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Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

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  • Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

    Some Bernie--

    On Martz
    A few responses:

    * I haven't hesitated to criticize Martz when warranted. That's what some of you apparently forget. I wrote two columns disagreeing with his strategy in the days after the Carolina loss. The difference is, I took a reasoned approach. I wasn't demanding that he be castrated, or anything like that. Some of the reaction by fans to that game bordered on bloodlust.

    * I did review the list of "leftover" players submitted here. Sorry that you missed it.

    * Martz's gameday management should be better. How many times have I written that? Many. But I also think this "he isn't a head coach" stuff is ludicrous. Anyone who wins at a rate of .672 as a head coach through an ongoing roster transition is doing a lot of things right. But the hatred of Martz has become so insane -- and it truly is insane -- that now I get e-mails from fans telling me that Martz doesn't deserve credit for the offense. That's right; now some folks don't even want to acknowledge that he put together this offense. It's been one big accident. Luck. That is lunacy.

    * As for Vermeil and Tony Banks and history. and me not knowing what went on....I I don't mean to be disrespectful, but it's humorous when other people tell me what really went on in those days, and how I'm wrong....and yet I was there, and the people who are telling me I'm wrong were not.

    Shaw encouraged Vermeil to make a change at QB in the meeting after the 1998 season. Vermeil was hedging. He had Martz review tapes of Banks, and wanted an honest, no-holds assessment. After they signed Trent Green, I visited Martz in his office. I wanted to get a handle on Green, and Martz was kind enough to show me some video of Green in Washington. Vermeil walks into the office and makes some comments about Green, and with me right there, he thanks Martz for being the one to lead the charge on signing Trent. Later, Martz then had told me the story about how Dick asked him to review Tony Banks, because Dick was strongly inclined to stick with Banks...but after reviewing Banks, Martz told Vermeil, "if we play Banks this season, we'll all be fired, Dick." Vermeil, laughing, confirmed that story to me at a much later date.

    Along these lines...when Green went down, I called Shaw up late that night and asked what they planned to do...he was crushed. He said there was debate inside the organization; Vermeil wanted to sign Jeff Hostetler, and Martz was trying to nudge him into going with Warner. (I don't think Martz was a Hostetler fan). Vermeil made the right decision. And the bottom line is, he made the decision so he gets credit. Perhaps Shaw was overstating DV's interest in Hoss; I tend to doubt that. But it would also be ignorant to pretend that Martz had no influence.

    So please....I've told these stories many times. I know exactly what was going on during that period, because I had unusually good access. There are times when as a reporter, you are sworn to some secrecy on some things -- at that precise moment. But I've always tried to relay this type of information as soon as posssible. Ultimately, I get the info out there.



    The plus-minus ledger for St. Louis football under Martz is heavy on the plus side. Not even close. It's just that a couple pf his failures have been so monumental, it distorts the overall record.

    Martz drives me batty, too. We've had our tiffs. I doubt that he would nominate me for president of his fan club. But to an extent, I think we've lost some perspective on how good of an era this has been for the Rams.

    I'm certain I'll be ripped to shreds by Martz's harshest critics -- they're so angry -- but that's OK. I'll take his winning percentage over the WP posted by so many coaches (Cardinals and Rams) before he began making such an impact in 1999.



    Vermeil, to his credit, and with some help from his friends, made the adjustment after the long layoff from coaching and he's one of the best. That wasn't the case in 1997 or '98. He was overmatched. And he had an unfortunate infatuation with mediocre players. (He was set to have Tony Banks as his QB in 1999, until Martz convinced him otherwise. Just one example). But quality usually breaks through. In Dick's case, it did....and it was understandable that he'd need time to catch up.



    Rams should be about 9-7, 10-6.

    And that's about where they should be, given the problems on both lines. Plus the schedule (if it does indeed hold up to be as tough as it looks on paper).

    Rams fans are funny. So spoiled.

    Now a Rams team goes 12-4, and people want to whizz all over it.

    Players "leftovers" from the Vermeil era.

    Faulk, Bruce, Holt, Pace and Timmerman were mentioned.

    Faulk: Vermeil wanted to trade him when he held out in 1999. Vermeil also wanted to cut down on his playing time because he didn't like the way Marshall practiced. Martz and Montgomery intervened.

    Bruce: amazing that someone would even bring him up, considering the poor relationship between Ike and DV. Martz got that back on track.

    Holt: drafted in 1999. has had his best years under Martz.

    Pace and Timmerman: Pace would be great under any coach. Timmerman was signed in 1999. He's been solid. Both guys have played well for DV and MM.


  • #2
    Re: Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

    For those of you who cry all the fricking dad gum time that Martz "inherited" this team.......and still do after reading this......have no business posting anywhere on the internet.


    • #3
      Re: Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

      Good stuff. :ramlogo:


      • #4
        Re: Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

        Martz drives me absolutely nuts during the course of a season,but to be honest I cant imagine anyone else coaching this team right now.Heck,I even yell at Martz when I'm playing Madden. :redface:


        • #5
          Re: Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

          TX ,we have gone round and round over this and I posted earlier what I really think. And that is he inherited the team from Dick when he became the head coach and without Dick he wouldn't be where he is now . Also I will point out that without Martz the Rams may not be wherer they are now either. I just thought that those 2 were one hell of a one two Punch!


          • #6
            Re: Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

            OK theodus, I give. If all this factual information still makes you believe Martz inherited this team, so be it.

            So let it be written, so let it be said.


            • #7
              Re: Some Bernie--a lot about Martz

              A good read!!!! interesting!!!

              steve :ramlogo:
              "The breakfast Club":helmet:


              Related Topics


              • Nick
                Bernie on Martz
                by Nick
                BernieM wrote:

                I haven't come around to anyone's way of thinking.

                I've always taken Martz to task when warranted.

                But unlike some of you, I also try to be fair about the guy.

                Last year was a strong coaching performance by Martz, and anyone who didn't recognize this doesn't know football or else has a really bad jones for Martz.

                As I have said before, I don't play to mobs. I think for myself.

                This year, he's been erratic and uneven and distracted. I figured trouble
                was setting in when he started doing bizarre paranoid stuff with the media, in October. Martz became convinced that someone with the media was watching plays in practice and telling other teams, just because the reporter kept walking out of practice, talking into a cell phone. Nothing could be further from the truth; Martz was cracking. Martz also banned a Rams intern from practice because the Rams were getting ready for Tampa Bay and the young man had briefly interned for Tampa Bay. Nuts. Sad.

                And it doesn't impact me whatsoever, so please refrain from your theories about this is why I've been harder on Martz. It simply does not matter to me, because I have no interest in watching practice or wasting afternoons at Rams Park. But I know Martz enough to be able to have a good instinct for when he's going into the real Mad Mike mode -- mad as in a little crazy. And his media stuff is usually the first warning sign, and indicates a larger problem.

                When Martz is freaking out and heading into the meltdown mode, it always surfaces first with his media relations. He gets really strange; starts to do control-freak stuff that's transparent and comical. I last saw it in 2002 but he pulled his head together over the offseason and was ready to coach again in 2003.


                Shaw is on the case.

                Martz is already talking about giving Fairchild more responsibility in 2005.

                -12-22-2004, 09:28 AM
              • Nick
                Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score
                by Nick
                Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score
                BY JEFF GORDON
                Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist

                I believe we all like a little self-deprecating humor in our coaches. In a field of know-it-alls and Inventors of the Sport, the ability to mock oneself is an endearing quality.

                We can only take so much of the Bill Walshs and Marty Schottenheimers of the world.

                However, I'd like to use this corner of cyberspace to give Rams coach Mike Martz a little advice.

                Never, never, NEVER come clean during a post-game news conference. Never admit to a lapse in your cognitive powers.

                Never admit you didn't know what the score was in the last minute of a game.

                You know how some citizens of Rams Nation are. They doubt Martz as a head coach and disparage his game management skills. They bristle every time he burns his timeouts, as he did in the second half of the Raiders game.

                They hang on his every word, waiting for him to make an incriminating statement or use an improper tone of voice. There are folks who walk around town muttering one of Martz's favorite lines, "Shoot, we'll fix that," under their breaths.

                As veteran talk show host Howard Balzer noted on 1380 ESPN Friday morning, Martz should NOT have made a confession after Thursday night's 28-24 loss at Oakland.

                He admitted ordering Jeff Smoker to throw a sideline pass with nine seconds left, even though the Rams needed to get in the end zone.

                "I can't believe I was yelling for a field goal," Martz told reporters. "That was the dumbest thing I've ever done as a football coach."

                Oh, boy. You don't want to get Rams fans going down that road.

                That was tantamount to throwing out a three-hour radio call-in topic. That was like throwing fresh hamburger into the shark tank. Fans will be eager to respond to that assertion.

                "Smoker was yelling at me, 'Hey coach, we're down by four!'" Martz continued. "Can you imagine Jeff Smoker telling me what the score was?"

                Everybody at once: YES!

                Now I'm a pretty big Mike Martz fan. He inherited outstanding talent from Dick Vermeil, but he also had to rebuild an atrocious defense.

                He has accomplished plenty on his own, including winning an NFC Championship and reaching postseason play three times.

                The NFL is a tough place to coach, as Steve Spurrier would tell you. Rams fans tend not to give Mad Mike all the credit he deserves.

                But Martz DOES do some goofy things. He seems to become immersed in his scripted play chart, to the point of becoming impervious to all the drama swirling around him.

                When asked to comment on such-and-such an incident on the sidelines, Martz often has no idea what reporters...
                -09-03-2004, 05:19 PM
              • RamWraith
                THe Bernie comments on the Martz situation
                by RamWraith
                The big guy had this opinion to give....

                My belief is that Martz has had enough, and rather than expose himself to more of this, he's going underground where isn't exposed to more contamination.

                The next test will come when it's time for a contract extension for him after this season -- and we'll see Shaw tap dance and wiggle out.

                It is my belief that Martz has coached his last game for the Rams.

                You are right: I wrote about the Rams/Martz friction after last season, and wrote about a couple of times this season, and I remember in each instance all of the "experts" and "insiders" on the Rams' internet boards all but accused me of making it up.

                Gee, they're awfully quiet these days.

                -10-24-2005, 05:56 PM
              • RamWraith
                The Bernie on Martz and his illness
                by RamWraith
                This doesn't sound good boys and girls.

                sorry I'm slow to report on this, but I'm at Busch Stadium today, tending to off-day interviews in preparation of writing for tomorrow's column-

                Here's the deal on Martz:

                First, a statement from him:

                “I have been ill for four or five weeks. Our medical staff is in the process of evaluating a number of diagnostic tests to determine the cause. Dr. (Doug) Pogue suspects a bacterial infection of a heart valve called endocarditis. This can’t be confirmed for a number of days until a series of blood tests are concluded. Diagnosed early, this can be treated through a lengthy series of antibiotics with full recovery.

                “However, this infection causes a great deal of fatigue and is somewhat debilitating. Consequently, I will limit my work day as much as possible until I can start to recover. I will not be at practice Wednesday or Thursday. Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt will act on my behalf when I am unavailable.”

                As of right now, Martz definitely plans to coach vs. Seattle on Sunday....that is his intention.... I also know the doctors are warning him to take this seriously -- they've been on his case for a few weeks, telling him he needs more rest. But Martz works 18-hour days (at least). I think he's sufficiently worried now.

                I know a lot of people in town hate this guy because he doesn't coach in a way that pleases them, but I hope he gets well, because he's a good guy with a family who loves him.

                -10-05-2005, 02:35 PM
              • Nick
                Bernie: In sizing up Rams, buck must stop at Martz's desk
                by Nick
                In sizing up Rams, buck must stop at Martz's desk
                By Bernie Miklasz
                Of the Post-Dispatch
                Sunday, Nov. 28 2004

                In recent troubling weeks, head coach Mike Martz has offered acidic critiques
                of the Rams' special teams, soft physical play, and the lax attitude of his
                young players.

                It's been interesting to see Martz try to transform his team's personality by
                recasting his own image as a tough-guy coach. I'm not sure the players will buy
                into Martz as Bill Parcells Lite, but we'll find out.

                Martz has declined to single players out by name - save for roughing up punter
                Sean Landeta, of course. That's OK; anyone who pays attention to the mediocre
                5-5 Rams can easily fill in the blanks. The offensive line and defense
                routinely get pounded, so no elaboration by Martz is necessary. We don't
                require binoculars to see the weak areas.

                I'm no serial Martz basher. He has pluses as a coach, and I refuse to join his
                irrational mob of hateful, petty critics who won't give him even a small nod of
                appreciation for his successes.

                That said, I have to call him out.

                The Rams are in a state of decline, or chaos, or both. And Martz without
                question is the person most responsible for the distressing reality at Rams
                Park. Martz is more than a coach; he's a virtual football CEO. Martz was given
                considerable authority by Rams management. Martz is also the de facto general
                manager; he only answers to team president John Shaw.

                When Martz analyzes game video, he's seeing his own creation.

                Let's go down the list:

                SPECIAL TEAMS: Martz never prioritized special teams, and they've been inferior
                since he took over as head coach in 2000. This is no coincidence. Martz doesn't
                draft enough players based on what they might add to the special teams. He
                doesn't have the special teams in mind when he makes cuts and shapes his
                roster. He apparently doesn't worry about the special teams when writing the
                inactive list before games. (The Rams' two leading special-teams tacklers
                didn't suit up last Sunday in Buffalo). And Martz has allowed other assistants
                to undermine his special teams coaches.

                DEFENSE: Martz gave former defensive coordinator Lovie Smith a substantial
                voice in drafting players to stock the defense. Because of personnel
                miscalculations the Rams are left with an undersized, passive defense that's
                mauled at the point of attack. When Smith left to become the Chicago Bears'
                head coach, Martz hired an old friend, Larry Marmie. In fairness to Marmie, he
                inherited this collection of smallish underachievers from Smith, and that isn't
                his fault. Perhaps in time we will recognize that Marmie was...
                -11-28-2004, 03:05 AM