With current and former Lions coaches and front office personnel at the NFL scouting combine, we are finally beginning to hear what actually happened regarding former offensive coordinator Mike Martz, and his “resignation.”
In today’s Freep, beat writer NIck Cotsonika interviewed the self-designated super genius Martz. You know that he was holding his tongue, wording his answers carefully. What follows is the interview, but I’ve added what Martz was really thinking, as he answered reporter’s questions.
Question: There is a perception you were made a scapegoat.
Martz: “I don’t know anything about any of that. I just do know that it was time for me to leave I think at that point. That’s just it.”
The truth: “Duh.”
Q: When did you know?
M: “When they fired me.”
The truth: “As long as Old Man Ford cut the check, does it really make any difference?”
Q: When was that?
M: “Right after the season.”
The truth: “As soon as the check cleared.”
Q: So they did fire you?
M: “Oh, yeah. They fired me. Absolutely fired me.”
The truth: “Are you serious? How dense are you people? I’m the scapegoat! Of course I was fired!”
Q: How is a firing a mutual thing?
M: “That I agreed I should probably go (laugh). When they fired me, it became mutual. I said, ‘You’re right. I probably should go.’ That’s how it became mutual.”
The truth: “As long as I got paid, for all I care, they could say aliens abducted me.”
Q: Were you surprised the Lions danced around it, never saying you were fired?
M: “I can’t explain anything that they do. I can’t.”
The truth: “I can’t explain anything that they do. I can’t.”
Q: Would you like to expound on that?
The truth: “I’d LOVE to, but I want to keep the money they paid me for the last year of my contract.”
Q: Were your issues bigger with the players than the coaches?
M: “No. There might have been one or two guys that never really fully bought into it, but that’s going to happen. That’s the way it goes.”
The truth: “Remember the Eagles game where I called all of 9 rushing attempts? Once that game ended, Rod never spoke to me again.”
Q: That never happened in St. Louis, did it?
The truth: “Everyone on the Rams hated me too. No one can deal with my immense genius. No one.”
Q: Is that how things started to unravel?
M: “I don’t know. I really don’t know. I can’t answer any of that. I don’t know. I’m not there anymore. It’s in the rearview mirror.”
The truth: “The moment Millen hired me is when things began to unravel. Between you and me, I’m surprised I lasted 2 years!”
Q: When the Lions introduced Jim Colletto as offensive coordinator, they said they wanted to simplify the offense.
A: (Turning to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Jim Thomas) Doesn’t this sound familiar, Jim? … I don’t care. It has no bearing on anything to me.”
The truth: “Colletto is a joke of an offensive coach! He couldn’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag, God forbid he run an offense. To him, an innovative scheme is the Wing-T. What else are the Lions going to say?”
Q: Was the offense too complicated?
M: “Well, if I thought it was that complicated, we wouldn’t have done it.”
The truth: “Too complicated for Colletto, obviously.”
Q: After joining the 49ers, you said they were ahead of the Lions.
M: “I just think that they’ve been in rebuilding for the last three years or so, and they’ve done a great job in the draft, they really have. I think personnel-wise they’re getting really squared away. There’s still some things of course they need. But it’s exciting to see what they’ve done on the personnel standpoint.”
The truth: “You’re kidding, right? Of course the Niners are farther ahead, they don’t have an anchor like Matt Millen in their front office.”
Q: You also said the Lions were short two tackles. Why are they short?
M: “Why? I don’t know. I don’t know what they’re short. Hey, look, I don’t work there anymore, guys.”
The truth: “You misunderstood me. I didn’t mean to say they were short 2 tackles. I meant to say they were short 2 tackles who had any talent.“
Q: You always said the run-pass ratio didn’t matter, but the Lions say they want to run the ball more.
M: “I’m sure they will. And that’s all good. That’s probably why I’m not there anymore. …You have to be pragmatic in this game. It’s good to run the ball, and when the game was in the balance, we did, as you’ll recall. But when things started to slip away a little bit, you have to do whatever it takes to win.”
The truth: “I’m the bad guy, the scapegoat, remember? Why would you expect them to say anything different? By the way, the ratio? It doesn’t matter.”
Q: Was there conflict or a difference in philosophy behind the scenes?
M: “I wasn’t aware that there was any difference at all, to be honest with you. I was absolutely clueless to any difference.”
The truth: “What a stupid question. Of course there was a difference in philosophy, or I wouldn’t have been fired! Jesus!”
Q: Was rookie wide receiver Calvin Johnson overwhelmed?
M: “Not at all. In fact, just the opposite. He did a great job in preparation. Calvin got hurt in that Philadelphia game. He never recovered the rest of the year. He was never 100% the rest of the year. There were games where he really struggled to play and maybe shouldn’t have played, I don’t know. But it was important to him to play, which you have to give him credit for. He fought through it pretty good.”
The truth: “Yes. A thousand times, yes!”
Q: What does wide receiver Roy Williams need to do better?
M: (Declined to answer.)
The truth: ” Everything. He’s all talk, no production. The loudmouth is gone the moment he hits free agency anyway.”
Q: What about quarterback Jon Kitna?
M: “The thing I’ll miss the most about that organization is Jon Kitna – a phenomenal man and phenomenal player. He was way better than I thought he was going to be. I think he’s an elite player. I really do. You can’t find any flaw in Jon, not in my opinion. He’s accurate. He’s tough. The leadership. He’s smart. He’s what you’re looking for, that’s for sure.”
The truth: “After I ran that Nancy-boy Harrington out of town, look at the QB’s I was given to work with over the past 2 seasons. Dan Orlovsky, JT O’Sullivan, Drew Stanton, Josh McCown and Jon Kitna. Not a sponge-worthy one in the bunch. I wouldn’t exactly call them a murderer’s row of QB talent. Who else would you have expected me to use? Talk about having to pick from the bottom of the barrel, sheesh!“
Q: Are the Lions still suffering from a losing syndrome?
M: “I’m not going to answer that. I’m not going to answer anything about that. Who knows? You’re over my head.”
The truth: “Still suffering? Losing…Ha! Syndrome…HA! BWAAAAAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Q: What will your emotions be when the Lions visit San Francisco in the fall?
A: “There’s nothing personal about that. You start making stuff personal, you just don’t focus well and you don’t play good. And you’re assuming that there’s a lot of anger and angst, and there’s just not. There just isn’t. Rod (Marinelli)’s a good friend.”
The truth: “I want to kick their losing, whiny asses from Detroit, all the way to San Francisco. I want to CRUSH their will to live. I want to get Marinelli and Millen canned! I want blood! I want to drink their milkshake! That answer your question?”