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  • Shaw Pays a Visit To Rams Park

    Bernie is getting in a lot of work these days.

    Shaw tries to control fire at Rams Park
    By Bernie Miklasz
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    This week Rams coach Mike Martz was asked about coping with the extreme heat his team will encounter in Arizona while playing the Cardinals in the sauna known as Sun Devil Stadium.

    Game-time temperatures might reach 100 degrees, but that's a summer breeze to Martz when compared to the heat surrounding his team in St. Louis. If the Rams lose to the Cardinals, Martz will return to an inferno. After the stumble in the opener at San Francisco, the Rams already are locked into early-season crisis mode.

    The defeat in San Francisco prompted hysterical, hateful reactions on St. Louis talk-radio shows and Internet boards. And if there's a subsequent loss to the Cardinals, Bill Bidwill and Kurt Warner, we may see angry, torch-carrying mobs of fans form under Martz's office window at Rams Park.

    OK, probably not ... but an 0-2 start will cause Martz's approval rating to plummet again.

    The controversial Martz can deal with external pressure, which is normal for him or any other NFL head coach. But Martz has been far more rattled by foes inside the building. The enemies within usually cause more hurt, more damage, with their betrayal. It's always more demoralizing when the people who are paid to work with you instead work against you, and that's what has happened to Martz. With so much turmoil around him, it's a wonder Martz can concentrate on coaching.

    The tension at Rams Park finally bubbled over, leading to an intervention by team president John Shaw, who threatens to fire any team executive attempting to undercut Martz.

    "I've talked to everyone in our front office, and they've been warned," Shaw said. "They'd better do everything they can to help our coach win. And if they don't support our coach, then they're not going to be here. It's a simple message. And they'd better get it, or they'll be gone."

    Shaw wasn't finished.

    "I have personally delivered that message to each and every one of them," he said. "They'd better make the commitment to support Mike 100 percent, because that's our mission. That's what our owners do. We're fully behind Mike. And I'm not going to accept anything less from any of them."

    And with Shaw in his corner, Martz has some heavyweight reinforcement in the skirmish with those who ganged up on him.

    The flashpoint occurred when Rams director of football administration Samir Suleiman called a Post-Dispatch columnist to leave a threatening message in response to a column that called for Rams executives to back the Rams coach instead of back-stabbing him.

    Suleiman's bizarre voice mail set off alarm bells, because he's closely aligned with Jay Zygmunt, the team's president of football operations who feuds with Martz.

    The pro-Martz and anti-Martz factions agree on at least one thing: The friction and infighting began with the rift between Martz and Zygmunt.

    The deterioration of the relationship is stunning and sad to mutual friends who fondly remember happier days, when Martz and Zygmunt were close and loyal.

    In the hallways at Rams Park, it has been suggested that Zygmunt never forgave Martz for losing the Super Bowl to the underdog New England Patriots at the end of the 2001 season. (Shaw, for one, doesn't buy into that theory).

    Others in the organization say Zygmunt has tried to erode Martz's authority over football personnel, and has vetoed some of the coach's roster and free-agency decisions. More recently, Martz's desire to set up a new player personnel department, headed by an ally, was scuttled by Zygmunt - who in turn sought to interview his own candidates for the job.

    Zygmunt has become increasingly aggressive in player personnel matters, which grates on the football people. Though Zygmunt has done a brilliant job of managing the team's salary cap, he doesn't have a football background. Rams insiders sympathetic to Zygmunt say Zygmunt asserted himself because Martz gets too distracted from coaching when trying to oversee so many areas.

    With the shattering of the Zygmunt-Martz alliance, others in the organization sensed Martz's vulnerability and grew bolder in their sniping inside the building. Because Shaw spends so much time in Los Angeles, he isn't always around to protect Martz or settle petty arguments before they expand into major blow-ups.

    As I wrote recently, it's an open secret at Rams Park that Martz has taken hits from the negative information leaked by Rams officials about him to national football reporters.

    And Martz was deeply hurt by this story making the rounds at Rams Park: One Rams executive started an office pool, with employees able to predict the date for Martz's dismissal. (The executive in question insists it never happened).

    If you're wondering why the Rams hired St. Louis sports radio personality John Hadley as a special assistant to Martz, it's simple: to give Martz an ally to watch his back at Rams Park, so Martz can focus on coaching.

    Shaw, who genuinely likes both men, has so far been unsuccessful in his attempts to broker peace between Zygmunt and Martz.

    In time, Shaw may be forced to choose between them, or it's possible that both could leave. Zygmunt is working without a contract, and sources say Shaw declined Martz's offseason request for a contract extension.

    For now, Shaw is clamping down on other team officials. Shaw has told general manager Charley Armey, executive vice president Bob Wallace and Suleiman that they'd better get behind Martz - or else.

    For now, Martz draws strength from the loyalty of his players and assistant coaches. "I love this team," Martz said.

    If Rams players truly care about Martz, this is a good time to rally around him. The temperature is rising at Rams Park.
    *Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq

  • #2
    QUOTE
    "I've talked to everyone in our front office, and they've been
    warned," Shaw said. "They'd better do everything they can to help
    our coach win. And if they don't support our coach, then they're not
    going to be here. It's a simple message. And they'd better get it,
    or they'll be gone."

    Shaw wasn't finished.

    "I have personally delivered that message to each and every one
    of them," he said. "They'd better make the commitment to support
    Mike 100 percent, because that's our mission. That's what our owners
    do. We're fully behind Mike. And I'm not going to accept anything less
    from any of them." [/b][/quote]

    That is just wild. I don't know another way to say it.

    Comment


    • #3
      And the second he got back on the plane to LA -- if indeed he provided the message face-to-face -- everyone laughed and got back to business as usual. Neither Shaw nor Georgia are paying any attention to what is going on now that they've sucked St. Louis dry of money that no other city would pay for a football team.
      On my mind: How can I shut up the singing English graduate student? How many more lossess will KU's basketball team have than its football team? How will the Rams front office screw up this year?


      Official lounge sponsor of Will Witherspoon, Russell Robinson, and all other things Jayhawk at the lounge (which ain't much).

      Comment


      • #4
        So let me get this straight. Shaw is demanding 100% loyalty to Mike Matrz's direction. OK, so everyone is supposed to sit idly by and watch Toonces drive the bus over the cliff, and not say one word?
        Make America Great For Once.

        Comment


        • #5
          QUOTE(The Kev @ Sep 18 2005, 08:04 AM) Quoted post

          So let me get this straight. Shaw is demanding 100% loyalty to Mike Matrz's direction. OK, so everyone is supposed to sit idly by and watch Toonces drive the bus over the cliff, and not say one word?
          [/b][/quote]

          Excellent comparison [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]
          RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
          You'll never be forgotten.

          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE(JWB @ Sep 18 2005, 08:33 AM) Quoted post

            QUOTE(The Kev @ Sep 18 2005, 08:04 AM) Quoted post

            So let me get this straight. Shaw is demanding 100% loyalty to Mike Matrz's direction. OK, so everyone is supposed to sit idly by and watch Toonces drive the bus over the cliff, and not say one word?
            [/b][/quote]

            Excellent comparison [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]
            [/b][/quote]


            Shaw was just in for his quarterly RIM JOB from Martz.... [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif[/img]

            All is well now....(SNAFU)

            Comment


            • #7
              So, does everyone feel a little better tonight? [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]

              It wasn't pretty. But a "W is a "W"
              in the NFL. And Martz buys himself another week.
              It will be interesting to find out what happens at
              Earth City tomorrow with the press conference.

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(JMolina @ Sep 18 2005, 08:16 PM) Quoted post

                So, does everyone feel a little better tonight? [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]

                It wasn't pretty. But a "W is a "W"
                in the NFL. And Marts buys himself another week.
                It will be interesting to find out what happens at
                Earth City tomorrow with the press conference.
                [/b][/quote]

                I'm anxious to hear what Moses Slaten has to say to his fellow Warnerites.
                RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
                You'll never be forgotten.

                Comment


                • #9
                  QUOTE(JWB @ Sep 18 2005, 08:19 PM) Quoted post

                  QUOTE(JMolina @ Sep 18 2005, 08:16 PM) Quoted post

                  So, does everyone feel a little better tonight? [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]

                  It wasn't pretty. But a "W is a "W"
                  in the NFL. And Marts buys himself another week.
                  It will be interesting to find out what happens at
                  Earth City tomorrow with the press conference.
                  [/b][/quote]

                  I'm anxious to hear what Moses Slaten has to say to his fellow Warnerites.
                  [/b][/quote]


                  I WAS WROOOONNNNG! [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUOTE(Jack Daniels @ Sep 18 2005, 08:31 PM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE(JWB @ Sep 18 2005, 08:19 PM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE(JMolina @ Sep 18 2005, 08:16 PM) Quoted post

                    So, does everyone feel a little better tonight? [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]

                    It wasn't pretty. But a "W is a "W"
                    in the NFL. And Marts buys himself another week.
                    It will be interesting to find out what happens at
                    Earth City tomorrow with the press conference.
                    [/b][/quote]

                    I'm anxious to hear what Moses Slaten has to say to his fellow Warnerites.
                    [/b][/quote]


                    I WAS WROOOONNNNG! [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]
                    [/b][/quote]

                    Don't hold your breath!
                    RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
                    You'll never be forgotten.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What a completely disfunctional organisation.

                      There is a serious lack of leadership in the Rams organisation and it has caused various factions to arise that only compund the issue. Not unless the entire organisation is focused on the same objectives/goals can the Rams be successful enough to win a Championship.

                      The organisation seems to be rotten to the core. Any good leader would recognise this and take major steps in improving it rather than paying lip service to subordinates.

                      Just another reason why I despise the Rams organisation.

                      Comment

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