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Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

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  • Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

    Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score
    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 are talking about. A player could lose a leg on the field and there is a chance that Mike, with his headset on and his eyes on the play chart, wouldn't pick up on it.

    I wish I had a dollar for every e-mail I've gotten from fans eager to see Mike Martz return to the press box and be relegated to offensive play-calling.

    This episode in Oakland, however meaningless, will give Martz's skeptics powerful ammunition. He didn't even know the score in the last minute of the game.


  • #2
    Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

    I don't believe him. I'd like to know what the context of the question was that prompted him to make that statement. I think Martz is covering for someone else. I have to read a transcript of the conversation leading up to this statement before I buy it. If it is true, the rest of the Rams coaches and players will have no choice except to keep an eye on Martz and pass him the message of what the game situation is. I would sure hate to be the one that had to check up on a head coach in the NFL during the final minutes of a tight game to see if he were on the right page. Can you imagine that conversation?


    PLAYER1: says to PLAYER2: “You better tell coach the game situation.”

    PLAYER2: “What? He knows what's up! “
    PLAYER2: (Pauses looks back at player1) and says "Oh ya that's right!" he continues "You tell him! I'm not going to tell the coach he is a moron! No way, not me, besides he probably knows the situation."

    Bulger complete to Bruce at the Panther 38, gain of 20 yards.
    (Rams elect to allow 16 seconds to run off the clock instead of calling a timeout or lining up and spiking the ball or running a play.)

    PLAYER1: then why is the offense standing there admiring the game clock that is running down when we could win it right now?

    Bulger complete to Bruce at the Panther 25 for 13 yards.
    (13 second play swallows up 36 seconds)

    Bulger complete to Faulk at the Panther 19 for 6 yards
    (10 second play swallows up 42 seconds.)

    PLAYER2: Coach! Coach! Coach hey Coach

    MARTZ: What is it! Can't you see I am trying to get this thing into overtime? I'm busy so be quick. What is it that can't wait?

    PLAYER2: (Trembling voice) "Ah coach I know that you already know this but ahem well there is plenty of time left in the game, we are down by 3 the defense is on their heels, I think we go for the win and settle for a tie. Maybe put the rock in Marshals hands with some low risk, high percentage plays out of the backfield and even if we don't get the touchdown we can always......."

    MARTZ: Ya right, I fell for that one too many times. This time I am not giving you knuckleheads a chance to screw it up by turning it over.


    PLAYER2: "But coach what if we turn it over deep in our own end in overtime? The offense is having their way with the Panthers defense look at them they are demoralized, lets go for the jugular! "

    Faulk runs off right end to the Panther 15 for 4 yards
    (12 second play swallows up 30 seconds)

    MARTZ: I just want to get this thing into overtime and give ourselves a chance to win it!

    Wilkins 33 yard field goal is GOOD
    (Rams go 43 yards in 5 plays chewing up two minutes and thirty nine seconds. Even with the use of a timeout and a two minute warning. The Rams burned up an average of 32 seconds per play.)

    Panthers 23 Rams 23 as regulation ends,
    PLAYER2: Should we call heads or tails coach?


    • #3
      Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

      The silly thing about sMartz' latest brain cramp, is that people want to make him into a saint for being forthright about it. Point of fact: shooting oneself in one foot doesn't balance out shooting oneself in the other in the first place.


      • #4
        Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score


        Are you the least bit surprised?

        Didn't think so...

        and BTW - neither am I.

        Curly ~ Horns


        • #5
          Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

          FERTER, first of all glad to hear from you again, I almost started a thread that would have gather Rams fans to perform an all out cyber search for you a search that would have dropped Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista and Google to their knees. The thread title would have been:

          If this is true then Martz is so out of touch with his team during the game that it is scary. Think about it for a moment, what is the chatter on the sidelines during this time?

          Does he look to see if Wilkins is over at the kicking net warming up? Are players on the sidelines not saying things like "we need to get to the 37 yard line to give Wilkins a shot"? Or "Come on baby only 25 yards to field goal range" or maybe the rookies asking what Wilkins range is? Or when a TD is needed isn't the entire atmosphere different, the talk on the sidelines different then when we need a field goal?

          Even if you don’t buy any of the above, what about the Raiders 2 and 3 man rushes or half the secondary scattered from the their own ten yard line backwards into their own end zone?

          The biggest misnomer ever perpetrated of Ram Fandom is the label attached to some of us as "Martz Bashers". When will people realize that it is the things that Martz does to the team we love that have us concerned? It's not now nor has it ever been about bashing Martz, It's about his judgment in critical game time situations that have us up in arms.

          Anyway glad to hear from you FERTER.


          • #6
            Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

            No, I'm not missing or miserable, frankly I just have less time as of late and I'm trying to take on a different role.

            I am not sure who Martz would be covering for.....Fairchild perhaps, or his own play calling. I will say it is confusing, but it's not like critical stages of games have not been confusing in the past with Martz.

            I understand what you are saying about misnomers. Yes it can be frustrating having ones Rams loyalty questioned over criticism of a player or coach, but personally I have come to expect it. I can only imagine what I would have been labeled, under coach Knox's first tenure, if the net had been around in those days......LOL

            In the end, just like you, I'm a Rams fan true and through.

            Curly ~ Horns


            • #7
              Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

              I guess I expect these brain cramps from MM. I have come to expect him to be a second level HC. I expect him to not prepare the team once every 4 weeks. I expect him to let his ego get in the way of calling and executing a solid game plan. I expect him waste 1 to 2 timeouts per half. I expect him to say...ya we'll fix that ... another 16 times this year. I expect him to loose his bravado at the worst possible moment in a key game. I expect him to not respect holding on to the football......

              I guess, I say this so I can not over-react. If I set the bar low, MM might be able to get over it.

              As far as proof goes, if all these things are obvious flaws, what about the other more insidious flaws such as not supporting a player at the right time. I think there may come a day, when the team's poor play may lead to MM's firing. That is, their underachievement, will be his undoing. We may see, that this may be from lack of effort, rather than talent or ability.

              But, before I get set on a MM bashing course, I will wait until we play some tough games.

              Last edited by Guest; -09-06-2004, 07:36 AM.


              • #8
                Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                Originally posted by Ferter
                I'm trying to take on a different role.
                Maybe you are talking about work, but it seems fairly obvious that most ofl the "active moderators" are taking a backseat on this site ... or at least it seems as if AV, TX, and you have posted a lot less since moving back to this site ... seems more than coincidental ...


                • #9
                  Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                  Well, maybe it's because I still don't have internet access at home since I moved.

                  Look, I don't care what the score is during a preseason game. If he is going to have a brain cramp, let it be when it dosen't count.

                  For all of you who don't like the guy, take your Super Bowl trophy back because without Martz, we wouldn't even have been there.


                  • #10
                    Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                    TX - How do explain Vermeil's Offensive success with Kansas City...Martz isn't there????


                    • #11
                      Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                      Vermiel has built a good offense using a blueprint that Martz created. And, don't forget, he has the benefit of a QB that Martz developed (Green) an offensive coordinator that was a Martz assistant (Saunders) and the pure luck of finding diamond in the rough Priest Holmes.


                      • #12
                        Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                        Originally posted by AvengerRam
                        Vermiel has built a good offense using a blueprint that Martz created. And, don't forget, he has the benefit of a QB that Martz developed (Green) an offensive coordinator that was a Martz assistant (Saunders) and the pure luck of finding diamond in the rough Priest Holmes.
                        Ok, I'm all for giving the proper credit to Martz for '99, but I think Vermiel might have had a little more to do with the Chiefs turnaround than Martz.
                        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


                        • #13
                          Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                          Look at Vermeils record prior to Martz. It was abysmal.


                          • #14
                            Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                            I didn't say that Vermiel hasn't had a lot to do with the Chiefs' turnaround. I think Vermiel is a better motivator and game manager than Martz is. But Martz is a better at building an offense.


                            • #15
                              Re: Martz bashers now have proof: He doesn't know the score

                              WOW! Now Martz is the genius behind KC's success; incredible! If KC wins the SB this year, they will probably give Martz a ring.


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                              • Nick
                                Martz on Tuesday: 'We know what the issues are'
                                by Nick
                                Martz on Tuesday: 'We know what the issues are'
                                Compiled by Jeff Gordon
                                Tuesday, Nov. 30 2004

                                The Rams defense lost its fight Monday night in Green Bay. Coach Mike Martz
                                drew that obvious conclusion after reviewing the debris from that 45-17 loss at
                                Lambeau Field.

                                “I was very pleased with the first few series, anyway,” Martz said at his
                                Tuesday news conference. “As the second half moved on, I was disappointed
                                defensively just in some of the errors and mistakes that began to occur, guys
                                out of position. At one point, we had 10 people on the field. Those things are
                                unacceptable. We began to lose our focus somewhat on defense.

                                “It’s kind of a personal thing with some of these guys. We can’t lose the
                                resolve when things go bad. In the past, we’ve always been able to rebound. . .
                                . As it snowballed, they had a hard time with that.

                                “Some of the veterans, they get frustrated, they try to do a little bit more
                                than what they need to. They’ve got this gap and you try to do it all. You
                                think the ball is going there and you run over there and you’re not where the
                                ball is coming out.

                                “We’ve got to get this team playing better. It’s a step-by-step process. We’ve
                                got some veterans not playing as good as they should, or as well as they have
                                in the past, and some young guys learning how to play. That’s not a good

                                * * *

                                More from Martz's press conference:

                                On the team’s porous rushing defense:

                                “As the game wore on, our run fits and fills were not what they should be. It’s
                                not a question of what defense you run or being complicated or anything like
                                that. It’s just having the discipline and resolve to fill where you’re supposed
                                to and you've got to make a play, make a tackle.

                                “When Aeneas (Williams) went out at free safety, there was significant
                                confusion out there, some of the calls and what not. We had a hard time on
                                their field. That may have contributed to some of the problems.

                                “We just have to be more physical and more disciplined in how we play. We know
                                what the issues are. It’s easy to look at the tape and find out ‘here’s what
                                you didn’t do right.’ You have to be tough enough as players and be accountable
                                enough to make those corrections and understand the discipline of playing the
                                defense. It’s that simple."

                                On the ill-fated fake field goal attempt:

                                “The decision was my decision, kind of at the last second, really. I just felt
                                like at that point we needed to try to make something happen. We talked about
                                it during the week and we felt like we had a pretty good opportunity to make
                                -11-30-2004, 11:50 PM
                              • Nick
                                Martz on the Mike: Weds, 11/17
                                by Nick
                                Head Coach Mike Martz
                                Wednesday, November 17, 2004

                                (Opening statement)
                                “The Bills, obviously at home, have played very well. Defensively, they are one of the top teams in the league. The defensive line, particularly the two tackles, are very physical guys that are very disruptive. Of course we know what London (Fletcher) is. With his range he is very active and very involved in both the passing game and run game. Offensively, both backs I think are outstanding. (Willis) McGahee has really taken off and done a great job. Any game on the road like this is very difficult in the NFL as you know. As our players learned down in Miami, you have to bring your best every week. I think this is a better football team then Miami obviously, and we know that we are in for a dog fight when we get up there. We will prepare as such.”

                                (On the players reacting to the tougher practices)
                                “I don’t know if it was any tougher, we tackled. We went back to basics. I think we’re all upset with ourselves as well as the players in terms of the attitude. Sometimes you let things slip and as I said last week, sometimes what you see is what you coach. So we had to go back to basics, and we will again do that today. We’ve got to block and tackle better we just do, that’s the basis of this game. If you don’t enjoy those things you’re not going to play well. They enjoy it, they had a good time out there on Wednesday. Practice was a lot of fun, they got into it pretty good, and I’m sure they will do it again today. We got better. We’re not where we need to be but we’re making progress and that’s all you can ask. We have a lot of young players on defense who have to learn how to stay at a high level and get off of that roller coaster, and this is probably the best way that you can avoid that.”

                                (On keeping up his attitude with his team)
                                “I’ve been with some of these guys for a long time, and I think they understand my frustrations too. Not just with them, but with myself and not realizing what was going on sometimes. I think it really comes down to, more than anything else, is everybody being on the same page to make it right. They know that we are always going to try and do the right thing by them. None of this was ever intended to or meant as any type of punishment. If you get mad at football teams and start taking it out on them, then you’re going to lose your team. You need to get out of coaching and get an attitude readjustment. It was never about that, It’s about going back to basics, getting your feet on the ground, getting physical again, and enjoying that part of the game.”

                                (On missing LB London Fletcher)
                                ‘There’s no question that we miss London. He was such a good leader on this team and so productive. You go back and look at the years that he was here, he is hard to replace. Guys that didn’t practice at a certain level, he was right there in their face. He demanded it out...
                                -11-18-2004, 12:28 PM
                              • Rip32
                                If Martz Resigns Who Would We Get
                                by Rip32
                                Does anyone have any thought on if we would promote
                                from within or go get a different coach for next year.
                                -10-11-2005, 11:12 AM
                              • woodyramfan1
                                by woodyramfan1
                                I would like comments on whether Mad Mike should be fired or not.:clanram:
                                -10-02-2005, 06:55 PM
                              • RamDez
                                Without Martz - Expect more of the same
                                by RamDez
                                This is Mad Mikes team and its now showing.

                                He has the keys and he needs to get back and get that engine started.

                                All those that wished for something else ....... are now reaping the results
                                -11-20-2005, 03:28 PM