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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bernie:Haslett is already making changes to bring a sense of unity to Rams

    During a break at a recent practice, Rams cornerback Ron Bartell approached Jim Haslett, the team's new head coach.

    "You look comfortable doing this," Bartell told Haslett. "You look confident."

    Haslett nodded and reminded the player that he'd done this before, at New Orleans.

    "You look like a head coach," Bartell said.

    Message: The Rams do have a real head coach again.

    It's been awhile.

    Haslett makes his official debut on Sunday at FedEx Field in suburban Washington D.C., leading the 0-4 Rams against the 4-1 Redskins.

    When I say the Rams have a real head coach, understand that I'm not saying that they have a winning head coach.

    Haslett was given this shot after the overdue dismissal of the overwhelmed Scott Linehan, who never connected with the players or established himself as a leader. The Rams have lost 17 of 20 games since the start of the 2007 season.

    Enter Haslett, formerly the defensive coordinator under Linehan. This isn't an easy job, given the team's appalling futility and the sense of dread that permeates Rams Park.

    But before we assume the situation is hopeless, and that Haslett is simply holding a broom for 12 games until a more permanent coach can take over and perform a real cleanup, it's important to remember Haslett's experience in New Orleans.

    In the four seasons (1996-99) that preceded his arrival, the Saints went 18-48.

    In Haslett's first season, the Saints went 10-6 and knocked out the "Greatest Show" Rams in the first round of the NFC playoffs.

    In Haslett's first five seasons, before the Saints were dislodged by the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Saints went 42-38. Is that a great record? No. But 42-38 is certainly dramatic improvement over the 18-48 freefall. Haslett pulled the Saints out of that losing way of life and he made them respectable.

    Rams fans certainly recall Haslett's tenacious Saints coming to St. Louis to routinely upset the talented, celebrated, glitzy Rams. Haslett was 4-2 against Mike Martz. Haslett went 3-0 vs. Martz at the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams went 43-7 against other visitors from 1999 through 2004.

    "In New Orleans, we had good lines on both side of the ball," Haslett said. "But that wasn't a talented team overall. We had no business winning some of the games we won against the Rams. But if you can get players to believe they're better than they really are, they will play better."

    That's Haslett's challenge in St. Louis: to take the beaten-down Rams and get them to lift their heads and rediscover the joy of playing football. If that happens, Haslett believes success will follow.

    "Winning games will help their confidence," Haslett said. "But even before that, players have to build some confidence in themselves. As coaches we have to make them feel that they're good players -- they're not bad players just because there's been a bad play. In this league, confidence and handling adversity go a long way. And sometimes we forget that it's important to have fun in this game. Let it rip. You have to fight your way back."

    Haslett's defense in St. Louis was part of the problem, so fans sneered at his seemingly unwarranted promotion to head coach. Haslett said he understands the skepticism.

    What can he deliver?

    "I can promise you we will be more aggressive," Haslett said. "We'll play hard. We'll be hungry. We'll be smarter. We're going to play faster. I hope this translates into some wins. We'll find out."

    Haslett wasted little time in trying to alter the losing culture. He had workers clear a pile of boxes in the lobby at Rams Park, and trim trees and shrubs. He gave assistant coaches assigned parking spots. He's increased the tempo of practice; the Rams fly around now. He removed the benches from the indoor practice facility to prevent players from sitting down. He's arranged for the coaches to receive gift certificates just little thank-you gestures to let them know he appreciates their hard work.

    Haslett met with the non-football staff and told them that their contributions are valued. He's invited the non-football staff to watch practice. He wants anyone who works for the Rams to bring their families to the Saturday walk-through practice, then stay for lunch. Saturday night in Washington, Haslett planned to take coaches and staff to dinner, which meant picking up the tab for 36 people.

    "I thought there was a division in the building," Haslett said. "Football was on one end, and everything else was on the other side. I believe that if you want to win in this league, you have to have a great organization, and we all have to be on the same page. And if we want to have a football family here, then let's bring in our families to help create that atmosphere.

    "This isn't miracle stuff. But we need unity, and we need to start taking pride in everything we do. That's how you start to build something."

    None of this means that the Rams will be able to tackle Clinton Portis, or protect Marc Bulger, or revive Torry Holt. But this sad, tattered team is desperate for leadership, and Haslett isn't bashful about taking charge. Clearly, there's a new boss at Rams Park. Now comes the hard part: converting this renewed energy into victories.

  2. #2
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Bernie:Haslett is already making changes to bring a sense of unity to Rams

    wins will fix alot of problems but lets give Haslett credit for making the changes and trying to make the Rams organization a "team".I for one wish him luck.

  3. #3
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Bernie:Haslett is already making changes to bring a sense of unity to Rams

    This is a hard challenge our team has to face today. I know it will be really tough to come out with a win, but you will see some heart and motivation on that field. Don't doubt it for a second.

    This is a different atmosphere for us today. I can feel it and I am VERY excited. It's like the season just started again. GO RAMS

  4. #4
    Ramblin` Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie:Haslett is already making changes to bring a sense of unity to Rams

    well one thing Haslett has over Linny is...we wont be beaten before the final whistle,with Linny we were beaten before the first!

  5. #5
    UK Ramfan 83's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie:Haslett is already making changes to bring a sense of unity to Rams

    I really am beginning to like Haslett..

    Even if we loose against the skins, if we keep it close, and punch them 'HARD' in the mouth, that will be a good start.

    I'm not expecting miracles to happen overnight...

    Go Haslett and the Rams, goodluck tonight..

  6. #6
    BEER's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Bernie:Haslett is already making changes to bring a sense of unity to Rams

    Does anyone even remember why no team wanted him as a head coach
    after N.O.?????? I do.

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