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  • Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Monday, Nov. 22 2004

    Sleepless in St. Louis.

    It has come to that for Rams coach Mike Martz as he grapples with how to keep
    his team afloat. And more precisely, how to get a handle on the ongoing
    nightmare that is Rams special teams.

    "I went back and looked at it really hard this morning," Martz said Monday
    afternoon. "Didn't sleep at all last night. This is the first night in my
    coaching career that I didn't sleep. A lot of things went through my head. But
    the more I thought about it, the more clear it became.

    "And as I was able to talk to more coaches this morning, it even became more
    clear. I do know what the approach is and the course that we'll take."

    Martz declined to provide specifics. But a couple of things were clear by late
    Monday afternoon. For one, veteran punter Sean Landeta is now officially on
    notice. That became clear during Martz's Monday news conference.

    Buffalo returned three Landeta punts for 148 yards Sunday - a Bills franchise
    record.

    The punt return yardage total also was the second-highest ever recorded against
    a Rams team - exceeded only by Washington's 155 yards in punt returns against
    the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 21, 1963. Martz made it a point Monday to mention
    that not all of those Buffalo return yards were caused by faulty coverage.

    "We just punted the ball very poorly," Martz said. "A 26- yard punt, you know,
    that's not good. That's going to come back at you no matter how you look at it.
    Sean didn't punt well at all. He hasn't for some time now. So that's a major
    issue."

    Landeta's 26-yard punt came in the first half Sunday. Actually, there was no
    return on the play, with Nate Clements fielding it on a fair catch. But Buffalo
    took over on its 49 and scored its second touchdown of the game three plays
    later.

    Of course, the major damage occurred in the third quarter, when a 39-yard
    Landeta punt was returned 53 yards by Jonathan Smith to the Rams' 5, setting up
    a Buffalo TD. Less than 3 minutes later, Clements returned a 54-yard punt 86
    yards for a TD. Martz said the hang time on the 54-yarder was not good enough.

    "No, it wasn't," Martz said. "And those always come back at you - those rockets
    that go down the middle of the field."

    During his news conference, Martz also indicated in general that some players
    were in the process of playing themselves out of jobs - at least jobs with the
    Rams beyond this season. And in the case of defensive back Tod McBride, the
    Rams didn't wait until next season.

    The Rams were unhappy with his special teams play against Buffalo. So unhappy,
    in fact, that he was released by the team Monday. McBride was signed by the
    Rams on Oct. 27, and the Buffalo game was just his second with the club.

    But there are more suspects, even if they are currently unnamed.

    "There's some guys that we obviously counted very heavily on, that have not
    rose to the occasion," Martz said. "I can't put it any other way. This isn't a
    right to be here in the National Football League. It's a privilege.

    "We've got some young players here that feel like they're on scholarship or
    something. Some of them don't get it yet. It's a small group of guys. We've got
    a real good football team by and large in that respect.'

    But it's clear that Martz thinks some of the younger players are letting him
    and the team down.

    "... When you have rookies that come in here, they just feel like it's kind of
    a rite of passage," Martz said. "'What can you expect? I'm a rookie.' That kind
    of a deal. That happens on every team. Unfortunately, we're in a position where
    we're expecting them to play at a high level, so they've got to pick it up."

    Martz wasn't just talking about rookies, but younger players in general. It's
    clear, for example, that the coaching staff isn't pleased with the play of
    second-year cornerback Kevin Garrett, who for a time in training camp appeared
    to be even with DeJuan Groce in the battle for the No. 3 job.

    "If I'm Kevin Garrett, and the two corners are down and I'm in there (playing),
    then I should've been prepared for this all week long," Martz said Monday.

    It has been Martz's contention since becoming Rams head coach in 2000 that
    backups shouldn't be on the roster if they didn't feel like they were good
    enough to be starters and prepared that way every week.

    "These guys are on our roster now because we like them," Martz said. "And we
    think they can play. Now, if we didn't think they could play they shouldn't be
    on our roster. That's what I tell them every day, and that's what I believe in.
    You're preparing yourself for your moment in the sun so to speak."

    So far, there has been more stormy weather than sunshine for too many of those
    players.

  • #2
    Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

    Well then, let's do it. Change the punter, make adjustments. Whatever. :angryram:

    I'm older than Landeta, that qualifies me for the job.

    Serioulsy, there are some obvious needs with our ST. I hope improvement is on its way!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

      Originally posted by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Monday, Nov. 22 2004

      "We just punted the ball very poorly," Martz said. "A 26- yard punt, you know,
      that's not good. That's going to come back at you no matter how you look at it. Sean didn't punt well at all. He hasn't for some time now."

      Was someone afraid to give sMartz the smelling salts sooner? This is no news flash. You can't expect deadmen to understand anything about directional punting. As much as some wanted to point to Landeada's GROSS average, the issue has been lack of placement. Even when it seems obvious that a coffin corner kick was in order, Landeada has always just lofted the ball hoping the bounce would hide his inadequacies.

      Kick the friggin' ball OUT OF BOUNDS. 20 years in the league and he can't figure that out on his own? Just goes to show that it really is another case of Deadman Walking.

      Since zombies can't think on their own, here is the solution for now. Have the up back, position Landeada at a 45 degree angle to the line facing the nearest hash mark and then hike the ball to him. Ball is bound to go out of bounds. Hang time becomes immaterial. And distance? Well, at least there is no return. And the team will save itself the further embarrassment of having Landeada's coffin move faster down the field than he moves in his futile attempt at adding to his stellar career tackling stats.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

        For one, veteran punter Sean Landeta is now officially on
        Landeta needs to learn how to tackle opposing teams' return men the way Wilkens does, that should fix what's wrong with the punt coverage unit.
        Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

          Originally posted by Yodude
          Landeta needs to learn how to tackle opposing teams' return men the way Wilkens does, that should fix what's wrong with the punt coverage unit.
          You're kidding right? It's the job of the ST players to make the tackle. The last thing you want is for your punter to be forced to make a ton of tackles. Just means nobody else is doing their jobs. Also the fact that Wilkens has 5 or so ST tackles is just another indictment to how poorly the kickoff unit has played.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

            Originally posted by RAMarkable
            You're kidding right? It's the job of the ST players to make the tackle. The last thing you want is for your punter to be forced to make a ton of tackles. Just means nobody else is doing their jobs. Also the fact that Wilkens has 5 or so ST tackles is just another indictment to how poorly the kickoff unit has played.
            Martz has cracked. He's blaming this 58 yr old punter for the faulty play of his football team!!?? I'm personally ok with a punter blasting a 54 yard punt. You've got to have some hang time to get it 54 yards downfield. Punter is not the problem. Inspiring your players to play is the problem. Martz has cracked. Send him down the road. This is ridiculous.

            What's next....blaming the equipment guy or the holder of field goals for our bad defense? All Martz has to do to fix this is hire another of his good old pals to come coach the special teams. It worked so well for the defense, right?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

              Originally posted by RAMarkable
              You're kidding right?
              Yes, actually.......the statement was meant to be read sarcastically.
              Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

                I wonder which rookies Martz is silently calling out here. I'm betting it's probably Shivers, maybe Hargrove and Chillar. I doubt Larry Turner, but who knows.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Martz says Landeta needs to produce

                  I don't know about the rookies nick, but he's all over Garrett and he should BE!!! the guy was all over the place, you would think he had never played a down before!!!

                  steve :ramlogo:
                  "The breakfast Club":helmet:

                  Comment

                  Related Topics

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                  • RamWraith
                    Martz says Rams worked against fake
                    by RamWraith
                    By Bill Coats
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    11/08/2004
                    The Rams worked Friday on defending a fake field goal by New England. They even covered the possibility of the kicker taking a quick snap and tossing a pass toward a wide receiver on the sideline.

                    "We'd practiced that," coach Mike Martz said Monday. "Walked through it, talked about it, ran it."

                    And sure enough, the play unfolded Sunday early in the third quarter at the Edward Jones Dome. "The exact same thing," Martz noted. But rather than being ready for it, the flummoxed Rams were caught flat-footed.

                    As they milled about the line of scrimmage, long snapper Lonie Paxton zipped the ball to kicker Adam Vinatieri, whose toss to a wide-open Troy Brown on the left side resulted in a 4-yard touchdown.

                    Instead of a field goal making it 22-14, the Patriots' lead ballooned to 26-14. A 40-22 loss dropped the Rams (4-4) into second place in the NFC West, with pacesetting Seattle (5-3) coming to town Sunday.

                    While viewing the game tape, Martz discerned the fatal flaw on the fake kick: Cornerbacks Jerametrius Butler and Dwight Anderson were scurrying to switch sides so that Anderson's sore shoulder would be protected in the rush scheme. No one was within 10 yards of Brown when the ball floated into his arms.

                    "Not too much to say about that," defensive end Leonard Little said. "It's another mistake we made."

                    The most egregious error on that play was the failure to call a timeout, Martz said, even though the players on the field noticed that something was up. "They recognized it, but they were caught in the middle changing over. It was a comedy of errors," Martz said. "You can't blame it on the two corners. We should have enough experience here that ... you need to see it and just burn a timeout. It's just inexcusable, really. I'm really kind of at a loss for words on that one."


                    Upon further review

                    As he promised to do, Martz phoned Mike Pereira, the NFL's supervisor of officials, on Monday morning. Martz probably brought up several areas of concern, but it's a good bet that a non-call on Pats linebacker Mike Vrabel, who clobbered sliding Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, was at the top of his agenda.

                    That was particularly galling for the Rams because Little later received a dubious 15-yard, roughing-the-passer penalty for hitting New England quarterback Tom Brady just after the ball had been released. Martz wouldn't disclose the details of his chat with Pereira, but he said he was satisfied with the talk.


                    Problems vs. running game

                    Only four teams in the NFL are yielding more rushing yards per game than the Rams, which throws their next three games into the "Yikes!" category.

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                    -11-09-2004, 05:24 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
                  • 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, 05:41 AM
                  • RamWraith
                    View from planet Martz
                    by RamWraith
                    By Jim Thomas
                    Of the Post-Dispatch
                    Monday, Dec. 20 2004

                    Rumors to the contrary, Rams coach Mike Martz has no plans to step down, and
                    Rams president John Shaw said the team has no plans to shove him out the door,
                    either.


                    "He's not in trouble," Shaw said in a telephone interview Monday night. "The
                    team is struggling right now and having a hard time winning games. We have to
                    work on getting it better."

                    Shaw said firing Martz has not been contemplated by the organization.

                    "It totally hasn't entered my mind," Shaw said. "His record speaks for itself.
                    He has the complete support of (owner) Georgia (Frontiere) and myself at this
                    point."


                    Martz is 51-32 in nearly five seasons with the club, including three playoff
                    berths, two division titles and one Super Bowl appearance.

                    Earlier in the day, at his regular Monday afternoon news conference, Martz
                    responded to media reports that he might resign if things didn't go well for
                    him the rest of this season.

                    "No, I would never resign from this job," Martz said. "I love this job. I would
                    never leave these guys. I wouldn't do that to this staff or these players. Like
                    I've told you many times, I'm too connected to this group - to this team.
                    There's no team that I would rather coach than this team regardless of the
                    record.

                    "There's something special about these guys. We're building. We've got a real
                    solid crew of young players, and it's going to eventually be a terrific
                    football team. I'm not going to ever walk away from something like that."

                    As he has mentioned in the past, Martz said he's coaching because he wants to
                    coach, not because he needs the money.

                    "I love being here," he said. "And that hasn't changed. We're going to forge
                    on, and get this thing back up and running the way it should be. And that's how
                    I look at it. I don't know any other way. That's just how I live my life. I'm
                    one of those guys where the glass is always half full. Not empty. And
                    sometimes, it's hard to look at it like that. But no. No. This guy's not going
                    anywhere. No way, Jose."

                    When asked if he thought the team's last two games might factor into his job
                    security, Martz said: "I don't know how to answer that. I guess you should
                    probably answer that. I can't tell you that.

                    "I would assume that we're going to play as well as we possibly can these last
                    two games. We know what our shortcomings are. We understand what needs to be
                    done, and where we need to fix things and get better at."

                    That being said, the team's performance over...
                    -12-21-2004, 03:57 AM
                  • Guest's Avatar
                    Martz keeps team working
                    by Guest
                    Martz keeps team working
                    The Associated Press

                    ST. LOUIS (AP) - Even with an extra day to prepare for their next game, the St. Louis Rams won't be relaxing at home on Thanksgiving.

                    Extra practice time also will be devoted to horrid special teams, the end result of a frustrating, up-and-down season and 5-5 record for coach Mike Martz, even if the Rams don't play until Monday at Green Bay.

                    "If this wasn't a Monday night game, obviously we'd practice," Martz said Wednesday. "If we had a veteran team that was playing really well ..."

                    But Martz doesn't. The Rams have 17 players with two or fewer years experience, players he's counting on to come through on special teams. He's still trying to get them used to the realities of life in the NFL.

                    "What's irritating is their role primarily is special teams and it's almost as if they feel they shouldn't have to do that," Martz said. "But they'll learn because they'll either do it or they won't be here." Martz is reluctant to use too many starters on special teams for fear of wearing them out for regular duty.

                    "You get all these other guys that should be doing a better job that don't, and you can't put them in there because they're going to beat you because they've demonstrated it," Martz said. "That's what I'm angry about."

                    Players didn't seem to mind practicing on Thanksgiving. They also worked out on the holiday last year, although that was on a regular work week.

                    "This is our job, this is the time of year we practice and play during the holidays," tight end Cam Cleeland said. "You've got to do it."

                    Plus, Martz also is worried players might not retain everything that was installed in practice on Wednesday.

                    "We practiced Thanksgiving last year and we were rolling, and we've practiced in years past, too," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "It's an extra day to prepare and to give us a whole day off, you forget everything you put in and come back a little rusty on Friday.

                    "So I think it's a good idea to keep things going."

                    Special teams rank 30th in the NFL in punt returns and 31st in kickoffs, kickoff returns and punt coverage. Sean Landeta is 31st out of 33 rated punters in the NFL.

                    This week, there'll be an additional special teams walkthrough.

                    "You can't really do special teams full go because that's a little dangerous," punt returner Sean McDonald said. "We've just got to know what we're doing more and be confident in what we're doing."

                    Definitely, there will be changes in the lineup. Middle linebacker Robert Thomas, a first-round pick in 2002, will be restored to his job after five games, and Grant Williams will start at right tackle after missing...
                    -11-26-2004, 05:35 AM
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