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Thread: Haslett takes job
Haslett takes job
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Sep. 30 2008
When it comes to Jim Haslett and Rams football, you can drop the "interim." It
was no slip of the tongue when Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom introduced Haslett as
our "new head coach" Monday at Rams Park.
The word "interim" is not part of his job title. According to multiple sources,
it was part of the negotiations of a revised contract with Haslett that his
title would be simply "head coach."
Some might regard this as a seemingly small distinction, perhaps a concession
to Haslett's ego. But it's also a signal to the players that Haslett shouldn't
be regarded as a mere caretaker for the remaining 12 games of the 2008 season.
And it's also a sign, according to sources, that should things go relatively
well over the final three months of the season, Haslett could be back in 2009.
As to what constitutes "relatively well" — who knows?
"Right now, I'm worrying about this year," Haslett said. "Coaches live
year-to-year, anyway. So I'm going to worry about this year, and these next 12
games and try to win some games."
Easier said than done, of course. Following the bye week, the Rams travel to
Washington (3-1), play host to the Dallas Cowboys (3-1) and then face the
defending AFC champion New England Patriots (2-1) in Foxborough, Mass.
The decision to fire Scott Linehan was complicated by the fact that the Rams'
hierarchy wasn't sure that either of the team's coordinators — Haslett on
defense and Al Saunders on offense — deserved a promotion based on the play of
their units. The Rams entered Sunday's contest ranked 31st in total offense and
32nd (or last) in the NFL in total defense.
That's one reason the decision to fire Linehan wasn't reached until after
midnight Sunday. It made no sense to fire one coach if you didn't like the
But with six years of NFL head-coaching experience on his résumé (in New
Orleans from 2000-2005), Haslett didn't feel like he had to grovel for the job,
either. In fact, as late as mid-morning Monday, or less than two hours before
the scheduled news conference to announce his promotion, a formal agreement had
yet to be reached to have Haslett take over.
But finally, after hours of negotiations through the night and into the
morning, Rams President John Shaw and Haslett's agent, Peter Schaffer, reached
agreement on a revised contract.
Schaffer and Rosenbloom both declined to provide details of the revision.
"Our common goal was to make the situation workable and positive for all,"
Schaffer said. "I give John a lot of credit; this is a great opportunity for
Haslett said it was exactly 1:12 a.m. Monday when he received a call from Shaw
— Rosenbloom also was on the line — telling him they wanted him to replace
Linehan. But Haslett said he had some questions before saying yes.
"I wanted some answers," Haslett said. "I asked him questions to see if I got
the right answer. ... I just wanted to (know) how things worked and different
things because I'm not sure of the inner workings of the organization."
Haslett said those questions eventually were answered to his satisfaction. But
it took time; a formal agreement wasn't struck until 10:30 a.m. Obviously, many
of those questions had to do with who makes roster decisions. Ultimately,
Haslett was satisfied that he would have control over who to add and who to cut
— within the parameters and limits of the salary cap.
"The personnel will be decided by myself, Billy (Devaney), and then all the cap
ramifications will come down through Jay (Zygmunt)," Haslett said.
Devaney is the team's executive vice president of player personnel; Zygmunt is
president of football operations-general manager.
Haslett immediately announced that longtime associate Rick Venturi would take
over as defensive coordinator. Venturi had been the team's linebackers coach as
well as holding the title of assistant head coach.
Assistant secondary coach Mike Cox will take over the linebackers. Quality
control coach Todd Downing will move up to help with the secondary.
Haslett is expected to reinstate Marc Bulger as the team's starting
quarterback. He stopped short of saying that Monday, although he had strong
praise for Bulger.
"I think Marc's a heck of a football player," Haslett said. "I think he's one
of the top quarterbacks that's played. If you look at his numbers over the
years, he's in the upper echelon of quarterbacks. But that's something that
I'll sit down with the offensive staff, and then we'll decide what's best for
this team — for next week and the future."
For this week, next week, and beyond, the future belongs to Haslett, 52, as
"This is not really the way you want to become a head coach — at somebody
else's expense," Haslett said. "I thought Scott did about as good a job as you
can (do). He tried everything, and obviously it didn't work out. I feel for him
and his family, and wish him nothing but the best of luck.
"Obviously, we let him down as players and coaches. We didn't get it done, and
that's why I'm standing here right now."
Linehan did not return a phone message from the Post-Dispatch on Monday.
Re: Haslett takes job"Obviously, we let him down as players and coaches. We didn't get it done, and
that's why I'm standing here right now."
Though I'm not as bunged up as most over this decision, I must admit......It's a fair question."Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
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