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  • Manumaleuna impresses Martz

    Manumaleuna impresses Martz
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/17/2004

    MACOMB, Ill. - When Mike Martz said that tight end Brandon Manumaleuna has "been consistently excellent throughout practice and our preseason game; he's not had any lapses," the Rams head coach apparently had a lapse of his own.

    On the 11th play of the Rams' first series vs. Chicago on Thursday, blitzing Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer charged by Manumaleuna and sacked quarterback Marc Bulger. The 9-yard loss stalled the drive at the Chicago 15-yard line, and Jeff Wilkins booted a 33-yard field goal. The Bears won 13-10 in overtime at the Edward Jones Dome.

    So, Manumaleuna hasn't been perfect since camp opened July 27 at Western Illinois University. But he's been good enough that Martz probably can be forgiven for his episode of selective memory.

    "Brandon's come light years," Martz said. "He's done just a great job. He finally, at this point, I think, is ready to take off."

    The Rams certainly hope so, considering that in the offseason, they put up $8.3 million over five years to prevent him from going to Carolina as a restricted free agent. Manumaleuna, 24, said he appreciated the Panthers' interest. "It was good to know that you were wanted somewhere," he said.

    But he was glad that the Rams kept him. "I was comfortable with everybody here, I like everybody on the team, and the organization's fine," he said. "I looked at it as, I couldn't lose either way."

    After making only nine catches in his first two years since the Rams selected him in the fourth round of the 2001 draft, Manumaleuna came up with 29 catches for 238 yards last season, his first as the team's No. 1 tight end. He expects even more this year.

    "I would like to have better numbers after this year, so I do have some bigger goals. We'll see what happens," he said. The first step in that direction was the shedding of 13 pounds in the offseason, dropping him to 275 on his 6-foot-2 frame.

    "He felt that I'd be a better receiver, and he also wanted to get me more involved with the offense," Manumaleuna said. "So, he asked me if I'd come in a lot lighter. I did that, and ... everything's going well."

    Bulger's arm is fine

    Quarterback Marc Bulger reported that his right (throwing) arm was "a little sorer than it was" Monday, after he suffered what was termed a mild bruise. Bulger was bumped by tackle Greg Randall, who had been pushed back by defensive end Leonard Little.

    Bulger, who felt a jolt of pain to his upper arm, said he was scared "for about two seconds. But you know pretty quick if you're hurt or not, and I realized I wasn't."

  • #2
    Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

    Quarterback Marc Bulger reported that his right (throwing) arm was "a little sorer than it was" Monday, after he suffered what was termed a mild bruise. Bulger was bumped by tackle Greg Randall, who had been pushed back by defensive end Leonard Little.
    Hate to think what could have happened to that frail thing if Bulger had actually been jumped by a frothing DE rather than having someone just pushed into him. Maybe there is something to be said for weight-lifting for QBs?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

      I don't get it!

      Correct me - Didn't MM say Manu had come "light years" last year? As I recall he was the second coming at FB and TE.

      Now he is come "light years" again. OOppss!

      Either Manu will be All Pro this year, or he was reclamation project 2 years ago.

      I won't be critical of MM yet....plenty of time for that later. I just don't understand the guy. Maybe I'm not supposed to....

      ARF

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

        Originally posted by AugustaRamFan
        I don't get it!
        Correct me - Didn't MM say Manu had come "light years" last year? As I recall he was the second coming at FB and TE.
        Now he is come "light years" again. OOppss!
        Either Manu will be All Pro this year, or he was reclamation project 2 years ago.
        I won't be critical of MM yet....plenty of time for that later. I just don't understand the guy. Maybe I'm not supposed to....
        ARF
        Not a few posters have noted MM's inconsistent statements. We certainly hope that he keeps his feet clean.

        But, cut MM some slack. I expect him to talk out of butt. In fact he better do it. He is the team's leader and HC and he better be saying positive things about the players. Just take his statements and season them with salt. DO NOT expect his statements to be completely factual and realistic. Expect his statements to be cheerleader like, sales-pitch like, motivational - "you can do it" type of rhetoric.

        Next time Martz praises another player, accept it, shrug, don't believe it in full, and hope it is fairly accurate. Don't take the man's bull too seriously. Judge him by his winning record (very good), and playoff performance (not so good).

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

          martz, smartz, fartz, or wartz is, by my best estimation (which isn't saying much), playing the dime-store psychologist...

          he's taking the positive reinforcement theory, when he's not using the negative reinforcement on his rookie qbs, as a tool to build up the confidences of his players; something he probably picked up from vermeil... martz doesn't smother his players with emotional displays but seems to go out of his way to praise the established skill players...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

            Originally posted by coy bacon
            Next time Martz praises another player, accept it, shrug, don't believe it in full, and hope it is fairly accurate.
            I try. I really do. But it's like listening to an LP moment. You know what to expect if you have heard the music already. But rarely have I known anyone to get to the point where the LP skips, have to get up to do something about it and say: "Boy, is this ever refreshing."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

              I would cut Martz more slack on his public statements if that's how all coaches did it. But when a guy like Parcells can make it to the playoffs with a team led by Quincy Carter, all the while telling the whole team that they better work their collective asses off or they'll be replaced, I don't see why Martz can't do it either.

              I think Martz wants people to think he's full of it or something.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                Originally posted by moklerman
                But when a guy like Parcells can make it to the playoffs with a team led by Quincy Carter, all the while telling the whole team that they better work their collective asses off or they'll be replaced, I don't see why Martz can't do it either.
                Because Mike Martz isn't Bill Parcells?

                I don't know, maybe I'm not understanding your point. But from what I'm hearing, this sounds like trying to say, "When a guy like Michael Vick can scramble all over the field while dodging pressure, I don't see why Drew Bledsoe can't do it either." They're fundamentally different, so I wouldn't expect them to be capable of exactly the same things.

                Mike Martz is a different kind of head coach than Bill Parcells, so I wouldn't expect Parcells' media and player relation tactics to work from Martz, not to mention the differences in their teams.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                  Drew Bledsoe scrambling and running like Michael Vick is a physical impossibility. But I see your point. Mike Martz saying something this isn't pulled directly out of his butt or actually having any kind of substance is probably just about as impossible as Drew Bledsoe rushing for a 60 yard touchdown.

                  I've never been a big Parcells fan but I'll take his player interaction and straight-forward style over Martz's bologna any day of the week. Martz seems to like the sound of his own voice as well as playing coy for the media.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                    Originally posted by moklerman
                    I've never been a big Parcells fan but I'll take his player interaction and straight-forward style over Martz's bologna any day of the week.
                    And that's fine, but to expect Martz to be able to handle things exactly like Parcells is unfair. They're not the same person, so they're obviously going to be different in how they handle things.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                      To ask Martz to be identical to Parcells would be unfair, but I never suggested that. I don't think it unrealistic for Martz to adopt certain management practices though. It's not like I'm asking him to be taller or something like that. It's not like Parcells is the only one who coaches "old school". Look at Coughlin, Haslett, Capers, Billeck, etc. There are lot's of coaches who don't play all the stupid little games that Martz seems to. To me, it's a choice for the coaches in how they address the players and media.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                        What stupid games are y'all talking about? The only place this year I see a problem is with Gordon. Ok, so Martz was hard on him. Gordon didn't waiver and he may be a better RB for it.

                        Martz is constantly taking up for his players, not caring what the fans think. To me, that's what I like about Martz. To heck with the fans, they are always going to be fickle and short sighted anyway. Treat your players like players, and they'll perform for you. As they have.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                          Originally posted by moklerman
                          To ask Martz to be identical to Parcells would be unfair, but I never suggested that.
                          It sounded like you suggested in your first post that you wish Martz would handle things like Parcells. I'm simply saying that Martz is probably a different kind of man with a different personality, thus making it unlikely he'd have the same tactics as Parcells. But it doesn't matter. I'm not going to spend my day arguing semantics. To me, it seems like Martz has to be doing something right based on this team's winning percentage. If that means talking up players in the media, so be it.
                          Last edited by Nick; -08-19-2004, 11:27 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                            Originally posted by txramsfan
                            Treat your players like players, and they'll perform for you. As they have.
                            Sure would like to have seen Bulger perform like the player he was paid to at the end of regulation against Carolina.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Manumaleuna impresses Martz

                              It's taking less and less time for the "look at his record" argument to pop up these days. I never suggested that Martz be identical to Parcells. I suggested that he handle the media and player interaction more like Parcells. MORE LIKE. Not identically. Martz is so far on the other end of the spectrum that the two are completely dissimilar.

                              We'll see how Martz handles a tough schedule this year. I'm curious to see if everyone will be so leniant and supportive of him if the Rams go 7-9 again. I haven't been privy to a conversation where criticism of Martz is actually accepted. With the numerous instances of contradictions, misinformation and grudges against players I don't see how my feelings on Martz are so vehemently argued.

                              I guess when my point of view is exaggerated into terms of absolutes to argue against my position, semantics are necessary. When I say that Martz should handle the media and player interaction more like Parcells that doesn't mean that I want them to be identical coaches. I don't even want them to handle the specific examples identically. What it boils down to is that I believe a lot more coming out of Parcells (and other coaches' mouths) more than Martz's. It may just be how it is, but that doesn't mean that I can't hope for it to be different.

                              Comment

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                              • RamWraith
                                Painful hit on Bulger angers Martz
                                by RamWraith
                                By Bill Coats
                                Of the Post-Dispatch
                                08/16/2004
                                MACOMB, Ill. - The Rams' afternoon practice came to a sudden and eerily quiet halt Monday when quarterback Marc Bulger was bumped during two-minute-offense drills and wheeled away, grabbing his right arm.

                                Defensive end Leonard Little charged in from the left side and shoved right tackle Greg Randall into Bulger, who doubled over and appeared to be in considerable pain as trainers hustled to his side. It turned out to be little more than a scare: A Rams official reported that Bulger suffered a mild bruise.

                                "I'm fine," Bulger said later.

                                Still, coach Mike Martz wasn't pleased by the close call. When asked by reporters about Bulger's status, Martz snapped: "I don't know. Hell, I'm not a doctor. It just happened 30 seconds ago. ...

                                "Defensively, you've got to stop; this is our No. 1 quarterback. (Little) knocked (Randall) back into the quarterback. And the right tackle's got to do a better job of blocking. He just thinks it's a walk-through, I guess."

                                Polley is told to prove himself

                                Never mind that he's started 36 games in three seasons since the Rams drafted him in the second round in 2001: Linebacker Tommy Polley has been dropped to the No. 2 unit and, Martz said, will stay there until he proves that he deserves to move back up.

                                "This isn't just something from a practice or a situation; this is over time," Martz said. "We've discussed this with Tommy.

                                "He knows the situation, what he needs to do."

                                The move was made after the Rams' 13-10 exhibition-opening loss to Chicago on Thursday. Polley, who declined an interview request Monday, was credited with two tackles. Tony Newson, who has replaced him with the first team, had three.

                                Martz suggested that the switch not be over-emphasized.

                                "This happens all the time in camp," he said. "We're trying combinations to see what the best combination is. We haven't settled on our final three yet, by any stretch of the imagination."

                                Running back update

                                Running back Marshall Faulk, recovering from offseason knee surgery, has participated in three consecutive practices for the first time since camp opened.

                                Martz, who said before Thursday's game that Faulk was "not ready to play physically yet," is pleased with his progress.

                                "He's taking every snap with the 1's (first unit), which is what we thought we'd do this week and see how he feels," Martz said. "Provided that there's no backward movement, he should be fine.

                                "When I say that, I mean swelling or soreness, those kinds of things. We'll keep this really close to the vest and make sure that if there are any indications of that, we'll rest him."...
                                -08-17-2004, 06:40 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special
                                by RamWraith
                                From Charlotte Gazette

                                June 06, 2004
                                Mitch Vingle

                                Rams’ Martz knew Bulger would be special


                                ST. LOUIS RAMS head coach Mike Martz flew into Charleston Friday for a good cause.

                                In order to help the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, he attended a black-tie gala at the Civic Center.

                                But even before putting on his tux, Martz had a tie to West Virginia. A strong one, in fact, in Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, the former WVU standout. And it didn’t take but a few minutes after landing at Yeager Airport for the subject to be broached.


                                Which brought a smile to Martz’s face.

                                “We just love the guy,’’ said the coach. “He’s like the players’ little brother. He’s just so humble. You can’t help but like him.’’

                                Martz and the Rams more than like Bulger, though. They signed him to a four-year, $19.1 million contract in April — and released two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner, who led the team to two Super Bowls.

                                Of course, there’s little to dislike about Bulger. The guy is 18-4 as the Rams’ regular-season starter. But even Martz admits the rise of the QB is storybook. Bulger was cut by the New Orleans Saints before being plucked by the Rams from the Atlanta Falcons’ roster.

                                “I remember the first time I saw ,’’ Martz said. “I was breaking down tape. I was watching him and he didn’t have a real good senior year , but the guy who was running our college scouting at the time — John Becker — said, ‘I really like this guy.’ He said, ‘Don’t look at his senior tape. Go back and look at his junior season.’ ’’

                                So the coach did.

                                “I went back and looked at his junior tape — and was just astounded,’’ Martz said. “I’d never seen anybody with that quick of a delivery before. I mean, he was like Marino. He had that Marino quickness of getting the ball out of there.



                                “He was accurate and had plenty of arm strength, but he was injured and in a new system his senior year so things didn’t go well.

                                “We were fine, obviously,’’ the coach continued. “We had Kurt and didn’t feel our quarterback situation was a real big need. So we did what we call a ‘red tag.’ We put a ‘tag’ on him. We decided to follow him through his career, and if he would come up again, then we’d decide if we wanted to bring him in.’’

                                Now, he’s a Rams team captain along with stars Marshall Faulk and Aeneas Williams. Sure, Bulger threw 22 interceptions last season, but he finished second in the NFL in completions. He also earned a Pro Bowl berth and was named the game’s MVP.

                                Martz claims it didn’t take long to realize Bulger was special.

                                “First series in his very first start in 2002,’’ said the coach. “We were playing the Oakland Raiders. We were coming off the Super Bowl loss and were 0-5. Kurt was struggling, then he broke his...
                                -06-07-2004, 07:55 AM
                              • ramavenger
                                Laughs are on Martz
                                by ramavenger
                                ***** NOTEBOOK
                                Laughs are on Martz
                                Rams' coach cracks up media with his honesty
                                John Crumpacker, Chronicle Staff Writer

                                Thursday, December 2, 2004


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                                Guffaws, chuckles and explosive cackles sounded forth from the speaker phone Wednesday as Rams coach Mike Martz laughed his way through a conference call. You would have thought his team was 10-1 instead of 5-6.

                                Then again, the Rams' opponent Sunday is the *****, a team guaranteed to brighten the mood of any NFL coach.

                                So, coach, does playing the 1-10 ***** mean an automatic win for St. Louis?

                                Martz laughed so heartily he could have been at a comedy club.

                                "Come on,'' he said when the laughter turned boilerplate. "No, there are no automatics in anything. No. Nope. To answer your question, no. And that's an honest answer.''

                                As opposed to answers coaches usually give.

                                Martz, who comes off as haughty to some, with one Super Bowl championship to his credit (as an assistant coach), has taken some hits this season for his team's inconsistency. The Rams have lost two in a row and trail Seattle by one game in the NFC West, the league's worst division.

                                Martz said he is unaware of the kind of criticism that comes with the job because "I live in a dungeon. For the last two years, I have never read a newspaper or seen a television sports program of any type. ... I really couldn't tell you if there was any criticism, nor do I care, to be honest with you.''

                                Although "job security'' is an oxymoron in the coaching profession, Martz was blithe in discussing his future in St. Louis. When he was asked if he might have to win a couple of playoff games to solidify his position, he erupted in laughter; George Carlin never said anything as funny, or so it seemed.

                                "I could care less about that stuff,'' he said. "Are you kidding me? (Apparently so.) The last thing in the world I worry about is my job security. Why should I? I'm financially secure. I think I can get another job if I have to, don't you think?''

                                While Peyton Manning of the Colts is cranking out touchdown passes like sausages from a grinder, Martz's guy, Marc Bulger, has more passing yards (3, 267) than anyone in the league. The coach turned serious long enough to talk about his quarterback.

                                Martz said Bulger has "done some things on the field that I didn't think he could do that I have never seen Kurt (Warner) do.''

                                ...
                                -12-02-2004, 12:31 PM
                              • RamWraith
                                Struggles prove value of Bulger, Martz says
                                by RamWraith
                                By Bill Coats
                                Of the Post-Dispatch
                                Monday, Dec. 20 2004

                                Two weeks ago the Rams were 6-6 and in control in the NFC West. Now they're 6-8
                                and a game behind Seattle, with two weeks left in the regular season. What
                                changed?

                                Most notably, the quarterback position, coach Mike Martz emphasized Monday, a
                                day after the Rams were smothered 31-7 in Arizona. Had starter Marc Bulger
                                remained healthy instead of missing the last two outings with a bruised
                                throwing shoulder, the Rams' situation might be significantly different, Martz
                                indicated.

                                "Obviously, you can see the difference. How much of a difference would he have
                                made at Carolina? It's all the difference in the world," Martz said. "I think
                                he's one of the elite in the league. I've been saying that for a long time. Now
                                that he was out of the picture, I think everybody can appreciate how good he
                                really is. And how stymied we become in a lot of areas without him."

                                Stymied, indeed. The once-powerful Rams offense produced one touchdown in a
                                20-7 loss to Carolina, then was stopped cold by the Cardinals. A 61-yard fumble
                                return by defensive end Leonard Little provided the Rams' only points.

                                Some 111 games had passed since a 14-0 loss to Miami on Oct. 18, 1998, the last
                                time the Rams offense failed to score.

                                Bulger, who is expected to play Monday night against Philadelphia, was leading
                                the NFL in passing yardage before he was hurt in the first quarter Dec. 5
                                against San Francisco. Chris Chandler replaced him, and the Rams went on to a
                                16-6 win.

                                But Chandler, 39, tossed six interceptions in a woeful showing at Carolina,
                                then was pulled after a grisly first quarter at Sun Devil Stadium. His future
                                with the team is unclear; Martz said that Jamie Martin "more than likely" would
                                back up Bulger vs. the Eagles. That presumably would leave rookie Jeff Smoker
                                as the No. 3 quarterback, and Chandler, a 17-year veteran, perhaps unemployed.

                                Martin, a 10-year journeyman who hadn't appeared in a regular-season game in
                                two years, completed 16 of 31 passes for 188 yards, without an interception
                                Sunday and earned effusive praise from Martz.

                                The Rams had 185 yards on offense, their lowest total of the season. Bulger's
                                presence, Martz insisted, might have changed that.

                                "He gets the ball so quickly out of there under duress and pressure that you
                                don't really realize it," Martz said. "There may have been a breakdown in
                                protection, but he still completes the ball. Those kinds of things, you just
                                don't really completely comprehend or appreciate until he's not in there."

                                Davis provoked Polley,...
                                -12-21-2004, 04:57 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Bulger's Big Day Lost in the Shuffle
                                by RamWraith
                                Monday, September 26, 2005

                                By Nick Wagoner
                                Senior Writer

                                It isn’t often that a quarterback’s performance will get lost in the shuffle of a football game considering that no player on the field has as much impact on a game as the signal caller. It’s even more rare for the quarterback to be overlooked when he has a really good game or a really bad game.

                                But leave it to the quiet, unassuming Marc Bulger to have a tough, excellent performance and have it go pretty much unnoticed. After a tough start that left Bulger with a 20.8 quarterback rating at the end of the first quarter and more bumps and bruises than passing yards after being sacked twice and hit countless other times, Bulger rebounded to have one of his best games as a pro.

                                Coach Mike Martz said you can attribute that effort to Bulger’s toughness.

                                “Here’s what you have to consider about his performance, how we started, first of all,” Martz said. “He’s getting sacked and drilled back there to begin with. That normally would rattle any quarterback. I don’t care how good you are. Then, all of a sudden, you are behind by 10 points and you can’t get back to put your foot in the ground to throw, or they’re all over you. So, that can be disillusioning to any quarterback, and then to come back and do what he did the way he did it, I thought was outstanding.”

                                By the end of the day Bulger had 292 yards on 21-of-28 passing and three touchdowns for a rating of 128.9. It was amazing that Bulger was even able to stand upright by the end of the game, let alone posting those kind of numbers.

                                Bulger took so many hits that there were a number of occasions where it appeared he might not get up.

                                “I never go there, I don’t think about that,” Martz said.

                                But Bulger thinks about it, usually when he is hobbling his way back to the huddle after a particularly vicious hit.

                                Take, for example, the obvious forearm to the throat delivered by Titans’ safety Tank Williams that led to a Rams’ timeout. Or the dive at the knees from defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch that resulted in a roughing the passer penalty.

                                Those types of hits have become almost routine for Bulger.

                                “It seems like Murphy’s Law, get hit in the same spots that you don’t want to get hit in,” Bulger said. “That’s the NFL, everyone feels the same. It feels a lot better when you win.”

                                And Bulger was a big reason for that win. When the offensive line settled in during the third quarter, the offense began to click. Bulger rang up a perfect rating of 158.3 in the second half, going 13-of-15 for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions.

                                “I don’t know what to tell you about Marc, he’s just an outstanding competitor,” Martz said.

                                REPLAY REVISITED: Judging by Martz’s reaction to the replace challenge of the “lateral,”...
                                -09-27-2005, 05:56 AM
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