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The Fire Within

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  • The Fire Within


    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 donít know if anyone else has realized this but the recent articles from the Post Dispatch along with ďMartz on the Mikeďhave 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 Martzís 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.

    What I see now is Martzís continued learning curve. Even the biggest Martz apologists have acknowledged that he has things to learn.

    Right now Martz is going through the learning stages of what I consider to be the most important entity in coaching which is fanning the flame each week into the fiery potential that this team possesses.

    I wanted Martz gone in 2000 when the defense was less then a spark because I was afraid that the Rams would waste that talent and not win at least one more world championship.

    Well now I donít want him gone. To fire him now would be reacting to that waste instead of looking at the present and the future. (Again I am looking at more then wins and losses.)

    That talent pool has dried up and now Martz is seeing the importance of the fire. He is still here, we have invested so much in his training and he does possess some head coaching qualities above most if not all other coaches in the NFL.

    I still maintain that if were going to get rid of Martz then we have to do it 4 years ago when it would have done some good. Well that is not possible now is it?

    I think now is when we have to be patient. We have to watch the rest of the season and see what happens as far as Martzís growth in team motivation.

    If he makes strides in this area then I think firing him may be the football equivalent to pulling your stocks out of Microsoft prior to 1988.

    All one has to do is look at Lovie Smith and the Rams defense. Is it that hard to figure out why the Rams went from worst to one of the top defenses in one year? Isnít it obvious now that Lovie Smith was getting by on motivation more then Talent?

    The Rams defense last year made up for their inability to stop opposing teams with intensity that ultimately created turnovers.

    Now with virtually the same players we are seeing what lack of motivation and intensity brings to a squad.

    I could be wrong and most likely that is the case however the motivation, the intensity or the fire within is what I believe has been missing since 2000. Now I am seeing an urgency towards fanning that fire. Albeit another learning curve for Martz, I think we wait and see how quickly he can fan the ember but moreover how continuously he can keep the fire from smoldering.

    One thing for sure, Martz must realize that the hitting in practice was not the only reason he was able to build a bonfire.

  • #2
    Re: The Fire Within

    I agree RT, but who on this team could you point to on the defense and say this guy gets us pumped up? Tyoka could but he isn't talented enough to play every down.

    Man, I REALLY miss Fletcher.


    • #3
      Re: The Fire Within

      If I lived in St. Louis and could attend practices then perhaps I could say who could. My answer to your question is very telling in that it sure as heck is not apparent by watching the team play on Sundayís when it should be obvious. In other words, there is nobody that I see filling Dot Comís role or even trying to fill his role. On some teams it's obvious in every game, in every win, in every loss and with players like London Fletcher and Ray Lewis it's every play. The offensive equivalent was one of my favorites because he lacked God gifted talent and tried to make up for it with enthusiasm. Remembers a kid named Todd Kichen?

      Another thing I left out of the original post that may start an argument but I think that it is more important for the defense to be fired up and then the offense. Not to say that the offense should go to sleep however they are not delivering the hits that the defense delivers to propel the motivation throughout the team.


      • #4
        Re: The Fire Within

        Originally posted by RamTime
        Well now I donít want him gone. To fire him now would be reacting to that waste instead of looking at the present and the future. (Again I am looking at more then wins and losses.)
        I'm going to say this, not to argue that sMartz should be canned, but to argue that this isn't enough of a reason to keep him. Some say that the Devil you know is better than the Devil that you don't. And this is what I hear from you now. And since you have said it at least twice, I trust it is not sarcasm.

        4 years into his tenure, sMartz is now only getting around to realizing that STs are equally important as his long-past vaunted offense? 4 years into his tenure, now he is realizing the importance of preparation and motivation? The fact he has coached this long is testimony to the fact that he was a long-term investment.

        If you want to use the analogy of the stock market, I think a better comparison is any of the high-flying internet stocks of 2000. They rose on early hubris and the circle-jerk mentality of their followers. The bubble burst and now they have to succeed on their merits. Sticking with sMartz is like gambling that the penny stock is going to return to the glory years of $100 a share. With his wins, sMartz has delivered some earnings, but that doesn't mean that stockholders will ever see that stock price rise to initial expectations under the existing business plan.

        I say all this, again, not because I'm trying to make a case for sMartz to be let go. I have readily admitted that it could get worse if Shaw were left to his own devices and select some coaching dog as he has done in the past. But I say this to urge caution when trying to justify tolerating additional learning curves when very little thus far has shown a man to learn to climb the present curve.

        So if you do prefer the Devil you know to the Devil you don't, then "Be sober, be vigilant; because the ... devil ... walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." - I Peter 5:8


        • #5
          Re: The Fire Within

          RamTime, I agree with your analysis on Martz. He seems to be living in the past too much. Rather than spend the offseason developing plays & schemes he would be better served learning how to develop a team. Motivation and a sense of urgency. You only have 16 games to make it into the playoffs. You can't develop a team over that period of time, but you can develop schemes for your team to adapt to in order to be successful. However, you must have a "team;" a cohesive, self-motivating unit that reacts with a sense of urgency and purpose. That is where he should start, IMO...


          • #6
            Re: The Fire Within

            4 years into his tenure, sMartz is now only getting around to realizing that STs are equally important as his long-past vaunted offense? 4 years into his tenure, now he is realizing the importance of preparation and motivation? The fact he has coached this long is testimony to the fact that he was a long-term investment.

            You have every reason and every right and all the proof one should need in penning your reply. I cannot say I disagree; I am going to closely watch to see if he really gets it, and how fast and complete he can apply it. He needs to start with his buddy. He needs to light a fire under his DC a$$ and stop coddling him. He needs to call out Marmie like he has Landeta and others in the past. Sure it may simply e the final proof that what we have been saying fort years has been right on the money and it may e to late anyway, but Iíd sure like to see what a motivated Rams football team can accomplish under him.


            Nothing use to irk me more then when people said, ďGive him time to learn, Itís his first season or itís his second seasonĒ. I screamed "At the expense of this talent?" I also replied many many times "There are only 32 contiguous people on the planet that get a shot at head coach in the NFL. Knowing (what ever the latest blunder at the time was) is expected from someone in his position."

            So now that we have spent the best talent this team has ever seen teaching him why not take a look at what we bought and be sure that maybe just maybe he may have been worth the investment.

            I say this because if he gets fired because he doesnít have what it takes to get it done then why in the hell didnít we do it when it would have done us some good? Its not as if it was not obvious then! In fact it was more apparent at least to me! Which pisses me off even more knowing I was right from the get-go? I donít want to be right on my past statements about firing him after 2000. I very much remember being cyber stoned and called a closet 49er fan along with every other anti loyal comment one could think up for supporting an online petition through ramsworld to get rid of him immediately before he squanders the talent. I donít know if I could live with that.


            Related Topics


            • Guest's Avatar
              Looking At The Talent Issue
              by Guest
              Letís put this into more of a prospective instead of a blanket statement regarding talent. First of all the title of the thread "I don't buy this no talent thing" alludes to the Rams having no talent. When I first replied to that thread I was in the mind-set that ďNo talentĒ really meant less talent which is undeniably true.

              Each year you go back, the Rams have been raped for players and we have been so inept in the draft that our talent level has suffered. This does not mean that the Rams defense is without talent, this simply means that our talent is not at the level it was in the past.

              Do I really need to go over each position and compare what we had in talent to what is on the field now? I wonít because I trust that everyone is clear on this. As far as the talent this team has, sure they all have at one time or another shown they can play, however the "one time or another" part is the problem. To say the Rams have all this talent because someone picked up a fumble and scampered 40 yards for a td six weeks ago or because someone had a sack or two in one game out of 9 is reaching as far as declaring that player has as much talent as someone who played that position in the past.

              One thing we all seem to agree on is what really ails the rams and that is motivation. Where I disagree is I think Martz is finally trying to address this problem albeit it may be too late but he is putting emphasis on being ready and fired up something he has shunned in the past. This has been my gripe since 2000 and while many pointed to the Rams W/L record as proof that I was full of it, I denounced the Rams achievements as underachievement.

              Martz fell into a crop of talent like no other coach I can remember and because of the tremendous talent the Rams had, the Underachievement during his rein has gone unnoticed by many. This of course is why you cannot simply look at the W/L record as the end all be all as far as how good a coach is.

              Now what youíre seeing is the inauguration of Martz into the parity level where coaches have to get at least the potential out of the players that he has and if he is worth his salt should be able to get more. What Martz is learning is he cannot get to these levels without motivation.

              Some believe that the Rams were the model of motivation because they won in the past now suddenly Martz cannot motivate them anymore. Wrong. This team under Martz has ignored motivation and now youíre seeing the alarm go off because now that the Rams possess talent equal to other teams in the league and far less then in the recent past the inevitable has become reality.

              To make matters worse he has hired a DC that has never shown that he can motivate a defense. Martz has now put the onus on himself to get the team motivated because he sees that there is nobody in the organization capable of doing it. Can he do it? Can he pull...
              -11-25-2004, 10:46 PM
            • RamWraith
              Martz deserves his due for years of Rams success
              by RamWraith
              By Bryan Burwell

              I wonder what Mike Martz must be thinking right now as he sits out there on the West Coast quietly observing from a distance the long-overdue power shift unfolding at Rams Park.

              Is he smiling or cursing?

              Is he feeling some measure of vindication, or does it hurt too much to feel any satisfaction from a justifiable "I told you so"?

              I bring this up now because I remember an enlightening conversation we had more than three years ago, just before the start of his sixth and final season as the Rams' head coach. We sat in his office on the second floor of the team training facility, and as Martz sat on a soft leather couch with the windows to the practice fields behind him, he told me an incredible story. He said conspirators, saboteurs and incompetent meddlers were surrounding him and they were all plotting to get him fired.

              He told me that they would destroy him unless, of course, he destroyed them first.

              At the time I remember thinking, "Whoa, is this dude paranoid."

              Almost immediately though, I thought something else, having been around Rams Park long enough to observe the way things worked around there. "Yeah, he might be paranoid, but that still doesn't mean someone's not out to get him."

              Martz was the first man inside Rams Park who articulated perfectly just how dysfunctional things were behind that glittering glass and chrome entrance. And now he's coming back to town this weekend as the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco *****. But in reality, he is still a head-coach-in-exile. Seeing him on an NFL sideline marching to someone else's orders just doesn't feel right.

              If only the Rams Park environment was different back then. If only Martz had been surrounded by strong football men he respected and trusted, who knows how much different the recent history of the team might be? If only there were smart football men in charge back then like there are now. Maybe then someone could have saved the eccentric Martz from his own worst instincts and insulated him from the destructive office politics. And who knows? He might still be a head coach and the franchise would never have fallen on such tough times.

              But that opportunity was lost in his final days here, when his brilliant and turbulent stay ended with an unceremonious firing. Since then, Martz has been a vagabond, peddling his creative X's and O's from town to town, team to team, hoping that one day his image as a true football genius will again be restored.

              I hope it happens. But if he still has head coaching in his blood, I doubt if he will ever get another chance to prove himself in the NFL. What happened here probably left a permanent scar in the minds of too many team owners, presidents and general managers.

              But that...
              -12-19-2008, 05:16 AM
            • 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 itís 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, 09:49 PM
            • RamWraith
              Martz has fans waiting to see if Rams respond
              by RamWraith
              By Bryan Burwell
              Of the Post-Dispatch
              Sunday, Nov. 14 2004

              It sure has been some wild and wacky week right here in the River City, hasn't
              it? First our favorite gray-haired football eccentric goes all Norman Vincent
              Peale on us - not once, but TWICE this week - in a very public
              effort to make friends and influence football players.

              "We don't hold hands and get in a seance and sing Kumbaya. I'm not into
              that. ... You're on the train or you're not. Get out, period. I know where I'm
              going, you're either with me or you're not."

              -Mike Martz

              So now that Mike Martz has thrown down another verbal gauntlet to a world full
              of doubters - and in the process minimizing the importance of really good, old
              fashioned campfire songs - here we are again in a very familiar place. The Rams
              are in another do-or-die situation as the Seattle Seahawks come to the Edward
              Jones Dome with supremacy of the NFC West at stake. And once again Martz has us
              all on the edge of our seats, intrigued with how his football team will respond
              to his urgent words.

              Will they take to heart his warnings that this 4-4 season is at a crossroads
              and treat this game as though it is a desperate playoff game? Will they be
              inspired by his angry words and use them as emotional fuel to turn what has
              been a half-season of mediocrity into a strong second-half run to the

              "This is a game of attitude, pure and simple. This is not about ability,
              it never has been, never will be. Everybody in this league has 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 was a man on fire this week, from his Monday afternoon rant when he said
              he was tired of "taking bullets" for underachieving players, to his
              inspirational, but exceedingly short Wednesday press briefing when he continued
              to challenge the players, then made them go through a full-contact scrimmage.
              He was so fired up as he stormed out of the news conference that by the time he
              marched onto the practice field, he was stalking around the field from one
              group of players to another. Martz looked like an emotional volcano. He looked
              like a man itching for a fight. He looked like a guy who was almost begging to
              find just one half-stepping player.

              "I am not happy with how we are playing period, regardless of a division
              race or anything else. I think the way we have played in the last two games is
              embarrassing. Not so much, whether you win or lose the game, just the way we
              play the game,...
              -11-13-2004, 07:04 PM
            • RamDez
              Martz sees good karma in these Rams
              by RamDez
              By Bryan Burwell
              Of the Post-Dispatch
              Saturday, Jul. 23 2005

              In the waning weeks before the most important training camp of his professional
              coaching life, Mike Martz took an accidental trip down memory lane. At the
              start of a lengthy summer vacation, he and his wife, Julie, flew to San Diego
              on a house-hunting expedition, in search of the perfect vacation home. Yet
              after several frustrating days filled with too many houses with rotten views,
              shocking asking prices or both, their real-estate agent suggested they take a
              look at a "fixer-upper" that was about to go on the market.

              "He starts to describe where it was," Martz said. "And I looked at him and
              said, 'I think I know this place.' "

              The old house actually sat just behind the church where Mike and Julie Martz
              were married nearly three decades earlier. So as they approached their old
              stomping grounds, Mike and Julie both started grinning like giddy school kids,
              because it was the first time they'd returned to the church since their wedding
              day. And if that wasn't already enough of an emotional rush, the arousing
              stimuli was about to go off the charts.

              "We'd been seeing all these houses with outlandish price tags and so-called
              'ocean views,' " Martz said as he retold the story last week at Rams Park.
              "Well they were only 'ocean views' if you bent your neck around six different
              ways, the leaves fell off all the trees and the wind was blowing really hard so
              that the one tree bent way back . . . and then if you squinted
              reeeealllly hard . . ."

              By now, they were inside the old house, and as they opened the sliding glass
              doors, they couldn't believe the view from this otherwise unimpressive old home
              that sat snugly on the edge of this hillside. It was an unexpected, breathless
              panorama of both city and sea.

              "It was unbelievable, just breathtaking," Martz said. "And to top it all off,
              it's right behind the church where we got married? How's that for luck?"

              If you are into such ethereal things as luck, omens and karma, then don't you
              wonder if the successful but highly controversial Martz, entering his sixth
              season running the Rams, can keep this karmic joyride floating dizzily into his
              most significant training camp and season in his tenure as head coach?

              His defenders see no reason to think the good times won't continue to roll.
              They like to remind you that he led the Rams to the postseason for the fourth
              time in five seasons last season. They'll tell you he has the fourth-best
              winning percentage of any active head coach in the regular season.

              Yet they also will tell you they know his critics are lurking, swiping...
              -07-24-2005, 01:30 AM