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  • Martz, Rams tackle their problems

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Nov. 10 2004

    If he was Mad Mike on Monday, he became Really Mad Mike on Wednesday.

    The 2004 season has reached the critical-mass stage, and Mike Martz is doing
    everything he can to salvage it. Never mind the standings, the division race,
    or Sunday's NFC West showdown with Seattle. At the moment, Martz just wants the
    Rams to start playing better. A lot better.

    "I think the way we played in the last two games is embarrassing," Martz said
    Wednesday. "Not so much whether you win or lose the game - just the way we
    played the game. Period. We're going to do everything we can to rectify that."

    Including full-contact scrimmage work in practice.

    During the nine-on-seven run period, the first-team offense worked against the
    scout team defense. Then, the first-team defense worked against the scout team
    offense.

    With live tackling in both sessions. Yes, the Rams engaged in some live contact
    in training camp this summer, but those drills were performed almost totally by
    backups. Wednesday's work involved starters - basically everyone but running
    back Marshall Faulk on offense, and safety Aeneas Williams on defense.

    Scrimmaging in the regular season is unheard of in today's NFL. And it was a
    first for the "St. Louis" Rams. Not even in the Dick Vermeil days of three-hour
    practices did the Rams go full-contact.

    Longtime team officials said the Rams hadn't engaged in live practice
    scrimmaging in practice since the 1980s, during John Robinson's tenure as head
    coach.

    So Wednesday's work might fall under the category of desperate measures in
    desperate times. Martz wants the Rams to be more physical, and play a more
    violent brand of football. He wants them to block better. Tackle better.
    Compete better. Live tackling work in practices was a cattle prod to get that
    point across.

    "We've got a core of guys that you can hang your hat on," Martz said. "You can
    get out in the middle of the night, go out and practice them, and you're going
    to get all they've got.

    "What we're trying to do is get the rest of the guys up to that level. We were
    there for a while, and we've fallen off a little bit in a couple of key areas."

    So Wednesday's scrimmaging, coupled with Martz's message to the team Monday
    about accountability, are aimed at an attitude adjustment.

    "This is a game of attitude, pure and simple," Martz said. "It's not about
    ability. Never has been, never will be. Everybody in this league's got ability
    to play. Everybody's talented. Everybody's fast. Everybody's big. Everybody's
    strong. If you think that's the difference, you're sorely mistaken. This is
    purely a game of attitude."

    Martz made his remarks during his regular Wednesday press conference in the
    team auditorium. These sessions usually last about 15 minutes, but this one was
    over in five. Martz was a picture of intensity. It was almost as if he wanted
    to get out on the practice field as soon as possible, so that HE could tackle
    somebody. And that led to some, uh, very interesting answers:

    When asked if looking at the tape of the Rams' dramatic comeback
    over Seattle on Oct. 10 could have an energizing effect, Martz snarled: "I
    don't need to look at a tape to get energized. Not me. I don't have to look at
    a tape to go to a happy place to get energized. That's just not who I am.
    Sorry."

    When asked if he would talk to Rams veterans about the current state
    of affairs, Martz replied:

    "No. Nobody's going to voice anything to me," he said. "We don't hold hands,
    and get in a seance, and (sing) 'Kumbaya, my Lord.' I'm not into that.

    "We've got a direction we're going in. You're on the train or you're not. ... I
    know where I'm going and you're either with me or you're not."

    On Monday, Martz put his players on notice, saying they needed to be
    accountable for how they played. He indicated that he was tired of taking
    "bullets" for them in public, adding that some players the Rams had been
    counting on weren't producing.

    Players interviewed Wednesday expressed no problem with those sentiments.

    "This is a player's league," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "It's always
    been and always will be. ... The coaches can only put you in position. But once
    the ball's snapped, Mike Martz can't help us. Larry Marmie can't help us. Bill
    Kollar can't help us. When the ball's snapped, we've got to go get the guy with
    the ball and have a mean attitude when we get there."

    Quarterback Marc Bulger said: "It's on the players every week. If (Martz) says
    that this week, and we didn't realize it till he brought it up, then there's
    obviously a problem. I'm sure he's speaking to some guys that maybe don't
    understand that this is your job, and it's not going to go on the coach every
    time. He's taken the heat for us probably too much."

    And for any players who still didn't get the point, along came Wednesday's
    scrimmage. Linebacker Trev Faulk, for one, had no complaints about such a
    radical approach.

    "We gave up 40 points (to New England)," Faulk said. "So whatever it takes to
    get this thing right, I'm all up for it. Because I just want to win."

  • #2
    Re: Martz, Rams tackle their problems

    Dude, I totally posted this already.

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    • Nick
      Rams go full contact during practice
      by Nick
      Martz, Rams tackle their problems
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Wednesday, Nov. 10 2004

      If he was Mad Mike on Monday, he became Really Mad Mike on Wednesday.

      The 2004 season has reached the critical-mass stage, and Mike Martz is doing
      everything he can to salvage it. Never mind the standings, the division race,
      or Sunday's NFC West showdown with Seattle. At the moment, Martz just wants the
      Rams to start playing better. A lot better.

      "I think the way we played in the last two games is embarrassing," Martz said
      Wednesday. "Not so much whether you win or lose the game - just the way we
      played the game. Period. We're going to do everything we can to rectify that."

      Including full-contact scrimmage work in practice.

      During the nine-on-seven run period, the first-team offense worked against the
      scout team defense. Then, the first-team defense worked against the scout team
      offense.

      With live tackling in both sessions. Yes, the Rams engaged in some live contact
      in training camp this summer, but those drills were performed almost totally by
      backups. Wednesday's work involved starters - basically everyone but running
      back Marshall Faulk on offense, and safety Aeneas Williams on defense.

      Scrimmaging in the regular season is unheard of in today's NFL. And it was a
      first for the "St. Louis" Rams. Not even in the Dick Vermeil days of three-hour
      practices did the Rams go full-contact.

      Longtime team officials said the Rams hadn't engaged in live practice
      scrimmaging in practice since the 1980s, during John Robinson's tenure as head
      coach.

      So Wednesday's work might fall under the category of desperate measures in
      desperate times. Martz wants the Rams to be more physical, and play a more
      violent brand of football. He wants them to block better. Tackle better.
      Compete better. Live tackling work in practices was a cattle prod to get that
      point across.

      "We've got a core of guys that you can hang your hat on," Martz said. "You can
      get out in the middle of the night, go out and practice them, and you're going
      to get all they've got.

      "What we're trying to do is get the rest of the guys up to that level. We were
      there for a while, and we've fallen off a little bit in a couple of key areas."

      So Wednesday's scrimmaging, coupled with Martz's message to the team Monday
      about accountability, are aimed at an attitude adjustment.

      "This is a game of attitude, pure and simple," Martz said. "It's not about
      ability. Never has been, never will be. Everybody in this league's got ability
      to play....
      -11-10-2004, 11:28 PM
    • RamWraith
      Martz to Rams: All is forgiven
      by RamWraith
      BY STEVE KORTE

      Knight Ridder Newspapers


      ST. LOUIS, Mo. - (KRT) - St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz just wants his team to have some fun.

      Martz feels like the Rams have been too uptight during their current slump, which has included four losses in their last five games.

      "It is legal to have fun and play professional football," said Martz as the Rams (5-6) prepared to play their archrivals, the San Francisco ***** (1-10), at noon today at Edward Jones Dome. "You can do that. That's what we have tried to stress with our guys. They are concerned about making mistakes, and they've played tight.

      "You can't do that. You can't play tight. I want to get them away from that."

      Martz said he's adopted a policy of amnesty toward any player who makes a mistake as long as they are hustling at the time. That includes wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who fumbled twice resulting directly in two touchdowns for the Green Bay Packers in their 45-17 win over the Rams on Monday night.

      "When you have good people and people with good character and you know where their heart is, all sins are always forgiven," Martz said. "That's why I'd never say anything to Isaac about the fumbles. I know Isaac. Nobody hurts more than Isaac does when that happened.

      "Nobody works harder or is more committed. Those things you just move on from."

      Despite their recent troubles, the Rams remain in the thick of the NFC West race, one game behind the division-leading Seattle Seahawks in the win column.

      "Every week is an opportunity," Rams defensive end Bryce Fisher said. "The one thing about the National Football League is you have 16 times to prove yourself. We really want to get back out there on Sunday and show we can play better than we have."

      The ***** own the worst record in the NFL. They've lost six straight games. But they'd like nothing better than putting a big dent in the Rams' playoff hopes.

      "You always want to be beat the Rams," ***** tight end Eric Johnson said. "We wouldn't mind taking them out of the playoffs. It should be a good battle. We're looking to get our first win in a long time."

      The Rams' defense has been shredded for 556 rushing yards over their last three games.

      Overall, the Rams rank 28th in overall defense and 31st in rushing defense.

      Martz blamed his team's defensive troubles on the transition from a Cover-2 defense to a defense that relies on multiple schemes and more pressure under new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie.

      Martz said he tried to institute the change gradually because he didn't want confuse his players, but that decision backfired as players have been slow to embrace the change in philosophy after three seasons under former...
      -12-05-2004, 06:26 AM
    • RamWraith
      Likely infection could sideline Martz
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      10/05/2005


      Rams coach Mike Martz is believed to have a bacterial infection of a heart valve, a condition known as endocarditis. That could affect his ability to coach the team not just this week, but throughout this season.

      "The most important thing clearly is the man's health, and what is the extent of the problem," Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt said early Wednesday evening.

      But what if Martz, 54, is unable to coach the team in Sunday's NFC West showdown against rival Seattle?

      "That'll be addressed when we have to address it," Zygmunt said.

      Martz, who missed practice last Friday with what was termed a sinus infection, was absent for Wednesday's practice at Rams Park and will miss today's practice as well.

      In a strange twist, Martz actually broke the news of his illness to Seattle reporters in a conference call.

      "I haven't been feeling good for four or five weeks, and there is some type of infection in my body that has gotten worse," Martz told Seattle reporters. "They think they've identified what it is."

      According to Martz, team physician Douglas Pogue told him that Pogue "suspects" Martz has endocarditis, but that the diagnosis cannot be confirmed for a number of days until a series of blood tests are concluded.

      "This is something that if you let it go, it could become a real issue," Martz said. "They feel very confident that's what it is, but they have to confirm it."

      Neither Martz nor Pogue was made available to reporters in St. Louis on Wednesday. But later in the day, Pogue released a statement cautioning that a definitive diagnosis of Martz's condition has yet to be established, adding that an extensive medical workup is ongoing through Pogue and other consulting physicians.

      Endocarditis is an uncommon, but not rare, infection.

      "You get an infection, and then the bacteria adheres to the heart valve," said Greg Ewald, an associate professor of medicine in Washington University's cardiovascular division. "And that sort of causes turbulent blood flow and more chance for bacteria to kind of glom onto this thing. It basically is a focus of infection that doesn't go away easily unless you treat it with intravenous antibiotics."

      The condition normally requires long-term use of antibiotics - four to six weeks, or more - but in more severe cases requires valve replacement.

      It can be triggered by something as seemingly harmless as having your teeth cleaned, in which case the normal bacteria in the mouth get into the blood stream. A sinus infection can be a source. As can surgery. Martz underwent disc replacement surgery in March. But it's more common in people with heart conditions....
      -10-06-2005, 04:43 AM
    • RamDez
      Martz reflects: Rams on the bubble may be in trouble
      by RamDez
      Martz reflects: Rams on the bubble may be in trouble
      By Jim Thomas

      Of the Post-Dispatch
      08/14/2004




      MACOMB, Ill. - Mike Martz looked downright sour after the game Thursday. He barely said anything to his team in the locker room. He answered only a handful of questions in his postgame news conference. And then he retired to the privacy of his locker room area at the Edward Jones Dome to stew over the Rams' 13-10 overtime loss to Chicago.

      "Down deep inside, you can play marbles, and my blood's going to get going," Martz said Saturday. "I mean, you just compete."

      For most of the first three quarters Thursday, the Rams did just that. It wasn't always pretty. But the Rams were winning 10-3, and when the Bears took over at their 12 late in the third quarter, St. Louis had a 248 to 161 edge in yards gained.

      "I felt like we were in control," Martz said. "They had a couple big runs where we just overran things. Otherwise, I think we shut them down really good. And I know that first group in there on offense - I think they're ready to roll."

      In a game that Chicago seemed to treat a lot more like a regular-season contest - with lots of blitzing on defense and some trick plays on offense - the Rams still appeared to be headed for victory.

      But then it unraveled over the rest of regulation and the 17 seconds of overtime, when the Rams were mainly using players who either won't make the team or will be down on the depth chart.

      "I knew what was going on out there, and it's hard to bite the bullet sometimes," Martz said. "But I just don't like to lose. ... But I also know that it's my responsibility as a head coach to make sure that we have an opportunity to evaluate all these (young) guys in these types of situations."

      So Martz and new defensive coordinator Larry Marmie kept things basic - and watched.

      "We've got to know about these guys," Martz said. "You can't trick things up. You've got to kind of keep it simple and just let 'em play and see what they do."

      By early Saturday evening, after film review and with nearly two days to digest the game, the big picture was back in focus for Martz. And he felt much better about what transpired Thursday night.

      "All in all, I was very pleased, particularly in the first half with both groups (offense and defense)," Martz said. "I'm happy with this football team. I'm happy with the first (units) that I know we're going to play with."

      On the offensive line, he singled out the play of right guard Adam Timmerman and right tackle Scott Tercero for praise.

      "Scotty Tercero has really come to the forefront," Martz said. "He has really, really done well in the last few weeks. I hate to admit this:
      ...
      -08-15-2004, 01:11 AM
    • 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, 01:01 PM
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