Martz defends decision to go with gut in Week 1 lossPosted: Monday September 09, 2002 8:39 PM
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis head coach Mike Martz refused to second-guess himself after some questionable play calling in the Rams' opening loss at Denver.
The Rams, favored to reach the Super Bowl for the third time in four years, failed to convert on a fourth-and-2 play from the Denver 10 late in the third quarter that would have tied the score.
"That's not something that, 'Oh boy, gee, I think I'll go for it,"' Martz said Monday. "I just felt like it was right, I didn't bat an eye. "We're just not going to be afraid to do those things. I trust they'll work out."
Martz is not worried about his team after the loss.
"We played one game," Martz said. "We played one game. I guess it's over for us. Shoot."
Martz said he will not change his aggressive philosophy, like going for it on fourth down.
"When you call a play like that, you can think about all the things that can go wrong, or you can trust that it's going to work," Martz said. "When you stop trusting that those things will work, then you start being more and more conservative, and we're not going to do that."
Martz would not revisit a reverse on the opening kickoff, another play that went wrong. The exchange from rookie Lamar Gordon to Dexter McCleon wasn't clean and McCleon had to recover the fumble for a shaky start to the game.
"If we don't mishandle the exchange, that's got a chance to be a pretty good one," Martz said.
Gordon also fumbled a kickoff away in the second quarter, although he didn't appear to have been hit particularly hard. Terrence Wilkins will replace him on kickoffs Sunday against the New York Giants.
Martz also wants to use Wilkins as the third wide receiver. He was not used with the offense in the opener because he missed the last two preseason games with injured ribs.
The Rams' clock management also drew heavy criticism after the opener. They took their time moving downfield for a Jeff Wilkins field goal with 2:12 to go. Quarterback Kurt Warner called the last timeout with 3:10 to play, leaving the team helpless at the finish.
"We were trying to take the ball down field basically on every snap and were forced into checkdowns," Martz said. "Otherwise, we'd have liked to have gotten big chunks."