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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    September 30, 2008--New Rams head coach Jim Haslett, center, takes over the whistle as he directs his first practice at the Rams training facility in Earth City. (J.B. Forbes/P-D)By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/05/2008

    Scott Linehan is out. Jim Haslett is in. It has been a hectic week at Rams Park. As he (literally) moved into the head coach's office Thursday, Haslett took time out to talk about the transition, his football philosophy and a variety of other topics with the Post-Dispatch.


    So are you getting any sleep?

    "A little. The first two nights I didn't get any at all. As a matter of fact, I was talking to somebody on the phone, and I think I fell asleep on them. I don't get much anyway

    You've already made some interesting decisions. You wanted the bushes trimmed around the practice field, and you wanted some boxes and stuff cleared out of the lobby. Why?

    "As an organization, if the head coach is held accountable, and the players are held accountable, I think everybody in the building should be held accountable. If you're going to run a first-class organization and you want to win, then everybody should do things right. It should look nice when you walk in.

    "The main lobby is not a holding center for boxes and stuff. If you're a guest and you walk in, the main lobby is the first thing you see. You don't have stuff thrown all over your living room boxes and garbage thrown around. And when the players walk onto the field, the bushes are about 10 feet high they're overgrown and there's weeds. That doesn't mean you're going to win or lose games, but I think it's the appearance that, hey, this is a nice organization, the place is well-maintained, the organization does everything first-class.

    "They're little things, but I think all that stuff adds up over the long run."

    Also, you've taken the benches out of the indoor practice facility. Why?

    "We're not sitting on benches. We're not sitting on helmets. This is not the Greatest Show on Turf anymore where guys could just sit around and get up and practice. We're not that type of team right now. So I think we just need a little more discipline from that area. I don't want guys sitting on their helmets. I don't want guys sitting on the railings. Sitting on bags. Sitting on the benches. You're only out there for two hours. Concentrate on what you've got to do, and I don't think you need to sit down."

    And what about the new reserved parking spots for the assistant coaches at Rams Park?

    "Players have assigned parking. The head coach has one. The trainers have 'em; the doctors have 'em. I think they should have assigned parking for the assistant coaches. The assistant coaches sometimes, the way I felt around here, were treated like second-class citizens. That's not the way it should be. Because I think if it wasn't for your assistant coaches, your players aren't going to get better."

    What is your general football philosophy? How do you go about the business of winning games?

    "First of all, you've got to have good players. You've got to get the right type of players. I like guys that are tough, hard-nosed guys. That like playing the game. I don't think you draft guys now unless they love to play the game. The money should not be an issue.

    "On the field, I think field position's big in the National Football League. You have to play well enough on defense. You've got to know what you have on offense. You've got to know what kind of players you have. Can you score a lot of points? Are you a grind-it-out football team? There's more than one way to skin a cat. If you've got great players and you can throw it up 50 times a game, I'm all for it.

    "So I think you have to adapt to the guys you have. And you have to coach to the level of players you have."

    How much will you stay involved in the defense as a head coach?

    "I've always stayed involved in it. Really the only year with the Saints where I kind of got away from either side of the ball, and special teams, was the hurricane year when we were in San Antonio. So I'll stay involved. The good thing is, I know what they're going to do on defense. I'll be in and out of the game plans. I'm going to sit in with the offense and special teams, too."

    So how much will you be involved in the offense?

    "I've talked to (offensive coordinator) Al Saunders about getting our playmakers the ball. Torry Holt, Donnie Avery and Steven Jackson. And when we get our guys off the injury list, getting those guys involved. So I think everybody's on board. I'm not going to sit there and call plays. I'm going to give my viewpoint.

    "I'm going to know exactly how many times Steven Jackson touches the ball. How many times Torry Holt touches the ball. How many times Donnie Avery has the ball. And (Keenan) Burton and (Drew) Bennett when they get back. And if I don't think they've touched the ball enough, I'll let Al know during the game. ... I'll have a say. But I'm not going to sit there and call plays. I can't get the verbiage out of my mouth."

    What do you want to see out of the offense the rest of the way?

    "I want to see some points. I thought we did a good job against Buffalo moving the ball. We got a lot of yardage, but that doesn't win in this league. I think part of it, if you look at the field position last week, we had 14 possessions, which is a lot. But seven of them were backed up inside the 13-yard line, where your chances of scoring and going 90 yards in this league are about 7 or 8 percent. ... So somehow we've got to flip the field position."

    Were you ever concerned that the defensive struggles in St. Louis would hurt your chances of becoming a head coach again?

    "I never worried about that. You can always judge guys over two, three years and say well, they haven't played good on defense. I just know this: When we got here the defense was horrendous. Had bad football players. We got better the first year. We got better the second year. And then we just played bad the first three games this year. This group will rally and play better.

    "We have better players than we did the first couple years. So I think you've got to look at the whole big picture. I mean there's guys, like Wade Phillips for instance, walks into a job with the Dallas Cowboys. Those kind of jobs don't open up too often, where you walk in and you're not going to have too many losing records. Does that mean he's a better coach than he was when he was in Buffalo or Denver or some other place? Sometimes it's the situation you're in. It's the circumstance and the players you have."

    Do you feel you deserve to be the new Rams head coach based on how the defense played?

    "If you base it off the first three games, no. But if you're going to base it off history, what I've done as a head coach. ... If you look at 2000, I was Associated Press coach of the year. Took a team that never won a playoff game and won their first playoff game ever. Took a team that was 3-13 and won 10 games with good lines, but not great talent.

    "We beat you guys (the Rams) a couple times. I wasn't politicking for it. And it didn't make a difference to be honest with you if I got it or I didn't get it. Obviously, people have to make decisions. Didn't know if I wanted it, either. There's a lot of things that play into it."

    There's an impression out there that you didn't get along with Scott Linehan. What was your relationship like?

    "That's not true. Scott and I didn't deal with each other (much) the first couple years because he was running the offense and I was running the defense. Really, the only interaction we had was game day, because we were busy doing our thing.

    "I appreciate Scott hiring me. I was always up front with him on everything. We never had any disagreements. We never got in a yelling match. Now, did we see eye to eye on everything? No. But you never do as coach. But the bottom line is, we did what he wanted to do. And if he wanted something, he would come and tell us.

    "But I think that's totally false. I don't know where that even got started. But that is the furthest thing from the truth."

    How did the experience of Hurricane Katrina affect you as a coach?

    "Well, you don't have enough newspaper, unless you're going to take up like the first 30 pages, for me to sit here and go through Katrina. I will say this: Hopefully, no one ever has to experience anything like that again as a human being, as a football coach, dealing with players, and dealing with all the devastation.

    "Off the top of my head, I had players that lost their homes, I had players that lost family. I had players that had their house looted. ... And then you're moving out of town. You're living in San Antonio. I had people quit because they didn't want to come.

    "So you're going through all that. You're trying to find a place to live. You're playing 16 road games. We played a couple games at home in San Antonio, if you want to call it home. We played in Baton Rouge, we played a home game in New York, we played everywhere but the Superdome. Your schedule's completely ruined, and you know football guys they're routine guys. There was never a fixed routine. At the high school where we practiced, the locker rooms were the first- and third-base dugouts. The press box was the equipment room, and a training room. We had a tent put in a parking lot so we could lift weights.

    "So all that being said, this is easy. Obviously winning games is our main deal. We'll deal with all the distractions. But this is easy."

    What hobbies or off-field interests do you have away from the game?

    "I really don't do anything. I don't golf. I ride the (stationary) bike, work out. That's the only thing I really do. Usually, when I go to a movie, I fall asleep. I'll watch the kids play baseball, football, volleyball, that's about it.

    How does your wife and family feel about all this becoming a head coach again?

    "That's a good question. I think the kids are excited but a little apprehensive, also, because they know the scrutiny that comes with it. And I would say that would be the same way with my wife. But she'll be good. She's done it before. She'll rally the wives, and keep people close. She's pretty good at that stuff."
    Last edited by MauiRam; -10-05-2008 at 12:27 AM.


  2. #2
    stlramman's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    You think Haslett has noticed what a poorly run organization this has been?

    You've already made some interesting decisions. You wanted the bushes trimmed around the practice field, and you wanted some boxes and stuff cleared out of the lobby. Why?

    "As an organization, if the head coach is held accountable, and the players are held accountable, I think everybody in the building should be held accountable. If you're going to run a first-class organization and you want to win, then everybody should do things right. It should look nice when you walk in.

    "The main lobby is not a holding center for boxes and stuff. If you're a guest and you walk in, the main lobby is the first thing you see. You don't have stuff thrown all over your living room boxes and garbage thrown around. And when the players walk onto the field, the bushes are about 10 feet high they're overgrown and there's weeds. That doesn't mean you're going to win or lose games, but I think it's the appearance that, hey, this is a nice organization, the place is well-maintained, the organization does everything first-class.

    "They're little things, but I think all that stuff adds up over the long run."
    Benches!? We dont need no friggin benches!!

    Also, you've taken the benches out of the indoor practice facility. Why?

    "We're not sitting on benches. We're not sitting on helmets. This is not the Greatest Show on Turf anymore where guys could just sit around and get up and practice. We're not that type of team right now. So I think we just need a little more discipline from that area. I don't want guys sitting on their helmets. I don't want guys sitting on the railings. Sitting on bags. Sitting on the benches. You're only out there for two hours. Concentrate on what you've got to do, and I don't think you need to sit down."
    Got to give Jim some credit for his off the field moves, hopefully he can make a difference on the field as well.
    Last edited by HUbison; -10-06-2008 at 09:51 AM.

  3. #3
    RamsInfiniti's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    Freakin awesome article here! You have got to love his attitude and outlook!

  4. #4
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    I have deep misgivings about the Haz/Venturi defensive system but I can't help liking this guy.

    As advertised, a no BS manner, attention to detail, and I especially like the gesture to the coaches regarding parking spots.

    And not just a military-like exertion of power for its own sake but he seems to understand how such small things can help.

    I think I'd like working for him based on what I heard here.

  5. #5
    Tampa_Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    I think Haslett will make a much better Hc then DC, obviously he wasnt didnt fit the mold of a dc. But he does have HC experience. i dont know his dc experince, but yea. Im wishing for the best. Great article, and lets see what he can bring to the table.


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    clarasDK is offline Registered User
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    How can a HC and DC only be talking to each other on gameday? Surprises me.

    I like Haslett's approach to his new job, but I still wants to se the team deliver on the field before I become a fan of him. A friend of mine is a Bucs fan and he just laughed as us when we good Haslett hopefully time will show that he is wrong and we will again play better than the Bucs!

  7. #7
    blood85's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    You have to start somewhere....

  8. #8
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    Quote Originally Posted by blood85 View Post
    You have to start somewhere....
    I agree,I like the bench removal and no sitting on the helmets,it may be baby steps but with this bunch that may be the way to go,no one can argue this team lacked disipline.

  9. #9
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    What is your general football philosophy? How do you go about the business of winning games?

    "First of all, you've got to have good players. You've got to get the right type of players. I like guys that are tough, hard-nosed guys. That like playing the game. I don't think you draft guys now unless they love to play the game. The money should not be an issue."

    I like that answer I wounder how many guys like that he think we got.
    Last edited by HUbison; -10-06-2008 at 09:53 AM.
    :ramlogo:

  10. #10
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Tampa_Ram View Post
    I think Haslett will make a much better Hc then DC, obviously he wasnt didnt fit the mold of a dc. But he does have HC experience. i dont know his dc experince, but yea. Im wishing for the best. Great article, and lets see what he can bring to the table.
    Uh, yeah...

    Is there anywhere to go but up? His defenses have been horrendous. Anything better than a #32 ranking would be better. Like I've said before, the best thing about all this is Haslett is no longer the DC.

    ...and as far as trimming the bushes and cleaning up the boxes. Nice to know he's concentrating on all the important stuff, ya know, the "little things."

    We'll know a lot more about Haslett and Venturi next week against the Redskins. They've got two weeks to prepare and they should be ready, and they should be competitive. Let's see if the new atttude, and the newly trimmed bushes translate into a win.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

  11. #11
    Chris58's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    September 30, 2008--By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/05/2008


    "So I think you have to adapt to the guys you have. And you have to coach to the level of players you have."
    Assuming this is what JH has in the cupboard and given how the D has performed, what does that say about: 1. JH's ability to adapt, or worse; 2. The level of our players? Yeow!

  12. #12
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    I have deep misgivings about the Haz/Venturi defensive system but I can't help liking this guy.

    As advertised, a no BS manner, attention to detail, and I especially like the gesture to the coaches regarding parking spots.

    And not just a military-like exertion of power for its own sake but he seems to understand how such small things can help.

    I think I'd like working for him based on what I heard here.
    I also really like the attention to detail. To get things in order, you have to start with the little things and then build from there. It sets the tone, creates discipline and gives the players a solid foundation and direction. I already feel better about Haslett and his approach to turning things around.

  13. #13
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    As much as I have been negative about Haslett's signature on the D, I must say that what he has demonstrated to the team as their new HC is a good thing. Now if the team will respond accordingly.

  14. #14
    UK Ramfan 83 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    Fair play to Haslett.

    You do have to start somewhere, and it usually begins with the minor details. The changes he has suggested in this article reek of professionalism. The Rams need plenty of that in LARGE doses..

    I must say it does chap my azz when I hear complaints about this kind of initial approach by folks when there is a take over. People just expect..New coach, instant winning results. Well sorry but that's B.S. and just doesn't happen. Only in Never never land.

    The fact that Haslett's noticed these little things just shows he is WELL up to the job of HC as far as I'm concerned. Always loved his attitude at NO. (Especially when his teams played ours. We always got a punch in the mouth from those games. Our team couldn't punch out a one legged, inebriated, glass chinned wino right now, so I hope he kicks some azz and I for one am prepard to give him a fresh slate..)

    Yes proof will eventually be in the pudding, but lets give the guy the support he needs. I'd rather Haslett than Linehan..

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    Chris58's Avatar
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    Re: Haslett begins Rams cleanup ..

    Quote Originally Posted by UK Ramfan 83 View Post
    Our team couldn't punch out a one legged, inebriated, glass chinned wino right now, so I hope he kicks some azz and I for one am prepard to give him a fresh slate..)
    Had to LOL UK. Best quote of the day! Rep to you.

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