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Martz's remedies need to extend to coaching staff

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  • Martz's remedies need to extend to coaching staff

    By Bryan Burwell
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    So as we have reached the critical midway point of the 2004 NFL season, it's time for a little review. The Rams' offensive line can't block a fire exit. Their defense gets exploited regularly. And because I am a positive person, let me be the first to note that the Rams' special teams haven't botched any kick coverage in the last 12 hours (I think), nor surrendered a single touchdown pass thrown by an opposing team's backup long snapper in months.

    So now that it's painfully obvious that the 4-4 Rams are a broken and flawed football team, what we need to know now are the answers to two very important questions as they head into the second half of the season:

    1. How do they fix it?

    2. Can they fix it?

    On Monday morning, as he sat in his Rams Park second-floor office, Mike Martz finished reviewing game tapes of Sunday's 40-22 debacle against the New England Patriots and began answering those pressing questions with a very systematic, analytical process. After scrutinizing hours of game tape, Martz met with his coaching staff and he met with his players. Then after carefully listening, observing and analyzing every scrap of forensics from this mess of a half-season, the boss essentially came to this conclusion:

    It can be fixed, and he has the available tools to fix it.

    Oh yeah, and there was just one other valuable little tidbit that we thought we ought to share with you . . .

    Our favorite gray-haired football eccentric is mad as hell and he ain't gonna take it anymore.

    "You guys have been here long enough to know that I've never tried to mislead you or sugarcoat anything," Martz told a room full of reporters at his Monday afternoon news conference. "If I've screwed something up I'll tell you. I'll try to take a bullet (for players) when you can to help them. (But) there comes a time when some of these guys have just got to ... show up and make a play. That's not a cop-out or brushing it off onto (the players). But I'm upset. We've got some guys we're counting on and they've got to step up."

    There is no greater theatre than a Monday afternoon Martz news conference following a Rams loss. But this one was better than others, exceptionally rich with subtle insight and read-between-the-lines intrigue. To the untrained eyes and ears, it sounded a whole lot like Martz was just lashing out at his players, and placing all the weight of the world on their shoulders.

    Yet to veteran Martz-ologists who understand his rhythms, moods and intentions, these were not the blame-shifting ramblings of a desperate man in his final days. This was a strategic angry declaration of a head coach who still believes he can lead this team out of its misery. And is it possible that we also might have been hearing a few subtle warning to some of his coaches (Special teams boss Mike Stock? Defensive coordinator Larry Marmie?) who clearly aren't holding up their end of the bargain either?

    Martz promised unspecified personnel changes, and we only can suspect that the lineup changes will come first on the defensive side of the ball. (Though there has to be something that can be done with that offensive line, isn't there?)

    "The problem is not real hard to identify," Martz said. "The solution is hard, (but) I'm confident we will get that done."

    But here's where it gets a little tricky. Part of the solution might involve admitting it was a huge mistake hiring his good buddy Marmie. Halfway through this season, a defense that ranked 16th best in the NFL last season under since-departed Lovie Smith (and No. 1 in forcing turnovers) is floundering near the bottom of the league stats (30th overall, tied for 26th in forcing turnovers) under Marmie.

    They are a group of confused players who don't seem to feel any confidence in their defensive personality. If they don't believe in Marmie's system - and why would they, based on his track record as a coordinator for the sorry football Cardinals? - how can Martz convince them to commit to it?

    The smartest way to ensure that is this: If the players believe that changes in some shaky coaching philosophies are as much a part of Martz's disaster relief plan as these anticipated personnel changes, than there just might be enough time to turn around this disastrous season.

  • #2
    Re: Martz's remedies need to extend to coaching staff

    Martz sounds like Bob the builder


    • #3
      Re: Martz's remedies need to extend to coaching staff

      I wouldn't be surprised to see Kollar be promoted to DC if they loose this week.

      Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


      • #4
        Re: Martz's remedies need to extend to coaching staff

        I seriously doubt there will be a midseason changing of the guard on defense. Now, whether or not Koller gets the promotion in the offseason, who knows.


        Related Topics


        • Guest's Avatar
          by Guest
          The loss today is not the important issue regarding the Rams.

          If Seattle comes in and steals a win from the Rams it’s going to suck however that is not the important issue facing the Rams.

          If we miss the playoffs that will really bite the big one however this is not what concerns me the most.

          What concerns me the most is the direction this team is going. This team seems to go in the direction that they are in the mood for that day. They have shown they can play football, they have shown they are capable of becoming motivated however that motivation is usually absent and it seems that no body in the organization is able to take charge and get the team motivated to play ball at the level they are capable of.

          It's not always the head coach that is the motivator. Some people just cannot rally others together as well as others. It doesn't necessarily have to be the head coach that motivates a team but it sure as hell is his responsibility to see that someone gets it done.

          The Ravens have Ray Lewis but who's our guy? Anyone care to take a shot at naming our motivator? The truth is, our motivators have been cut, traded or just plain shat on by the Rams. London Fletcher may have not been the best linebacker that played the game but he sure as hell brought his attitude with him on Sundays. Billy Jenkins, Roman Phifier, Rickey Prohel, Az Hakim, Dre Bly Todd Kichen, Toby Wright all had the ability to get the team going.

          So out go those guys and in comes Kyle Turley who in my mind was the final straw on the Rams breaking back. He may have been a motivator but his motivation was clearly from his own selfish agenda which was to dismantle the team starting with Warner then take a years hiatis while the smoke cleared.

          So now we are left with the crumbled aftermath and we do not know which direction this team is headed. That is the important issue facing the Rams right now.

          Which way are we going and how far must we fall before considerable changes are made.

          I know I am the minority in this but I think that head coaches should not be given the lead way they are given when it comes down to hiring their staff. To many of them use the good old boy system of repaying people who employed them in another era or just want to help out a buddy. Sure it's noble to repay someone for helping you out along the way but at what expense? When is it ok to say no? If i'm not mistaken didn't Martz also hire a high school coach out of San Diego using the same good old boy system?

          The statement made by Martz regarding calling the defense on the one play when the Rams were torched for a TD last week Vs. Miami didn't make a lick of sense and when something doesn't make sense someone is usually lying. Anyone believe Martz's statement or can you now see the cover-up taking place for Marmie or more specifically Martz's decision to hire...
          -11-07-2004, 10:49 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, 8½-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
        • RamWraith
          Martz hoping restructured defense finally takes hold
          by RamWraith
          R.B. FALLSTROM

          Associated Press

          ST. LOUIS - At long last, St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz believes his beleaguered defense is ready to stand alongside his still somewhat high-powered offense.

          How he came to that conclusion is unclear because the Rams (5-6) have shown zero progress lately. The Packers rang up 45 points on Monday, the Bills scored 37 the week before and there have been seven 100-yard rushers against St. Louis. The last four opponents have totaled 703 yards rushing.

          "I know it sounds silly after the last few weeks," Martz said. "But I'm really encouraged."

          Their next chance to show they're ready comes Sunday against the lowly ***** (1-10).

          "Every week is an opportunity," defensive end Bryce Fisher said. "It's going to be important for us to go out there and prove ourselves."

          When Lovie Smith left to become head coach of the Chicago Bears after three successful seasons as defensive coordinator in St. Louis, the Rams made the transition from a bending cover-2 defense to one with multiple schemes and featuring more pressure. But the transition to new coordinator Larry Marmie has been rocky in part because players had become attached to the old ways.

          Martz blames himself for introducing the new defense gradually instead of making a clean break, an approach that has contributed to the Rams losing four of five.

          "It wasn't fair to Larry and it took a while for these guys to completely accept what we're doing," Martz said. "Now, the change is complete.

          "They've accepted it and they're trying to learn it."

          Week after week, players have noted that minor breakdowns in gap coverage in what essentially is an eight-man front have resulted in huge gains for the offense. This week, they hope, they will seal those gaps.

          "We've just got to play our technique and our assignment," defensive tackle Brian Howard said. "We've got to stop them this week. There's been a lot of extra emphasis on it."

          Martz, always optimistic, sees a lot of positive signs.

          "When they execute the defense, that ball doesn't get past the line of scrimmage," Martz said. "It just doesn't."

          On the other hand, he said the defense has been far too tentative. But there's still time because despite their slide and sub-.500 record, the Rams would be the sixth seed in the playoffs.

          They're one game behind the Seahawks for first place in the weak NFC West, and own both tiebreakers over Seattle.

          There might be a few more lineup changes, too, as the tweaking process continues. Antuan Edwards, acquired off waivers from the Dolphins on Nov. 11, will make his first start for St. Louis at free safety. Howard could make his second career...
          -12-03-2004, 05:45 AM
        • Guest's Avatar
          I don’t buy this "no talent" thing
          by Guest
          Heard people say this a lot… I really don’t buy this on the defensive side of the ball (though I agree there is a definite lack of talent on OL)… almost every player (maybe exception being Coady and D Lewis ) has at some point shown a lot of promise.. feels like yesterday we were all praising Polley and had Arch penciled in as a future pro bowler… why then have they all suddenly forgotten how to tackle or make a play ? Doesn’t sound like a talent issue to me…

          My theory is that it is purely a question of motivation…. Martz has lost his ability to motivate this lot… I think a lot has to do with the way he has critisied his players openly (and maybe been a bit too trigger happy in demoting some players) and indeed been praised himself eventhough he has prepared his team poorly… I have a sneaking suspicion that this team is ready to break out of its slumber - but only once Martz leaves or puts his hand up and admits guilt.
          -11-25-2004, 06:20 AM
        • Guest's Avatar
          The Fire Within
          by Guest

          Congruence: The relationship between your words and your actions.
          Walk your talk.

          Talent is necessary however motivation is the fire that begins from a smoldering ember. Without fanning the ember into a flame, that ember will continue to smolder. The Rams have shown a smoldering ember that is capable of roaring into a bonfire. This was apparent in the final minutes of the Seattle game, in San Diego two years ago and against San Francisco in the final Monday Night football game of that same season.

          So what fanned those flames into bonfires within each of the players on those days? My guess is embarrassment. Embarrassed due to being apart of a grossly underachieving team.

          What fanned the flames of the New England Patriots when they upset the heavily favored Rams in the Superbowl? My guess is urgency.

          I also theorize that someone on that team (Probably Belichick) saw the urgency and implored that urgency throughout the entire squad.

          It seems that Mike Martz has recently discovered that talent alone is not enough. It took the Rams to drop to the parity level as far as talent before he emphasized the importance of getting his team up for games.

          Only after the loss in Miami did he come out and talk about intensity with intensity. I don’t know if anyone else has realized this but the recent articles from the Post Dispatch along with “Martz on the Mike“have shown a noticeable escalation in Martz talking about being up and ready for games.

          It looks as if he has discovered a new tool in coaching and is now going through the adolescent stages of applying it.

          What I am refering to when I say "adolescent stages" is hitting on Wednesday before the Seahawk game which to Mike Martz is what fanned the ember into a flame.

          I think Martz believed that it was the hitting that motivated the team. I believe it was more then that. I think the team was responding to Martz’s intensity more then the hitting itself and that intensity is what carried over into the game against Seattle.

          My feeling is that Martz may have put to much emphasis on the hitting and never realized that it was his own intensity and urgency that fanned the ember into a roaring fire.

          In sum Mike Martz may have had the illusion that all he had to do to get his team up was hit on Wednesday; not realizing the intensity he himself brought on the prior Week.

          I know there are a lot of fans here on the board that measure everything by wins and losses. This was oh so very apparent during the Warner Bulger debates. At that time, I was not compelled to look at the W/L column to base my feelings on. I saw a very good QB that looked to be getting a bum rap and I saw another QB that had great potential who probably felt as bad for Warner as anyone did.

          -11-23-2004, 06:24 AM