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Thread: Coach's outburst sends message
Coach's outburst sends message
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
One of the reasons the Rams hired Scott Linehan was his even-keel approach and level-headed personality. But apparently even Linehan has his limits.
At the end of practice Thursday, as the team gathered around its head coach, Linehan paced intensely. For reporters standing half a football field away, it was too windy to hear exactly what Linehan was saying. But the exchange was spiced with four-letter words.
A few minutes later, when a still-agitated Linehan addressed the media, he was asked if he was unhappy about practice.
"No, it didn't have anything to do with practice," Linehan said. "It's personal. It's between the team and me."
Team sources later said that offensive guard Claude Terrell "mouthed off" during practice at Linehan, which led to Linehan's angry outburst. In an apparent appeal to club veterans, Linehan told the team that maybe some of the "big brothers" on the squad needed to take care of the "little brothers."
Reached a couple of hours later, Linehan declined comment on the matter.
"He was just doing what a coach does," wide receiver Isaac Bruce said. "Sometimes you have to reprimand. It's just a coach, no big deal. Guys need to be held accountable, and they need to be self-motivated."
Linehan's message apparently broadened out beyond any verbal reprimand directed at Terrell, and involved the entire squad.
"I'm not going to get into what he said," defensive end Leonard Little said. "But I understand where he was coming from with the message. He wants us to pick it up as a team. Because right now, team-wise, we're not playing well, and he wants everybody to play well and compete."
Despite his calm outward demeanor, there always has been an edge to Linehan's personality. But his end-of-practice speeches frequently can be long and meandering. There was no meandering Thursday; Linehan's outburst clearly caught some players by surprise.
"It was a little bit of an eye opener," center Brett Romberg said. "He's a little bit reserved emotionally. He's always a positive guy. He wants to look on the positive side of things.
"But to have him come out and do what he did today, say what he said, it makes a lot of people's eyes open a little bit wider and be eager to do a little bit more."
Several players liked the fact that Linehan exposed a rarely seen side of his personality.
"Unless you're the one on the receiving end of it," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said with a straight face. "But it doesn't hurt to show a little fire every now and then. ... It just shows some passion. Shows some 'want to' on his part. And that should trickle down to the players."
Romberg agreed, saying, "If you're always speaking reserved and on a monotone level where there's really no climactic point in your speech, and all of a sudden you start ranting and raving ... your ears are definitely going to perk up.
"It's almost like a dog. You can't talk to your dog real nice, you know what I mean? You've got to voice your opinion, and be a little stern in your voice for him to understand what's on your mind."
By the time it became apparent that Terrell had been the object of at least Linehan's initial ire, Terrell no longer was in the locker room during Thursday's media session. Terrell's agent, Kennard McGuire, said late in the afternoon that he had not spoken with Terrell on Thursday, and was unaware of any blowup.
Terrell was fined before the Rams' season opener for showing up late to a team meeting, and was on the pregame inactive list for that game.
Beyond any comments directed at Terrell, Linehan's point was that players need to start doing the little things well.
For an offensive lineman, it might be holding onto a block for just a little while longer. For a defender, it might be running to the ball ó and not slowing down in pursuit.
"A little thing would be holding onto the football, which becomes a big thing," Bruce said. "If we hold onto the football, we play better. Another small thing would be lifting weights, like I have to go do. That's a small thing, but it keeps you healthy during the season and makes you last longer. I believe in the little things."
But do enough of his teammates, including Terrell, believe in them?
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