Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mike Martz: Defensive Genius

The Dolphins were so desperate to jettison Jay Fiedler in the offseason, they spent a second-round draft pick on career backup A.J. Feeley. On Sunday, Fiedler made like Dan Marino in Miami's 31-14 victory over St. Louis.

It's easy to blame most Rams losses on the self-satistfied Mike Martz, who continually proves that he should have never been promoted to head coach. But you can't pin this defensive meltdown on Martz, can you?

The Dolphins faced a third-and-28 situation late in the second quarter. Martz overruled defensive coordinator Larry Marmie and called for an all-out blitz. Martz showed that he is equally inept as a defensive coordinator as Fiedler hit Randy McMichael on a 42-yard touchdown. Where was Jason Sehorn?

"That was the only defense I've called as a head coach, and we gave up a touchdown," Martz said. "How do you like that?"

At least his defensive calls produce touchdowns. Too bad it's for the other team.

But that call wasn't even the biggest coaching blunder of the series. The Dolphins were flagged for holding on the preceding play--an icomplete pass that would have made it fourth and 18 had Martz declined.

But the genius accepted the penalty and called a blitz. Obviously Martz thought (big assumption here) that they penalty would take Miami out of field goal range. But was he really worried that journeyman Matt Bryant (signed two weeks ago to replace Olindo Mare) was going to boot a 49-yard field goal?

The only saving grace for St. Louis fans is that Mike Holmgren also has the same affliction that drives him to show the world how smart he is, instead of winning football games. The first coach that gets serious about winning--and forgets about mugging for the cameras--is going to win the NFC West.


Jerry Rice received his pardon from the Raiders and made an immediate impact with the Seahawks. Rice had one recpetion for 10 yards. Hey, it was an improvement from his 2004 statistics with the Raiders.

It has almost come to the point where Rice Haters can't even enjoy his downfall anymore. Almost. But it's painful. Much like the famous scene from Can't Buy Me Love where Ronald Miller can't see the signs that Cindy Mancini has fallen for him, even though everybody else can.

Everybody who watches football knows that Rice is done, but he can't see the signs. Rice is only tarnishing his reputation. And sure, things worked out for Rondald Miller in the movie, but don't expect any happy ending for Rice.

Unless of course he goes for one of those deep-tissue massages he was famous for in San Francisco.


It was quite a shock to see Rice wearing #80 for the Seahawks. That number belonged to Seattle legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent. Rice (and his agent) asked Largent for permisson to take the number out of the rafters in order to tarnish two legacies. How awkward was that phone call for Largent? How could somebody have the audacity to even ask for such a thing? It must have been like when your neighbor asks you if you are busy on the weekend and then asks if you can help him move. What is Largent supposed to say in this situation.

Rice will likely ask to be dealt to Green Bay next so he can wear Don Hutson's #14.


Emmitt Smith was urged by many to hang up his cleats instead of suffering the indignity of playing for the Cardinals. His first season did nothing to dispel that notion.

But Smith, who rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, has been vital to the Cardinals running game this season in the absence of Marcel Shipp. The best part? Smith did not ask for Larry Wilson's retired number.


The parolees in the Black Hole section booed Kerry Collins during the Raiders 31-26 loss to the Saints. Collins, not know for making the best decisions, egged on the crowd by motioning to them.

Why doesn't Collins just hand those guys a shiv?

But this week it was the special teams that let the Raiders down. Colby Bockwoldt scooped up a fumble on a kick and returned it for the eventual game-winning score. Then the Raiders fans chanted for Jerry Rice.


* Jacksonville upsets the Colts at home. Peyton Manning said that he wanted to treat this game like a playoff game. He did, he lost.

* Philadelphia beats Clevland 27-24 in overtime. Lost in the Terrell Owens/Jeff Garcia saga is the fact that the Browns passed on the chance to draft Donovan McNabb in the 1999 NFL Draft. Cleveland had narrowed its choice down to Tim Couch and Akili Smith. And you wonder why this team hasn't won a Super Bowl.

* Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said this was the low point in his Cowboys coaching career after a 40-21 loss at Green Bay. And this is a guy that saw Jerry Jones post surgery. But expectations were a little too high for a team that has had Quincy Carter and Vinny Testaverde at quarterback. And where's the running game?

* The Lions have turned into road warriors this season with three consecutive wins away from Detroit. Any excuse to get away from Detroit is a good one. Mariucci has told his team that if they win, they don't have to go back to Detroit on Tuesday.

* San Diego wins again, 17-6, over fading Carolina. Chargers fans have seen this before; the hot start followed by the cold fade. If LT's injury is serious it will start in two weeks... after the Raiders game.

* New England wins its 21st consecutive game. Do Boston fans deserve to be this happy? As Clint Eastwood said, "Deserves got nothing to do with it."

* Kansas City wins, 56-10, over Atlanta. Trent Green does not figure in eight Kansas City scores much to the dismay of fantasy owners everywhere.

* Orange County Register columnist compares Carson Palmer's first season with Troy Aikman's first season as a starter in Dallas. But the Cowboys weren't coming off a near playoff season. The Bengals have written off 2004, but not before they secured a berth on Monday Night Football. Where's Steve Walsh when you need him?

And Finally...

Ashlee Simpson, who has the honor of being the most skilless of the untalented Simpson family, had a snafu on Saturday Night Live over the weekend. Evidentally Simpson can't sing live and had lip-synched her performance. The only problem was, the producers played the wrong song.

Look for Ashlee to team up with the surviving member of Milli Vanilli (is it Rob or Fab?) for a tour in the New Year.


Anonymous said...

The Don Hutson line is classic, Adam. Also among my favorites: not having to go back to Detroit until Tuesday; Berman reminding you of an uncle talking about a 16-year-old; and the Mike Martz/Mike Holmgren mugging for the camera. You haven't lost your touch, Adam. Keep it up!
-Rainier Wolfcastle (MM)

D.G.P. said...

Any post with a reference to the gorgeous ''Cindy Mancini'' from Can't Buy Me Love will rank among the 10 best posts of all time.

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