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  • Marmie takes charge of Rams defense

    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,"
    veteran end Tyoka Jackson said. "And that's what this game is all about: trying
    to be consistent and get better at what you do and try to do what you do better
    than everyone does what they do."

    Marmie said he and Smith have "a lot of similarities in philosophy, but ...
    there will be some subtle changes that take place. Some of the areas that were
    trouble spots for them last year, hopefully we can find a way to shore those
    up." Marmie still will employ regularly the Cover 2 pass-defense alignment that
    Smith embraced. "They play it so well," Marmie said. "It's been something that
    the players believe in, and they've made plays with it." But he plans to work
    in some other looks, too, mixing man-to-man and zone coverages.

    "It's been an adjustment," cornerback Jerametrius Butler said. "We're still
    trying to get used to it in certain defenses that we use."

    For the most part, the Rams weren't shy about blitzing under Smith, and Marmie
    said he'll try to flood the backfield often, too. "You can't let the
    quarterback stand back there and have a lot of time," he said. "These guys are
    good enough to cut you to ribbons." His objective, he said, is to dictate when
    blitzes are called, rather than to use them mostly to react to offensive

    "Sometimes you get in that mode where you blitz because you feel like you have
    to blitz," he said. "Our preference would be to blitz because we want to blitz,
    not because we get into a situation where we feel like that's our survival
    mode, to blitz."

    No matter how it's defined, aggressiveness will be the watchword.

    "People want to see an aggressive defense, a pressure defense, and certainly
    that's what we want to be," Marmie said. "I don't think anybody wants to
    (deploy) a defense that's not aggressive." Or a defense that resembles that
    which the Rams put on the field before Smith arrived in 2001.

    "I'm excited," Marmie said. "The bar has been set high, and these guys want to
    be good and they want to be coached and they want to know why we're doing
    things. All those things, to me, are a part of coaching. It's a lot of fun to
    coach guys that are hungry and want to get better.

    "And we've got guys that in the meeting room and on the practice field, are in
    tune and into everything that's going on. And as a coach, there's nothing that
    gives you a better feeling than that."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    New defensive coordinator making his mark-and another
    by RamWraith
    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...
    -08-05-2004, 05:37 AM
  • 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, 04:32 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, 09:30 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, 02:48 PM
  • ramsbruce
    Larry Marmie Get The D Aggressive or GET OUT
    by ramsbruce
    Our defence is lackluster. Someone posted that we should put AW back at corner and I agree, he is still our best cover corner. Spy running QBs (ie VICK). Just get out there and light somebody up, start hitting people, have some emotion, play with pride. I dont think Marmie is the answer but the D at least has to try to play with pride. :ramlogo:
    -09-20-2004, 11:41 AM