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  • Martz pleased with Rams' running attack

    Martz pleased with Rams' running attack
    Admits he lost track of score against Raiders

    [email protected]

    ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz was pleased with what his team accomplished in the preseason -- especially in showing that it could effectively run the ball -- despite winning only one of their four games.

    The Rams rushed for 480 yards -- an average of 120 yards per game -- in their four preseason contests.

    The Rams gained 171 yards on the ground in their 28-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

    "I feel good with where we are, I really do," Martz said. "The area where we wanted to get better was running the football, and we made a big emphasis on that the last few games.

    "Regardless of who was in the game, we wanted to run the football."

    The Rams were 30th among the NFL's 32 teams in rushing offense last season. They averaged only 93.5 rushing yards per game and only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt.

    "Running the football well was a big deal to me in the off-season," Martz said. "We were not an effective team running the football. We give a lot of attention to our passing game, but we've always been able to run the ball very effectively, and last year we didn't do that.

    "We have to get back to doing some of the things that are basic to this offense."

    Running back Marshall Faulk had only four carries for 11 yards against the Raiders. He also had two receptions for 20 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown reception.

    Martz said he has seen enough of Faulk in his limited play in the preseason to feel he's close to being his old self after a series of knee problems.

    "I was really impressed with Marshall last night," Martz said. "He's got his juice, boy. When he was in there, they were coming after us with safeties and linebackers, they didn't want him to get going.

    "He was very physical running up in there. He made some big plays -- both of those passes, the check-down on third down, and of course, the touchdown -- he looks terrific to me."

    Rookie Steven Jackson rushed for 72 yards on 12 carries, while Lamar Gordon rushed for 77 yards on 22 carries in his first action of the preseason.

    Gordon underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his ankle last month.

    "That's the first time that he has been hit or put the pads on for four weeks," Martz said. "To go and take the ball up in there like he did ... he took some horrendous hits there out on the edge and spun and jumped and twisted and turned and stayed in the game.

    "I was very impressed with his toughness and the burst he had and the acceleration he showed."

    Martz admitted that he mistakenly thought the Rams were trailing by three points instead of four points in the closing minute against the Raiders.

    "I'm embarrassed to tell you that," Martz said. "The old coach screwed up."

    Martz said he thought Oakland place-kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed an extra-point attempt after the Raiders scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Marques Tuiasosopo to Alvis Whitted.

    "First of all, I was upset that they scored," Martz said. "I was walking down the sideline and I saw the holder drop the ball and bobble it, and I saw the kick, and it looked to me like it went off to the left.

    "I just turned and thought, 'Good, they missed it. We'll get down there and tie it up.' Just like a knucklehead, I didn't look at the scoreboard. It's hard for me stand here today and admit that. I should have kept it quiet."

    Asked why he would admit such a thing, Martz said, "It happened. It's the truth. Sometimes the truth does hurt."

    Martz was going to call for a field goal when rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker let him know that Rams were actually down by four points.

    "Smoker came over and the look on his face was like, 'What, are you nuts?" Martz said. "I think in a regular-season game I will be a little more tuned in."

    The Rams suffered no major injuries against the Raiders.

    Rookie tight end Erik Jensen suffered a slight knee strain, while tight end Cameron Cleeland suffered a mild sprained ankle.

    Martz said he wasn't concerned about the back spasms that kept wide receiver Torry Holt out of the final preseason game.

    "There is just being cautious on our part," Martz said. "We didn't plan on playing him and Isaac more than a few plays anyway."

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Oops! Martz still wincing after goof at end of game
    by RamWraith
    Mike Martz knows well how preseason games sharpen player focus and help them purge mistakes before the games that matter. And with a blush of embarrassment Friday, the Rams coach conceded how exhibition games can even expose goofs of his own.

    On Thursday night in the Rams' preseason finale at Oakland, Martz watched the Raiders take a 27-24 lead with 38 seconds left when third-string quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo hit Alvis Whitted for his second TD reception of the game.

    On the extra-point try, Martz -- angry that Oakland had scored -- saw the holder drop the ball and looked away, never seeing Sebastian Janikowski boot the ball through the uprights to push the margin to four points.

    "I saw the kick, and the kick to me looked like it went off to the left, and I turned," Martz said. "I just kind of thought they missed it, and `Good, we'll get down there and tie it up.'

    "Just like a knucklehead, I didn't look at the scoreboard and made the assumption" the Rams were just down by three.

    Behind third-string quarterback Jeff Smoker, the Rams marched downfield. At Martz's behest, Smoker threw a sideline pass -- a 10-yard completion that put St. Louis at the Oakland 34 with 9 seconds left -- to set up a possible field goal.

    A field goal, with St. Louis down by four?

    "Smoker came over and the look on his face was, `What, are you nuts?"' Martz said. "Then I realized I was screwed up, and we threw it in the end zone."

    Smoker's desperation pass into the end zone was intercepted as time expired.

    Moments later, Martz came clean about his lapse and called it "the dumbest thing I've ever done as a football coach," asking "Can you imagine Jeff Smoker telling me what the score was?"

    The next day, Martz still winced about being asked to retell it all.

    "It's hard for me to stand here in front of you today and admit to that," he said, his face turning red. "I could have kept it quiet, but I'm just being very honest with you."

    So why admit it in the first place, a reporter asked.

    "Well, it happened. It's the truth, isn't it?" Martz replied politely, his voice quieting. "Sometimes the truth does hurt."

    By Friday, Martz was lamenting that the goof was "getting a lot more attention than I want it to get."

    "I think in a regular-season game I'm a little bit more tuned in, maybe," he said.

    Martz expects to prove that Sept. 12, when the Rams open the regular season at home against Arizona.

    -09-03-2004, 04:33 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams Ready to Roll
    by RamWraith
    Sunday, September 5, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    With the end of the preseason comes new hope and new beginnings for every team in the NFL. The haves and have-nots will soon be separated, but for now, there isn’t a team in the league that isn’t dreaming of holding the Lombardi Trophy.

    The Rams concluded their preseason with a 1-3 record, but decidedly performed better in each of the last two games, building momentum toward Sunday’s preseason opener against Arizona at the Edward Jones Dome.

    The first-team offense was particularly sharp against Oakland, as quarterback Marc Bulger and Marshall Faulk, in their only drive of the night, moved the ball 75 yards on just six plays for a touchdown. Satisfied with the performance of two of the team’s most important cogs, coach Mike Martz ended their nights there.

    Martz said he is pleased with the direction of the team heading into the season.

    “I feel good where we are, I really do,” Martz said. “The areas we wanted to get better (we did). I am very excited about the play of the quarterbacks. Losing (CB Travis) Fisher has hurt us to some extent, but we should be fine back there.”

    INJURY UPDATE: Torry Holt was in street clothes against Oakland on Thursday night as a precautionary measure for back spasms. Martz said Friday that he expects Holt to be fine and he didn’t want to take any chances with Holt or Isaac Bruce.

    Preseason games can usually be categorized as a success if you can leave with few injuries. For that reason, Thursday’s game was an unqualified success for the Rams. Cameron Cleeland suffered a mild sprained left ankle. The injury comes after Cleeland battled a hamstring injury throughout camp and then was in a car accident near Rams Park.

    None of the adversity has affected Cleeland’s performance, though. In his first extended time after returning, Cleeland finished with 72 yards on four catches, one for a touchdown.

    Martz said Cleeland’s effort throughout the preseason is deserving of high admiration.

    “He is really playing very well,” Martz said. “I can’t praise him enough.”

    The only other injury suffered was to rookie tight end Erik Jensen. He had a mild strain of his left knee while trying to score a touchdown late in the game. Jensen missed about two weeks during training camp with a similar injury.

    The bumps and bruises on the offensive line also appear to be clearing up, according to Martz. Left guard Chris Dishman (ankle) and Tom Nütten (turf toe) did not play against Oakland, but Martz said he expects to have both players back for the opener. Dishman is likely to start.

    Kevin Curtis, who has missed time with shin splints, caught a pair of passes for 33 yards. Martz said Curtis’ shin splints would be a day-by-day thing.

    CUT DAY: The Rams must...
    -09-06-2004, 05:41 AM
  • RamDez
    Martz reflects: Rams on the bubble may be in trouble
    by RamDez
    Martz reflects: Rams on the bubble may be in trouble
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch

    MACOMB, Ill. - Mike Martz looked downright sour after the game Thursday. He barely said anything to his team in the locker room. He answered only a handful of questions in his postgame news conference. And then he retired to the privacy of his locker room area at the Edward Jones Dome to stew over the Rams' 13-10 overtime loss to Chicago.

    "Down deep inside, you can play marbles, and my blood's going to get going," Martz said Saturday. "I mean, you just compete."

    For most of the first three quarters Thursday, the Rams did just that. It wasn't always pretty. But the Rams were winning 10-3, and when the Bears took over at their 12 late in the third quarter, St. Louis had a 248 to 161 edge in yards gained.

    "I felt like we were in control," Martz said. "They had a couple big runs where we just overran things. Otherwise, I think we shut them down really good. And I know that first group in there on offense - I think they're ready to roll."

    In a game that Chicago seemed to treat a lot more like a regular-season contest - with lots of blitzing on defense and some trick plays on offense - the Rams still appeared to be headed for victory.

    But then it unraveled over the rest of regulation and the 17 seconds of overtime, when the Rams were mainly using players who either won't make the team or will be down on the depth chart.

    "I knew what was going on out there, and it's hard to bite the bullet sometimes," Martz said. "But I just don't like to lose. ... But I also know that it's my responsibility as a head coach to make sure that we have an opportunity to evaluate all these (young) guys in these types of situations."

    So Martz and new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie kept things basic - and watched.

    "We've got to know about these guys," Martz said. "You can't trick things up. You've got to kind of keep it simple and just let 'em play and see what they do."

    By early Saturday evening, after film review and with nearly two days to digest the game, the big picture was back in focus for Martz. And he felt much better about what transpired Thursday night.

    "All in all, I was very pleased, particularly in the first half with both groups (offense and defense)," Martz said. "I'm happy with this football team. I'm happy with the first (units) that I know we're going to play with."

    On the offensive line, he singled out the play of right guard Adam Timmerman and right tackle Scott Tercero for praise.

    "Scotty Tercero has really come to the forefront," Martz said. "He has really, really done well in the last few weeks. I hate to admit this:
    -08-15-2004, 01:11 AM
  • RamWraith
    Martz hits another low
    by RamWraith
    Look at this crap. I am not sure about this guy some days

    From newswire:

    Rams coach Mike Martz said he thought his team trailed by only three points in the waning seconds, so he called for a sideline pattern with 9 seconds left to set up a field goal, instead of going for the end zone on the next-to-last play of the game.

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

    Martz thought he saw Oakland bobble the ball on the point after and thought the Raiders missed it.

    "Smoker yelled at me, 'Hey, coach, we're down by four!"' Martz said. "Can you imagine Jeff Smoker telling me what the score was?"
    -09-03-2004, 08:07 AM
  • RamWraith
    View from planet Martz
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Dec. 20 2004

    Rumors to the contrary, Rams coach Mike Martz has no plans to step down, and
    Rams president John Shaw said the team has no plans to shove him out the door,

    "He's not in trouble," Shaw said in a telephone interview Monday night. "The
    team is struggling right now and having a hard time winning games. We have to
    work on getting it better."

    Shaw said firing Martz has not been contemplated by the organization.

    "It totally hasn't entered my mind," Shaw said. "His record speaks for itself.
    He has the complete support of (owner) Georgia (Frontiere) and myself at this

    Martz is 51-32 in nearly five seasons with the club, including three playoff
    berths, two division titles and one Super Bowl appearance.

    Earlier in the day, at his regular Monday afternoon news conference, Martz
    responded to media reports that he might resign if things didn't go well for
    him the rest of this season.

    "No, I would never resign from this job," Martz said. "I love this job. I would
    never leave these guys. I wouldn't do that to this staff or these players. Like
    I've told you many times, I'm too connected to this group - to this team.
    There's no team that I would rather coach than this team regardless of the

    "There's something special about these guys. We're building. We've got a real
    solid crew of young players, and it's going to eventually be a terrific
    football team. I'm not going to ever walk away from something like that."

    As he has mentioned in the past, Martz said he's coaching because he wants to
    coach, not because he needs the money.

    "I love being here," he said. "And that hasn't changed. We're going to forge
    on, and get this thing back up and running the way it should be. And that's how
    I look at it. I don't know any other way. That's just how I live my life. I'm
    one of those guys where the glass is always half full. Not empty. And
    sometimes, it's hard to look at it like that. But no. No. This guy's not going
    anywhere. No way, Jose."

    When asked if he thought the team's last two games might factor into his job
    security, Martz said: "I don't know how to answer that. I guess you should
    probably answer that. I can't tell you that.

    "I would assume that we're going to play as well as we possibly can these last
    two games. We know what our shortcomings are. We understand what needs to be
    done, and where we need to fix things and get better at."

    That being said, the team's performance over...
    -12-21-2004, 03:57 AM