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Rams defenders respond after Martz tirade

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  • Rams defenders respond after Martz tirade

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Dec. 12 2004

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After watching his Rams fall behind 14-0 in the first
    quarter, coach Mike Martz got in some, uh, face time with some young defenders
    on the sidelines.

    "They had that shocked look in their eyes a little bit," Martz said. "I got in
    their face pretty good. A couple of them ended up coming out of it and making
    some plays for us.

    "They just have to know how to respond. You just can't lay down and take it,
    where you get shocked and in awe. You just have to make a play, or else you
    need to find another profession."

    Martz feels there have been too many occasions this season when the Rams,
    particularly the younger players, get down in the dumps when bad things happen.
    That usually leads to more bad things.

    After he challenged them to show some toughness in the first half, the Rams
    limited the Panthers to two field goals the rest of the way.

    Muffed call on muffed punt?

    As if Chris Chandler's six interceptions weren't bad enough, the Rams committed
    a seventh turnover on Shaun McDonald's muffed punt with 6 minutes 23 seconds to
    go in the third quarter.

    Carolina recovered on the Rams 21 but was unable to score in part because of
    three penalties. Rams coaches, including Martz and special teams coach Mike
    Stock, were incensed that there was no penalty called against the Panthers for
    fair-catch interference on the muff.

    Punt returners are supposed to have a "halo" of 2 yards on fair catches -
    meaning defenders can't be in that area. It appeared that a couple of Panthers
    were inside the halo, possibly distracting McDonald as he tried to catch the

    "I just felt for certain that it was going to be called," Martz said. "And (the
    referee) said he wasn't in position. That's his job to be in position to see
    that. That's his job. So that's a hard one to swallow."

    But Martz was quick to point out that the non-call didn't cost the Rams the

    Injury update

    Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, arguably the Rams' best defensive player this
    season, continued to play through a shoulder injury he has had since Game 1 of
    the season. Tinoisamoa left the game twice after aggravating the injury, but
    returned on both occasions after brief sideline stays.

    "It's all right now," Tinoisamoa said. "It came out again."

    Tinoisamoa said he will go back to wearing a harness to protect the shoulder.

    The outlook isn't as good for safety Aeneas Williams, who aggravated a shoulder
    injury on the Rams' first defensive series and did not return.

    "It's real sore right now," said Williams, who had trouble moving his head
    after the game. "I have to see a specialist some time this week to try to get a
    final, more in-depth analysis. I've just got to make sure I get well before I
    get back out there."

    But with only three games remaining in the regular season, Williams doesn't
    have much time to get well. "The MRI is showing that it's just wear and tear,"
    he said.

    Williams said he plans to see a specialist either today or Tuesday. Kevin
    Garrett replaced Williams as the Rams' fifth defensive back, and struggled
    early in that role. Even through DeJuan Groce was active Sunday after missing
    two games with a sprained knee, Rams coaches decided to go with Garrett as
    their third corner.

    Limited duty for Little

    A combination of dehydration and illness limited defensive end Leonard Little's
    playing time in the second half Sunday. Little needed an IV to restore fluids
    at halftime, and started feeling better in the second half. But he was limited
    mainly to duty in passing situations in the third and fourth quarters, with
    Tyoka Jackson getting most of the work at left end.

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Penalties for hitting QB give line fits
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    The Rams trailed Super Bowl champion New England by two points just before halftime Nov. 7 when defensive end Leonard Little was called for roughing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The 15-yard penalty extended a possession that resulted in a field goal, and the Pats cruised to a 40-22 victory.

    The call infuriated Rams coach Mike Martz as well as Little, who felt that the hit was unavoidable and legal. "I didn't hit him up high, I hit him in the chest area," Little said. "If it was helmet to helmet, then I could see them making a call. But hitting him in the chest and the stomach area ... I mean, what can I say?"

    Their ire was fueled further because an earlier hit by linebacker Mike Vrabel on Rams quarterback Marc Bulger wasn't flagged. Martz phoned Mike Pereira, the NFL's supervisor of officials, the next day to air his discontent.

    On Sunday it was more of the same when the Rams drew another dubious roughing-the-passer penalty. Tackle Jimmy Kennedy dropped San Francisco quarterback Tim Rattay just after he released an incomplete pass on third-and-7 at the *****' 7-yard line.

    Asked Monday if he were baffled at the way the roughing rule is being interpreted, Martz said: "Baffled wouldn't be the term I would choose. There were six of them that were the same hit (on Bulger) in Buffalo ... same hit, same thing, and it doesn't get called. But we get that every week with these quarterbacks.

    "I'm angry about it and frustrated. I don't understand it. I've complained about it. I don't know what to tell you."

    Saipaia will start

    Martz announced Monday that Chris Chandler would start on Sunday at Carolina while Bulger's bruised right shoulder mends. Martz also said that right tackle Grant Williams, who gave up the sack on which Bulger was injured, had lost his starting job.

    Blaine Saipaia entered Sunday's game late in the third quarter after another Williams mistake nearly resulted in a sack of Chandler. Saipaia will be in the lineup vs. the Panthers, Martz said.

    "There's a lot of things I like about Blaine," Martz said. "He has great feet, he's very strong, he has a terrific punch in pass protection. He's very athletic, can be off-balance and recover and make the block. He's a good run blocker. I think he has all the tools to develop into a really good player"

    Williams has been playing with several nagging injuries that "really diminished his strength and his ability to take on some things," Martz said. "You can see it when you watch him set. He tries to compensate. ... He began to struggle out there, and we needed to get him out of the game."

    Saipaia, 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, made his first NFL start Nov. 21 in Buffalo because Williams was banged up....
    -12-07-2004, 04:40 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams Making Defensive Adjustments
    by RamWraith
    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    With a day to reflect and the chance to watch tape, coach Mike Martz saw some things he didn’t like in the defense and is ready to make some changes.

    “Our defense is all in,” Martz said. “We are going to eliminate now. We are just going to trim off now. Same thing on offense, we have looked at some things now we start trimming away and zeroing in and that’s what we are doing. While we are doing that we are looking at personnel too.”

    Martz narrowed the problems of Sunday afternoon down to about six plays, but those six plays were big enough that it made St. Louis have a rough day against San Diego.

    The biggest play came right away when running back LaDainian Tomlinson took off for a 55-yard touchdown run. Martz said the play actually broke down because of a mistake by the offense.

    “The first play, the offensive tackle blew the assignment and you key things off what they do,” Martz said. “One of our guys took on the blocker with the wrong shoulder which you can’t do and it spilled into the safety. The corner on the right side got wrapped up and taken down by a receiver. He probably saw it. That play should be no more than a 15-yard gain.”

    Some of the other big plays that hurt the Rams’ chances were Michael Turner’s 55-yard run, a safety and an interception return for a touchdown. It is those types of plays that can hurt any team trying to win any game, preseason or otherwise.

    “We have got to eliminate big plays,” linebacker Dexter Coakley said. “We have got to go back to work on Tuesday and try to correct those mistakes. You can’t give up big plays and want to be successful in this league.”

    Some of the problems of the defense were directly correlated to the defensive sets the Rams had in.

    “Some of the stuff that we are doing front wise we are going to get away from,” Martz said. “We don’t like it. Some of the stuff that hurt us last year doesn’t fit our personality or our personnel. So we are going to change some of those things. A lot of this is about coaching.”

    IVY IMPRESSIVE: While DeJuan Groce more than held his own as the new starting cornerback opposite Travis Fisher, Corey Ivy continued to impress Martz and the coaching staff.

    “Corey Ivy, I think is pretty significant for us right now,” Martz said. “I am very pleased with him. (He’s) very aggressive, very quick. He just makes plays. He just shows up all the time.”

    Ivy has indeed had a knack for being around the ball during the preseason. He comes up with an interception or two in almost every practice, but his hitting ability was a relative unknown.

    Ivy made it clear that he is a more than willing tackler Sunday with a number of impressive hits. He finished the game with four tackles and a forced fumble, all with a cast on...
    -08-24-2005, 04:52 AM
  • RamWraith
    Martz puts Rams on notice
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Mike Martz fielded all the questions Monday about what went wrong against New England. And there was a lot of ground to cover, because obviously, a lot went wrong in the Rams' 40- 22 loss to the Patriots.

    But then totally unsolicited, he offered some thoughts about accountability. More specifically, the accountability of Rams players.

    "This is my fifth year here," Martz told reporters, referring to his 4 1/2-season tenure as Rams head coach. "You guys have been with me long enough to know, I've never tried to mislead you. Sugarcoat it. If I've screwed something up, I'll tell you.

    "You try and take a bullet (for a player) whenever you can. But there comes a time when some of these guys have just got to play. Step up and make a play. Players make plays. That's just the way it is.

    "And that's not a cop-out, or brushing it off on these guys. But I'm upset. We've got some guys that we're counting on, that have got to step up. That's the way it is."

    Martz wouldn't name names. But it's clear he has put his team on notice. He is growing increasingly frustrated over execution - or lack thereof - on the playing field. The team continues to make too many mistakes, and too few plays, on game day.

    Martz made many of these points to his players and coaches Monday during a team meeting. Right now, Martz is searching for something to jolt his team out of its current skid - a skid that includes two straight losses, but also recurring problems on special teams, on defense, and in pass-blocking.

    The sense of urgency has never been greater because if the Rams don't display a dramatic reversal of fortunes this Sunday against Seattle, the season could be all but lost.

    The Seahawks are 5-3; the Rams 4-4. If the Rams win, they pull even with Seattle record-wise at 5-4, but actually take the NFC West lead because they hold the tiebreaker edge by virtue of a 2-0 sweep in head-to-head competition.

    But if the Rams lose to Seattle, they're two games back, and face the daunting task of playing four of their next five contests on the road.

    "We just didn't play well (against New England)," Martz said. "That's not a secret. We all saw that. We've played much better in the past and I'm confident that we'll do that again."

    But how? What's the way out?

    "We understand what our problems are, and what we need to address," Martz said. "And there may be some personnel changes."

    But eight games into the season, it's not like Martz and the Rams can reinvent the wheel. The 53-man roster is what it is, and there's not much left on the streets.

    So it looks like Chris Dishman will continue to start at left guard and Grant Williams will continue...
    -11-09-2004, 05:25 AM
  • fearlessone
    Martz gets tough with Rams-John Clayton
    by fearlessone
    Sunday, November 14, 2004

    By John Clayton

    ST. LOUIS -- Mike Martz has been praised and criticized for being the Mad Scientist of offense. Since last week's loss to the New England, Martz was just mad.

    Mad coaches live on the edge. Players usually respond big or fall flat. The Rams responded big Sunday. Martz cracked the whip earlier in the week and the Rams responded like a champion horse down the final furlong. Five days after Martz turned his Wednesday practice into a live scrimmage, the Rams hit the turf looking to hit somebody.

    Mike Martz and the Rams got the best of Mike Holmgren's Seahawks for the second time this season.
    Marc Bulger fired 13 straight passes coming off the opening kickoff, completing eight for 119 yards. Defenders chased down Seahawks offensive players relentlessly. Before the game was 18 minutes old, the Rams had a 17-0 lead on the way to what turned out to be a convincing 23-12 victory. The win gives the Rams all the tiebreaker edges in the now-even NFC West.

    "We had to go back to basics and identify things that we are not doing well, tidy them up and get them cleaned up on Wednesday," Martz said. "The players appreciated it. They responded very well."

    Appreciate might not be the right word here. For the usually jovial Martz, the days leading up to the victory over the Seahawks was much like an episode of Fear Factor. For seven days, there was no more Mr. Nice Guy.

    It appeared the players' coach had turned anti-player after back-to-back losses. His quotes to the St. Louis press were classics. One quote: "We don't hold hands and get in a séance and sing Kumbaya." Then there was this one straight from Jim Fassel's quotebook: "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."

    This was coaching. The masterful strategist calls it an "attitude adjustment." He called out the team publicly. Privately, he called out a handful of players for not doing their jobs. He threatened putting players on the bench. He put tape together to show sloppy or non-existent effort. The embarrassing loss to Miami in particular caught everyone's attention.

    "He showed us videotape of the Miami game where guys quit running," safety Adam Archuleta said. "Those are things we had gotten away from. You can't give up on a play. You need 11 hats getting to the football. Playing hard and playing aggressive is the key to a lot of things. If you have that down, schemes take care of themselves. It's more attitude than anything."

    Wednesday's practice was wild. It started after Martz cut a 15-minute press conference 10 minutes short with quick, terse answers. He stormed to the practice...
    -11-15-2004, 06:39 AM
  • RamWraith
    Cleeland is back to take roster spot held by Williams
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    Rams tight end Roland Williams had barely returned to town - on crutches, his badly damaged right knee in a heavy brace - when his replacement boarded a flight for St. Louis.

    Cam Cleeland was due to arrive late Monday night to begin his second go-round with the team. If he passes a physical exam and signs a contract, Cleeland, 30, is expected to be on the field Wednesday when the team resumes practice.

    "Cam's a very good player," coach Mike Martz said. "I'd love to have him back on this team. I know what he can do. He can make a lot of plays for us."

    After four years in New Orleans and one with New England, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Cleeland spent the 2003 and '04 seasons with the Rams. He played in 32 regular-season games, starting 18. He totaled 17 receptions for 202 yards. For his career, Cleeland has caught 126 passes for 1,461 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    His biggest moment with the Rams came in last season's first-round playoff game in his hometown of Seattle. His 17-yard TD catch with 2 minutes 11 seconds remaining gave the Rams a 27-20 victory.

    The emergency call went out after Williams dislocated his right knee in the first quarter of Sunday's 44-24 loss to the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. Williams caught a 2-yard pass, then crumpled to the ground after he was hit low by cornerback Curtis Deloatch.

    "It's a very severe injury," Martz said. "The biggest concern at the time was the vessels in the leg, that there's no damage there. They checked him out last night and made sure that that was OK. He'll have to have a major repair of the knee. He's done for the season."

    Williams' agent, Harold Lewis, said the surgery hadn't been scheduled yet. "They'll have to wait for the swelling to go down first," Lewis said.

    Williams was hired in March to take Cleeland's spot on the roster. Cleeland wasn't signed after his contract expired, and he went back home. "He wasn't sure whether he wanted to continue playing," Martz said. But when the Rams called shortly after Sunday's game, "There was a terrific reaction by Cam," Martz said.

    The Rams' first-team tight end, Brandon Manumaleuna, sat out Sunday with a sprained knee suffered a week earlier against Tennessee. Asked about Manumaleuna's availability for Sunday's home game against Seattle, Martz said: "He's very close. I don't know whether he'll play this week or not. If there's a risk, any risk at all, he won't play. Same with Isaac (Bruce). We'll move on and wait until they're completely ready to go."

    Wide receiver Bruce, who is fighting a "turf toe" injury, also was sidelined Sunday.

    Martz regrets call

    The botched reverse that snuffed a long drive...
    -10-04-2005, 05:21 AM