Brief stint as broadcaster was enough for Haslett
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- One frustrating day as a television analyst convinced Jim Haslett he wanted another NFL coaching job, even as an assistant.

Haslett was hired by the St. Louis Rams as defensive coordinator by new coach Scott Linehan about three weeks after he got fired by the New Orleans Saints. During the brief interlude, Haslett took a stab at TV work during Super Bowl week, but was dismayed that it took 5 hours on the set to finish a 1-hour show for FoxSports.

"The longest show ... ," Haslett said. "I called my wife and said 'Screw this stuff.' That wasn't really for me, I just wanted to have an opportunity to coach again."

Haslett coached the Saints for six years, leading the team to its lone playoff victory over the Rams in 2000. Last season couldn't have been more difficult for the Saints, displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and the team was 3-13.

After that ordeal, Haslett decided to be selective in interviews.

"Last year was a hard year on myself and all the coaches, and really the whole city," Haslett said. "So I decided that if I didn't get a job, or the right job, that I would probably sit out a year and see if I could get back in the next year."

Haslett said he immediately clicked with Linehan.

"He didn't have to talk me into it," Haslett said. "I think we hit it off. I like coaching, I like being involved."

Haslett is the most recognizable face on Linehan's staff that was introduced Wednesday, and he was the new coach's most important hire for a couple of reasons. Linehan, the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins last year, will call his own plays in his first head-coaching job. Also, the Rams had the 30th-ranked defense in the NFL.

The toughest aspect of his new job is simple. "I have to learn to keep my mouth shut sometimes in meetings," Haslett said.

Linehan's 17-member staff includes three holdovers from predecessor Mike Martz: Henry Ellard (wide receivers), Bob Ligashesky (special teams) and Dana LeDuc (strength and conditioning). He's still searching for a defensive line coach after former Idaho head coach Nick Holt changed his mind earlier this month and went to Southern California as defensive coordinator.

"I have a pool of candidates," Linehan said. "It's got to be a good fit for the system. Every once in a while, there's going to be a bump in the road."

Linehan said individual chemistry was important in assembling a staff. He has worked with a number of his assistants and he and offensive coordinator Greg Olson have been schooled in the same offensive philosophy of spreading the field.

"Working with somebody, not necessarily your friends but people you've worked with, is important because you've been in that room together," Linehan said. "When things aren't going well you've got to be able to stick together in that room and fight through it.

"There does need to be some familiarity, but it isn't the only requirement."

The Rams are leaning toward holding training camp in St. Louis for the second straight season after nine years in Macomb, Ill. Linehan expects a decision in the next 2-3 weeks.

Linehan said Marshall Faulk still is on the fence whether to retire or play another season. He has encouraged Faulk to return.