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  • Martz passes on critics

    Martz passes on critics

    October 9, 2004

    All Mike Martz has done is win 66 percent of his games, the same amount as the only current NFL coach whose bust resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Unlike Joe Gibbs, a three-time Super Bowl winner, Martz has yet to win the big game since becoming the St. Louis Rams' coach in 2000.

    But that's not why Martz attracts more criticism than any consistently successful coach in memory.

    The problem, as critics see it, involves Martz's penchant for passing more than any team in the league.

    Just think how many Super Bowls the Rams might have won had Martz fed the ball to his running backs a little more, critics say.

    "I don't know why it's such an issue," Martz said this week as the Rams prepared to visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. "It's not going to change now."

    That kind of unrepentant attitude, paired with a 2-2 record this season, has only invited more griping.

    The Rams actually attempted 11 more runs than passes during their 24-14 victory over San Francisco on Sunday. It was the second time in two seasons Martz called more runs than passes in a game.

    Marshall Faulk finished with 121 yards rushing as the Rams moved to 26-0 when Faulk reaches triple digits on the ground.

    "I've always been pragmatic," Martz said. "You've got to move the ball any way you can and get points on the board.

    "The whole notion about balance is fine as long as you're winning."

    Martz has won more than most. His four-plus years leading the Rams have produced two NFC West titles and a Super Bowl berth.

    Starting with 2000, his season records are 10-6, 14-2, 7-9 and 12-4.

    "I do feel good about the job that I'm doing," Martz said. "I'm encouraged that we're going to get better and that's how I see my job.

    "You take a group of guys and you help them become maybe something that they didn't know or weren't sure they could be, whether it's a particular player or the whole team, and where that takes you, it takes you.

    "That's the thrill in coaching for me, and in that respect I feel like I've been successful."

    Martz, 53, still has time to win that Super Bowl. "I've got a lot of coaching left in this little body," he said, "so we'll see what happens."

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics


  • AvengerRam_old
    Martz: "I'm not quitting."
    by AvengerRam_old
    Martz: I'm not quitting


    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS - As bleak as the situation looks, there's no giving up for St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz.

    Martz, whose fifth season with the team has been a semi-disaster, on Monday had a strong rebuttal to an ESPN report that he might consider quitting. The Rams were among the preseason Super Bowl favorites after going 12-4 last year but are 6-8 heading into the final two games.

    "I would never resign from this job," Martz said. "I love this job and I would never leave these guys. We've got a real solid crew of young players and it's going to eventually be a terrific team, and I'm not going to ever walk away from something like that."

    Martz has two years left on a contract that pays him $3.5 million annually, and he noted that he's financially secure.

    "I coach because I want to coach, and I love being here," Martz said. "That hasn't changed. We're going to forge on and get this thing back up and running the way it should be.

    "I'm one of those guys where that glass is always half-full and not empty. Sometimes it's hard to look at it like that but no, no, this guy's not going anywhere. No way, Jose."

    Martz is 51-32, counting the playoffs, since leading the Rams to their first Super Bowl championship as Dick Vermeil's offensive coordinator in 1999 and led the Rams to a 14-2 record and his own Super Bowl in 2002. This year has unraveled due to big problems early on with shaky defense and special teams, and lately with what used to be a high-powered offense.

    But this is where he wants to stay. Martz noted that earlier in the season he shot down speculation he'd be interested in the Dolphins vacancy.

    "This is where I want to retire," Martz said. "I have no interest in ever coaching for any other NFL team. We love living here, we love the organization."

    Martz hopes the return of quarterback Marc Bulger after missing two weeks with a bruised right shoulder can reinvigorate an offense that produced one touchdown while he was out. Bulger threw again on Monday with minimal problems.

    "He's ready to go," Martz said. "He's got very little effect on the followthrough, which is really the biggest concern."

    Backup Chris Chandler, 39, has been a major disappointment and might get released. He threw six interceptions last week in a loss at Carolina, then got yanked after going 1-for-6 for 1 yard and producing zero first downs in the first quarter of Sunday's 31-7 loss at Arizona.

    Jamie Martin, signed on Dec. 7 after being out of the NFL for more than a year, is the likely backup this week after playing the last three quarters on Sunday.

    "I believe in him," Martz said. "He's...
    -12-20-2004, 04:48 PM
  • the brent
    Martz has to go..
    by the brent
    ..Just an attention grabber there really - 2 pre-season games a season does not make. However Martz continues to make some incredibly questionable decisions, including player and personnel aquisitions, alienated a number of players and cost The Rams at least one - more likely two - superbowls on his watch. When you look at the Rams since '99 they have put up some remarkable stats but it could be said that that is the team Dick built. This season has to be make or break for him, nothing less than making it to the NFC championship. There is definately an argument stating that Martz was a brilliant offensive coordinator but simply has no business being a head coach, at least maybe at this level.
    -08-24-2005, 02:15 PM
  • RamWraith
    Martz does things his own way--ESPN Insider
    by RamWraith
    By Jeff Reynolds
    Pro Football Weekly

    ST. LOUIS It's June 1, and the temperature, climbing above 85 degrees on a cloudless day at a tucked-away corporate park west of St. Louis, creates the slightest haze outside the oversized windows at Rams Park.

    The blinds, tilted upward in his second-floor corner office, rob Rams head coach Mike Martz of a view of an empty practice field and a justifiably quiet blacktop parking lot.

    Even in a navy and gray floral printed polo shirt embroidered with the logo of a past golf tournament, Martz portrays perfectly the image of a studious football coach. Angling toward the front edge of his mahogany U-shaped desk, Martz shifts an iced Diet Pepsi to the right to uncover a bound, double-sided printout. The standard white, 8-by-11-inch paper stands about two inches thick, lying flat in Martz's outstretched hand.

    "Third-down plays we had ready and never called," Martz says, a sense of dissatisfaction in his voice. "We don't have a playbook. We have a book with the system in it as described with some of the base offense. If you put everything together on that top rack , that is about half of what we do. It's never-ending."

    Mike Martz has a 51-29 regular-season record as the Rams head coach.This is Mike Martz, the subject of justifiably passionate debate among football fans who can't agree whether he's brilliant, smarmy, stubborn, ignorant or some combination of those traits. The man often portrayed as a prima-donna dictator displays only pictures of his dogs, Rocky and Buddy, and his family. There is no Super Bowl ring, no glamorous display of career achievements. Nothing that says Martz is the extroverted narcissist many assume him to be.

    He is asked about defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, who has been ridiculed frequently since replacing Lovie Smith, who went on to become the head coach of the Bears.

    "Criticism, most often, is without understanding," Martz says in a persuasive tone, sounding like an attorney during closing arguments.

    He's not back on his heels, but there is evidence in his irritatingly relaxed posture that Martz has been here before.

    Many things make Martz an easy target. For one, his offense sits with some traditionalists the 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust generation as well as poetry does with a butcher. He also refuses to bother with self-defense, leading second-guessers to keep guessing. Take Super Bowl XXXVI for example, a loss that one confidant says still "haunts him" as has been widely speculated.

    Smith, who worked with Martz at Arizona State, was on the St. Louis coaching staff from 2001-03 and called that game "the toughest loss I've ever been a part of."

    The Rams lost to the Patriots 20-17 on a last-second field goal, and following the game, the Rams'...
    -06-30-2005, 02:01 PM
  • Nick
    Critics be damned, Martz goes to playoffs - PD
    by Nick
    Critics be damned, Martz goes to playoffs
    By Bernie Miklasz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Jan. 02 2005

    Well, now. Mike Martz got it done. He defiantly thumbed his nose at the outside
    world and arrogantly continued to do things his way. Martz held the Rams
    together long enough to take advantage of the chronic, comedic mediocrity in
    the NFC. And the NFC West was so bad, the prison team from the film "The
    Longest Yard" would have won the division.

    But the NFL is a bottom-line league, and Martz has crashed his way into the NFL
    playoffs. As the NFL's most controversial and unpopular head coach, Martz
    enters as an uninvited guest, an unwelcome guest. But he's in the door, and no
    one can push this half-mad, maverick, eccentric coach back onto the street.
    He's cleared the velvet rope. He's in the exclusive NFL playoff club.

    "I guess our head coach won't be fired now," running back Marshall Faulk said
    in a fine display of sarcasm.

    But Martz will be fired upon. On the day the Rams survived the New York Jets to
    win 32-29 in overtime, Martz got pounded again by ESPN football analyst Tom
    Jackson. Asked to name the worst coaching decision of the 2004 season, Jackson
    barked "Anytime Mike Martz did anything on the field."

    And Friday, in an interview on the NFL channel on Sirius satellite radio,
    washed-up Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp said Martz was "a little
    on the girlie side." Asked about the Martz vs. Kyle Turley confrontation, Sapp
    apparently fantasized about being in Turley's place and said, "I'll just stomp
    him (Martz) right across his damn head because he really thinks his (stuff)
    don't stink and you really don't like those kind of guys in this league."

    Martz wouldn't win elections, but he does win games.

    As if to annoy those who embrace conventional wisdom, Martz went retro on
    Sunday, taking the Rams back to 1999, having quarterback Marc Bulger sling for
    450 yards against the Jets. Oh, so we want Martz to run the freaking football?
    Well, take a number and get in line. Martz doesn't care what you think, what I
    think, or what the crew at ESPN thinks. He doesn't even care what his assistant
    coaches, bosses or players think. It's always Martz against himself, Martz
    against the world.

    So on Sunday at The Ed, the Rams ran the rock 19 times and put it in the air 42
    times, squandering all of those passing yards with three turnovers and other
    drive-snuffing mistakes. Instead of trying to protect a 21-10 lead by working
    the clock, Mad Mike staged an air show for his critics, and probably hoped to
    crash-land his plane into the press box to make...
    -01-02-2005, 11:19 PM
  • ramsbruce
    Mike Martz' fall from grace
    by ramsbruce
    Mike Martz' fall from grace
    By Jim Thomas

    He steered the Rams to the Super Bowl. But politics and personality conflicts obscured his genius, and now head coach Mike Martz appears on the way out.

    With his silver hair, glasses and polite manners, the Rams' new offensive coordinator looked almost bookish - more scholar than football coach. When he accepted the job after two years as an assistant coach in Washington, Mike Martz didn't look or act much different than he did in 1995 and 1996, when he was a Rams assistant under Rich Brooks: quiet, low-key and unassuming.

    Back then, he was in charge of wide receivers. But in January 1999, Martz was put in charge of the entire Rams offense under head coach Dick Vermeil. By the time training camp started that summer, the offense looked a lot different than it did when Martz accepted the job.

    "It's like winning the lotto," Martz said at the time. "I came to the Rams, and we signed Trent Green, and we have a healthy Isaac Bruce, and then we draft Torry Holt. All of that, and then it's, 'Oh yeah, here's Marshall Faulk at running back.'

    "Dick has made a lot of outstanding personnel decisions, and he should get the credit for that. At this point, my job is, 'Don't screw them up.' "

    He didn't, of course. Even back in July 1999, Martz gave a hint of what would come.

    "We're going to be aggressive," Martz said. "You have to let these guys play and not be afraid to take chances. You can't go out there and be afraid to lose. You have to play to win. And our talent level on offense is good enough to win with."

    Those seemed like bold words at the time. The Rams, after all, were 22-42 during their first four seasons in St. Louis. Dating back to their days in Southern California, they had endured nine consecutive losing seasons.

    For all his talents, Faulk was part of an Indianapolis team that went 3-13 in 1998. Bruce had not won more than seven games in any season as a Ram. Holt was a rookie. Green had only 14 starts on his NFL resume.

    And when Green went down with a season-ending knee injury in late August, it looked hopeless. The obscure Kurt Warner took over at quarterback, and the early results were encouraging.

    After the Rams scored 35 points and gained 442 yards to defeat reigning NFC champion Atlanta, Martz was awarded a game ball.

    "I've never had as much fun in my whole life," Martz said afterward. "I probably will never have a group like this again. I'm under a star right now. ... Who knows how long this will go?"

    On one level, those were bold words, considering the Rams were a mere 2-0 at the time. But they proved to be prophetic. By the end of the 1999 regular season, the Rams were playoff-bound,...
    -12-31-2005, 08:32 PM