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  • Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ
    Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist
    Friday, Nov. 12 2004

    Mike Martz, playing the role of Bear Bryant?

    The casting, to say the least, is unusual. But with Martz, we should never be
    surprised. The NFL's most fascinating and quirky head coach was at it again
    this week at Rams Park.

    Leave it to Martz to conduct a psychology experiment in the middle of a season.
    This player-friendly coach cracked down on his players, publicly calling them
    out for their lackluster play. Then he put the boys through a tough,
    full-contract practice, which went against his previous coaching standards.

    It's good to see Martz morph into "Mad Mike" in a different way. We'll see if
    the motivational ploy works on Sunday against the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

    A few observations:

    * The Rams' primary problem is a decline in overall talent. The offensive
    line, neglected in the draft, is mediocre. The defense has only one player,
    pass-rusher Leonard Little, consistently capable of altering a game with
    big-play moments. Poor drafts are the root cause of the erosion in personnel.
    The Rams have missed on too many premium picks. Period.


    * If Martz wants a tougher and more physical team, fine. But you're supposed
    to cultivate that attitude in training camp. It's difficult to transform a
    team's personality over a few days. The culture must be gradually changed over
    a period of time.


    * Martz has, to an extent, put his credibility on the line as never before. By
    going off on his players, he's gambling that they'll respond in a positive way.
    But suppose the psychological tactic fails, and the same old Rams show up on
    Sunday? He could lose the respect of his players. And then he could lose the
    team.


    As Others See Us


    Bob Oates, Los Angeles Times, says that Martz should forget about the running
    game, be himself, and air it out:

    "Through three years and two Super Bowls, Coach Mike Martz has shown that he's
    the best passing coach football has yet seen, but, now, he wants to integrate
    running plays with pass plays and can't find the right recipe. In their big
    years, the Rams didn't need a running game. And now, every week, they're
    proving that they still don't understand the problem. Thus, Martz has been
    operating a schizoid offense. Running the ball when defenses expect a run, he
    bulks up with tight ends and blocking backs. Then, passing the ball when
    defenses expect him to pass, he takes out the beef and inserts more speed.

    "The result is that, at the start of most of their offensive series, the Rams
    -- instead of passing aggressively to take a lead, as they once did -- are now
    wasting downs with power runs into run defenses. Falling behind, they try to
    catch up by passing into pass defenses; and with quarterback Marc Bulger a
    sitting duck in the pocket, sacks are inevitable. And the offensive line takes
    the blame. . . . football fans across the nation, who fondly remember the magic
    of The Greatest Show on Turf, would love to see the results of a one-game
    experiment in which Martz never fielded fewer than three wide receivers on any
    down. The pass would be there. And so would the run."



    Our belated condolences to our friend Kevin Slaten of KFNS on the recent death
    of his father . . . . remember Bobby April? He was fired by Martz as special
    teams coach after last season. April coaches special teams in Buffalo, and the
    Bills are fourth in the NFL in kickoff returns, and No. 1 in the league in
    defending kickoffs. Hmmm. . . .



    This interesting politics/sports note from Jim Henzler of STATS Inc: the
    Cardinals have competed in five World Series during a Presidential election
    year. In the years they've won the World Series, a Democrat also captured the
    White House. (Franklin Roosevelt in 1944, Lyndon Johnson in 1968). When the
    Cardinals lost the World Series, the Republican candidate won the election.
    (Herbert Hoover in 1928, Richard Nixon in 1968 and George W. Bush in 2004). The
    Cardinals' last four World Series appearances have occurred during Republican
    administrations. . . . the November issue of GQ includes the Cardinals and the
    Rams on the list of best sports uniforms

  • #2
    Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

    In their big
    years, the Rams didn't need a running game
    Bob Oates you are a moron on that one (yes I know he wont read this). Marshall did not have good years these years? What a moronic statement. I cannot beleive that statemnet would be made by a paid columists.How many times those big years did we hear Marshall, Marshall, Marshall?

    He is right about everyone knowing when the Rams will run though. The big problem is the play calling period not the run game. He need to throw some draws into the mix. When he does load up the line he needs to fake the run and get some quick slants back in the game. The Rams lived by the quick slants when they won the SuperBowl. He called a good running game vs the seahawks and vs the whiners this year. With Jackson and Marshall both on the team there should be no problem establishing a running game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

      I was thinking the same thing LRFLT.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

        As an outside observer I think Martz is playing a dangerous game in outing his players publicly the way he has. I don't mind my head coach being tough and holding his players accountable, but the way Martz tossed all the blame on the players and acted as if he were not at fault at all rubs me the wrong way big time. If I were a player that kind of thing would really make me mad at the guy. And if things continue to go wrong, watch out. The players aren't going to keep taking Martz' blame game so lightly. I've observed you guys for a while here and know that many of you have questioned Martz or sMartz as you call him in his decision making many a time. Heck, Martz has a league wide reputation for making stupid mistakes. In my opinion, and don't rip me for this just because I'm a Seahawk fan, Martz isn't a good coach at all. He merely took over a Super Bowl team and road on Dick Vermeil's coat tails. Now that it is more of his team, the true sMartz is showing. And as that sort of coach in my opinion you do not have the liberty to act as if you are doing everything perfect and throw all the blame on your players. That's just stupid if you ask me. At our Seahawk board everytime the topic of Martz comes up, Hawk fans always are in agreement that there isn't another guy that we'd rather have screwing up, er..leading our biggest rival. I think the game tomorrow is going to be very close. It can go either way. But if the Rams respond negativly to Martz and his blame game and lose, I'd be very worried if I were a Ram fan. Because all heck will be about to break loose. But for now both teams just need to focus on the game at hand. Can't say that I'm rooting for you guys one bit, but here's to an injury free game. Go Hawks!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

          I think most of us here are glad to see some emotion out of Martz. If it's a "dangerous game", it's definitely worth any risks because nothing else has worked. Unofficial team spokesman Tyoka Jackson has made it known in the press that he is in total agreement with Martz. I have a feeling a lot of other players feel the same way and realize it's up to players to make plays.

          While Martz has not been pulling all the right strings the last few games, he sure did in the second half of the first Seattle game. It was Holmgren who had the melt down in the second half and made some boneheaded decisions that helped the Rams make that glorious comeback win.

          It is indeed a game that could go either way as both teams have been inconsistant, and both defenses have had their own set of problems lately.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

            No offense, but I really don't think that Martz deserves any credit for the comeback win in Seattle. That all falls on Holmgren for getting conservative with the offense and Ray Rhodes for playing freaking prevent defense. How much credit do you give someone who says, "Heck, we're down a bunch, let's start bombing the ball downfield." You or I could come up with that line of thinking if put on the sidelines. Again, no offense to your team, but I was at that game and the Rams looked pretty bad. Other than crappy Seahawk defense and 2 long bombs for tds, they didn't do anything. At halftime we were all joking about what a blowout it was looking like. And you don't need to remind me how bad the Hawks played at the end of the game. Like I said, I was there. The Seahawks of 2004 are an enigma, teasing Hawk fans with glimpses of dominance and then they crap all over themselves like in the Cardinal game. But from what I've seen from the Rams, they just don't look very good. I think they have more than a good shot to win tomorrow because they are at home and were embarrased there last week. But on even playing ground I'd take the Hawks any day of the week. The biggest difference? While the Rams have a highly rated offense, the Seahawks can combat them with the #8 defense in the league. Once again, other than those two long bombs, the Hawks d handled the Rams O. But with the Seahawks highly rated offense the Rams combat that with the # THIRTY rated defense. That's a big difference.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

              I'm not so sure you can count on the defense to shut the Rams down.The Seattle defense has had problems on the line ever since Wistrom went down and Lucas is out, right? It will be interesting to see what happens, but you're right that an abismal Ram defense is a huge liability. A possible shootout?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                I don't think you can count on the Seahawks denfense to shut anyone down either. They've been hit or miss this year. I was just saying that other than those two longs bombs in the last game they did shut the Rams O down. No way you can do so in the dome. The point I was trying to make was that the Hawks D matches up a lot better with the Rams O than the Rams D does with the Hawks O.

                As for Lucas and Wistrom. Lucas is good to go and Grant will be a game time decision. If Wistrom is able to play this would be the first game the Hawks would have all of their defensive starters playing together. Chad Brown was out for the beginning of the year, then Anthony Simmons went down, and now Wistrom has been out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                  The teams seem to almost mirror each other....high hopes and expectations resulting in substandard play. Remember this 5-3 Seahawks team was the "in" pick for the Super Bowl, but have shown to be streaky.

                  Martz made a HUGE gameble, but I don't think it diminshes his standing. I don't see the players making a huge response to this since the season is half over and I don't think that technique has that kind of effect on this type of talent. The Rams real problems result in what I've been compaining about for the past few years....shoddy drafting. I've been clamoring for O-line every April under Martz and it's finally starting to bite him in the butt.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                    take away the two long runs by Alexander and he had less than 100 yards. WHat a stupid comment to make. The Seahawks D couldn't make the stop when it mattered most. Kinda makes their performance through the rest of the game irrelevent ey?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                      "take away the two long runs by Alexander and he had less than 100 yards. WHat a stupid comment to make. The Seahawks D couldn't make the stop when it mattered most. Kinda makes their performance through the rest of the game irrelevent ey?"
                      ----
                      zig zag, did you even watch the game? it was total domination during the first half. then the second half, to Hawk fans displeasue, Holmgren does what annoys all Seahawk fans and plays ultra conservative. Then at the end of the game the Rams threw 2 hail marys and connected. I was at that game dude and it wasn't even close. I felt sick to my stomach after that game thinking how a team could get utterly schooled for most of the game, play 8 minutes of flyers up and win the game. You guys got the W which is all that matter, but don't flatter yourself in thinking that the Lambs did anything positive in that game besides Bulgerwheat standing in the pocket all day in the fourth qtr and hucking the ball up for grabs. That was all on the Hawks defense for playing a very weak prevent defense. The Hawks have had troubles with the long bomb this year in more games than just that game though. That is something that worries me. If the Rams were smart, they'd forget running the ball tomorrow and just start out chucking it downfield. You see, I can be realistic when evaluating my team. The least you can do is the same with your team.

                      Look at both teams games against the Patriots. The Hawks, playing in New England, started out dreadful. It was the first game since the Ram colapse and they still looked shocked. It was 17-0 early in the 2nd qtr. But after halftime they came out and looked really good. They played the Pats tough and pulled within 3 at 20-17. They were about the get the ball back until New England made a miracle catch on yet another long bomb on 3rd and long. If they get the stop there, they would've had a huge chance to take the lead with only 2 minutes left. Still a loss, but at least they hung in there against the defending champs on the road. As for your boys, kickers were throwing tds and wide receivers were shuting your vaunted passing attack down. I don't think I need to recall the events or the score to you. Nor should I need to mention the fact that that was at your place. We lose 30-20 with a chance to win it at the end at their place. You lose 40-22 at home and look downright abismal. Not saying that either team is gangbusters or that a close loss is any better than a huge loss. I'm just pointing out how the two teams in question played against the best measuring stick the NFL has right now.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                        Then at the end of the game the Rams threw 2 hail marys and connected
                        Actually it was not hail Mary's. It was a fly pattern on the game winner and I beleive the same on the Curtis TD. A hail mary is all receivers accept maybe one running to the same spot usually in the end zone and basically its like 3 flys up. Just try to out jump your opponents. The mcdonald TD was a smooth pass and great speed beating out the coverage result Rams capp off great comeback laying down the birds. The Curtis TD was again a receiver running to the ball and the corners and safeties being outplayed. The pass in the end zone to maumaleuna was just a great catch by out TE and a little lucky but how did the Rams get in the redzone to begin with? I will tell you, your defence laid down.

                        You guys got the W which is all that matter, but don't flatter yourself in thinking that the Lambs did anything positive in that game besides Bulgerwheat standing in the pocket all day in the fourth qtr and hucking the ball up for grabs. That was all on the Hawks defense for playing a very weak prevent defense.
                        You were on the right page till you tried to smack. To take away how great the Rams played in that 4th quarter is retarded. Our defence shoved alexander up the o lines arse. You guys were not in a prevent smart guy if you were then your team really sucks because the #1 rule in prevent is not to let anyone beat you deep. What happened you guys got beaten deep. You guys may have a good defence but our receivers are capable of burning you.
                        Your defence has shown they have very little heart and likes to lay down in the late quarters.

                        You see, I can be realistic when evaluating my team. The least you can do is the same with your team.
                        Realistically the Rams have no leadership on defence and a pompas a$$ for a coach. Realistically the best the Rams have played all year was in the 4TH quarter of the last meeting.

                        Also, be realistic if you are gonna claim you are. The Rams wore your defence out and capitalized, dont give me this prevent B.S.. Your team wasted a lead and a huge oppurtunity to claim the west.

                        As for your boys, kickers were throwing tds and wide receivers were shuting your vaunted passing attack down. I don't think I need to recall the events or the score to you. Nor should I need to mention the fact that that was at your place. We lose 30-20 with a chance to win it at the end at their place. You lose 40-22 at home and look downright abismal. Not saying that either team is gangbusters or that a close loss is any better than a huge loss. I'm just pointing out how the two teams in question played against the best measuring stick the NFL has right now.
                        To look at a loss and try to say well we were in the game more than you so that makes us better???? No it means crap the NFL is game to game that is why every weekend there is an upset. Only problem with teams getting hot is all the new fans that cannot reasonably look at how things work in the NFL.
                        Last edited by ; -11-14-2004, 12:21 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                          Actually it was not hail Mary's. It was a fly pattern on the game winner and I beleive the same on the Curtis TD. A hail mary is all receivers accept maybe one running to the same spot usually in the end zone and basically its like 3 flys up. Just try to out jump your opponents. The mcdonald TD was a smooth pass and great speed beating out the coverage result Rams capp off great comeback laying down the birds. The Curtis TD was again a receiver running to the ball and the corners and safeties being outplayed.
                          I was using the term "hail mary" extremely loosly. I know that they weren't hail marys. I was just saying that both tds were on long bomb, huck it and chuck it passes.

                          You were on the right page till you tried to smack. To take away how great the Rams played in that 4th quarter is retarded. Our defence shoved alexander up the o lines arse. You guys were not in a prevent smart guy if you were then your team really sucks because the #1 rule in prevent is not to let anyone beat you deep. What happened you guys got beaten deep. You guys may have a good defence but our receivers are capable of burning you.
                          The smack wasn't intended to be cruel or mean, just having fun with Bulger's name. Ram fans come to our board and rip Hass for being bald all the time, no biggie. And as for calling you guys the "Lambs", it's not much different from "Seachickens". You will not convince me that the Rams played "great" in the forth qtr of that game. They played decent and took advantage of the Hawks mailing it in, but they didn't all of a sudden turn it on and become dominating or anything. If you were a Hawk fan and followed my team as much as you do your own, you would realize that the Hawks getting big leads and failing to finish isn't anything new. Hawk fans go crazy when Holmgren goes into "ultra conservative mode" at the end of games because we have a history of this. We have a young, inexperienced team that tends to get overconfident and doesn't know how to be "conservative". It's either all or nothing with them.

                          Realistically the Rams have no leadership on defence and a pompas a$$ for a coach. Realistically the best the Rams have played all year was in the 4TH quarter of the last meeting.
                          I agree 100% on all accounts.

                          Also, be realistic if ou are gonna claim you are. The Rams wore your defence out and capitalized, dont give me this prevent B.S.. Your team wasted a lead and a huge oppurtunity to claim the west.
                          Wore out our defense? Ha. Did they take advantage of our inability to defend the long bomb (again, another tired topic for Seahawk fans), yes. Props to them for that.

                          As for "this prevent B.S." Here's a direct quote from the Rams official website:

                          "Watch for the Seahawks to mix up blitz packages and coverages like it did in the first half against St. Lous in the teams’ first meeting. Seattle hurt itself by going to a lot of softer "prevent style" coverages in the fourth quarter and the Rams went over the top, hitting big play after big play."

                          http://www.stlouisrams.com/article/46790/

                          Go ahead, try and deny it all you want. However I take comfort in the fact that the teams offical website agrees with me.

                          To look at a loss and try to say well we were in the game more than you so that makes us better???? No it means crap the NFL is game to game that is why every weekend there is an upset. Only problem with teams getting hot is all the new fans that cannot reasonably look at how things work in the NFL.
                          And I quote,

                          "Not saying that either team is gangbusters or that a close loss is any better than a huge loss. I'm just pointing out how the two teams in question played against the best measuring stick the NFL has right now."

                          Seeing as you chose to ignore it the first time I wrote it, I'll say it again. The Hawks gained nothing from almost winning. But they sure as heck showed themselves as a worthy opponent to the defending champs, in their stadium nonetheless.

                          And to call me a "new" fan is pretty low. You sir are 4 years older than me and I don't know about you, but I've been a Seahawk fans since I can remember. I've had season tickets for almost 10 years. Seriously, I'm posting on an opponents message board. That's not exactly something some fairweather unintelligent fan would be doing. I give you respect for your opinions of your team. You have a different view of things. The least you could do is afford me the same decency.

                          The fact of the matter is neither of our teams have lived up to expectations and until the season is said and done, anything can happen. With how inconsistent both teams have been, the winner of tomorrows game isn't guaranteed jack squat. That said, this is a pivital game and much is at stake. Both teams have fairly easy schedules the rest of the season. If the Hawks can go two games up, that's big. If the Rams can win the tie-breaker, that's big.

                          I've got huge respect for any sports fan that supports their team to the extent of posting on a message board. Especially ones who realize that Mike sMartz is a pompous a$$. Ha ha ha. Good luck to you guys tomorrow. Here's to no injuries and may the best team win.

                          GO HAWKS!
                          Last edited by ; -11-14-2004, 12:56 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                            The least you could do is afford me the same decency.
                            Decency is for those that are acting accordingly. This is not a smack board and you smacked so I went back at it. Your little name calling on Bulger is light hearted and fun and does not bother me in the least. Its the way you take away from the Rams for their huge comeback that does.

                            Oh my official site said something I must agree (sarcastic undertones). Howard Balzer covers the Rams and I dont beleive everything he says. Media fumbles things all the time look at ESPN's crew.The Rams media has been suspect since they were in LA. The Pass to Curtis which really put us back in the game was a long fly pattern. In a true prevent your safeties would be 20 yards deep or further b4 the snap. So are you telling me that Curtis was given a 20 yard cushion and was still able to out run your safeties and corners. That is B.S like I said. The T.d to Manulaumenua(I'm sure I spelled that wrong)was definatley not prevent. On the drive that lead to the T.D there was a little prevent but you guys were still primarily rushing 4 so again not true prevent. Your defensive line could not get pressure that is another big reason you blew it.

                            I was just saying that both tds were on long bomb, huck it and chuck it passes.
                            The Curtis pass was placed perfectly. The Mcdonald pass was what 15-20 yards b4 the run? That does not seem like a chuck it up pass to me. You were taking away from great passes by Bulger so dont get all nice on me now like you are the innocent party.

                            Dont try to back peddal now after you open a can with these "oh I am just talking about the game" statements.

                            Age BTW does nothing to prove ones passion for a team.I have seen old men that know very little and kids that know alot. I have played and coached football. I have watched the NFL since I was little. You may have too and thats cool. If that is the case I hope you can understand that how a team loses to another team really has nothing to do with how those teams will play each other. Your whole how we/you played the Patriots garbage was pointless. We beat the Cards you lost to them what does it mean? Nothing!!!! That was my point with the new fan critique.

                            Seriously, I'm posting on an opponents message board. That's not exactly something some fairweather unintelligent fan would be doing
                            Actually it happens all the time we have seen many around these parts. Just like all the fairweather whiner fans that will not poke their heads ot this year. SFGM is the only one of them that has. You have some good points but your write off of the Rams victory last time is still weak. You guys were outplayed in the 4th quarter admit it and move on.
                            Last edited by ; -11-14-2004, 01:24 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Martz put his credibility on the line with latest ploy

                              I used the Pats as an example because usually teams play their best ball against top opponents. Against crap teams like the Cardinals teams play down to the level and have crap games all the time. I was at the Cardinal game in Arizona as well (talk about a sucky road trip to go on). The Hawks just flat out didn't even show up. By no means would I use that as a gauge of their ability. Even the Rams performance against the Cards wouldn't be a good gauge for them. But against a top flight team like the Pats teams are going to give their best shot for the most part.

                              Comment

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                              • eldfan
                                Let's hope Martz proves us wrong with his madness
                                by eldfan
                                Let's hope Martz proves us wrong with his madness
                                By Bryan Burwell
                                Of the Post-Dispatch
                                09/27/2004

                                Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell

                                If most of the football world already thought Mike Martz was a maddeningly stubborn football eccentric more than willing to bite off his nose to spite his face, wait until they get a load of him now.

                                At his Monday afternoon news conference at Rams Park, the Rams head coach fiercely defended his swashbuckling way of football life as if ... well, as if his life depended on it, which in a way it probably does. He is coaching an obviously flawed football team with a 1-2 record and a defense that is springing more leaks than the Titanic. But as Martz relies on his signature aggressive offensive methods for rescuing this young but very shaky season, he knows he's being confronted with outside resistance.

                                He is surrounded by a world full of conventional football thinkers who want to fit this aggressive, damn-the-torpedoes square peg into a very conservative round hole. We want him to play it by the old-school book. If the defense can't stop anyone - and after three weeks of play, there is faint evidence that this bloodied and battered group can - then why not go with a clock-gobbling, smash-mouth style of offense that relies on Marshall Faulk's fleet feet and Steven Jackson's brutish blasts?

                                In essence, what we want is for Martz to stay inside the lines, which of course is just about the most repugnant thing you can say to a guy with his aggressive offensive temperament. Why not just ask dogs to start living with cats?

                                "Look ... look ... don't ... uhhh," he said, practically spitting out the words like they were a bad piece of meat. "You need to find another coach, then. We're going to play fast and furious, that's what we do. We're going to run it when we ... want to run it, not because somebody (uh, that would be you and me) feels like you have to be balanced."

                                He smiled almost defiantly when he said that. And just in case you didn't understand it the first time, Martz put this exclamation point on his soliloquy:

                                "That's the way it is. Get used to it. That's the way it is."

                                Now here's what I learned from this rather revealing State of the Rams address: Mike Martz doesn't particularly care what the outside world thinks he should do. He has a plan, and he's going to stick with it. It may not be the plan you want, but it's the plan you're going to get. And here's something else gleaned from Martz's feisty words: He will get every opportunity over the next 13 weeks to either sink or swim with his convictions.

                                I don't presume to know more about football than Martz. His credentials as an offensive innovator and a football motivator are certified by his impressive NFL head-coaching won-loss record, a trip to the Super Bowl, and...
                                -09-28-2004, 06:41 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, 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
                                Think what you will about Martz; he made football fun in this town
                                by RamWraith
                                By Bernie Miklasz
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                                01/04/2006

                                Mike Martz will resurface. He will return to dial up 50 passes a game in another town, for another team, driving his new team's fans crazy. They may be laughing or frowning, cheering or booing, but Martz will move them. This is a coach who gets a reaction. He is many things, but the word "dull" never will be applied in any description of Martz.

                                "The Greatest Show" goes away, but never completely leaves the imagination. After all, the circus always comes back, and so it will be for Martz, the ringleader of one of the most dazzling offensive productions in NFL history.

                                Mad Mike still has a few scores to settle, a few more defensive coordinators to torment, and may the football gods have mercy on defenses when this coach clears his head and reloads his offense during a second-chance head-coaching opportunity.

                                Martz may have to sit out for a while. He may have to go into exile for the 2006 season, to rehabilitate his image and find inner peace, but that may be the best thing for him.

                                Martz needs time to truly disengage from the grueling experience in St. Louis. Martz's bacterial infection of the heart valve has cleared, and medically he's 100 percent ready to work, but he's still battered emotionally after predictably losing a power struggle with Rams executives John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt.

                                If Martz doesn't hook up immediately as a head coach, he should view the sabbatical as a precious opportunity to exhale and enjoy life. Martz could take his wonderful wife Julie on a trip around the world, or go on the kind of relaxing, leisurely adventures that are impossible to arrange for a full-time, football-consumed coach.

                                And a year from now, a completely rested, recharged and refocused Martz would be a hot candidate. His agent, Bob Lamonte, would have no problem marketing the Martz II Project to NFL owners. If you're an NFL owner with a dormant offense that needs to be zapped back to life, how could you resist the reformed Mike Martz? How could you turn away from 30 points a game? Americans love a second act.

                                Martz is feeling low these days, but he's been through rougher days than this. His alcoholic father bailed on his mom and four brothers when Mike was a kid. Mike survived, maturing sooner than any child should just to help keep the family strong.

                                After Martz got fired from a coaching gig at Arizona State, he couldn't find another job, so he became an unpaid volunteer assistant to Los Angeles Rams coach Chuck Knox. By then, Mike and Julie had four children, and it wasn't easy. But again, he overcame the hard times.

                                And Martz will rally again.

                                During his time as the Rams head coach, I frequently sparred with the media-sensitive Martz. This is a guy who did not hesitate to pick up the phone, dial my number,...
                                -01-05-2006, 05:52 AM
                              • AvengerRam_old
                                Should Martz be so candid?
                                by AvengerRam_old
                                Mike Martz is not like most coaches. When he makes a mistake, he has no qualms about saying so to the press. He divulged his scoreboard gaffe after the preseason game against Oakland, and volunteered on Sunday that he had made bad play calls in the red zone.

                                My initial reaction to this was to want to tell Martz that he might want to keep these things to himself (or, at least, within the locker room). By describing his errors with such candor, he only adds fuel to the fire of his detractors, who are itching to take him to task in the media and on fan sites.

                                But then I heard Marc Bulger respond when told by a reporter about Martz's statements about his red zone play calling. Marc said that it wasn't the playcalling, but rather the execution of the players that resulted in the failure to score TDs.

                                Interesting reaction. The Coach takes responsibility, then the QB shifts the blame back on the players.

                                Perhaps this is what is intended. Perhaps Martz's goal is to create an atmosphere of responsibility and accountability - starting at the top. Perhaps, Martz would rather show his team that everyone, including him, is accountable - even if it fans the flames of his critics - so that they react the same way when they make mistakes.

                                Of course, I'm sure some will contend that I'm giving Martz too much credit. Maybe. But something tells me that Martz is a lot more sly than most think.
                                -09-14-2004, 10:24 AM
                              • Nick
                                Hadley on Martz (long and pretty good)
                                by Nick
                                MARTZ IS THE RIGHT MAN... WITH A FEW CHANGES
                                Wednesday, December 22
                                17:20:54 CST

                                CHAOS OF DEFEAT PERMEATES RAMS PARK

                                PART ONE

                                MARTZ MUST LOOK IN MIRROR AND OVER HIS SHOULDER…

                                Rarely does a week pass during the waning months of a given calendar year without Dick Vermeil becoming the topic of conversation.

                                Vermeil has become the modern day Whitey Herzog. The blemishes of his tenure as coach of the St. Louis Rams have been precisely masked by much of the media and fans.

                                Until this past MLB season, there was an annual plea for “Whitey’s Return.” Despite the fact that Herzog failed to reach the playoffs in consecutive years, despite enduring some horrendous seasons while holding the reins, despite conceding a season to the New York Mets in May and despite quitting on his team and players in the end… Whitey is a local legend whose memory is etched into the cranium of Cardinals fans with positive connotations.

                                Vermeil, who was crucified, by media and fans after the 1998 season, miraculously transformed into an adorable mentor with a heart. Vermeil won over the fans and media only after tasting from the cup of success. Before the 1999 season, Vermeil was classified as an emotional wreck. He drove his players too hard. He refused to change with the times, he stuck by certain players and coaches to a fault, he was too focused on crunching statistics, and had lost touch with “the game.”

                                After winning the 1999 Super Bowl, those in the media (and fans) that called for his dismissal after the ’98 campaign were preaching from the Vermeil Bible. Suddenly, Vermeil was the prophet sent down by the God’s in football Valhalla. The same media and fans that took him to task just 12 months earlier were now delivering roses to Rams Park in eulogy after he announced his retirement.

                                Entering the 2004 season, regardless of nearly upsetting a superior Atlanta Braves team in the 1996 NL playoffs, earning three playoff trips in four years… Tony LaRussa was grilled and heckled because he didn’t win enough, he didn't win the right way, he played the game differently than “Whitey” and happened to have an eclectic lifestyle with the audacity to provide care for animals instead of blowing a frickin’ hole into creators and gutting them on weekends.

                                Seven weeks removed from leading his team to the World Series, LaRussa is being painted very differently, by the same media and fans that called for his lynching on several occasions, all for winning just one more series than he had in two of the previous four seasons.

                                Like LaRussa, Martz must not only succeed to earn respect, he must overcome the memory of a legend. The legend of Dick Vermeil. To be more exact, the memory of the “99 Vermeil" (not to be confused with the same man going by the same name wearing the same headsets that strolled the...
                                -12-22-2004, 10:56 PM
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