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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Haz' could have done the job well

    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Friday, Jan. 16 2009
    Jim Haslett knew the odds going in. The night nearly four months ago he
    received that phone call asking him if he wanted to take over as interim coach
    of a feckless 0-4 club and try and fix the mess that Scott Linehan had helped
    create, Haslett did not behave like a desperate man.

    He hesitated.

    He had a hundred questions running through his mind. He took one of those long,
    exhaustive pauses that you would expect from anyone who was asked if they
    thought it would be fun to play blindfolded in traffic with one arm tied behind
    their back, and their feet shackled in leg irons.

    "Hmmmm," he said. "Lemme think about this."

    But what was there to think about, really?

    Haslett was a man in search of a second chance to make a first impression not
    exactly desperate, but realistic enough to know that he was a long way from
    being one of those tantalizingly untapped fresh faces on the NFL's annual
    head-coaching shopping list. Haslett never lost faith in his own ability even
    if everyone else had.

    As it turns out, the odds were insurmountable. On Thursday afternoon, 109 days
    after receiving the call to promote him, Haslett received a call from general
    manager Billy Devaney informing him that he had been eliminated from the
    competition to become the Rams' 24th head coach.

    "Jim took over an impossible situation," Devaney said.

    In the end it didn't work. Ownership decided to cut Haslett off the shopping
    list. Another man will get the job. But that doesn't mean "Haz" couldn't have
    done the job.

    Jim Haslett was good enough to turn this franchise around.

    Football is a cold business, and sometimes people get fired. Many times they
    deserve it. Every once in a while, they don't. I really don't care if you don't
    understand why I continued to champion Haslett, or you buy into this nonsense
    that he was on a shameless campaign to curry favor with the media. If you want
    to believe that, there's nothing I can do to convince you otherwise.

    Instead, I will offer this endorsement of a deserving man who simply came up on
    the wrong end of an untenable situation. He was good enough, smart enough,
    passionate enough and loaded with all the moxie, maturity and leadership the
    Rams needed.

    The world isn't fair. Haslett knows that. He's smart enough to know that
    coaches are hired to be fired.

    He knew going in that he was being asked to shove 10 tons of sludge into a
    five-ounce vial. He knew no matter how many believers he created inside that
    locker room, and no matter how many folks inside Rams Park were astute enough
    to recognize in five minutes that Haslett possessed the sort of leadership this
    organization has been aching for since Dick Vermeil left, it probably never was
    going to be enough.

    I don't normally spend a lot of time doling out compliments to coaches on their
    way out the door. When you get fired, there are usually plenty of good reasons
    why. But every once in a while things are different.

    Haslett could have fixed this mess. He'll never get the chance, but he could
    have done it. For those of you who thought he was a shameless salesman, you
    didn't get Jim Haslett.

    Of course he wanted this job, and he did everything he could to present his
    case to anyone who would listen. He then took that same case last week to those
    in a reluctant Rams ownership group who were too preoccupied with trying to
    "sell" Haslett to the public instead of trusting their guts.

    Of course, they kept asking him how they could sell him to the public. They
    kept saying that they would be buried by angry ticket buyers who would reject
    an interim coach who finished with a 2-10 record using somebody else's flawed
    players.

    What they should have been thinking about is what this guy could do with his
    own players. What they should have been thinking about is could Haslett turn
    around the Rams in one year just like he did the New Orleans Saints eight
    seasons ago.

    That would have made a lot of sense.

    I don't know who they will end up hiring, but I can only hope that the final
    decision won't be made based on the views of a fickle and uninformed public.
    You don't choose head coaches based on surveys, focus groups and negative
    internet chat room buzz.

    In 24 to 48 hours, we'll probably be introduced to the next head coach of the
    St. Louis Rams. In the meantime, I'll just consult the latest poll results on
    STLtoday.com. That seems to be as good as any logic coming out of Los Angeles
    these days.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    I really wish Haslett was given the chance. Oh well, it's a wait see on who our next headcoach will be. Whether it be Frazier, Spags, Ryan or even Garrett I will support him. Hey I was behind Linehan for 36 regular season games. The least I could do is give the next guy a fair shot.

  3. #3
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    I agree LA. I don't think I am alone in thinking that taking a rookie head coach that was a red hot assistant hc or co-ordinator does not come without risk.

    but I'll suck it and see. I gave Linehan a large generous benefit of the doubt whilst here.
    The Breakfast Club. You want cheese with that?

  4. #4
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    I really wish Haslett was given the chance. Oh well, it's a wait see on who our next headcoach will be. Whether it be Frazier, Spags, Ryan or even Garrett I will support him. Hey I was behind Linehan for 36 regular season games. The least I could do is give the next guy a fair shot.
    Undoubtedly the best attitude to take. Fact is, whoever the next coach is, he immediately becomes a member of the St. Louis Ram's family. We should support them as such ...

    Picking up a rookie coach is like picking up a rookie QB - it is extremely hit and miss. The general consensus is that we trust Devaney, so for the mean time, we need to trust whatever decision he makes at HC, regardless of who he is. He is closer to the matter than any of us could ever dream to be ...

  5. #5
    Fat Pang's Avatar
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    I don't know who they will end up hiring, but I can only hope that the final
    decision won't be made based on the views of a fickle and uninformed public.
    You don't choose head coaches based on surveys, focus groups and negative
    internet chat room buzz.
    I share that hope.

  6. #6
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    negative internet chat rooms? Naw.....nothing to be negative about a team that hasn't had a winning season since Kirstie Alley was skinny.

  7. #7
    HornIt Guest

    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Burwell certainaly fell under Haslett's spell, and I think to hold Haslett completely unaccountable for the mess to begin with, as if he didn't play a significant role and was some innocent victim, is ridiculous.

    Devaney would have sent completely the wrong message by rewarding Haslett IMO. He sent the right message by moving on, by ultimately punishing failure with both Linehan and Haslett and most if not all of the coaching staff and by selecting what will be a Head Coach who got reward by getting results, not by making excuses.

  8. #8
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    negative internet chat rooms? Naw.....nothing to be negative about a team that hasn't had a winning season since Kirstie Alley was skinny.
    LOL Was Kirstie Alley ever skinny?! Next you'll be telling me Ted Danson once had a full head of hair.

  9. #9
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by HornIt View Post
    Burwell certainaly fell under Haslett's spell, and I think to hold Haslett completely unaccountable for the mess to begin with, as if he didn't play a significant role and was some innocent victim, is ridiculous.

    Devaney would have sent completely the wrong message by rewarding Haslett IMO. He sent the right message by moving on, by ultimately punishing failure with both Linehan and Haslett and most if not all of the coaching staff and by selecting what will be a Head Coach who got reward by getting results, not by making excuses.
    Well said HornIt. If Haslett were to have stayed he would have had basically the same defense to work with, plus maybe 2-3 new starters in the mix. If he couldn't get this defense to produce over the last 3 years why do you guys think it would be different next year?

  10. #10
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    Well said HornIt. If Haslett were to have stayed he would have had basically the same defense to work with, plus maybe 2-3 new starters in the mix. If he couldn't get this defense to produce over the last 3 years why do you guys think it would be different next year?
    Spot on. If our D hat been playing well when he was DC I would have been for Haslett, but they where not so therefore I fully support that we clean house!

    For the new HC I will support him even if we should go 2-14 again. We now need to give the new setup time to bring our team back as winners and this might take longer that many of us would like. But I would rather have a long term rebuilding plan that would make us a powerhouse for many years than a short term solution that might give us one shot at the playoffs and then everything go appart again.

    GO RAMS!

  11. #11
    RamsInfiniti's Avatar
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    Well said HornIt. If Haslett were to have stayed he would have had basically the same defense to work with, plus maybe 2-3 new starters in the mix. If he couldn't get this defense to produce over the last 3 years why do you guys think it would be different next year?
    Because if he would have stayed he would have been forced to bring in a new DC, one that probably had control over the playcalling and scheming. Could have made a huge difference ....

  12. #12
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    Because if he would have stayed he would have been forced to bring in a new DC, one that probably had control over the playcalling and scheming. Could have made a huge difference ....
    Well If Haslett isn't even good at what he's supposed to be good at, why exactly do you want to keep him?

  13. #13
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    Because if he would have stayed he would have been forced to bring in a new DC, one that probably had control over the playcalling and scheming. Could have made a huge difference ....

    Well it's good news because we'll still be getting a new DC that can make a huge difference!
    Haslett had the best possible interview opportunity with the three months he had in charge. If he had shown Devaney enough in that time the HC search would have been a foregone conclusion. I'm afraid he proved to be another good guy who couldn't get the job done.
    Time for change!

  14. #14
    HornIt Guest

    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    Well If Haslett isn't even good at what he's supposed to be good at, why exactly do you want to keep him?
    That's a good question. I would add to that this....

    Haslett said he would bring in a new DC, but he never said nor was it ever reported that he'd give up control of the defense. In fact, Jim Thomas reported that Haslett would keep Venturi as his LB coach and possibly as Assistant Head Coach even if he brough in a new DC. So the new DC would still be stuck with Haslett's assistants and maybe even still forced to answer to one of them.

  15. #15
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Haz' could have done the job well

    Quote Originally Posted by HornIt View Post
    Burwell certainaly fell under Haslett's spell, and I think to hold Haslett completely unaccountable for the mess to begin with, as if he didn't play a significant role and was some innocent victim, is ridiculous.
    As Bill Parcells stated while coaching the Patriots. If you want me to cook the dinner at least let me buy some of the groceries. Haslett is the scapegoat for Linehans mess.


    1. Signing a WLB to play MLB
    2. Drafting a DE and moving him to DT?
    3. How about drafting a RB (Brian Leonard) instead of grabbing another defensive player.
    4. All the Tightends????? (should have focused on defense here too.)

    Linehan's offensive gameplans were close to the vest, protect the ball at all costs. How many times did we complain about the dink and dunk?

    Well to successfully run that type of offense you need a very solid defense.
    Field position games are generally won by the team that makes the fewest mistakes.

    One thing Haslett did was show steady improvement from the day he took over the defense. He just wasn't given the right personnell to become a dominant defensive squad.

    So blame Haslett all you want but I believe given the opportunity to buy his own groceries Haslett would have put together a much better meal.

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