Mike Martz highly critical of Rams, Sean McVay in new book, but says his words were 'embellished'

Shutdown Corner

So … former St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz, who has been considered one of the brightest offensive minds of his time, apparently had a lot to say about Rams quarterback Jared Goff and new head coach Sean McVay.

But Martz now disputes just how harsh his words were.

Here’s the deal: sports reporter Thomas George has a new book, “Blitzed: Why NFL Teams Gamble on Starting Rookie Quarterbacks” that’s set for release on Sept. 5. In an excerpt from the book, George quotes Martz, who spent 20 years as a coach in the NFL.

Longtime NFL coach Mike Martz had harsh words for Rams coach Sean McVay in a new book, but now says he was misquoted. (AP)
Longtime NFL coach Mike Martz had harsh words for Rams coach Sean McVay in a new book, but now says he was misquoted. (AP)

According to Martz, months before the 2016 draft, he was asked by representatives of both Jared Goff and Carson Wentz to work with the two young quarterbacks, which he did.

Martz was complimentary of both players, calling them “terrific prospects” but added, “I told them, I hope and pray they go someplace where they develop quarterbacks.”

In Martz’s eyes, Wentz, who was taken second overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, did go to a place he could be developed. But Goff, taken first by the now-Los Angeles Rams, was not.

“I don’t know if he can play or not, but I do know he couldn’t have gone to a worse place,” Martz is quoted as saying. “If you took him and switched him with Dak Prescott in Dallas, who knows what would have happened for Goff there. Goff at Cal came from an offense where they ran as many plays as they could — fast. Jared in college did an amazing job of throwing a true ball off balance, under duress, making things happen. You knew the speed of the NFL would throw that kind of timing off. But he still throws a true ball. The Rams wanted to rewire him to what? I watched the Rams offense last season. It was awful football. There was nobody there on that staff that could teach him, develop him. You have a high-value guy like that and he went to the worst offensive place, the Rams.”

But Martz saved his harshest criticism for McVay, who became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history earlier this year, hired by Los Angeles before his 31st birthday.

“What is he, a couple of months older than Jared? They hired a buddy for Jared,” Martz said. “The NFL has nothing to do with being the friend or the buddy of the quarterback. You’ve got to coach them and work them hard with respect. But buddy? And this guy is a quarterback expert? An offensive expert? Wait a minute while I puke. Right, he’s going to be able to teach and handle and guide Jared through tough times because of all of his expertise and knowledge? Right. I’m not going to drink that Kool-Aid.”

(For the record, McVay is eight years older than Goff.)

But on Tuesday, Martz said his words were “embellished.”

Appearing on ESPN LA 710, Martz said, “I would never say something like that. [The quote] was kind of embellished. It was a very short interview, and I think what I told [Thomas George] was there’s only a couple years difference between them, and they probably brought him in because of his ability to communicate. With [Goff], you want somebody more his age, I guess. But all of that other garbage, I would never say something like that.”

McVay began his coaching career shortly after graduating from Miami (Ohio), where he played receiver, joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a coaching assistant in 2008. He joined Washington in 2010 as assistant tight ends coach, and worked his way up to offensive coordinator in just a few years.

Acknowledging that he’s young and relatively green, McVay hired Wade Phillips as his defensive coordinator. Phillips, who is 70, began coaching in the NFL a decade before McVay was born.

While Martz’s comments on McVay weren’t exactly a glowing endorsement, he did say McVay will survive if he’s a good leader.

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“It’s a tough game played by tough people, and you have to be able to provide that kind of leadership,” Martz said. “And if he has that kind of leadership, he’ll be alright, he’ll figure it out, but he’s going to have to lean on enough people at game day. In a tough game, that’s when he’s going to have to be at his best. It sounds like he has the capability to do that, he’s just going to have to get there real quick.

“I would say it’s going to take him three years in the job to really feel like he kind of knows what’s going on. At that point, if he’s done a good job, he’ll make it in the five years. But if not, it could be a disaster.”

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