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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Can Linehan deliver results?

    Can Linehan deliver results?

    Columnist Jeff Gordon
    (E-mail a "Letter to Gordo")By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    09/03/2008

    Scott Linehan was a different coach during the preseason. He was more enthusiastic on the sideline, more demonstrative.

    He engaged and implored his players. He rode the emotional ups and downs of the game. He seemed wired into the action.

    He is coaching like this is his last shot . . . which, in fact, is the case. This season will define his NFL head coaching career.

    But will it work? Can Linehan, in his third year at the helm, become the leader that Rams players, executives, sponsors and fans believe in?

    Soon we will see. The players have noticed and appreciated Linehanís change. How could they not?

    Privately, some veterans are a bit skeptical. They note that coaches must remain true to themselves. They canít pretend to be somebody else and have it sell.

    Linehan isnít the second coming of Rick Neuheisel. He wonít grab the stadium microphone after a big victory (as Neuheisel just did for UCLA) and lead an impromptu pep rally.

    Animation alone will not thrust Linehanís career -Ė and this football operation -Ė back in the right direction. There is a LOT of work to do. His two-year record of 11-21 has created plenty of doubt inside and outside Rams Park.

    The Rams need to fight their way back into NFC West contention. That will take a collective effort from him, his coaches and the remaining leaders on the roster.

    There are lots of positive signs. The atmosphere seems good. The guys have set aside last seasonís 3-13 fiasco. The biggest knuckleheads from that group (Claude Wroten, Dominique Byrd, Claude Terrell) are long gone.

    The defensive backs are rallying behind new secondary coach Ron Milus. Steve Loney, the new offensive line coach, has gotten a strong response, too. So has running backs coach Art Valero, who has brought Antonio Pittman a long way in a short time.

    Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett looks a lot smarter with pass rushers Leonard Little and James Hall healthy again. And new offensive coordinator Al Saunders wonít rest until he gets the Rams skill players back on the attack.

    All this is good. Optimism abounds with the group.

    But now the real games begin. The Rams open at Philadelphia, facing an Eagles team with NFC playoff aspirations.

    Linehan will match wits with veteran Eagles coach Andy Reid. Saunders will renew his rivalry with Philly defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, one of the best in the business.

    Will the Rams be emotionally prepared to compete on the road?

    Will they be tactically prepared to beat a good, well-coached, veteran team?

    Will Linehan and his staff make the in-game adjustments needed to counter the Eaglesí strengths?

    These are the indicators that will decide the regimeís fate. Bottom line results are important, of course, but real progress will be measured by how the team adapts and plays.

    It all starts Sunday. The Rams will catch the Eagles a bit short at receiver, due to injuries. They will come into the game close to 100 percent healthy themselves.

    Steven Jackson is back to work and Marc Bulger is coming off an especially impressive preseason performance. The offensive line, for the moment, is largely intact.

    The Rams will have an opportunity to show us -Ė and themselves -Ė what their full potential for í08 really is.

    The football operation has made the right moves and said the right things to this point. But image isnít everything in the NFL.

    After eight months of retooling, weíll see if the Rams can really deliver results.
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    :ramlogo:

  2. #2
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    "Privately, some veterans are a bit skeptical. They note that coaches must remain true to themselves. They canít pretend to be somebody else and have it sell."

    That statement worry me some.
    :ramlogo:

  3. #3
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    Does Linehan have a choice?

    It's either shape up or ship out!

  4. #4
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    Quote Originally Posted by eldfan View Post
    "Privately, some veterans are a bit skeptical. They note that coaches must remain true to themselves. They canít pretend to be somebody else and have it sell."

    That statement worry me some.
    I was thinking the same thing. Hopefully he can make believers out of the players as well as the fans, but it's probably going to be a tough road and a lot of things are definitely going to have to go his way. A win against Philly certainly won't hurt his approval ratings and would be a big step in the right direction.

  5. #5
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. Hopefully he can make believers out of the players as well as the fans, but it's probably going to be a tough road and a lot of things are definitely going to have to go his way. A win against Philly certainly won't hurt his approval ratings and would be a big step in the right direction.
    Mile ,I agree I also think a big win against the Giants in the home opener would start to get the home fans thinking,ok maybe Linehan can coach this team.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    If we take the Eagles and Giants, i can see Saunders and Haslette getting all the credit. The poor guy couldnt even get refs to acknowledge his red flag. How many times did he kick it?

  7. #7
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guam rammer View Post
    If we take the Eagles and Giants, i can see Saunders and Haslette getting all the credit. The poor guy couldnt even get refs to acknowledge his red flag. How many times did he kick it?
    Spot on point.

  8. #8
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    This is THE year that Linehan has to produce some results. Vermeil was not a player of fan favorite at first. His training camp was too hard and he was too much of a players coach but after 99 all was forgotten. It does take time for results but Linehans time is short and I hope he realizes that. This team will be improved this year, how much will determine if Scott has a job next year or not.

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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Spot on point.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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    Re: Can Linehan deliver results?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigredman View Post
    You're a graphics fool today aren't you? I tried to give you rep for your work but I have to spread it around. Not that you need it Mr. 21 rep power with 6 gold thingies.

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