Former Rams exec: Martz would 'ruin' Cutler


Martz is an obvious choice for many reasons.

He and Smith are old friends and colleagues dating back to their coaching days at Arizona State in the late '80s and early '90s. As head coach of the Rams in 2001, Martz gave Smith his first big break, hiring Tampa's linebackers coach as his defensive coordinator, and in their first season together, St. Louis returned to the Super Bowl. Martz eventually named Smith assistant head coach in 2003, a position he held until coming to the Bears in '04.

Martz, 53-32 as a head coach, is innovative, one of the brightest minds in the game, the architect of the Super Bowl XXXIV-winning "Greatest Show on Turf," a Rams unit that featured Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Martz-coached offenses have been ranked lower than the top 10 in the league just once.

But he would not come without baggage.

The three-headed Rams front office of Martz, Jay Zygmunt and Charlie Armey clashed bitterly over control issues, the conflict coming to a head publicly during the 2005 season, when Martz took a medical leave of absence and was prevented from calling plays into a game by phone. Martz was fired after that season.

Most players sang his praises. But so acrimonious was the split that Armey, retired and living in Arizona, had this reaction Tuesday when asked about Martz's qualifications for the Bears' job.

"I don't think Martz would work well with Jay Cutler at all," Armey said. "He's a terrible ... coach, and he would ruin that kid like he ruined Kurt Warner and drove him out of St. Louis. He's the worst thing that could happen to any young quarterback."

At the same time, Armey said he expected Martz to end up in Chicago.

"I would guess Lovie would hire him because there's a lot of loyalty there," Armey said. "But I think it would be an absolute mistake, and it would shorten Lovie's career."


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