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  • Rams gladly reply to *****' invitation

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Tuesday, Oct. 05 2004

    The evening began with ***** linebacker Jamie Winborn trash-talking some of the
    Rams during pregame warmups. It ended with a San Francisco assistant coach
    dropping by the St. Louis locker room, thanking the Rams for not running up the
    score in the second half.

    In between, it was Marshall Faulk left, Marshall Faulk right, with a dose of
    Steven Jackson thrown in for good measure. About the last thing the *****
    expected from St. Louis Sunday night was a running game, but that's what they
    got in a 24-14 Rams victory.

    "I had heard they were getting some heat from their press in that they weren't
    running the ball, but also, up to this game, that had been our strength," *****
    linebacker Jeff Ulbrich said. "I felt like we played the run real well."

    The ***** entered the game ranked fifth in the NFL in run defense, but you
    wouldn't have known it by the way they got pounded by St. Louis. The Rams
    rushed for 174 yards - more than twice the *****' per-game average in rushing
    yards allowed entering the game.
    So even on Monday, a day after the Rams evened their record at 2-2, the
    question remaining in everyone's minds was: Where did all those running plays
    come from?

    "We've always been a little pragmatic about things in the last six years,"
    coach Mike Martz said. "That's kind of how we approach things. You're standing
    there on the sidelines, you look at it, they're playing a real soft Cover 2."

    The ***** were playing their safeties deep, basically inviting the Rams to run
    the football. Martz accepted the invitation.

    "You start handing the ball off, and start rolling pretty good," Martz said.

    So you keep handing it off.

    "And that's what kind of happened," Martz said. "The offensive line took it
    upon themselves to make things happen, and they certainly did. ... It's just
    like in the passing game. If you're hitting them, you keep going. You do
    whatever it takes to win."

    By game's end, the Rams had 36 carries and only 25 pass plays. It doesn't
    happen that way often, but more often than you'd think. In Martz's four-plus
    seasons as head coach, the Rams have had 11 games when they've run more often
    than they've passed. They are 11-0 in such games.

    For an offensive lineman, run blocking beats the heck out of pass blocking, oh,
    50 times a game.

    "It does," offensive tackle Orlando Pace said, laughing. "I was telling Grant
    Williams that (Sunday night). Man, it feels good to get out and actually run
    block. I know the guys on the offensive line really enjoy it. If we can move
    the ball and eat up some of the clock, it's always good."

    Martz also was influenced in his play calling by the work of the offensive line
    last week in practice at Rams Park.

    "In our run drills, our nine-on-seven drills, the offensive line practiced as
    well as I've ever seen a group here practice," Martz said. "It was exciting to
    watch."

    And that was with unproven Scott Tercero working with the first unit at left
    guard in place of the injured Chris Dishman. But Tercero, a sixth-round draft
    pick by the club in 2003, acquitted himself well at Monster Park in his first
    NFL start. "I was real pleased with Scotty," Martz said.

    Nonetheless, it still was unusual to see the Rams run so well against San
    Francisco. The 174 rushing yards was the highest total for the Rams against
    their West Coast rivals since the move to St. Louis in 1995. Over the past two
    seasons, St. Louis had averaged just 55 rushing yards in four games with the
    Niners.

    It was Faulk's fifth 100-yard rushing game against San Francisco, but his first
    since the 2001 Super Bowl season. After Sunday night's 23-carry, 121-yard
    performance, Faulk now has an even 1,000 yards rushing in his career against
    San Francisco, more yards than he has gained against any opponent. But he's
    also played the ***** more often (12 times) than anyone else.

    Faulk doesn't like contentious topics. So when asked if the plan was to run the
    ball more, or if it just evolved that way, he replied: "You'll have to ask Mike
    (Martz)."

    Apparently, it was a little of both on a night when Mad Mike became Pragmatic
    Mike

  • #2
    Re: Rams gladly reply to *****' invitation

    Originally posted by RamWraith
    "You start handing the ball off, and start rolling pretty good," Martz said.

    So you keep handing it off.

    "And that's what kind of happened," Martz said. "The offensive line took it
    upon themselves to make things happen, and they certainly did. ... It's just
    like in the passing game. If you're hitting them, you keep going. You do
    whatever it takes to win."
    I think this sums up Martz's view on his overall gameplan week in and week out pretty well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams gladly reply to *****' invitation

      Originally posted by The Big O
      "It does," offensive tackle Orlando Pace said, laughing. "I was telling Grant Williams that (Sunday night). Man, it feels good to get out and actually run block. I know the guys on the offensive line really enjoy it. If we can move the ball and eat up some of the clock, it's always good."
      Orlando, you fool! You primordial vagabond! Have you not read the scrolls of the soothsayer & prophet Waller? Sir Pace, your utterances are a damnable lie, you forked-tongue Cretan.
      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams invitation ...

        What I am still trying to figure out - and mind you it's been a 36-hour-bender since it first hooked me - is how did games 2 & 3 get in between 1 & 4? Who's messing with the order of the slides?

        Comment


        • #5
          Rams' reply to invitation ...

          It ended with a San Francisco assistant coach dropping by the St. Louis locker room, thanking the Rams for not running up the score in the second half.
          Furthermore, nobody should care whether the mercy-rule was in effect and observed. That assistant should be apologizing for having been on the field in the first place.

          Comment

          Related Topics

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          • RamDez
            Sunday's victory shows importance of running game
            by RamDez
            Sunday's victory shows importance of running game
            By Bryan Burwell
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            Monday, Sep. 13 2004

            Of all the days on a pro football calendar, Mondays are usually the best
            indicator of the delicate, almost razor-thin line that separates winners from
            losers in the National Football League. All across the NFL map yesterday, 32
            head coaches stood in front of banks of microphones for their Monday
            post-mortems, with the losers offering begrudging excuses and regrets and the
            winners tossing around compliments free and easy.

            It hardly mattered how many mistakes were made, how many yards were gained, how
            many tackles were missed or made. The harsh reality of the NFL is based on one
            simple fact of life:

            Did you win or lose on Sunday?

            On Monday afternoon at Rams Park, Mike Martz was one of the lucky ones,
            comforted in the knowledge that winning cures all the evils of the somewhat
            bumpy road his Rams encountered in their 17-10 season-opening victory over the
            Arizona Cardinals. Martz knew he could stand there at his afternoon news
            conference armed with the only statistic that mattered now that the race for
            Paul Tagilabue's silver Super Bowl trophy has begun.

            The Rams won.

            They are 1-0 and everything about this Monday just felt a lot better than last
            year's Day After Opening Day. Remember how after last year's 23-13 loss to the
            New York Giants, Martz spent most of that uncomfortable day trying to explain
            why Kurt Warner's head was all scrambled, and why Marc Bulger was now going to
            take the starting QB job after Warner's six-fumble disaster in the Meadowlands?

            Yet oddly enough, there are still some odd similarities between those two
            Mondays, because there's just as much uncertainty about exactly where this
            young season is headed as there was this time last year.

            Sure, there are plenty of positive signs, such as an offense that showed an
            impressive mean streak with a dominant running attack, and a defense that
            limited the Arizona offense to only 10 points. But there are still just as many
            question marks about a team still too prone to turnovers and so prone to
            injuries that you have no idea how long any of this good stuff will last.

            But right now, being 1-0 is still a lot better than being 0-1. So Martz smartly
            accentuated all the positives of his undefeated patchwork Rams. And the thing
            that he accentuated the most - and with good reason - was his surprisingly
            productive offensive line, whose nickname ought to be The Musical Chairs for
            all the position switches that these guys have gone through over the past few
            weeks because of injuries, retirements and contract squabbles.

            "They haven't missed a beat,"
            ...
            -09-15-2004, 11:10 PM
          • RamWraith
            It's come to pass: Martz discovers a running game
            by RamWraith
            By Bryan Burwell
            Of the Post-Dispatch
            10/04/2004

            Just before he walked out of the cramped visitors' locker room inside Monster Park Sunday night with a much-needed victory in his pocket, Marc Bulger paused for a moment to recognize the obvious. Something extra had happened on that perfectly manicured grass field of old Candlestick Park, something even more substantial than a mere victory over the pitiful *****.

            "I think we got a little credibility back," Bulger said.

            With a national television audience watching - and probably anticipating (perhaps even hoping for) a big, fat embarrassing Rams meltdown - the Rams had reclaimed no small measure of personal, professional and local pride. The pro football world is filled with all sorts of buttoned-down, less adventurous folks would have liked nothing more than to have seen Bulger's audacious boss Mike Martz get a little comeuppance on national TV.

            But within a blink of an eye, the Rams ruined all those plans. They took complete control of the night, broke out to an emphatic 24-0 first-half lead and gave the unbeaten Seahawks something substantial to ponder as they prepare for next weekend's big showdown in Seattle.

            At last tossing aside his pass-happy, run-thin philosophy, Martz put together the sort of well-balanced, clock-controlling attack that might be able to put the 2-2 Rams back into serious contention against Seattle (3-0) in the NFC West.

            The Rams did everything a good and smart football team is supposed to do in plundering the *****. Martz pragmatically used every one of his offensive weapons of mass destruction. He called running plays when the ***** were looking for passes. He called passes when they were stacking up to stop the run. Instead of fast and furious, he gave us choice blend. Instead of stubborn insistence on guns blazing, he chose a more surgical approach.

            But I'm a pessimist by nature. And even as I kept watching Marshall Faulk galloping all over Monster Park, a little voice in my head kept whispering:

            "How long will this last?"

            We've been to this party too many times before. We all know that just as often as he takes two steps forward, he's just as likely to take three steps back with a few one-dimensional air shows like he did against the Falcons and Saints.

            So again, that's why I keep hearing that little voice.

            "How long will this last?"

            So as a public service, I think it is important that we again bombard Mad (or is it Methodical?) Mike with some valuable numbers to look at in case he gets that predictable urge to stray from running the ball, particularly when some manic defensive coordinator plots out endless strategies to take Faulk out of the game.

            Remember Mike, statistics don't lie. Putting the ball in Faulk's hands is still the surest...
            -10-05-2004, 12:32 PM
          • RamWraith
            Whiner press blasts Martz
            by RamWraith
            Wednesday, September 29, 2004


            Martz instrumental in demise of Rams


            Ira Miller

            In the Super Bowl following the 2001 season, the New England Patriots played a nickel defense virtually the entire game, daring St. Louis to run.

            The Rams didn't take the bait. Of course, you might remember, New England, a two-touchdown underdog, won the game -- the second-biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

            St. Louis coach Mike Martz did not get his reputation as an offensive wizard by ordering his quarterbacks to hand off. Three seasons later, Martz has not changed. The Rams still live -- and, frequently these days, die -- by the pass.

            St. Louis, which is averaging fewer running plays than any other team in the NFL, will bring a 1-2 record to San Francisco for a Sunday night game against the *****. The Rams have beaten only winless Arizona -- in a game the Cardinals led after three quarters -- and their roster includes better talent than their won-lost record shows.

            The quarterback, Marc Bulger, leads the NFL in completions and has a completion percentage of 69.3. One receiver, Isaac Bruce, leads the league in receptions and receiving yardage, and the other, Torry Holt, was the league leader in 2003. Left tackle Orlando Pace might be the best in the game. Running back Marshall Faulk has slipped with age, but remains effective. And nine of the 11 starters return on a defense that at least was decent in the recent past.

            So how come the Rams stink?

            Yeah, it's time to take another look at Mad Mike.

            As a head coach, Martz makes an easy target because he is outgoing, outspoken and different. But for all his offensive flair, Martz still doesn't get it. The Rams thought they were starting a dynasty when they won the Super Bowl under Dick Vermeil following the 1999 season, but they haven't come close to fulfilling their promise.

            A month ago, this game looked like a certain loss for San Francisco. Now, despite how wretchedly the ***** played at Seattle, it's up for grabs.

            The Rams have had the same problems for five seasons under Martz. They lack attention to detail, play sloppily, allow their quarterback to take too many hits (which is what happened to Kurt Warner) and use questionable strategy and play-calling that ignore the running game.

            Since Martz became their head coach, the Rams have been more than 37 percent above the league average in losing turnovers and 17 percent above the league average in giving up quarterback sacks. Except for last season, they also have been penalized at a rate well above the league average.

            Yet, rather than change, Martz apparently has become defiant about doing it his way.

            When he was questioned in St. Louis this week about the abject lack of balance on offense -- 29 runs, 91 passes called in...
            -09-30-2004, 05:40 AM
          • DJRamFan
            [*****] Martz instrumental in demise of Rams
            by DJRamFan
            Ira Miller
            Wednesday, September 29, 2004



            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




            chart attached


            In the Super Bowl following the 2001 season, the New England Patriots played a nickel defense virtually the entire game, daring St. Louis to run.

            The Rams didn't take the bait. Of course, you might remember, New England, a two-touchdown underdog, won the game -- the second-biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

            St. Louis coach Mike Martz did not get his reputation as an offensive wizard by ordering his quarterbacks to hand off. Three seasons later, Martz has not changed. The Rams still live -- and, frequently these days, die -- by the pass.

            St. Louis, which is averaging fewer running plays than any other team in the NFL, will bring a 1-2 record to San Francisco for a Sunday night game against the *****. The Rams have beaten only winless Arizona -- in a game the Cardinals led after three quarters -- and their roster includes better talent than their won-lost record shows.

            The quarterback, Marc Bulger, leads the NFL in completions and has a completion percentage of 69.3. One receiver, Isaac Bruce, leads the league in receptions and receiving yardage, and the other, Torry Holt, was the league leader in 2003. Left tackle Orlando Pace might be the best in the game. Running back Marshall Faulk has slipped with age, but remains effective. And nine of the 11 starters return on a defense that at least was decent in the recent past.

            So how come the Rams stink?

            Yeah, it's time to take another look at Mad Mike.

            As a head coach, Martz makes an easy target because he is outgoing, outspoken and different. But for all his offensive flair, Martz still doesn't get it. The Rams thought they were starting a dynasty when they won the Super Bowl under Dick Vermeil following the 1999 season, but they haven't come close to fulfilling their promise.

            A month ago, this game looked like a certain loss for San Francisco. Now, despite how wretchedly the ***** played at Seattle, it's up for grabs.

            The Rams have had the same problems for five seasons under Martz. They lack attention to detail, play sloppily, allow their quarterback to take too many hits (which is what happened to Kurt Warner) and use questionable strategy and play-calling that ignore the running game.

            Since Martz became their head coach, the Rams have been more than 37 percent above the league average in losing turnovers and 17 percent above the league average in giving up quarterback sacks. Except for last season, they also have been penalized at a rate well above the league average.

            Yet, rather than change, Martz apparently has become defiant about doing it his way.

            When he was questioned...
            -09-30-2004, 01:24 PM
          • RamWraith
            St. Louis ready to Ram it down opposition's throat
            by RamWraith
            By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY

            ST. LOUIS Imagine the St. Louis Rams with a big, power rusher featured in a grind-it-out offense and a coach willing to call one running play after the next. The first part is a reality called Steven Jackson. The second is almost too weird to consider. And that last suggestion? Mike Martz in love with the run? Maybe next lifetime.
            But it could happen considerably sooner than that. Like now. Revolution is in the air, or on the ground. With the 6-2, 231-pound Jackson stepping in as the starting running back in place of Marshall Faulk, the Rams, with a hammer in the backfield rather than a slasher, may change their philosophy.

            "You try to take advantage of whatever your strengths are," says Martz, whose team closes out the preseason Friday night at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. "We've retooled our offensive line, and I'd love to give that ball to Steven and pound it in there and pound it in there and take our shots downfield when we feel like it. That's fun football. That means we've got control of the game."

            The Rams lacked that last season, when they were 8-8 and a wild-card playoff qualifier. They scored 319 points, down from 447 in 2003, and were held to 17 or fewer in half of their games. Their quarterbacks were sacked 50 times, the most since Martz became head coach in 2000.

            If Monday night's 37-13 preseason victory against the Detroit Lions means anything, this new model works. Jackson carried 12 times for 105 yards in the first half and finished with 14 for 108. Faulk added three carries for 22 yards in the first two quarters. The Rams ran 39 times and passed 25 on their way to 453 yards of total offense, 183 on the ground.

            "Steven can put a lot of pressure on people," Martz says. "You'll see a different type of approach offensively."

            The Rams under Martz have always thrown before they ran. Martz says he derived his philosophy in part from Norv Turner. He was on Turner's staff with the Washington Redskins in 1997-98 and says he carefully studied the way Turner, now the Oakland Raiders' head coach, attacked as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys (1991-93), when the Cowboys won consecutive Super Bowls.

            Turner, Martz says, threw the ball on 70% of the first-half snaps and ran it on 70% of the second-half plays. The rationale: "You throw the ball in the first half and they're rushing the passer, rushing the passer, and you start running the ball when you're fresh."

            The switch to Jackson as a starter was suggested by Faulk late last season. While Jackson is younger and less physically worn than Faulk, he must sharpen parts of his game to become a more complete player.

            "I'm still working on my pass routes," says Jackson, the club's No. 1 pick in 2004. "I never had to do it to this extent. In college...
            -09-01-2005, 10:21 AM
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