference?' "
    Marmie said. "Well,...
    -12-19-2004, 05:32 AM
  • Nick
    Marmie shows grit amid critics' howls
    by Nick
    Marmie shows grit amid critics' howls
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - They grow 'em tough in Barnesville, Ohio, a small coal-mining town directly across the Ohio River from Wheeling, W.Va. So when the catcalls began early last season, Rams' first-year defensive coordinator Larry Marmie took little notice.

    "Sure, most people would like to have good things being said about them all the time. But this is a result-oriented business, and that's part of it," he said. "You're trying to do the best you can, but there's going to be some adversity in this game. And if you can't handle that, if you can't work through that and continue to do your job, then you're not going to last very long."

    After a pause, Marmie grinned and added, "Sometimes I didn't like what I saw, either."

    The Rams' defense was erratic in 2004. By midseason the unit ranked near the bottom of the 32-team NFL in several key categories. Marmie, who replaced the highly popular and generally successful Lovie Smith, became an easy target.

    "I understood that," said Marmie, 62. "If you don't do well, if you don't perform, things are going to be said. . . . And certainly Lovie's a terrific coach and an outstanding person."

    Critics emphasized that Marmie had spent the previous eight seasons with the lowly Arizona Cardinals. And they charged bitterly that coach Mike Martz had hired his former boss out of loyalty: Marmie was the head coach at Arizona State when Martz served as offensive coordinator from 1988-91.

    Martz firmly defended Marmie. "We share a lot of the same philosophies from a football standpoint," he said last summer in training camp. "But the character that (Marmie) brings to this football team is unmatchable. He's somebody, like Lovie, that you have a great deal of respect for."

    But respect must be merited, Marmie stressed. "Any time that there's a change, you have to adjust to each other," he said. "As a coach, you have to earn your stripes."

    Although the Rams employ the same basic scheme as they did before Smith left to become the Chicago Bears coach, Marmie tossed in some modifications that required significant adjustments.

    "He challenges you mentally," defensive end Leonard Little said. "He makes you try to think a little bit more when you're out."

    Whereas the Rams under Smith didn't deviate much from their base sets, Marmie favors multiple formations and coverages.

    "There are a couple of different philosophies, and one is that you don't do very much and you try to do that very, very well. You get the repetition of it over and over and over and over," Marmie said. "And the other is that you're going to do more things, which gives you more flexibility...
    -05-30-2005, 10:30 PM
  • Tony Soprano
    Fire Larry Marmie !
    by Tony Soprano
    Last year we finished the season giving up 48 points to the Falcons. This year we've played total patsies - except for the Giants and the Seahawks.

    In those 2 games, we given up an average of 41 points.

    Seriously, did anyone think of Marmie when we had to go out and get a DEF coord? Most teams get a coord from a team that's Defense is setting the league on fire. That's how it's done, that's how we got Lovie Smith,, Tampa Bay's DEF was the leagues best and he was a coach on that DEF.
    BUT, we bring in Larry Marmie, the Arizona Cardinals DEF coordinator. Now, Marmie was fired from Arizona (with the rest of the staff). So, Marmie wasn't a hot coach, and he didn't work on a good Defense, yet we brought him in here to be Defensive coordinator.

    The only remote reason one can fathom for hiring Marmie is simply Cronyism.

    The Question is not will we immediately turn things around under a new Defensive coordinator, the Question is are we going in the wrong direction on Defense?

    -10-09-2005, 03:48 PM
  • AvengerRam_old
    The Trial of Larry Marmie (Pink Floyd style)
    by AvengerRam_old
    Good evening, Clan of honor
    This game should plainly show
    The current Rams D coordinator
    Could only be described as stealing
    Stealing wages for a D that is a failure
    This will not due

    Call the Cardinal fan!

    I always said he'd come to no good
    You poor Clan of honor
    If Martz were not his friend
    Its our defense he would shape
    Thank god for nepotism
    Now Martz he has our garbage
    He's getting away with murder
    You must fire him today

    [Marmie] Lazy, all these first rounders
    They are lazy
    Clearly not my fault

    Call the Ram fan!

    You little twit
    You've done it now
    I just can't stand you Sir Marmie
    You should not have been hired
    But Martz is your good friend and no!
    He had to go his own way
    Have you seen all those long runs lately
    For just five minutes, Clan of honor
    Him and me alone!

    Come to Martzy Marmie
    Let me hold you in my arms
    M'Clan I never wanted us to get in so much trouble
    Oh shoot, we will just fix it
    Come on Marmie, I will take you home

    [Marmie]Lazy, boys with big contracts
    They are lazy, toughness they don't know
    There must have been a star there on the D
    When I came in...
    Lazy, boys with big contracts they are lazy!

    The evidence before the court is incontrovertable
    There's no need for the jury to retire
    In all my years of fandom, I have have never seen before
    A defense that contains so many flaws and many pores
    The way you've made them suffer
    These wonderful ClanRam sisters and brothers
    Fills me with the urge to deficate!
    Since, Marmie, you still seem to have coach Martz's ear
    I sentence you by bidding Ram fans to raise a cheer

    Marmie take the fall!
    Marmie take the fall!
    Marmie take the fall!
    Marmie take the fall!
    -11-29-2004, 11:07 PM