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  • Martz raves about offense

    Compiled by Jeff Gordon
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    09/13/2004

    Rams coach Mike Martz can't stop raving about his team's offensive line play in Sunday's 17-10 victory over Arizona.

    "The offensive line, as a group, was just outstanding," Martz told reporters Monday afternoon. "I have to single out Andy McCollum as having the best game he's had since he's been here. He was dominating.

    "I told our staff today that I felt like this was probably our best performance as an offensive line since I've been here. Any time you rush for those kind of yards (176 yards; 5.9 yards per carry) and don't give up any sacks, that's pretty exceptional. When you look at the tape, they are sustaining blocks. The things they were able to do were, I was very pleased. I was very pleased how physical they were.

    "They haven't missed a beat, like they did in camp. They are just a tough group. We've had all kinds of different combinations in there throughout the training camp, but (the coaches) kept everybody focused. (Chris) Dishman comes in, loses 20 pounds, right now he's played through the preseason, gotten himself into shape, played very well. Grant Williams on the right side was doing a terrific job."

    Starting this season, teams do not have to issue information about injuries until Wednesday. So when Martz was asked about the injuries to two of his five linebackers -- Pisa Tinoisamoa (dislocated shoulder) and Trev Faulk (hamstring) -- he said, "I kind of know what that injury situation is and we'll be fine."

    Other highlight's of Martz's press conference:


    On his team's offensive miscues:

    "In the first three possessions, offensively, we turn it over, which is always a concern. If we hadn't done that, we were in position to really take charge of that game early."


    On the red-zone inefficiency:

    "There were a couple of situations in the red zone where basically I screwed up the verbiage in it and we had to call a timeout. I would take that third-down-and-two (Cam Cleeland tight end around run) play back. I felt like the structure defense they do in the goal line it would be good. I guessed there a little bit and they came off the edge. We didn't get the ball in the end zone. That's a coaching error. I can do a better job of that."


    On Marc Bulger's interception:

    "After looking at the interception, I know what he did. He was fine where he was throwing it. We had a receiver turning up instead of turning out on that thing; he brought the defender, at the last second when (Bulger) was throwing the ball, right into the throwing lane. He tried to pull off the ball and the ball took off on him. . . .

    "I thought Marc played very well. I thought he did a really nice job. Here he comes again in the fourth quarter, we have to respond, we're behind, he takes us all the way down and we score. That's why he's our quarterback."


    On the play of running back Marshall Faulk:

    "He was just outstanding. This was the best he's been at this time of the season since he's been here, in my opinion. He looked strong, fast I thought he was exceptional. Some of the runs he made, he makes two safeties miss. In one run, he makes the same safety miss twice. He was terrific."


    On the play of defensive end Bryce Fisher:

    "He had three tackles, seven assists, a sack for 16 yards, a hit on the quarterback and a deflected pass. By anybody's standards for a defensive end, that's a terrific afternoon.


    On the play of defensive tackle Damione Lewis:

    Three tackles, three assists, a sack for an eight-yard loss. I thought Damione played very well. The whole defensive line did a nice job in there."


    On the rest of the defensive effort:

    "Obviously the linebacking crew did a good job. The linebacking crew, overall, was exceptional. Aeneas Williams and Jerametrius Butler . . . Jerametrius basically had six tackles, three assists and broke up two passes. They tried to go after him a little bit with (Larry) Fitzgerald. I thought he responded very well.

    "We gave up three (long) runs. There were a couple of things in there that we can fix. There were three runs in there they hit on us that we can clean up."


    On the special teams lapse:

    "The breakdown in the kickoff return, we had a guy right there to make the tackle and he didn't make the tackle. That's his responsibility to do that. That's it. That's accountability."


    On his ill-fated replay challenge on Steven Jackson's fumble:

    "I challenged that fumble based on information on the field, just misinterpreted it. It's a long story. Andy (McCollum) did recover it. He was on his back and thought that was enough. One of the players, I won't tell you who, said 'He clearly had the ball, it's our ball, challenge it.' I thought he was talking about the running back. So that's what I challenged. The official did a nice job, (saying) 'Are you sure that's what you want?' Bad information. I screwed up."
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