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  • If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Thursday, Dec. 09 2004

    Rams coach Mike Martz knew this could happen. He knew he might need a capable
    quarterback to step in for Marc Bulger at some point during the 2004 season.

    After electing to move Kurt Warner down the trail, Martz zeroed in on veteran
    Chris Chandler. Martz knew Chandler, respected his mental and physical
    attributes and believed he could still play.

    And here we are. Bulger is sidelined by a shoulder injury and Chandler will
    lead the Rams into their critical battle at Carolina.

    Martz believes Chandler will come through. Rams Nation hopes he is right,
    because this team’s playoff hopes hang in the balance.

    Mad Mike didn’t mist up when discussing the quarterback change, as Dick Vermeil
    would have. Rather, Martz got feisty.

    STLtoday.com readers probably remember that your cyber-correspondent viewed
    Chandler’s ascension with some dread, given all those miles on Chris’ odometer.
    After Sunday’s 16-6 “victory” over the San Francisco *****, I expressed some of
    that dread on this web site.

    Martz responded with some salvoes of his own during Wednesday’s news conference.

    “When we signed him, he’s not 500 years old, he’s 38,” Mad Mike said.

    (Actually, we described him as the “900-year-old Chandler,” but the coach’s
    point is well taken. Even after his Oct. 12 birthday, our exaggeration is a
    whopping 861 years.)

    “It doesn’t matter how old he is, he can play,” Martz continued. “He has
    terrific legs. He’s in there on the treadmill for 35 minutes on (level) nine. I
    don’t know if any of you can do that, and I know I can’t.”

    (Got me there. What’s the word our 1380 ESPN fitness editor used to describe
    me? “Deconditioned”? That’s a polite euphemism for “lard bottom”. Chris would
    dust me on the treadmill.)

    “I think that, and the fact that his arm strength hasn’t been diminished at
    all,” Martz said, continuing his roll. “He’s still on top of his game, in terms
    of seeing things and accuracy. All of those things, physically, would lend
    itself to believe that he still has a lot of football left in him. Otherwise,
    we would have never signed him to a two-year deal.”

    Martz’s move appeared prescient during the preseason, when Chandler starred. He
    completed 29 of 44 passes for 472 yards (fifth-most in exhibition play) and two
    touchdowns.

    Chandler threw a pretty touchdown pass to Torry Holt in Sunday’s victory,
    scraping off some rust to earn the “W” in relief. So Martz isn’t worried about
    throwing him into such a high-pressure situation Sunday.

    “He’s been through all of the playoffs,” the coach said. “He’s been to a Super
    Bowl. He’s been there. He knows how to prepare. He knows how to get himself
    right. A lot of quarterbacks, and this is going to sound silly, but they don’t
    know themselves in big games yet.

    “The players look to him for guidance. They know he’s been there before, and he
    knows the right things to do. He’ll manage the game properly, and if it’s
    something he’s confused about then we’ll stay away from it and move on. He can
    make those clutch throws and clutch plays to win a game.”

    I’ve still got my doubts, having seen Chandler labor through some memorably bad
    outings against the Rams in recent years. And this match-up raises lots of
    important questions:

    Can inexperienced right tackle Blaine Saipaia keep Panthers sackmaster Julius
    Peppers off Chandler?

    Will the Rams be able to balance their offense with a strong run game even
    though both Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson are slowed by knee bruises?

    If back-up running back Arlen Harris has to start in their place, will the Rams
    have further problems with their pass protection schemes?

    Chandler’s first start during this latest Rams stint will come on the road
    against a strong, well-coached defensive team with plenty at stake. This game
    is not set up for him to succeed.

    So if Chris can respond to the challenge and lead the Rams to victory, the
    critics -– including this smart-aleck -– will have to finally get off his back
    for good.

  • #2
    Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

    After Sunday’s 16-6 “victory” over the San Francisco *****, I expressed some of that dread on this web site.
    Maybe that's because he hasn't thrown a meaningful pass since the preseason.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

      And since those were exhibition games, calling them meaningful is a stretch itself.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

        As far as Chandler goes, I am not worried about his speed or arm strength. I do worry about his throwing accuracy and decision making when throwing into coverage. Hopefully his experience and time on the practice field this week will allow him to lead the Rams forward.

        Sackmaster Julius Peppers will be hungry for some sacks. He will test the line.
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

          It's not his ability that worries me, it's his well deserved nickname, "Chris Chandelier". If the line doesn't come up with some big time protection, I shutter to think where we'll be if he crumples and we have to rely on you know who.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

            Chandler has me worried as well. He does have the years of experience, but what KIND of experience? I spent most of the 90's either getting married or getting divorced (don't ask...I wasn't smart enough to learn the first time) so I didn't really get to watch much football. The thing is, I really don't remember this guy doing anything big. I have reviewed his record, and I wasn't really impressed.
            I just read where Smoker is the backup for Chandler this week. I think he would give us a better chance than Martin, but dangit, I wish Bulger was back in there. Something about all of this makes me nervous. This game is going to be ugly for us, and the best I can see is a 'scrape win'....where we get that extremely lucky roll of the dice that gives us enough of a break that we pull out a win. Worst case, we lose Chandler and the experience he does have, Holt and Bruce get injured trying to compensate for the lack of Chandler's ability, and we go down in flames. Reality tells me it will be somewhere in between.
            Also read where Harris is starting this week, but not what position he's starting at....for the love of God, please tell me he isn't our starting RB.... :upset:
            temp_4394_1467243487543_20
            RAMS!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

              The thing is, I really don't remember this guy doing anything big. I have reviewed his record, and I wasn't really impressed.
              Chris Chandler at times in his career has been a great quarterback. I loved him when he was with the Rams back in '94 and was sorry to lose him. He made the Pro Bowl twice with Atlanta in '97 and '98 and led them to the Super Bowl in '98. He has a great touch, is smart and a good leader but his age has obviously eroded his skills and he has been fragile and injury prone throughout his career. He got nothing done in Chicago, but who could the last few years? I think he can be effective if he gets protection, but that's a BIG if.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good

                The defense is much more of a concern vs. Carolina than Chris Chandler.

                They will come after him, but I think he'll open up a few deep passes early to back them off.

                Comment

                Related Topics

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                • Nick
                  Martz says he won`t scale back Rams' offense for Chandler's start
                  by Nick
                  Martz says he won`t scale back Rams' offense for Chandler's start
                  BY STEVE KORTE
                  Knight Ridder Newspapers

                  ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - After 17 seasons in the NFL, quarterback Chris Chandler can fully appreciate the opportunity at hand.

                  Chandler will be the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams against the Carolina Panthers at 3:15 p.m. CST on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

                  Chandler is starting in place of Marc Bulger, who could be sidelined from 1 to 3 games because of a bruised throwing shoulder.

                  "I`m not going to play another 10 years," Chandler said. "When you`re younger, it seems like your future is infinite. As you get a little older, every opportunity you get you should really cherish, respect, and go out there and enjoy the heck out of them."

                  At 39, Chandler became the elder statesmen on the Rams` roster after punter Sean Landeta was released two weeks ago.

                  Chandler said he hears plenty of jokes about his age.

                  "You name it, I get all kinds of things," Chandler said. "We saw Steve Bono walking off the field Sunday, and Marshall (Faulk) kept asking me if I came in the league before Steve Bono did."

                  Bono, who serves as the alumni coordinator for the San Francisco *****, entered the NFL in 1985. Chandler arrived three years later in 1998 as a third-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts.

                  "We used to give it to Landeta because he was like 95 (years old) or something," Rams center Andy McCollum said. "I just like for them to give it to somebody other than me because I`m the oldest in our (offensive line) room. I`m the one who gets it."

                  Carolina cornerback Ricky Manning, 24 years old and playing in his second season in the NFL, even took a little shot at Chandler`s age this week.

                  "You know, I couldn`t even tell you. I don`t remember," Manning said when asked if he`d ever seen Chandler play. "I probably just played with him on Tecmo Bowl or something, one of those video games. And, if y`all don`t know Tecmo Bowl, it was one of the first Nintendo games."

                  Chandler said the age jokes don`t bother him anymore.

                  "Actually, nowadays, I laugh at it," Chandler said. "A few years ago, it would kind of bother me. But being as old as I am, and being in the league as long as I have been, and playing at the level I'm playing at, I kind of hang my hat on that now."

                  Rams coach Mike Martz wasn`t so amused with an Internet columnist who mocked Chandler because of his age.

                  "He`s not 500 years old," Martz said. "It doesn`t matter how old he is, he can play. He has terrific legs. Can any of you guys go at nine on the treadmill for 35 minutes? Maybe you can, but I know I can`t. That and the fact that his arm strength...
                  -12-12-2004, 12:53 AM
                • RamWraith
                  Jokes get old fast for Rams, Chandler
                  by RamWraith
                  By Jim Thomas
                  Of the Post-Dispatch
                  Thursday, Dec. 09 2004

                  Rams coach Mike Martz isn't a big fan of the Chris Chandler age jokes.

                  "He's not 500 years old," Martz said Wednesday. "I think he's 38. It doesn't
                  matter how old he is. He can play."

                  Actually, Chandler is 39. This is his 17th season in the National Football
                  League. He has played for seven NFL teams, including two stints with the Rams.
                  On Sunday he makes his 151st NFL start, 154th if you count playoffs, replacing
                  the injured Marc Bulger against Carolina.

                  When punter Sean Landeta was released two weeks ago, Chandler became the oldest
                  player on the Rams' roster. The "old man" jokes only intensified.

                  "You name it, I get all kinds of things," Chandler said. "We saw Steve Bono
                  walking off the field Sunday, and Marshall (Faulk) kept asking me if I came in
                  the league before Steve Bono did."

                  Bono, now an alumni coordinator for the San Francisco *****, came into the NFL
                  in 1985, just three seasons before Chandler's rookie season in Indianapolis.

                  "Actually, nowadays, I laugh at it," Chandler said. "A few years ago, it would
                  kind of bother me. But being as old as I am, and being in the league as long as
                  I have been, and playing at the level I'm playing at, I kind of hang my hat on
                  that now."

                  Despite spending much of his career with lousy teams, Chandler has made two Pro
                  Bowls and played in a Super Bowl. He has thrown more than 4,000 passes. At this
                  stage of his football like, he feels that he has nothing to prove. He no longer
                  worries about stats.

                  "Now I'm playing to have fun for myself," Chandler said. "But mainly, I'm
                  playing for all the other guys in this locker room. They're counting on me, and
                  the only thing I want to do is stand up for those guys."

                  The Rams certainly need Chandler to stand up and make something happen. Bulger
                  could miss a couple of games, and the team is in the thick of a playoff race
                  despite a 6-6 record.

                  "That's the best thing about it," Chandler said. "We're playing a meaningful
                  game in December, and there's a lot of teams who aren't. So that's what makes
                  it a lot more exciting."

                  Until Bulger went down with a bruised throwing shoulder late in the first
                  quarter against San Francisco, Chandler hadn't thrown a pass this season. He
                  served as Jeff Wilkins' holder against New England and Seattle early last month
                  when Dane Looker was sidelined with a sprained ankle. But that was it for
                  playing time.

                  After three months of serving as the scout team quarterback, running...
                  -12-10-2004, 03:01 PM
                • RamWraith
                  On a day when the Rams need him, Chandler's an asset for the Panthers
                  by RamWraith
                  By Bernie Miklasz
                  Of the Post-Dispatch
                  Sunday, Dec. 12 2004

                  CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For some athletes, the legs are the first to go as the aging
                  process sets in. For Rams quarterback Chris Chandler, 39, apparently it's the
                  eyes. Chandler's vision seemed awfully blurred on Sunday in Carolina. He kept
                  throwing the football to the wrong team.

                  The Panthers intercepted Chandler six times in their 20-7 victory over the
                  visiting Rams.

                  Repeat: Six INTs . . .

                  "It kind of snowballed a little bit," Chandler said.

                  More like an avalanche.

                  Chandler needed glasses, or even a pair of binoculars, to distinguish the Rams
                  from the Panthers. The final tally was close; at least Rams receivers Torry
                  Holt and Isaac Bruce caught nine of Chandler's passes, or three more than
                  Carolina.

                  Six interceptions . . .

                  At Bank of America Stadium, Chandler was an ATM for the Carolina defense. When
                  in need, the Panthers just punched the digits 1 and 2 for a passcode - Chandler
                  wears No. 12 - and he'd spit out another interception. He was instant cash for
                  Carolina all day. Chandler was the gift that kept on giving during this blessed
                  holiday season.

                  Six interceptions . . .

                  This was Marc Bulger's finest day as a Rams quarterback. No, he has a bruised
                  shoulder and didn't play. But at least now some spoiled Rams fans should
                  realize Bulger isn't the worst QB in the history of Western Civilization, after
                  all.

                  Chandler's pick-six special was the worst performance by an old Rams
                  quarterback since Joe Namath finished his career with the 1977 Los Angeles
                  Rams. Namath could barely walk at the end, but at least he could see well
                  enough to establish, say, each team's colors.

                  Then again, Namath didn't have to play behind this particular Rams offensive
                  line. Chandler won't last long. This treatment of Chandler, the league's oldest
                  starting QB, might prompt a protest by the American Association of Retired
                  Persons (AARP) at Rams Park.

                  And gee, isn't it good that Mike Martz dumped Kurt Warner and signed Chris
                  Chandler to serve as the No. 2 quarterback? Martz grew tired of Warner's
                  turnovers and tendency to hold onto the ball for too long and take sacks. So he
                  cut Warner loose.

                  Warner experienced some bad days during his decline, but he never was picked
                  off six times in a game. Warner is a humble man, but who could blame him for
                  smiling a little when he hears about Chandler's by-interception-only party for
                  the Panthers? And if Kurt isn't laughing, Brenda probably is.

                  "I can take all the blame for this one," Chandler said.
                  ...
                  -12-13-2004, 05:34 AM
                • Nick
                  Words can't do justice to describe QB's ineptitude
                  by Nick
                  Words can't do justice to describe QB's ineptitude
                  By Bryan Burwell
                  Of the Post-Dispatch
                  Sunday, Dec. 19 2004

                  TEMPE, Ariz. - Before we get to the really heavy lifting in the wreckage of
                  this disastrous Rams season, let's shove some of the light debris out of the
                  way first.

                  Cut Chris Chandler right now.

                  Don't waste another day or another ounce of aggravation on someone who clearly
                  doesn't care enough about his job to prepare properly to help his team win. The
                  Rams' postseason hopes have all but disintegrated in the span of the two weeks,
                  and in the aftermath of another catastrophic defeat that has his fingerprints
                  all over it, Chandler is the easiest (though clearly not the only) culprit to
                  identify.

                  Somehow, after 17 years in the National Football League, the 39-year-old
                  Chandler has mysteriously forgotten how to play quarterback, as evidenced by
                  his pitiful display in Sunday's 31-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. One week
                  after playing one of the worst games I've ever seen a proven, veteran NFL
                  quarterback play (six interceptions and three sacks in a 20-7 loss to
                  Carolina), Chandler outdid himself against the Cardinals.

                  I cannot overstate how bad this guy stunk up half-empty Sun Devil Stadium. In
                  only one spectacularly abysmal quarter of play, Chandler completed one of six
                  passes for 1 lousy yard, was sacked twice, threw an interception and had a 0.0
                  passer rating. By the time Mike Martz yanked him at the end of the first
                  quarter, the Rams had already fallen behind 10-0 and had been outgained in
                  total offensive yards 108 to minus-20.

                  Here's how his day went out here in the Arizona desert, and too bad it wasn't a
                  mirage.

                  Three and out.

                  Three and out.

                  Interception.

                  Three and out.

                  Benched.

                  He was beyond bad. He was flat-out incompetent, and maybe worse than that.
                  Incompetence, as bad as it might be, is at least excusable. But indifference is
                  an unpardonable transgression. You expect a rookie to play incompetently. You
                  might even expect a free agent, walking in cold off the street, to be clueless.
                  But who could expect a 17-year veteran who has been to two Pro Bowls, won an
                  NFC championship and played in the scorching heat of a Super Bowl, to play
                  without a clue, and with so little passion?
                  Chandler was not only bad, he was calling passes when he was supposed to be
                  calling a running plays. He was throwing to the wrong receivers. He was
                  floating balls like they were filled with helium. And when he wasn't doing
                  that, he was showing all the mobility of an oak tree, feet deeply rooted in the
                  ground and unable to move...
                  -12-20-2004, 12:17 AM
                • RamWraith
                  Words can't do justice to describe QB's ineptitude
                  by RamWraith
                  By Bryan Burwell
                  Of the Post-Dispatch
                  12/19/2004

                  Cut Chris Chandler right now.

                  Don't waste another day or another ounce of aggravation on someone who clearly doesn't care enough about his job to prepare properly to help his team win. The Rams' postseason hopes have all but disintegrated in the span of the two weeks, and in the aftermath of another catastrophic defeat that has his fingerprints all over it, Chandler is the easiest (though clearly not the only) culprit to identify.

                  Somehow, after 17 years in the National Football League, the 39-year-old Chandler has mysteriously forgotten how to play quarterback, as evidenced by his pitiful display in Sunday's 31-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. One week after playing one of the worst games I've ever seen a proven, veteran NFL quarterback play (six interceptions and three sacks in a 20-7 loss to Carolina), Chandler outdid himself against the Cardinals.

                  I cannot overstate how bad this guy stunk up half-empty Sun Devil Stadium. In only one spectacularly abysmal quarter of play, Chandler completed one of six passes for 1 lousy yard, was sacked twice, threw an interception and had a 0.0 passer rating. By the time Mike Martz yanked him at the end of the first quarter, the Rams had already fallen behind 10-0 and had been outgained in total offensive yards 108 to minus-20.

                  Here's how his day went out here in the Arizona desert, and too bad it wasn't a mirage.

                  Three and out.

                  Three and out.

                  Interception.

                  Three and out.

                  Benched.

                  He was beyond bad. He was flat-out incompetent, and maybe worse than that. Incompetence, as bad as it might be, is at least excusable. But indifference is an unpardonable transgression. You expect a rookie to play incompetently. You might even expect a free agent, walking in cold off the street, to be clueless. But who could expect a 17-year veteran who has been to two Pro Bowls, won an NFC championship and played in the scorching heat of a Super Bowl, to play without a clue, and with so little passion?

                  Chandler was not only bad, he was calling passes when he was supposed to be calling a running plays. He was throwing to the wrong receivers. He was floating balls like they were filled with helium. And when he wasn't doing that, he was showing all the mobility of an oak tree, feet deeply rooted in the ground and unable to move out of the way of the various blitzes the Cards were throwing at him.

                  How does this happen? Was Chandler so traumatized from last week's bad experience that he was paralyzed with fear this week? Was he sleeping in meetings and didn't know the game plan? Was the wireless microphone in his helmet picking up shortwave signals from Sri Lanka? Did his dog eat his playbook?

                  "Guys, I don't know," said a seething Mike Martz in the head coach's...
                  -12-20-2004, 02:22 PM
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