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  • Martz expected to be back next season

    By Jeff Gordon
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    Monday, Dec. 20 2004

    We expect Rams coach Mike Martz to be back next season.

    Team executives John Shaw and Jay Zygmunt are rational men who don’t rush to
    judgements. Martz’s career won-loss record is still better than most head
    coaches, despite this 6-8 downturn, and he has a ton of dough left on his

    As we noted last week, the rash of Rams casualties provides Mad Mike cover for
    this season. The decimation of the offensive line, the demise of team leaders
    Marshall Faulk and Aeneas Williams, the loss of quarterback Marc Bulger and the
    nagging injuries plaguing the front seven were too much to overcome.

    However . . .

    In order to retool this team, the franchise must also retool its football
    operation. As colleague Bernie Miklasz explained with great clarity, General
    Manager Martz left Coach Martz with too little to work with this season.

    Look no further than the decision to dump Kurt Warner and replace him with
    Chris Chandler.

    Rams insiders insist that Warner had to go, due to his eroded relationship with
    his teammates and head coach. A divorce was best for everybody. But if the team
    was happier without Kurt, it sure hasn’t shown it during this season.

    Injuries go a long way toward explaining what happened this season, but these
    Rams haven’t played with much passion – to use one of Mad Mike’s favorite
    phrases. That 31-7 loss at Arizona will stand among the franchise’s most
    embarrassing performances since coming to St. Louis.

    As for Chandler, the poor guy never had a chance. Even the most casual Rams fan
    knew he would become a liability if pressed into duty.

    Whenever the Rams faced Chandler the past few years, folks around here were
    thrilled with the match-up. He played one dreadful game after another against
    the Rams, folding whenever the going got tough.

    We pointed this out when Chandler was signed. We pointed it out when Bulger got
    hurt, forcing Chandler into the starting assignment.

    Martz became indignant when your cyber-correspondent warned of impending
    calamity. He insisted Chandler would be fine.

    He was wrong, terribly wrong, and Chandler’s miserable play probably cost the
    Rams another trip to postseason play.

    “It goes back to the inability to function at one position,” Martz told
    reporters after Sunday’s game. “You hold the whole team hostage.”

    That the Rams had to pull career back-up Jamie Martin off street, scrape off
    his 13 months of rust and hurl him into combat . . . well, that’s just

    (That Martz threw Chandler under the bus Sunday wasn’t real honorable; there is
    no way Chris should have been put in this position at this point in his life.
    Martz put Chandler in a position to fail – and fail he did.)

    On Martz’s watch, the Rams have made some great calls on personnel matters.
    Cornerbacks Travis Fisher and Jerametrius Butler have become solid performers.
    Ditto linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. Young receivers Kevin Curtis and Shaun
    McDonald seem capable.

    Running back Steven Jackson appears to be a worthy first-round pick. Offensive
    linemen Scott Tercero and Larry Turner might be fine, too, if they get an
    opportunity to develop.

    Too many other key picks have failed to become consistently good pros. Adam
    Archuleta, Damione Lewis, Ryan Pickett, Jimmy Kennedy, Tommy Polley, Robert
    Thomas – at times they excite you and at times they exasperate you.

    Were they back draft picks? Or have the Rams failed to coach them up? Either
    way, their inconsistency falls back on Martz, who, after all, demanded the
    final say on all football matters as head coach.

    So now the franchise must retool. Now the Rams must rebuild their offensive
    line and either arouse or overhaul their front seven. There will be plenty of
    tough decisions to make:

    Which young players merit further investment of time and money?

    Would different position coaches coax better results from some of the same

    Will it be possible, on Martz’s watch, to build special teams that advance the
    Rams cause rather than hinder it?

    What should the Rams do with Faulk and Aeneas Williams, two once-great players
    who broke down this season?

    How will the Rams manage their salary cap, given all the “dead money” that may
    eat up payroll space?

    Should Charley Armey become a real general manager again and make the final
    call on all personnel?

    In the months ahead Martz should focus on what he does best – devise cutting
    edge offensive strategies. And his bosses ought to help him in areas where he
    is not as strong, such as game and personnel management.

    This season may not be salvageable, but with the proper adjustments, the regime

  • #2
    Re: Martz expected to be back next season

    Originally posted by RamWraith
    In the months ahead Martz should focus on what he does best – devise cutting edge offensive strategies. And his bosses ought to help him in areas where he is not as strong, such as game and personnel management.

    This season may not be salvageable, but with the proper adjustments, the regime is.
    I agree whole-heartedly.


    • #3
      Re: Martz expected to be back next season

      If there was one thing to help him, this would be it

      Keeping the Rams Nation Talking


      • #4
        Re: Martz expected to be back next season

        I'm not a huge Gordon fan, but this was a pretty good article, IMHO. Martz is the general manager, not in name, but in practice. That has shown to not be a good idea with other teams, maybe it's time to end that experiment here as well. Armey has to take the reins, and let Martz get back to coaching and revamping his once-great offense. You got too many irons in the fire, Mike. Get back to basics.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


        • #5
          Re: Martz expected to be back next season

          Well, after suffering thourgh that *$#@^ loss in person, I have to say that my support for Martz has faded.
          His refusal to use has backs against one of the worst run D's was mind blowing.
          He just dose not have the ability to get he's team fired up for a game.
          I saw it during pre-game warm ups. There didn't seem to be any inten
          sity at all on the Rams sideline.
          I don't know what to think of the character of this team anymore.

          I'm sooooo disappionted.

          Adm. William "Bull" Halsey


          Related Topics


          • Guest's Avatar
            Amid adversity, can Rams coach reinvent himself?
            by Guest
            Amid adversity, can Rams coach reinvent himself? By Bryan Burwell Of the Post-Dispatch 12/18/2004

            Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell

            PHOENIX - The Rams have played this season as if it was an extended game of Russian roulette, forever keeping us anxious and aggravated as they flirt with so many potential season-ending disasters.

            Yet now, with only three games to play, they want us to believe the self-destructive nonsense is over and a no-nonsense approach is firmly in place. They keep talking to a world full of doubters, telling us that out here in the Arizona desert they will begin a legitimate postseason run.

            "Are you kidding?" Mike Martz said earlier this week, grinning like a Cheshire cat. The head coach appeared to be almost insulted, wondering why no one could see how this struggling 6-7 football team controls its own playoff destiny. He seemed shocked that no one could figure out that success was just around the corner, even with two NFL powerhouses like the Philadelphia Eagles (12-1) and the New York Jets (9-4) standing in the Rams' path after Sunday's little dance with the sorry Arizona Cardinals (4-9).

            Martz was a glass-is-half-full man in a room full of glass-is-half-empty doubters. While we keep calculating how bad a mess the Rams are in, our favorite gray-haired football eccentric keeps finding hope peeking into the room like warm slashes of sunlight.

            "We can," Martz told a room full of reporters. "That's why I'm so excited. I stand here every week and tell you that. Things come up that you have to deal with, unfortunately. If it were that easy, which it's not, obviously, trying to get guys to that certain point, sometimes it takes longer than you think it would. But we're going to get there.

            "I'm encouraged by what I've seen, and I told the team after the game that they have nothing to be ashamed of. They played their butts off, and we just made some mistakes that we couldn't overcome. If we eliminate those mistakes, this is going to be a real good football team."

            But time is running out on Martz's hopes and dreams. A loss Sunday to the Cardinals effectively crushes the Rams' postseason possibilities. Sure, there are slim, mathematical opportunities - particularly with the tentative way the faint-of-heart Seattle Seahawks hold on to the NFC West lead - but the Rams really can't count on the NFC being so sorry that an 8-8 record will be good enough to get that final wild-card berth.

            So let's take Martz on his word and believe that this is the start of the playoff push. How will the Rams do it, particularly with 39-year-old Chris Chandler starting at quarterback again after last week's six-interception meltdown? It's never a good thing to see the Rams go into a game without Marc Bulger, particularly when his backup is a 17-year veteran who looks as...
            -12-19-2004, 05:06 AM
          • RamWraith
            Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him
            by RamWraith
            By Bryan Burwell
            Of the Post-Dispatch

            For five years, Mike Martz has stood there firmly at his perch as the Rams unappreciated genius head coach, an unswerving example of pride and genius, arrogance and attitude, boldness and bravado. Even with his Super Bowl pedigree, he was forever the unloved interloper who could never do quite enough to erase the unpardonable sin of not being Dick Vermeil.

            There was always something about him that they just couldn't love, refused to embrace and loved to scorn. Yet through it all, Martz stood there defiantly defying convention, always doing it his way. It is what always intrigued me about Martz, always fascinated me with him. He was a man who spit at convention, railed against the status quo and broke convention with the zeal of a mad genius.

            Yet now, it seems that his greatest strengths have conspired against him. His defiance has become his biggest weakness. In these reeling times with his football team teetering on the edge of playoff extinction, Mike Martz is sounding a lot like a man who exposed himself fully to all his detractors.

            I admire his creative spirit and combative attitude. I did not believe this before, but I am wondering now how Martz can survive as the Rams head coach. If team president John Shaw was not thinking about firing him before, after listening to this odd performance at his Monday afternoon news conference, the thought has to be creeping into his mind.

            Martz used a 15-minute session with reporters to darned near condemn himself with his own words. In one odd stream of consciousness, he tried to explain why he chose to play quarterback Chris Chandler and didn't play rookie running back Steven Jackson. In doing so, his words spoke shocking volumes.

            Martz essentially admitted two things: He lost his poise and he has no idea what is happening in the game unless it is written down in front of him on his game-plan placard.

            First of all, he admitted he lost his poise after Chandler went into another meltdown in the first quarter. "I got very upset with (Chandler) in the game. ... I regret being that upset with him," Martz said. "I got unsettled, quite frankly, with the quarterback situation and it took me a while to get going. I could have handled that situation much better."

            Even if it was true, how could you admit that? How can the man in charge tell the whole world that he lost his poise, lost his direction and purpose, even for a brief moment? It's alarming to hear the head coach of a professional football team say that he flaked out in the heat of battle. Isn't that was he essentially what he eviscerated Chandler for doing against the Panthers and Cardinals?

            But then he went further. Much, much further. When someone asked him why the powerful first-round draft pick never got off the bench, particularly against...
            -12-21-2004, 01:28 PM
          • Nick
            Shaky Chandler to get another start ahead of injured Bulger
            by Nick
            Shaky Chandler to get another start ahead of injured Bulger
            R.B. FALLSTROM
            Associated Press

            ST. LOUIS - Marc Bulger can't get healthy fast enough for the St. Louis Rams.

            Bulger, who missed Sunday's 20-7 loss to the Panthers with a sprained shoulder, resumed light throwing on Monday, but the team is aiming for him to return to the lineup next week against the Eagles.

            "He's a little sore, but who knows?" Martz said Monday. "We may have him, but I'm not going to count on it."

            That means another week with 39-year-old backup Chris Chandler, whose first start of the season was forgettable: a career-worst six interceptions. Chandler has played for seven teams, and Martz said at times it appeared his quarterback was running another offense.

            At one point in the second half, the frustrated coach showed his lack of trust in Chandler by calling nine straight runs for third-string running back Arlen Harris.

            "He got a little rattled," Martz said. "He's a guy that's been in a lot of systems and had a lot of different coaching, and when you get under pressure like that sometimes you revert back to another system or how you were doing things in the past.

            "He's just devastated."

            The alternatives are not very enticing for the Rams (6-7). The backups are rookie Jeff Smoker, who's still learning the offense, and Jamie Martin, who's not physically ready after being out of the NFL since October 2003 before signing last week.

            So Martz knows better than to beat down Chandler. He blamed himself for not preparing Chandler better, and he blamed poor pass protection for getting Chandler off to a shaky start that became the shakiest of games - he was only one off the franchise record for interceptions.

            "Chris is our starter," Martz said. "I can help him a lot more and we need to help him up front."

            Martz said fill-in right tackle Blaine Saipaia, who made his second career start, was the best of the bunch on an offensive line that features five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace and guard Adam Timmerman (two Pro Bowls).

            "I think he played better than the rest of them and you can draw your own conclusions about the rest of it," Martz said. "I'm embarrassed about it, to be honest with you.

            "We're going to look very hard at this."

            Saipaia did a good job against Julius Peppers. He had the best game of the three reserves playing in high-profile spots against the Panthers. The tailback was third-stringer Harris, who had 19 carries for 62 yards in his first real action of the season because both Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk were sidelined with bruised knees.

            Faulk, who has missed two games, told Martz he'd like to be available on a limited basis this Sunday...
            -12-13-2004, 09:09 PM
          • AvengerRam_old
            Martz: "I'm not quitting."
            by AvengerRam_old
            Martz: I'm not quitting

            R.B. FALLSTROM

            Associated Press

            ST. LOUIS - As bleak as the situation looks, there's no giving up for St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz.

            Martz, whose fifth season with the team has been a semi-disaster, on Monday had a strong rebuttal to an ESPN report that he might consider quitting. The Rams were among the preseason Super Bowl favorites after going 12-4 last year but are 6-8 heading into the final two games.

            "I would never resign from this job," Martz said. "I love this job and I would never leave these guys. We've got a real solid crew of young players and it's going to eventually be a terrific team, and I'm not going to ever walk away from something like that."

            Martz has two years left on a contract that pays him $3.5 million annually, and he noted that he's financially secure.

            "I coach because I want to coach, and I love being here," Martz said. "That hasn't changed. We're going to forge on and get this thing back up and running the way it should be.

            "I'm one of those guys where that glass is always half-full and not empty. Sometimes it's hard to look at it like that but no, no, this guy's not going anywhere. No way, Jose."

            Martz is 51-32, counting the playoffs, since leading the Rams to their first Super Bowl championship as Dick Vermeil's offensive coordinator in 1999 and led the Rams to a 14-2 record and his own Super Bowl in 2002. This year has unraveled due to big problems early on with shaky defense and special teams, and lately with what used to be a high-powered offense.

            But this is where he wants to stay. Martz noted that earlier in the season he shot down speculation he'd be interested in the Dolphins vacancy.

            "This is where I want to retire," Martz said. "I have no interest in ever coaching for any other NFL team. We love living here, we love the organization."

            Martz hopes the return of quarterback Marc Bulger after missing two weeks with a bruised right shoulder can reinvigorate an offense that produced one touchdown while he was out. Bulger threw again on Monday with minimal problems.

            "He's ready to go," Martz said. "He's got very little effect on the followthrough, which is really the biggest concern."

            Backup Chris Chandler, 39, has been a major disappointment and might get released. He threw six interceptions last week in a loss at Carolina, then got yanked after going 1-for-6 for 1 yard and producing zero first downs in the first quarter of Sunday's 31-7 loss at Arizona.

            Jamie Martin, signed on Dec. 7 after being out of the NFL for more than a year, is the likely backup this week after playing the last three quarters on Sunday.

            "I believe in him," Martz said. "He's...
            -12-20-2004, 03:48 PM
          • Nick
            Rams' victory looked more like a non-loss
            by Nick
            Rams' victory looked more like a non-loss
            BY JEFF GORDON
            Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
            Sunday, Dec. 05 2004

            Rams coach Mike Martz tried to ooze confidence and enthusiasm after the Rams’
            16-6 victory over the San Francisco ***** on Sunday afternoon.

            “I’m just excited about where this team is going,” Martz gushed. “What it does
            is get you excited about the rest of the season.”

            Well, we’re glad one person is excited about the 6-6 Rams heading into the
            final month of the season. This reporter cannot join that club.

            The Rams should have destroyed the horrendous ***** inside The Ed. Instead,
            they lost quarterback Marc Bulger to a sprained shoulder and had to scuffle for
            their modest 10-point victory.

            Their pass blocking was lousy, as Bulger can attest, and the offense needed a
            couple of 52-yard Jeff Wilkins field goals to beat a shorthanded, overmatched

            Bulger suffered his shoulder separation when Bryant Young sacked him late in
            the first quarter. (The fact that hapless Rams tackle Grant Williams fell onto
            the pile, too, probably didn’t help.)

            Martz said Bulger’s injury is similar to one he suffered against Miami, only
            somewhat worse.

            “He’ll be back,” Mad Mike assured us. “Whether it’s this week or not, I don’t
            know. But he should be back relatively soon.”

            Well, Bulger better jet back soon -– because back-up Chris Chandler nearly
            suffered a four-turnover game filling in for him. He threw an interception,
            lost a fumble and nearly had two other passes picked off.

            “I thought he was outstanding,” Martz said of the 900-year-old Chandler. “To go
            in there and have the awareness of where everybody is and make the plays . . .”

            Yeah, well, Chandler threw one terrific touchdown pass to Torry Holt -– but
            only after Holt came back to snatch a badly under-thrown bomb moments before.
            Otherwise, Chandler wasn’t as dazzling as he was during the preseason.

            Let’s face it, the Rams needed to thrash the *****. They needed to punctuate
            their inevitable victory with an exclamation point.

            The Rams have been teetering for a month and a half. They had lost four of
            their previous five games before facing the 1-10 *****.

            The list of struggling Rams seemed to grow by the week: Grant Williams, Damione
            Lewis, Sean Landeta, Tommy Polley, Adam Archuleta, Robert Thomas, Ryan Pickett,
            Tom Nutten . . . players were buckling left and right.

            Some of these key individuals had folded completely, making you wonder if they
            had already scoped out new careers.

            In addition, team leaders Marshall Faulk (battered knee) and Aeneas Williams
            -12-06-2004, 12:10 AM