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Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

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  • Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

    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 a team that defends the run as poorly as Arizona, Martz said some of the most inexplicable and damning words of the day.

    "(The Cardinals) started out the game defensively with a great deal of pressure and we did not handle the pressure very well," he said, referring to Steven Jackson. "Marshall (Faulk) stayed in the game for protection purposes. All the things they were doing, I'm not sure Steven would have been able to deal with them, in fact I know he would not have been able to do the things we needed him to do ... it was fairly complex what they were doing from a pressure standpoint."

    However, a few minutes later, he criticized himself for not being able to adjust to the Cardinal defense for an entirely different reason.

    "I didn't do a good job of calling a game," Martz said. "I just did a bad job. With the pressure that was really simplistic in what they were doing, it was something that you should be able to deal with."

    Okay, so now I'm confused. Was Arizona's defense too "complex," or was it "really simplistic"?

    When pressed about Jackson not being in the game, Martz responded: "I wasn't aware of Steven not being in the game ... it was (running back coach Wilbert Montgomery's) judgement from a blitz pickup standpoint that Marshall was clued into it and Steven wasn't. ... Why Steven Jackson is an issue, it surprises me, and takes me back a bit."

    Again, he was asked if he felt it was unusual for a man who has so much control over his offense to be unaware of the personnel on the field, Martz seemed perplexed.

    "But I don't know," he said. "I don't know. How can I know? How can I call plays and do all that stuff and watch the defense? I just don't concern myself with that."

    And why the heck not? Isn't he the head coach? Isn't he supposed to know what is going on in all aspects of the team? If Martz wants to just concentrate on the offensive play calling, then he should demote himself to offensive coordinator. Otherwise, the head coach's job is to be CEO. He is supposed to have his finger in everything. This is his team. If he doesn't concern himself with all aspects of the game during the game, who exactly has that responsibility?

    That's precisely why special teams coaches can call squib kicks without the head coach's knowledge. Wow, when you hear some of the things coming out of his mouth, I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to scratch my head or pull my hair.

    He is fighting for his coaching life now and he knows it. The rumors are swirling that he has already contemplated resigning if the Rams do not turn this season around. But when asked about that Monday, Martz, as always, reverted to his old, prideful ways. "No, I would never resign," he said. "I love this job. I would never leave this job. ... No way, Jose."

    Ultimately, that may not be his decision.

  • #2
    Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him


    that pretty much sums up the season, now doesn't it.

    I wonder what Jackson thinks of Martz after those comments.


    • #3
      Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

      I wonder what the team thinks after those comments. Has Mike Martz lost this team or do they still believe in him?


      • #4
        Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

        That's just plain scary.


        • #5
          Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

          Wow! This is disturbing...and plays right into the criticism others have leveled at him that he's not head coaching material.
          Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster


          • #6
            Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

            Quite a revealing article. It'll be interesting to see what repercussions Martz's comments have on this team.


            • #7
              Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

              I wonder if Martz will even be able to put complete sentences together at the end of the season. I know what he says doesn't translate very well in print, but this stuff is lunacy. The man is losing it.


              • #8
                Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                Apparently this article doesn't bother the staunch Martz supporters who say anyone that criticises Martz either hates him or just gets off on bashing him.
                Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster


                • #9
                  Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                  Martz is an ass. We should have gotten rid of him a long time ago. With the team we had we should have won at leat 3 Super Bowls. Offessensive genious my ass.


                  • #10
                    Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                    Originally posted by RamWraith
                    By Bryan Burwell
                    Of the Post-Dispatch

                    ...Okay, so now I'm confused. Was Arizona's defense too "complex," or was it "really simplistic"?.....

                    ..."But I don't know," he said. "I don't know. How can I know? How can I call plays and do all that stuff and watch the defense? I just don't concern myself with that."

                    And why the heck not? Isn't he the head coach? Isn't he supposed to know what is going on in all aspects of the team? If Martz wants to just concentrate on the offensive play calling, then he should demote himself to offensive coordinator. Otherwise, the head coach's job is to be CEO. He is supposed to have his finger in everything.
                    why burwell is having a problem with understanding the first statement is a conumdrum in itself...

                    it's obvious to me that smartz used the words "fairly complex" in regards to steven jackson's ability to identify and pick up blitz schemes. then, smartz used the term "really simplistic" in relation to how he, the media appointed genius, saw what was being done to his baby o-line/qb...gee, that was really difficult to analyze...

                    burwell must have taken a city college course in identifying a CEO of a professional corporation because he states near the end, "the head coach's job is to be CEO. He is supposed to have his finger in everything." the last i heard, CEO's don't bother with personnel issues below the junior executive level of their firms...should smartz have known which players took part in every play he schemes? one would like to think so, intuitively. but what does that matter? unless this is some new habit smartz picked up recently, it doesn't explain the potentially bigger enigma of how was he able to win those games in the past five seasons not knowing who is playing at all times, unless this issue is irrelevant to begin with...

                    going off in a tangent, my personal take on the central role of a head coach is to be a leader of a group of men; capable of uniting them for a common cause, not dividing them...i think this has been smartz's biggest weakness in the past, in that he is misguided into thinking that the players will play for him and his cause if he babys the core veterans, especially in public...notwithstanding warner...

                    i'm not compelled, by any means, to excuse or rationalize the thought processes of smartz but to write an article based on these types of premises make me quizzy...

                    hell, i long for the days of a ram tough defense, inspite of a predictable and useless offense...


                    • #11
                      Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                      Hey,I'm a Security Guard !I'm watching three Monitors at the same time,but somehow I miss a Lady shoplifting in monitor two.Guess what??I'm fired!!!


                      • #12
                        Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                        "I love this job. I would never leave this job. ... No way, Jose."
                        He may love his job (who wouldn't, considering what they are paying him), but if he truly loved the team, he would acknowlege him lack of
                        HC-ing abilities, and go back to OC.

                        We're finally seeing the real man behind the mask...


                        • #13
                          Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                          Well - I hate it when I'm right! The guy is melting down right in front of us.

                          Now we have insight into the game within the game. Martzie is simply overwhelmed as HC. He is unable to adapt and adjust.

                          Really, the game is simple (too simple for Martzie). Block - Tackle - Catch and hold onto the ball. Why does Martzie make it sooo complex?



                          • #14
                            Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                            he can't help himself.


                            • #15
                              Re: Coach could find his words coming back to haunt him

                              The genious cannot even use his mouth to get out of this one. He knows he called a terrible game when he needed to be great. Bad things happen and this team needs to move on. Personally I think he needs to address the teams and let them know "Hey I dropped the ball, we all dropped the ball. I take credit for these mistakes and want to move on." He needs to be honest with his players because they really do have that "I have lost all faith in this team look right now." They look flat and unisnspired.


                              Related Topics


                              • eldfan
                                Let's hope Martz proves us wrong with his madness
                                by eldfan
                                Let's hope Martz proves us wrong with his madness
                                By Bryan Burwell
                                Of the Post-Dispatch

                                Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell

                                If most of the football world already thought Mike Martz was a maddeningly stubborn football eccentric more than willing to bite off his nose to spite his face, wait until they get a load of him now.

                                At his Monday afternoon news conference at Rams Park, the Rams head coach fiercely defended his swashbuckling way of football life as if ... well, as if his life depended on it, which in a way it probably does. He is coaching an obviously flawed football team with a 1-2 record and a defense that is springing more leaks than the Titanic. But as Martz relies on his signature aggressive offensive methods for rescuing this young but very shaky season, he knows he's being confronted with outside resistance.

                                He is surrounded by a world full of conventional football thinkers who want to fit this aggressive, damn-the-torpedoes square peg into a very conservative round hole. We want him to play it by the old-school book. If the defense can't stop anyone - and after three weeks of play, there is faint evidence that this bloodied and battered group can - then why not go with a clock-gobbling, smash-mouth style of offense that relies on Marshall Faulk's fleet feet and Steven Jackson's brutish blasts?

                                In essence, what we want is for Martz to stay inside the lines, which of course is just about the most repugnant thing you can say to a guy with his aggressive offensive temperament. Why not just ask dogs to start living with cats?

                                "Look ... look ... don't ... uhhh," he said, practically spitting out the words like they were a bad piece of meat. "You need to find another coach, then. We're going to play fast and furious, that's what we do. We're going to run it when we ... want to run it, not because somebody (uh, that would be you and me) feels like you have to be balanced."

                                He smiled almost defiantly when he said that. And just in case you didn't understand it the first time, Martz put this exclamation point on his soliloquy:

                                "That's the way it is. Get used to it. That's the way it is."

                                Now here's what I learned from this rather revealing State of the Rams address: Mike Martz doesn't particularly care what the outside world thinks he should do. He has a plan, and he's going to stick with it. It may not be the plan you want, but it's the plan you're going to get. And here's something else gleaned from Martz's feisty words: He will get every opportunity over the next 13 weeks to either sink or swim with his convictions.

                                I don't presume to know more about football than Martz. His credentials as an offensive innovator and a football motivator are certified by his impressive NFL head-coaching won-loss record, a trip to the Super Bowl, and...
                                -09-28-2004, 05:41 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Illness is forcing Martz to confront frightening reality
                                by RamWraith
                                By Bryan Burwell
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                                From his hospital bed late Monday afternoon, Mike Martz's voice was still choked with emotion. No doubt there was an IV tube stuck in his arm and all sorts of folks in lab coats and drab green hospital garb urgently coming in and out the door. There would be medical charts dangling from the edge of his bed, and unknown gizmos with strange tubes and pulsing sounds hooked up to him, letting you know that whatever it was that's ailing him was not a trifling thing.

                                This was an incredibly sobering moment in his life, a frightening flash of reality that finally struck Martz square on his obsessive, workaholic coach's chin. It was time to walk away from the game, because, well it is just a game. It was time to walk away from football because the potentially deadly virus that's creeping through his body clearly is no game.

                                "Last Friday, I finally realized I couldn't do this anymore," Martz said during a telephone interview from an undisclosed local hospital about an hour after it was announced that he was taking an indefinite medical leave of absence because of a bacterial infection in his heart valve. "I can't begin to describe the feeling of pain I felt. I've never felt anything like this before in my life. I knew this was deadly serious, and for the first time in my life, there was this incredible frustration to deal with. I've been in sports all my life, but this was something I wasn't able to outhit, outcoach, or outwork."

                                So now he laid flat on his back, maybe even a little woozy from the medication pumping into his veins. He didn't want to be there, and quite frankly probably would have been behind his desk at Rams Park getting bleary eyed watching game film if not for the scared-straight conversation with team doctors and heart specialists who let him know in no uncertain terms that the workaholic tough guy in him was going to kill him.

                                But the more Martz talked, the more his conversation drifted away from the seriousness of endocarditis. I reminded him about his retirement plans. I reminded him of how excited he was when he talked about the vacation home in the hills and the ranch in the wilderness, and how important it was to get well so that he could actually grow old enjoying those special places. But Martz didn't want to talk about that. All he wanted to do was talk about his football players, his football team, his football life.

                                "This job is what I love," Martz said. "I do love all those other things in life, but I'm a football coach. That's who I am, that's what I do. I can't imagine doing anything other than this."

                                A few hours earlier, Martz stood in front of a room full of puzzled players in the giant auditorium at Rams Park. The players had no idea that their head coach was about drop a bombshell on them. "I've been...
                                -10-11-2005, 04:56 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Martz does things his own way--ESPN Insider
                                by RamWraith
                                By Jeff Reynolds
                                Pro Football Weekly

                                ST. LOUIS It's June 1, and the temperature, climbing above 85 degrees on a cloudless day at a tucked-away corporate park west of St. Louis, creates the slightest haze outside the oversized windows at Rams Park.

                                The blinds, tilted upward in his second-floor corner office, rob Rams head coach Mike Martz of a view of an empty practice field and a justifiably quiet blacktop parking lot.

                                Even in a navy and gray floral printed polo shirt embroidered with the logo of a past golf tournament, Martz portrays perfectly the image of a studious football coach. Angling toward the front edge of his mahogany U-shaped desk, Martz shifts an iced Diet Pepsi to the right to uncover a bound, double-sided printout. The standard white, 8-by-11-inch paper stands about two inches thick, lying flat in Martz's outstretched hand.

                                "Third-down plays we had ready and never called," Martz says, a sense of dissatisfaction in his voice. "We don't have a playbook. We have a book with the system in it as described with some of the base offense. If you put everything together on that top rack , that is about half of what we do. It's never-ending."

                                Mike Martz has a 51-29 regular-season record as the Rams head coach.This is Mike Martz, the subject of justifiably passionate debate among football fans who can't agree whether he's brilliant, smarmy, stubborn, ignorant or some combination of those traits. The man often portrayed as a prima-donna dictator displays only pictures of his dogs, Rocky and Buddy, and his family. There is no Super Bowl ring, no glamorous display of career achievements. Nothing that says Martz is the extroverted narcissist many assume him to be.

                                He is asked about defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, who has been ridiculed frequently since replacing Lovie Smith, who went on to become the head coach of the Bears.

                                "Criticism, most often, is without understanding," Martz says in a persuasive tone, sounding like an attorney during closing arguments.

                                He's not back on his heels, but there is evidence in his irritatingly relaxed posture that Martz has been here before.

                                Many things make Martz an easy target. For one, his offense sits with some traditionalists the 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust generation as well as poetry does with a butcher. He also refuses to bother with self-defense, leading second-guessers to keep guessing. Take Super Bowl XXXVI for example, a loss that one confidant says still "haunts him" as has been widely speculated.

                                Smith, who worked with Martz at Arizona State, was on the St. Louis coaching staff from 2001-03 and called that game "the toughest loss I've ever been a part of."

                                The Rams lost to the Patriots 20-17 on a last-second field goal, and following the game, the Rams'...
                                -06-30-2005, 01:01 PM
                              • RamWraith
                                View from planet Martz
                                by RamWraith
                                By Jim Thomas
                                Of the Post-Dispatch
                                Monday, Dec. 20 2004

                                Rumors to the contrary, Rams coach Mike Martz has no plans to step down, and
                                Rams president John Shaw said the team has no plans to shove him out the door,

                                "He's not in trouble," Shaw said in a telephone interview Monday night. "The
                                team is struggling right now and having a hard time winning games. We have to
                                work on getting it better."

                                Shaw said firing Martz has not been contemplated by the organization.

                                "It totally hasn't entered my mind," Shaw said. "His record speaks for itself.
                                He has the complete support of (owner) Georgia (Frontiere) and myself at this

                                Martz is 51-32 in nearly five seasons with the club, including three playoff
                                berths, two division titles and one Super Bowl appearance.

                                Earlier in the day, at his regular Monday afternoon news conference, Martz
                                responded to media reports that he might resign if things didn't go well for
                                him the rest of this season.

                                "No, I would never resign from this job," Martz said. "I love this job. I would
                                never leave these guys. I wouldn't do that to this staff or these players. Like
                                I've told you many times, I'm too connected to this group - to this team.
                                There's no team that I would rather coach than this team regardless of the

                                "There's something special about these guys. We're building. We've got a real
                                solid crew of young players, and it's going to eventually be a terrific
                                football team. I'm not going to ever walk away from something like that."

                                As he has mentioned in the past, Martz said he's coaching because he wants to
                                coach, not because he needs the money.

                                "I love being here," he said. "And that hasn't changed. We're going to forge
                                on, and get this thing back up and running the way it should be. And that's how
                                I look at it. I don't know any other way. That's just how I live my life. I'm
                                one of those guys where the glass is always half full. Not empty. And
                                sometimes, it's hard to look at it like that. But no. No. This guy's not going
                                anywhere. No way, Jose."

                                When asked if he thought the team's last two games might factor into his job
                                security, Martz said: "I don't know how to answer that. I guess you should
                                probably answer that. I can't tell you that.

                                "I would assume that we're going to play as well as we possibly can these last
                                two games. We know what our shortcomings are. We understand what needs to be
                                done, and where we need to fix things and get better at."

                                That being said, the team's performance over...
                                -12-21-2004, 03:57 AM
                              • RamWraith
                                Martz deserves his due for years of Rams success
                                by RamWraith
                                By Bryan Burwell
                                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                                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