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Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

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  • Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    09/09/2004

    Online Columnist Jeff Gordon

    It wouldn't be Week 1 of the NFL season if folks weren't already complaining about Rams coach Mike Martz. Of course, we stirred it up by highlighting the fact that Martz admitted losing track of the score in the last minute of that preseason game at Oakland – but we were just doing our job.

    Anyway, here is a sampling of the electronic mail we received long before the Rams played any real games this season:


    * * *

    "Martz is not a good head coach. He is a great coordinator. He has a good football mind, but he lacks the 'it.' His teams lack an identity. He is terrible at game management. Even in their last Super Bowl year, they used timeouts wastefully. Martz will be let go after this year.

    -- Kurt Asmussen


    GORDO: I believe this season will define Martz as a head coach. If he succeeds against THIS schedule with all the talent gaps on his roster, then he will command the respect of his peers and (we hope) all the citizens of Rams Nation. We'll know much more about him by Christmas.


    * * *

    "I love the guy. Can you remember when we didn't have Mike and the dumb, unimaginative play calling we used to have both in Anaheim and when they first moved to St. Louis? Go Mike, you're the best."

    -- Roger Nustad


    GORDO: Hey, Rich Brooks did try some stunts during his ill-fated regime. Alas, Chris Miller got hurt and the long, terrible tailspin began. But yes, life was bleak before Martz organized The Greatest Show on Turf."


    * * *

    "Did I misread your column? I thought it said you think Mike Martz is good. What is he good at? Messing up? I have been a St. Louis fan my entire life, which even goes back to the football Cardinals in St. Louis. I became a Rams fan when they came in. I have always said I would remain a Rams fan as long as they stayed in St. Louis. Well, it is getting harder every day when Mike Martz and his usual mess-ups are leading the way. Most people have known for a long time Martz didn't know the score -- so him admitting it after the Raider loss was just maybe what the ownership needed to FINALLY wake up, smell the coffee, and dump him.

    "He has shown his lack of football intelligence ever since he became the head coach of the Rams. Maybe I can root for Kurt and the New York Giants. He never gave Warner the time to prove he was ready for action and always defends Marc Bulger when he throws an interception or just misses the open man, etc. Maybe he can find a good place to go and take Bulger with him. Neither have impressed me. Sorry Gordo, but Martz needs to go back to offensive coordinator and we need to find someone who at least knows the score when they are the head coach of our beloved Rams!"

    -- "Fat Cat" Mack


    GORDO: Sounds like somebody didn't want to give up that seat on the Kurt Warner bandwagon . . .


    * * *

    "I recommend Mike Martz hire two no-nothing reporters to keep score for him. I wonder if they could do that correctly?"

    -- Bill Ragan, Lusby Md.


    GORDO: Hmmmm . . . this sounds like a joke: "How many no-nothing reporters does it take to keep score of a football game?"


    * * *

    "Martz may be an excellent offensive coordinator; he uses poor judgment as a coach.

    "1. He blew last year's NFC title game. 2. He pushed Kyle Turley into practicing inappropriately. 3. Not only does he NOT know the score, why run Gordon 22 TIMES his first time back from injury? 4. If Parcells was coachng the Rams they would win the next two Super Bowls. 5. When Martz screws it up again this year, will management do something, or are they in a fog too?"

    -- Sheldon Manaster, Santa Ana Calif.


    GORDO: Let's not blame him for Turley's re-injury. The doctors cleared Turley to take another crack at playing and he did. Martz can only operate on what the doctors and the player tell him.

    Gordon got 22 carries to prove he could play this year, a fact the Dolphins picked up on. I won't argue Parcells' brilliance, but the hair dye kind of bothers me.


    * * *

    "Here is the familiar rant I hear about Mad Mike. 'Mike Martz is an idiot who was given everything he has by Dick Vermeil. He wastes timeouts. He can't win the big games on his own, including the Super Bowl and the playoffs. He knows nothing about recruiting talent for the team. Think of some of the gems that he has brought us. Gems like Scott Covington, Jamie Martin, Trung Candidate, Jimmy Kennedy and so on.'

    "Not knowing the score at the end of the Oakland game only proves what my friends always tell me. He is simply nursing the success of the victorious Super Bowl team and is one player away (Marshall Faulk) from the Greatest Show on Turf being mediocrity on turf.

    "But I disagree. I know I am in the lonely minority in thinking that Martz has done quite a good job within the parameters of salary cap, free agency, injury and post-Super Bowl-loss depression. I would grade him as a head coach at least in the B-plus to A-minus range.

    "I actually think that the area he really could improve is in the timeouts and game management. I know that you can't take timeouts with you, but it is always wise to save one or two. I also think that Mad Mike ought to give up play calling to an offensive coordinator. Perhaps the offensive genius is afraid to trust the reins to someone else. But if he did, he could have a better overall feel of the game. He probably will not do this, however.

    "When Mad Mike moves on, I will go back to spending Sundays being bored. I love his style and will take the flaws with the good traits."

    -- Paul Holder, Oxford, Miss.


    GORDO: Hear, hear. I couldn't agree more with every single point you made.

  • #2
    Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

    I never thought in my wildest imagination that me, a graduate of Memphis State University, would actually agree with someone who lives in the same city as Ole P iss, but I do.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

      His teams lack an identity
      Your right. Other coaches' Ram teams had identities. The last quarter of Robinson's tenure, Knox part 2, Brooks, & pre-'99 Vermeil all had a singular identity. And what was that identity...I'll give you a hint, it starts with an "L" and ends with a "oser". There's an identity for you.

      Honestly, guys we are making waaaaaaaaaay too much of a deal out of who is coaching anyway. No coach has ever made a tackle, caught a pass, run for a TD, etc. Look at some of our other coaches and their records.

      In '55, Sid Gilman took over the Rams and managed an 8-3-1 record including the #4 offense and #5 defense. He must be a genius. Four years later he takes the Rams to 2-10. He must be an idiot.

      From '73-77, Chuck Knox had a win-loss of 54-15-1. He won over 77% of his games. From '92-'94, he went 15-33. He lost 69% of his games. What happened? Were the 80's so tough on him that he forgot how to coach?

      Ray Malavasi went 20-12, then finished 8-17.

      John Robinson owned the 80's. He went 67-44 or .604 w%. Then the 90's roll around...8-24 or .250 w%

      In '97 & '98, Vermeil went 9-23. Then the planets lined up and 13-3 and SB in '99.

      Which brings us to Martz. Yes, he has had success for 4 seasons...43-21 or .672 w%, but that is indicative of nothing. Other coaches (Stydahar, Allen, Knox, Malavasi, Robinson) all had similar or better stretches and later had failing seasons. The point is this: A team's success has little to do with who the head coach is. He's just a piece of the puzzle. Getting rid of Martz will be the determining factor in neither our subsequent success or failure, just as keeping him won't guarantee victory or defeat.

      The game is played on the field.
      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

        Originally posted by HUbison
        The game is played on the field.
        I'm with you until when it sounds as if you shift responsibility to the players exclusively. Of course their effort is a huge factor in the season's outcome. But the emphasis must be spread around. From ownership, to front office, to coaching staff, to players, all at some time play a huge role in someone else's fate. Each has a part in the drama. Unfortunately for some, it is easier for their misjudgments to be spotlighted. So while I don't want to make too much out of who is coaching a team I also don't want to forget that the right coach can make a difference.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Letters to Gordo: They're mad about Mike

          I also think that Mad Mike ought to give up play calling to an offensive coordinator. Perhaps the offensive genius is afraid to trust the reins to someone else. But if he did, he could have a better overall feel of the game. He probably will not do this, however
          I may be wrong, but didn't Steve Fairchild take over calling the plays from the booth last year?
          JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
          :ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram::ram:

          "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
          Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

          Comment

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          • RamWraith
            They come from all over to bury Martz
            by RamWraith
            BY JEFF GORDON
            Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
            09/30/2004

            Online Columnist Jeff Gordon

            The electronic mail has poured in from across the continent this week – and most it has been pretty angry. Rams Nation has grown rather impatient with the team's head coach.

            Mike Martz has played the role of pinata again this week after that agonizing overtime loss to the Saints at the Edward Jones Dome. Here is another sampling of the missives sent to the "Letters to Gordo" bin:


            * * *

            "Does Martz look like the poster boy for insanity or what? Bryan Burwell was asking good, fair questions that the fans want answered and he got into that (ticked) mode where he wants to attack the messenger, and I loved the way Bryan quietly zinged him back. Martz is determined to go down with the ship rather than make needed adjustments.

            "His offense has been analyzed to death by other coaches and they know how to stop him. He has become so predictable. Indy, the Patriots and several others are much more innovative. Plus, he has never learned the details of the head coaching job, like closing out a game. That will doom him to the head coach scrap heap. Like the Coryell era, this too has passed -- and unlike Don, Martz is self-imploding with his idiotic stubborness.

            "He is doomed; even the Martz rationalizers online had their eyes opened up Sunday. Camelot is over. Mike Martz lost his Mojo. Now he is just another white-haired guy with glasses who doesn't get it."

            -- Keith Walker


            GORDO: Is Martz doomed? We'll know soon enough. The Rams have an unforgiving schedule in the weeks ahead, one that will punish the team if their sloppiness continues. If the Rams can reach the postseason after this 1-2 start, as they did last season, then we'll have to give Mad Mike his props.


            * * *

            " 'That's just the way it is. Get used to it.' Maybe we should . . . with another head coach. One that knows something about defense."

            -- John Robison, San Antonio


            GORDO: Martz rebuilt this defense once as a head coach. Given all the free-agent losses on that side of the ball, he has to do it again. Is he up to the task? The weeks ahead will tell the tale, since several high draft picks will HAVE to step it up.


            * * *

            "I am a fairly level-headed football fan, who prides myself in focusing on intricacies of the game that some of my friends overlook. I am not typically one to impulsively blame a team's misfortunes on bad coaching. That being said, Martz is awful! On any given weekend, I may watch parts of three or four games. I only notice conspicuously bad play-calling, or hear an announcer comment on bad play-calling, about once per month. However, it seems like Martz makes conspicuously...
            -10-01-2004, 06:27 AM
          • RamWraith
            Letters to Gordo: Martz's stock soars with fans
            by RamWraith
            BY JEFF GORDON
            Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
            01/13/2005

            Online Columnist Jeff Gordon

            The Rams beat the New York Jets in overtime to slip into the playoffs. Then they rallied to beat the Seahawks in Seattle in another thrilling game.

            Suddenly, the stock of head coach Mike Martz is trading higher among readers of STLtoday.com. These electronic missives to the “Letters to Gordo” bin are a sampling of which way the wind is blowing:

            * * *

            “My attitude toward Mike Martz changed completely a few weeks ago. Instead of wanting him to leave, I want him to remain the head coach of the Rams. However, I still hope he has a shake-down meeting during the offseason with John Shaw and all of his non-coaching duties taken away. No one can deny Martz knows football, especially offense. If he is allowed to focus on nothing but coaching the Rams, some of these little in-game problems that seem to crop up repeatedly during the regular season may be eliminated.

            “If Bill Belichick were to express a desire to take over the Rams, then make him head coach and ask Martz to remain as the offensive coordinator. Other than Belichick, the Rams already have the best NFL mind as head coach. One thing's for sure: I certainly wouldn't want to play against his offense, especially in a big game such as we witnessed last Saturday.”

            -- David Cooke, Blytheville, Arkansas


            GORDO: Actually, Martz’s imput into the recent drafts is looking a whole lot better as the young players rally this season. In the last three weeks, a whole lot of draft picks have started looking a whole lot better.

            Some of the mistakes (Eric Crouch!) can’t be undone, but Martz’s across-the-board performance as head coach holds up very well compared to his peers.


            * * *

            “As a Californian and Ram fan since 1972 (as a wee bitty boy) I have to say these are the most exciting years of Ram football I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I've been a mad Kurt Warner fan but always seen the pure talent of Marc Bulger as well.

            "What I can’t believe is that St. Louis fans can give Martz such a hard time. In 30 years, I've never experienced a five- to six-year span of excitement, pride and success. Martz may be unconventional, unapologetic and (fill in the blank here), but he brings Rams fans an eternal optimism that the team can win on any given Sunday. It's time for Ram fans to shut up and be appreciative! Go Rams, Go Mike!”

            -- Greg Blume, San Luis Obispo, Calif.


            GORDO: By regenerating his offense with Bulger, Kevin Curtis, Steven Jackson and Shaun McDonald, Martz is reviving the “Greatest Show on Turf.” His ability to retool the offense after losing talent to age and free agency has been very impressive.


            * * *

            “Just recovering my...
            -01-13-2005, 03:00 PM
          • RamWraith
            Letters to Gordo: The grounding of Air Martz
            by RamWraith
            BY JEFF GORDON
            STLtoday.com Sports Columnist

            Many Rams fans got their wish Monday when coach Mike Martz stepped aside, at least for the time being. His illness was making it impossible (and yet risky) for him to coach.

            What does Rams Nation think of this development? Here is another sampler of the electronic mail that rolls into this corner of cyberspace:


            * * *

            “There are those who obviously see his illness as a ‘blessing’ for this team and that's between them and their conscience. But they're about to find out exactly how good Martz is with an offense. They're about to find out that while his offense puts Marc Bulger in jeopardy at times, he also helps make Bulger look as good as he can. Losing Martz and his ability to put points on the board isn't good for a team that needs to score 30 points a game right now just to have a shot at winning. And I think the fact he's been sick since before the season opener explains why this offense hasn't been what we thought it was.

            “This is not good for the Rams and if you don't believe me, just ask the players. Judging from the stories I've read already, the players know this is a bad thing in every way.”

            Rick Silva


            GORDO: Offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild is in an interesting spot, isn’t he? Can he play the chess game and stay a step ahead of the opposing defensive coordinators? Will he take a more conventional approach to calling plays, or will he embrace the element of surprise as passionately as Mike did? The next several weeks will be fascinating.


            * * *

            “I wish I would have been at that press conference. My question to John Shaw would have been ‘Where have you been?’ This is the St. Louis Rams, not the Los Angeles Rams. Close that office and resign. I also wish there were a way for Mike Martz to step down as the head coach, become the offensive coordinator with a fancy title and bring in a new head coach with experience and patience. We have the talent . . . we have no leadership.

            Tom Keely


            GORDO: There is talent, for sure, but there are some problems, too. The Rams have huge problems at safety and cornerback, so the road to the playoffs from this 2-3 start will be long and winding.

            Martz may someday become an offensive coordinator elsewhere, but that’s not going to happen here.


            * * *

            “The City of St. Louis can take partial credit for Coach Martz’s health. We have become spoiled sports fans. We have won a Super Bowl, been to another one, been in the playoffs I believe four out of five years and we treat the guy and his players like dirt. It’s embarrassing to listen to the idiots and morons who think they know about football. Fans think, because they were a ‘second team holder on the field goal unit’ they know the game. We sound like Chicago or New...
            -10-12-2005, 05:30 AM
          • RamWraith
            Readers tell Martz: Fix it!
            by RamWraith
            BY JEFF GORDON
            Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
            09/21/2004
            Guess what? Rams Nation did not take that 34-17 shellacking at Atlanta very well. Some of our readers became agitated with coach Mike Martz, which is hardly a news flash.

            Here is this week's first sampling of the electronic mail received by the staff at "Letters to Gordo:"




            "Here we go again. Am I the only fan with the ringing in my ear of that infamous phrase, 'deja vu all over again'? Didn't Sunday's game look a little familiar? Marc Bulger looked a lot like Kurt Warner did in Game One last year against the Giants. Oh, and wasn't Orlando Pace a holdout last year, too? The 'Pancake' looked more like the 'Waffle,' trying to protect Bulger. With Turley out, the Rams had a replacement lineman trying to protect the quarterback and he was repeatedly burned. Therefore, another familiar sight was Martz not moving his quarterback left or right when things fell apart on the offensive line.

            "The 'genius' looked like your ordinary continuation student, trying to earn his GED. Are all of the Warner bashers of last year now bashing Bulger, or is everyone realizing that it may be the system, not the quarterback? When will Martz realize that it may be better to adjust his protection rather than have five formations take place on one play? When will Martz hire someone to sit up in the booth and warn him not to challenge plays that have no merit to be challenged?"

            -- Scott McGowen, Folsom, Calif.


            GORDO: Bulger was outstanding until that one sequence where he was stripped of the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. He was playing pitch-and-catch all day with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. But all those penalties, combined with the lack of a running game, combined with the inability to corral Michael Vick, led to defeat.


            * * *

            "How much longer are we to put up with undisciplined sandlot football? When Dick Vermeil left, disciplined football went with him. Every week this team shows up relying on its speed and athleticism to overpower the opponent. Guess what? A lot of other teams caught up to the Rams' speed. What's more, you can sit in your living room and call the plays Martz will call -- he has become that predictable. We should have keep Lovie Smith and sent him to the Bears."

            -- Jim Lindstrom


            GORDO: The sloppy game management seemed to carry over into all phases of the Rams' play Sunday. And sloppy play won't cut it, not against this difficult schedule. There are plenty of elite defenses remaining on the docket. If Mad Mike doesn't regain his tactical magic, it could get ugly.


            * * *

            "Martz has regressed dramatically as a coach and plugged into his good ol' boy network, where loyalty to him is more important than being a...
            -09-22-2004, 06:07 AM
          • RamWraith
            Letters to Gordo: Fans call for Martz's head
            by RamWraith
            BY JEFF GORDON
            Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
            12/01/2004
            The mood in Rams Nation continues to worsen as the season progresses -– or, in the case of the Rams, regresses.

            Naturally, fans want to fire coach Mike Martz, defensive coordinator Larry Marmie and about half the team. Here is a sampler of what folks have been writing to the “Letters to Gordo” bureau:


            * * *

            “I have another take on this disaster. Cutting Sean Landeta was political and had the reverse effect. The Rams quit, plain and simple! The Martz Era is over. We lost to Miami, Dave Wannstedt is gone. We lost to New Orleans, Jim Haslett is going. Need I say more?

            -- Ed Chandler, Las Vegas


            GORDO: No, those were horrible losses. There is no shame in losing at Green Bay, but there IS shame in packing it in -– which Martz admits the defense did as that game deteriorated. There is still time to salvage the season, but how do you spark players once they are in this frame of mind?


            * * *

            “It does not get much worse than this as a Rams fan. One can say whatever one wants about what things were like before 1999, but after seeing what Mike Martz has done to what could have been a wonderful dynasty is dreadful! The Packers game Monday night was the worst display of heartless football I have ever witnessed. Martz, he looked so clueless and showed no fire and the team followed suit.

            "As much as I hate to say this, I firmly believe that the Cardinals with Dennis Green have a much brighter future at this point than the Rams do. I am not sure what can be done to fix this mess! It is a very sad time but at least we can remember the happy times of 1999 and 2001 . . . until the Super Bowl, when Martz's destruction of this franchise began.”

            -- Craig Girch, Terryville, Conn.


            GORDO: Let’s not get too eager to jump on that Dennis Green bandwagon. What he has done with his quarterbacks is truly bizarre. The Gridbirds could have jumped into the playoff race had Green not made the peculiar decision to try Shaun King.


            * * *

            “Once again, we hear Martz say ‘We know what the issues are.’ He's been saying that all year but he can't fix it. I don't blame the players -- I blame Martz simply because it has been the same issues no matter who is out there. So unless the Rams stage a miracle finish and go 4-1 down the stretch, I would hope we've seen the last of Mike Martz as head coach. I think the team takes its cue from its head coach. Martz has a one-track mind: pass on nearly every down and the heck with establishing the run, defense, fundamentals like blocking and tackling and special teams. As a result, the Rams are a one-dimensional team with a great passing attack and little else.

            “I am not surprised that over the years the Rams play on the field has gradually...
            -12-02-2004, 06:25 AM
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