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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Wednesday, Jan. 18 2006

    In 2002, young Minnesota offensive coordinator Scott Linehan received glowing
    praise for his creative work with the Vikings' attack.

    Quarterback Daunte Culpepper called Linehan "a godsend."

    Wideout Randy Moss, in a reversal of his usual unhappiness, declared, "I love
    Linehan. He knows his stuff."

    Linehan deflected the praise.

    "That's very nice of the players," Linehan said at the time. "But I don't even
    begin to say that I'm in any league with guys like Mike Martz."

    Now, less than four years later, Linehan can say he is in Martz's league,
    especially if, as expected, he is appointed to succeed Martz as the Rams' head
    coach. Linehan, who served as the Miami Dolphins' coordinator for the 2005
    season, only needs to pick up the endorsement of Rams owner Georgia Frontiere,
    and the job is his.

    If Rams president John Shaw closes the deal to make Linehan the team's fourth
    full-time head coach since moving to St. Louis in 1995, what will Linehan bring
    to Rams Park?

    By all accounts, Linehan has a brilliant mind for offense. He got tremendous
    production from a splendidly talented crew in Minnesota, but he also squeezed
    the most from a moderately talented offense in Miami.

    Linehan is creative in the passing game, so much that Culpepper openly
    acknowledged a drop-off in his QB performance when Linehan left the Vikings to
    go to Miami. But Linehan is no one-dimensional pass master. He likes to rely on
    the Joe Gibbs system of offense, which includes powering up with two tight ends
    in a dedicated mission to run the football.

    But a clever Linehan also likes to bedevil defenses by running the ball out of
    passing formations. He spreads the field with wideouts, loosens the defensive
    alignments, and then slams the ball inside. (It's easy to imagine Steven
    Jackson doing a lot of damage in this style of offense.)

    "You have got to be able to run the football to be successful at any level,"
    Linehan said last year. "I love to throw, but if you can't run the football,
    you're stuck."

    Expanding beyond his fondness for offense, Linehan has a vision for the entire
    team. This is no offensive coordinator wearing a head coach's headset and
    disguise. Linehan made this clear in his first round of interviews with Shaw
    and Rams director of football operations Jay Zygmunt. He showed up with
    detailed opinions on what the Rams were doing wrong, what they needed to do
    better.

    Linehan stressed the need to revamp the defense, vowed emphatically that
    defense and special teams would be a priority. Linehan expressed his intention
    to hire an "A"-list defensive coordinator, and offered several names as
    candidates. Linehan already had mapped out tentative plans for a coaching
    staff. And this was in the first interview.

    As I pointed out in a column that appeared Jan. 9, the Rams shifted their
    philosophy after talking to Linehan. Concerned about the shortage of proven
    offensive coordinators and worried about finding a prominent offensive
    coordinator to pair with a defensive-oriented head coach, Shaw accurately
    concluded it was smarter to bring in an offensive-minded head coach and match
    him with a strong defensive coordinator. That's because the current coaching
    pool is loaded with quality defensive coordinators. So why not have strong
    leaders on both sides of the football?

    If the Rams make it official with Linehan, they'll join the hiring trend that's
    sweeping through the NFL this offseason. Rather than recycle fired head
    coaches, NFL teams are turning their rosters over to a new generation of young
    coaches.

    The New York Jets hired Eric Mangini, 35. Green Bay went with Mike McCarthy,
    42. New Orleans chose Sean Payton, 42. Minnesota picked Brad Childress, 49. And
    Houston is said to be committed to hiring Gary Kubiak, 44. Linehan is 42. None
    has been a head coach before, so obviously there's risk involved.

    How will these young lions respond to the pressures, the demands, of being a
    head coach? Can they lead, delegate and put out small fires instead of making
    them bigger? Can they handle the media crush? No one can safely predict how it
    will go until a young coach is thrown into the pit.

    But there are no guarantees about recycling former head coaches, either. (See:
    Steve Mariucci, George Seifert, Bobby Ross, etc.). And as the Elias Sports
    Bureau points out, nine of the 22 head coaches who have won a Super Bowl began
    their NFL head-coaching careers in their 30s. They are: John Madden (33), Don
    Shula (33), Jon Gruden (35), Mike Shanahan (36), Tom Landry (36), Hank Stram
    (37), Chuck Noll (37), Bill Belichick (39) and Dick Vermeil (39).

    Other 30-somethings - including Dan Reeves, Jeff Fisher and Bill Cowher -
    started young and led teams to Super Bowl appearances without winning the big
    game (so far).

    For those of you who would condemn the Rams' choice of an "unproven" head coach
    to lead the Rams, I politely pose these questions: Who was Andy Reid before
    Philadelphia hired him? Who was Cowher before Pittsburgh made him head coach?
    When Carolina hired John Fox as head coach, the general reaction was, "Who?"

    Linehan has been an NFL coordinator for four seasons after spending 13 years as
    a college assistant. Linehan has, to this point, succeeded at every opportunity
    as he moved up the ladder. He has been building and planning for this moment.
    Linehan seems completely prepared for this big chance, as he showed by scoring
    a touchdown in the interview with Shaw. And as long as Linehan can assemble the
    kind of defensive staff that will prevent touchdowns, the Rams should embark on
    a promising new era.


  2. #2
    OldRamsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    As the norm "RW" nice post My friend good info ...

  3. #3
    rampete is offline Registered User
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    Re: Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    good chihuahua, linehan is now labeled the new genius...

    talk about unnecessary pressure...

  4. #4
    RAMMAN68's Avatar
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    Re: Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    But a clever Linehan also likes to bedevil defenses by running the ball out of
    passing formations. He spreads the field with wideouts, loosens the defensive
    alignments, and then slams the ball inside. (It's easy to imagine Steven
    Jackson doing a lot of damage in this style of offense.)
    This is something I've been waiting to see since last season. I have a feeling Linehan will ask Marshall to return next season.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  5. #5
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    You can't read this article without getting excited!

    Power running, spread running, vertical passing, A-list DC.....

    Those are the magic words if you ask me!
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  6. #6
    AJD45 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    Well, it's exactly the same as what Martz promised we would see this year, but it failed to get done for whatever reason, unfortunately.

    I've been a Linehan fan for a while and agree he is an offensive whiz. But my excitement is tempered because all that might not matter because he's not coming here as the offensive coordinator! What is scaring me is what's missing from the article: any mention of hiring an OC. I hope all this talk of Linehan being such a "genius" isn't a prelude to him calling the plays..?? If so, we get right back to the same situation that was Martz's biggest downfall, IMHO: an "offensive coordinator wearing a head coach's headset and disguise".

    Maybe it's assumed that we're not going to repeat that nightmare so not mentioned, but if that's the case, all the "genius" hype is a waste of time. Since Linehan won't be calling the plays, we still have to get the right guy to put his vision into practice on game day.

    Perhaps it is already assumed Fairchild is going to stay? (I know they denied permission for Atlanta to speak to him, but can't things change now with the new hire?) I fear this route as well, as I was not impressed with Fairchild's performance in the hot seat this year. And if Fairchild couldn't learn from Martz, why would it be assumed Linehan could mentor him into becoming an elite OC??

  7. #7
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    What is scaring me is what's missing from the article: any mention of hiring an OC.
    Fair question.

    IMHO, the answer will be Charlie Baggett, WR coach for Miami. He coached under Linehan in Minny from '02-'04 and followed him to Miami in 2005. Best guess at this point is he steps up to OC for the Linehan Rams.

    If Baggett is the new OC, he and Linehan should work well together when it comes to the offense.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  8. #8
    bruce_wannabe Guest

    Re: Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level

    faulk needs to come back for one more year... he is too good of a player to go out like he did

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