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Marcum bemoans passionless play
By FRANK PASTOR
Published April 27, 2005
As he scanned the faces in the locker room after a dispiriting 37-21 loss to Nashville on Sunday, Storm coach Tim Marcum wondered aloud about his team's desire.
"I don't know if they really care if they're going to the playoffs or not," Marcum said. "I know they care about Thursdays. That's when they get a check. I don't know if they care about anything else past Thursday. Not when you play like that."
The Storm (7-5) was held scoreless in the first, third and fourth quarters while slipping a game behind New Orleans (8-4) for the final playoff spot in the National Conference with four to play.
Marcum said his postgame comments weren't directed at all of his players. Though the roster has undergone considerable change since the 2003 championship season, Marcum said he was speaking to veterans he believes are not showing the leadership that's expected.
"I'm not talking about the new faces," Marcum said. "I'm talking about guys that should be here, should be doing whatever it takes and are not getting it done."
Marcum didn't single out players, but one veteran whose stock appears to have fallen in the coach's eyes is lineman Kelvin Kinney.
When healthy, the 6-foot-7, 280-pounder is one of the more dominant pass rushers in the league. But Kinney has been injury-prone the past two seasons, criticized for his pass blocking and was replaced as a starter by Mike Sutton on Saturday.
Asked if the change was meant to light a fire under Kinney, Marcum said, "I thought Sutton would give us a better chance on both sides of the ball to improve."
Kinney aside, there was plenty of blame to share.
Centers Rod Williams and Omar Smith had problems snapping the ball to quarterback Shane Stafford, and a roughing-the-kicker penalty on Nyle Wiren led to a Nashville touchdown.
The line gave Stafford little time to throw, resulting in two sacks and an interception, and receivers, particularly offensive specialist Freddie Solomon, failed to get open.
"We just didn't play with any kind of passion," Marcum said. "They came out and got after our butt."
REMEMBERING AL: The Storm will retire the No. 76 of former lineman Al Lucas at Saturday's game against New Orleans. Lucas died from a presumed spinal cord injury during Los Angeles' game against New York on April 10. Fans can make donations to the Mariah Lucas Scholarship Fund, which will benefit Lucas' 2-year-old daughter and his wife, DeShonda, and the Al Lucas Memorial Scholarship Fund, established to benefit children of Lucas' alma mater, Northeast High in Macon, Ga. Donations can be made at the Storm Surge Fan Club table behind Section 101.
Owner Woody Kern gave $50,000 to the Mariah Lucas fund on behalf of the Storm.
THE BARON FACTOR: Marcum credited the push provided by Nashville nose guard James Baron with causing the fumbled snaps and linemen stepping on Stafford's feet as he dropped back.
"No doubt about it," Marcum said. "Our guys are doing stuff that they don't normally do, because they've got a great nose guard in there giving them a (heck) of a push, and they're having to try to do some things that are different."
POOR PROGRAMMING: Marcum wouldn't comment on the Storm's 14 penalties for 108 yards, including a holding infraction that nullified a Tampa Bay touchdown, for fear of being fined by the league.
But he doubts NBC's viewers cared for the flurry of flags, either.
"It's a crappy game when it's like that," Marcum said.
ON THE SHELF: Fullback/linebacker Umar Muhammad (knee) is doubtful, and Solomon (quad) is questionable for the New Orleans game. Receiver/linebacker Ronney Daniels (ankle) and fullback/linebacker David White (hip) are expected to play.