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  • Words can't do justice to describe QB's ineptitude

    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 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 postgame
    news conference. "I am baffled by it."

    "I ... I ... I ... I have no idea," wide receiver Torry Holt said,
    uncomfortably trying to avoid the conversation. "I have no answers. Next
    question."

    "You'll have to ask Chris," said Marshall Faulk. "Did you guys talk to Chris?"

    Uhhhh, no we did not. Unable to show mobility on the field, Chandler displayed
    brilliant escapability off the field, bolting from the locker room before any
    reporters came in.

    If Martz has any sense, he would cut Chandler today regardless of the minimal
    salary cap implications. If you can gauge anything from his postgame comments,
    it's not out of the question that he would do such a thing. Martz was so
    disgusted with Chandler after the game that he never mentioned Chandler's name.
    He referred to Chandler once as "that position," and again as "that scenario."
    He called him "the quarterback," "him" and a couple of "he's."

    But here's the thing. I really don't blame Chris Chandler. I blame the man who
    hired Chris Chandler. I blame the man who created a game plan that put Chris
    Chandler in a position to wreck whatever slim chances the Rams had at securing
    first place in the NFC West.

    Martz is the guy who designed a game plan that was doomed from the outset with
    play-calling that exposed all of Chandler's weaknesses. After seeing him for a
    full four quarters against the Carolina Panthers, was there something Martz saw
    that the rest of us didn't? Couldn't he see that Chandler was playing like an
    old man who was just looking for someplace to lay down and retire? Chandler was
    so skittish and gun shy out there against the Panthers that it was pointless -
    and self-defeating - to bother placing the weight of the offense on his back
    against the Cardinals.

    Why would Martz open the game with so much reliance on Chandler's passing?

    When asked that very question, Martz responded with this little gem: "Their
    defense is pretty good."

    No, it isn't. Their defense is wretched. The Cardinals are the 30th worst
    defense against the run in the NFL. They were giving up an average of 142 yards
    a game. Out of the previous 13 games Arizona has played, that "pretty good"
    defense has allowed opponents to gain at least 120 yards rushing 10 times. With
    Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson suited up and ready to play, why on earth
    would you even think about throwing the ball, particularly when the Cards were
    blitzing on nearly every down?

    With so much hinging on this game, with a chance to reclaim first place in the
    sorry NFC West after the Seattle Seahawks were crushed in New York on Sunday,
    all Martz had to do was resist his pass-twitch muscles and (let me clear my
    throat a bit) ... RUN THE BALL!!!!

    But he wouldn't do it. He couldn't do it. He put the game in the hands of an
    old, clueless quarterback who failed miserably. And now Martz will spend the
    final two weeks of this season not only fighting to keep his team's faint
    playoff hopes alive, but also trying to keep a firm grip on his job. Right now,
    both are on life support, and Dr. Kevorkian is hovering over the switch.

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  • 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, 03:22 PM
  • 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, 01:53 AM
  • RamWraith
    If Chandler wins this one, we'll get off his back for good
    by RamWraith
    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...
    -12-10-2004, 04:00 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, 06:34 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, 04:01 PM
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