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  • Martz silent over status of injured Rams

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    In Philadelphia, Eagles coach Andy Reid reported Monday that offensive guard Shawn Andrews suffered a fractured leg that would require surgery this week. Reid also said cornerback Lito Sheppard had a fractured thumb, but might be able to play with a cast protecting the injury.

    In Tampa Bay, Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden said Monday that wide receiver Joey Galloway will be out four to six weeks with a severe left groin strain, and safety Dwight Smith was questionable for Sunday's home opener against Seattle with a bruised left rib.

    In Denver, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said cornerback Lenny Walls suffered a shoulder dislocation and is expected to miss four weeks or more.

    And on and on throughout the National Football League. Monday is an important day for injury news - to fans and reporters.

    But in St. Louis, Mike Martz said nothing. In an unexpected twist, Martz refused to provide any information on Rams injuries coming out of Sunday's 17-10 season-opening victory over Arizona.

    When asked if there was any update on linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who suffered a shoulder injury in the game, Martz said: "Any of the injury stuff, we'll delay until Wednesday. The league now, they would ask you on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to reveal (any injury information). So any issues we'll just address on Wednesdays."

    The NFL has had an injury-reporting policy in place for its teams since 1947, in part as a service to fans eager for information about their team. But there are no guidelines compelling coaches to report injury information on Mondays.

    Some coaches and teams were skirting, or even abusing, the old guidelines for reporting injuries. As a result, the new policy requires teams to provide more detailed injury information on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of game weeks.

    In a memo to head coaches and team public relations directors dated Aug. 16 from NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, teams were reminded that the league policy on injuries "continues to be critically important to the integrity of our league."

    The revised policy is designed to improve how injuries are to be identified by teams, and to provide an indication of the extent to which an injured player is practicing. It also stressed that teams should provide "credible, accurate and specific" information on injuries on game day.

    But there is no mention - pro or con - of how information is to be reported on Mondays, when head coaches traditionally have "day-after" media briefings.

    So it is unclear why Martz went the non-disclosure route. If he did so out of protest of the new guidelines, it was news to NFC information manager Michael Signora.

    Teams can be fined for not complying with the injury-reporting guidelines, but again, Signora said he was unaware of any problems with the Rams last week - the first week of the new guidelines.

    "I have not heard of anything, and I think if something happened, I would know about it," Signora said.

    The Rams have always had the reputation of being fan friendly and media friendly, both in St. Louis and Los Angeles. But the flow of information out of Rams Park has been more restricted since Martz became head coach and Jay Zygmunt became president of football operations following the 1999 season:

    In 2002, the Rams closed practices to the media for the first three weeks of the season.

    Beginning last season, trainer Jim Anderson was put off-limits to reporters for injury information without the consent of the team.

    On Sept. 5, the final cutdown day, the team did not release its list of cut players - the first time that has happened since the team moved to St. Louis.

    Last week, Martz put defensive coordinator Larry Marmie off-limits to reporters before Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, Marmie's former team.

    Martz was asked one other injury-related question Monday, about how the injury situation would affect the linebacker corps.

    "I kind of know what that injury situation is, and we'll be fine," Martz said.

    The team carried only five linebackers into the Arizona game. Tinoisamoa, the Rams' tackling leader last season as a rookie, suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the first half. He left the field to have the shoulder X-rayed, but returned before halftime and played very well while wearing a shoulder harness. After the game Martz said, "I would imagine that we won't have him for a little while."

    But the injury isn't considered serious. If it were, the team wouldn't have risked sending him out in the harness against Arizona.

    In addition, backup linebacker Trev Faulk suffered a hamstring injury and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks. Faulk's injury alone probably will prompt the team to add a linebacker to the active roster. Tony Newson, currently on the practice squad, is one possibility.

    Martz said the fact that players such as Tinosamoa and Jerametrius Butler (dislocated fingers) played through injuries against Arizona "says a lot about the character and how important it is. They're very unselfish players. They understand how important they are to this football team. And they make that sacrifice and (want to) be counted on."

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  • RamWraith
    Martz can't hide the injuries any more
    by RamWraith news services

    In a new directive sent Monday to all 32 NFL teams, commissioner Paul Tagliabue laid down new ground rules for reporting injuries that is certain to draw disapproval from NFL coaches who are guarded in their public disclosures.

    Tagliabue said that teams may no longer simply list a player as having a "leg injury," but must specify whether the injury is an "ankle, knee, calf or thigh." He stressed that teams must be factual and accurate with their information.

    The memo also went so far as to tell teams that they must report any player who does not participate in the full-team (11-on-11) portion of any practice, and the reason for that player's non-participation.

    In addition, it encouraged coaches to open at least a part of practice to the media, although it did not make that mandatory.

    Some coaches, including New England's Bill Belichick, have been accused of deliberately fudging injuries, claiming that to disclose what area of the body is hurting would encourage opponents to deliberately go after the sore spot. However, the competition committee, which approved the memo, includes coaches Jeff Fisher of Tennessee and Mike Holmgren of Seattle.

    Tagliabue also will require that Friday be the new mandatory day to update injuries. Previously, teams would provide injury updates on Wednesday and Thursday, although some have been reprimanded for not disclosing a significant or worsened injury that may have occurred during a Friday practice.

    Tagliabue promised strict enforcement of the new ground rules, telling clubs that the league will screen random videotapes.

    "The policy will be strictly enforced and violations will be subject to disciplinary action," the commissioner warned in the memo.

    ESPN's Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report
    -08-16-2004, 03:48 PM
  • ramavenger
    Laughs are on Martz
    by ramavenger
    ***** NOTEBOOK
    Laughs are on Martz
    Rams' coach cracks up media with his honesty
    John Crumpacker, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Thursday, December 2, 2004

    Printable Version
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    Guffaws, chuckles and explosive cackles sounded forth from the speaker phone Wednesday as Rams coach Mike Martz laughed his way through a conference call. You would have thought his team was 10-1 instead of 5-6.

    Then again, the Rams' opponent Sunday is the *****, a team guaranteed to brighten the mood of any NFL coach.

    So, coach, does playing the 1-10 ***** mean an automatic win for St. Louis?

    Martz laughed so heartily he could have been at a comedy club.

    "Come on,'' he said when the laughter turned boilerplate. "No, there are no automatics in anything. No. Nope. To answer your question, no. And that's an honest answer.''

    As opposed to answers coaches usually give.

    Martz, who comes off as haughty to some, with one Super Bowl championship to his credit (as an assistant coach), has taken some hits this season for his team's inconsistency. The Rams have lost two in a row and trail Seattle by one game in the NFC West, the league's worst division.

    Martz said he is unaware of the kind of criticism that comes with the job because "I live in a dungeon. For the last two years, I have never read a newspaper or seen a television sports program of any type. ... I really couldn't tell you if there was any criticism, nor do I care, to be honest with you.''

    Although "job security'' is an oxymoron in the coaching profession, Martz was blithe in discussing his future in St. Louis. When he was asked if he might have to win a couple of playoff games to solidify his position, he erupted in laughter; George Carlin never said anything as funny, or so it seemed.

    "I could care less about that stuff,'' he said. "Are you kidding me? (Apparently so.) The last thing in the world I worry about is my job security. Why should I? I'm financially secure. I think I can get another job if I have to, don't you think?''

    While Peyton Manning of the Colts is cranking out touchdown passes like sausages from a grinder, Martz's guy, Marc Bulger, has more passing yards (3, 267) than anyone in the league. The coach turned serious long enough to talk about his quarterback.

    Martz said Bulger has "done some things on the field that I didn't think he could do that I have never seen Kurt (Warner) do.''

    -12-02-2004, 11:31 AM
  • RamWraith
    by RamWraith

    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz said Tuesday he still doesn't know when - or if - offensive tackle Orlando Pace will end his holdout.

    That's because Martz hasn't heard from the five-time Pro Bowler since the end of last season.

    "I don't know what kind of shape he's in, what he's been doing," Martz said. "He has not returned any calls to our players or our coaches."

    "I think that's the business aspect through his agent; that's the hard part of it."

    The Rams certainly appear to need the help on the offensive line. The Kansas City Chiefs registered five sacks in a 24-7 preseason victory Monday night over St. Louis, and they pressured Rams quarterbacks all night.

    The line has been torn apart by injuries.

    Right tackle Kyle Turley remains out with a back injury, and his return is uncertain. Backup tackle Grant Williams played Monday despite an ankle injury and may not play Friday when the Rams, 0-2 in preseason, host the Washington Redskins. And St. Louis cut center Dave Wohlabaugh because of a hip injury.

    Things appear so dire that two veteran offensive lineman - Chris Dishman and Tom Nutten - have been lured out of retirement, and Martz said both were rounding into shape.

    He expects the line to be solid - with or without Pace - for the Sept. 12 opener at home against the Arizona Cardinals.

    "We'll put out there a first unit that can compete and play well," Martz said.

    Monday's loss was costly to more than the Rams' psyche. Cornerback Travis Fisher broke his right forearm and will have surgery Wednesday. Martz declined to guess when Fisher may return, but initial reports project that the player will miss most of the season.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger will have an MRI on a knee that was hit in the first quarter against the Chiefs, though Martz said he does not believe the injury is serious.

    Linebacker Tommy Polley suffered an arm injury and may miss up to a week of practice, Martz said.

    Notes:@ The Rams said Tuesday they have released DT Richard Harris, WR Derek McCoy, LB Jason McWilliams, P Jesse Nicassio, TE Ryan Prince, LB Justin Smtih and WR Brian Sump.
    -08-24-2004, 03:09 PM
  • RamWraith
    Martz's comments get his players' attention
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    Perhaps close friend and trusted confidant Joe Vitt can appreciate better than anyone Mike Martz's eagerness to return as soon as possible as head coach of the Rams.

    "I think this is the best he's felt, really, since his (back) surgery" earlier this year, Vitt said. "And when you feel good at this time of the year, it's really strange for a coach. Usually when you get to December, you start to get drained, you start to get tired, you start to get achy. When you feel good, you're really itching to get back."

    Vitt has served as interim head coach since mid-October, when Martz announced that he would miss the rest of the season while undergoing treatment for a bacterial infection of a heart valve. But in an interview Tuesday with the Post-Dispatch, Martz hinted at a possible return before the season is over.

    "I feel good. ... I'm dying to come back," Martz said. That move would require the approval of his doctor, which, Martz acknowledged, isn't likely to be granted. Still, the prospect of an earlier-than-expected Martz return was the buzz in the locker room Wednesday at the Rams Park:

    "It's just like a player who got hurt and came back into the fold. We'll welcome him with open arms." - Wide receiver Isaac Bruce.

    "If he wants to come back, that's his prerogative. He's the head coach. The guy drafted me; why wouldn't I want him back? I have no problem with that at all." - Rookie cornerback Ron Bartell.

    "He's our head coach and ... we're behind him 100 percent, whatever he wants to do." - Rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    Asked whether another head-coaching change might be a disruption, wideout Kevin Curtis said: "That's hard to say. ... With constant change like that, there's definitely a possibility of distraction. But Coach Martz has kind of built and formed this team. I think it would only help us."

    The common theme, though, was that Martz take care of his health first before even considering a return to the sideline.

    "If he feels well enough and everything is clear with the doctors ... he's our head coach, and we'd love to have him back," linebacker Trev Faulk said. "But the most important thing is that he's healthy."

    Saipaia can't sit still

    Like Martz, offensive lineman Blaine Saipaia is chafing while on the injury list. He was knocked out Nov. 20 vs. Arizona, and he's still suffering symptoms from the concussion.

    "I've never felt this way this long. It's pretty weird. It's frustrating," Saipaia said. "I still get the headaches every now and again. They come and go. They're not as frequent. Daily, the intensity is subsiding."

    Adding to his discomfort, Saipaia conceded,...
    -12-01-2005, 04:56 AM
  • RamDez
    Martz' method works for Rams (pats press)
    by RamDez
    Martz' method works for Rams

    [email protected]

    St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz has always taken an unusual approach to bye weeks.

    Judging from how well it has worked, maybe it should not be such an unusual approach.

    For the fifth straight season, Martz gave his team the entire bye week off. The Rams, who were off last week, play the visiting New England Patriots Sunday.

    The Rams are 4-0 following bye weeks under Martz, and they have averaged 39 points per game with an average margin of victory of nearly 25 points.

    The controversial coach said it was a difficult move to make at first. He added he has continued the practice in part because his team's bye week has always fallen pretty much in the middle of the season.

    "After you have gone through the preseason and the entire start of the regular season, these guys physically and emotionally need a break, and the coaches could use one," Martz said.

    "They have to come in and lift and run three days out of that week," he added. "They get away with their families, their bodies are healed, and it's just like starting the whole year over. It's kind of refreshing."

    Most teams will hold two or three regular practices during a bye week before giving players the weekend off.

    INJURY UPDATE: The Patriots made no changes to their rather lengthy injury report.

    Running backs Corey Dillon (thigh) and Patrick Pass (thigh), receivers Deion Branch (knee), Troy Brown (shoulder) and David Givens (knee), tackle Tom Ashworth (back) and special teams linebacker Larry Izzo (knee) all missed at least a portion of team practice for the second straight day, according to the team.

    All are questionable for Sunday's game except Branch, who is doubtful. "I'll be back soon," Branch said. "It (being injured) is part of life."

    Cornerbacks Ty Law (foot) and Tyrone Poole (knee) will not play Sunday.

    Poole said players such as second-year pro Asante Samuel and rookie free agent Randall Gay will have a chance to gain experience, and the Patriots will benefit from that later in the season.

    "If something happens in a crucial game, the coaches don't have to say, 'Wow, I wonder how this guy is going to react in a crucial situation,' Poole said.

    "We have injuries, and that's not a positive, but it's a positive in the fact that it gives the guys who would not normally have opportunities to play the chance to do that."

    New England coach Bill Belichick was asked yesterday morning what his players would wear at practice...
    -11-07-2004, 02:59 AM