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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/30/2008

    Sportswriters like to believe that our opinion matters most. We want to convince everyone that we're right. We'll try to talk you into it, even if it takes all day. We go on ego trips and stay too long.

    I'm not going to try to make the case for, or against, Jim Haslett.

    Sure, I have an opinion.

    After losing 45 of their previous 64 games, the Rams need to make a change. They need to move as far away from the status quo as much as possible. And that's problematic for Haslett. As defensive coordinator, and then interim head coach, he has been in a leadership position at Rams Park for the last three seasons.

    Haslett's defense has never ranked better than 28th out of 32 NFL teams in points allowed. And Haslett certainly had considerable influence (if not total control) over personnel on the defensive side. Haslett's record as an NFL head coach is 47-61. Ugh.

    But this isn't an open-and-shut case. The Rams aren't in prime position to attract an exciting, big-fish coach. This isn't a cash-rich franchise, and the Rams aren't going to spend huge dollars on a head coach.

    And with seven or eight expected openings around the NFL, the money is a factor. As I wrote the other day, the head-coach position is more appealing with Billy Devaney installed as the general manager. But let's be realistic: This St. Louis job has chewed up coaches. And it seems that "senior adviser" John Shaw will be involved in the coaching search, sitting in on the second interviews of the two or three finalists. (Red flag). And as they are flying to Los Angeles not St. Louis for the interview, interested candidates might want to ask a few questions about Shaw's long-distance influence.

    All of this (and more) explains why Rams upper management may conclude that Haslett is their best option. Haslett will be a tough sell to the fan base, unless you're the type of person who draws emotional inspiration from a 10-game losing streak.

    And that's why my opinion doesn't matter.

    If the Rams decide to stay the course with Haslett and hope to make a sale, they'll have to convince the most important people: you, the customer. You are buying the tickets not me.

    So can you be talked into buying into Haslett?

    First, Haslett must convince Devaney, Shaw and the owners that he's the most sensible realistic option to go forward with the franchise. Haslett must convince the top dogs that they'll see something bold and dramatically different from him in 2009, compared to the three previous dud seasons at Rams Park.

    "It can't be window dressing," Devaney said. "It has to be radical in every phase. It can't be status quo. With Jim, I'll want to know, 'What exactly do you have in mind to change things and make a true difference as Rams coach?' ''

    After working the hallways at Rams Park on Monday, I believe I have a good handle on Haslett's campaign pitch to management:

    A new offensive coordinator, a new defensive coordinator and a new special teams coach. Sources tell me that Haslett was working the phones on Monday, trying to line up tentative commitments. Some recognizable, even impressive, names are in the mix. Put it this way: how would you feel about Dom Capers as defensive coordinator and (drum roll) Mike Martz as offensive coordinator?

    Haslett has put together an offseason plan for upgrading key positions. The list should be familiar to you by now; it includes an offensive tackle, a guard, a middle linebacker, a wide body at defensive tackle, a physical wide receiver and a fullback.

    Haslett also will recommend the weeding out of a few knuckleheads, including the immature guard, Richie Incognito. Haslett kicked Incognito out of the locker room before Sunday's game in Atlanta after Incognito complained of having a queasy stomach. Incognito didn't suit up for the game.

    Haslett will try to convince the bosses that he'll have a new coaching staff assembled in short order, which will give the Rams a jump on NFL teams scrambling for assistants after hiring the new head coach.

    Haslett is determined to work with the trainers and strength coaches to develop a new offseason regimen for the injury-prone running back, Steven Jackson, the franchise centerpiece.

    Haslett apparently is willing to accept a reasonable two-year deal, which would give Rams management a relatively painless escape if they change their mind on Haslett a year from now.

    Given the sales pitch, are you willing to buy into Jim Haslett?


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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    Personally, I'd be more interested in a completely new regime at Rams Park. I think we need an element of freshness and at least the appearance of a clean break with the past.

    I say the 'appearance' as I'm disappointed that Shaw retains an element of influence in the hire but I suppose we have to be grateful for small mercies and the departure of Zygmunt.

    That said, I don't discount Haslett and I don't feel the need to jump on the 'hot co-ordinator' bandwagon as others feel the need to do. That road promises no more than any other in terms of certainty and there's an argument that fresh co-ordinators of the calibre of Martz/Capers would promise just as much.

    Exciting times.
    Last edited by Fat Pang; -12-30-2008 at 08:47 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    A new offensive coordinator, a new defensive coordinator and a new special teams coach. Sources tell me that Haslett was working the phones on Monday, trying to line up tentative commitments. Some recognizable, even impressive, names are in the mix. Put it this way: how would you feel about Dom Capers as defensive coordinator and (drum roll) Mike Martz as offensive coordinator?
    Very intriguing!

    If the Rams don't have the money to spend then Haslett becomes more viable.



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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    And it seems that "senior adviser" John Shaw will be involved in the coaching search, sitting in on the second interviews of the two or three finalists. (Red flag). And as they are flying to Los Angeles not St. Louis for the interview, interested candidates might want to ask a few questions about Shaw's long-distance influence
    I told everyone a couple of weeks ago that Shaw would still be a problem and many of you said that I was making a baseless allegation. Well, I told you so. That cancer will not be out of the organization until a) he dies or b) Chip sells the team.

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    I have stated repeatedly that I feel we need to make a total break from what has been a losing culture in the Rams organization the past three seasons. That includes Haslett. I WILL say that I am in complete agreement with the numerous goals/objectives outlined in his "sales pitch" as stated by Miklasz: upgrading key positions; working diligently with the trainers to keep Steven Jackson healthy, getting rid of cancers like Incognito, and bringing in respected name coordinators like Dom Capers. What I'm skeptical of is whether Haslett is the man who should be implementing these changes and leading the team on Sundays.

    One thing that I think is a big deal is the Rams not having their headquarters in St. Louis. An owner should be visible and team operations should be a stones throw from where you play. Having your offices in Los Angeles is akin to a person trying to carry on a romantic relationship with someone 1200 miles away- it may work for awhile, but sooner or later you must come together or part ways.

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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    team operations should be a stones throw from where you play.
    Team operations, that is to say Rams Park, is a stones throw from where they play.......assuming, of course, one can throw a stone 17.7 miles.

    However, to have an owner and team presid....er, advis.....er team dalei lama (what is Shaw now?) in LA is not acceptable, IMO.

    Chip this isn't a hobby. The Rams are creating wealth for you and I think they deserve your full attention. Producing your chip-and-dip commercials (line stolen directly from Any Given Sunday) will just have to wait a while. Shaw, on the other hand, you can feel free to leave in the city of angels to work on mom's estate tax returns.

    You, my lad, need to be spending all day, every day at Rams Park.
    "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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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    Haslett also will recommend the weeding out of a few knuckleheads, including the immature guard, Richie Incognito. Haslett kicked Incognito out of the locker room before Sunday's game in Atlanta after Incognito complained of having a queasy stomach. Incognito didn't suit up for the game.
    So disappointing to hear. This guy has all the talent in the world. Outstanding pulling guard; works great in space; gets to the 2nd level better than any lineman the Rams have had in a while. But if he can't grow up, he can't grow up.

    I'm yet to be convinced that he is a "cancer" as I've never even seen a rumor from the proverbial anonymous lockerroom source to the effect. However, when an outspoken supporter like Haslett has to yank him, maybe it is time to do something with him. The stepped up play of Greco would make it a softer blow anyway.

    Would still be a shame for all that talent and ability to be wasted. Especially if he got his act together somewhere else.
    "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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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Team operations, that is to say Rams Park, is a stones throw from where they play.......assuming, of course, one can throw a stone 17.7 miles.

    However, to have an owner and team presid....er, advis.....er team dalei lama (what is Shaw now?) in LA is not acceptable, IMO.

    Chip this isn't a hobby. The Rams are creating wealth for you and I think they deserve your full attention. Producing your chip-and-dip commercials (line stolen directly from Any Given Sunday) will just have to wait a while. Shaw, on the other hand, you can feel free to leave in the city of angels to work on mom's estate tax returns.

    You, my lad, need to be spending all day, every day at Rams Park.
    Agreed. Very good post HUb

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    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Put it this way: how would you feel about Dom Capers as defensive coordinator and (drum roll) Mike Martz as offensive coordinator?
    I didn't think any amount of talking would make Haslett look like an appealing choice as HC to me, but there may be more salesman in Jim than I thought. Capers and Martz would certainly be very interesting to get on board, with that lineup keeping Haslett may not be such a bad idea after all. I still don't really see what, if anything, Haslett has done in 3 years here that we should even consider him for promotion to HC, but on the other hand if they can get commitments from Capers/Martz as coordinators that makes it a much more interesting choice.

  10. #10
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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamOfDenmark View Post
    I didn't think any amount of talking would make Haslett look like an appealing choice as HC to me, but there may be more salesman in Jim than I thought. Capers and Martz would certainly be very interesting to get on board, with that lineup keeping Haslett may not be such a bad idea after all. I still don't really see what, if anything, Haslett has done in 3 years here that we should even consider him for promotion to HC, but on the other hand if they can get commitments from Capers/Martz as coordinators that makes it a much more interesting choice.
    You know, I agree completely Denmark... Back when I was wholeheartedly supporting keeping Haslett, it was because he was showing the spirit and fire and the desire and just the personality of someone who is a good head coach, and someone who wanted to change the whole look of the franchise. He knew that there were no guarantees that he'd be kept, and in fact the chances were probably pretty slim. But he did everything he could anyway. Maybe it was just for himself and his resume, but it seemed genuine.

    Now, with the possibility of Capers and especially Martz as coordinators... it seems like it could be a good thing to keep Haslett. As I've stated, he seemed like he was made to be a head coach, not a coordinator. He's a players guy. He works with people, not X's and O's. Capers and Martz though... they do work with them, and they certainly have name recognition. Martz succeeds offensively everywhere he goes, and the team's already versed with a style of his playbook from this year with Saunders. Avery and Burton the next Holt and Bruce anyone? With Capers I'm not as familiar, but his defenses have most certainly been better than we've sported since our Super Bowl years.

    I could buy this, if Devaney does. In Devaney I trust.

  11. #11
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    We need to keep Haz. Why?

    1. The players have a bond with him. They seem to want to work for him. Just watch any of the first four games of the year, then watch any of our last ten. The differences are clear - after Haz came along, the Rams quit giving up in the first quarter. They actually TRIED to stay in the game.

    2. Whenever new blood is brought in, there will always be resistance and confusion. Joe Cool will show up, decide that his way is the best, not even consider how the players can best be utilized, and make it his way or no way. Next thing you know, our best players are wearing other uniforms and we end up with 35 year old retreads from Joe Cool's former team. Yeah, they used to be good, but now, they can't even keep up with Richard Simmons.

    3. With a two-year deal, Haz has motivation to make the team a winner. He would know he's under a microscope. If he didn't turn the team around, his chances of ever being a head coach anywhere would drop to zero. If he took this 2-14 mess and made them competitive, he'd be a wanted commodity.

    4. It seems like he won't put up with crap excuses. When Ritchie got out of line earlier in the season, Haz got on his rear end. The next few weeks, he was a different player. This time, Ritchie whined about being "queazy". Haz told him to leave. Good move. I remember Marshall hurling all over the field in a game against KC a few years back. To me, Cogs should have at least tried. If nothing else, they could have used him in an upcoming promo for the next "Shrek" film when he turned green. The players know this, and although I thought Ritchie was tougher than this, it still sends a message: Bust your butt or put on a skirt and go home.

  12. #12
    Yodude's Avatar
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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    Capers/Martz would indeed be an intriguing combination, but I have to wonder, why on earth would Martz want to come back to the Rams?

    Would Zygmunt's absence be enough to get this done?
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    I hope this latest blurb from Bernie is his usual inaccurate drivel.

    I suspect that the media-savvy Haslett is using him to make his case.Haslett's numbers as HC and DC are dreadful.The intangibles of leadership and rapport with the players are indeed important but I'd be more impressed with the Cogs story if Haz had got him to play DESPITE his tummy ache. Cogs had to know-and if he didn't,he's either totally clueless or it's an even graver indictment of Haz's ability to communicate with and motivate his players- that the last game was a team-wide job interview for next season.If Haz thought Cogs didn't fit in with future plans, he should have benched the guy earlier in the year and got a better look at the other options under game conditions.

    Nothing about the performance of this team since Haz took over indicate that his leadership made a difference. The health and performance of the individual players made a difference here and there but I saw no evidence that he made a difference at all. We were whipped by every halfway decent team and failed to beat some of the worst.

    That Haz did actually have control of developing the D over the last 3 years flies in the face of the P-D's reporting over the last month or two. One of the big bullet points in a Haz-4-HC argument would be that the FO and Limpehan didn't allow him control of the D. If not true, there's very little upon which to make his case.

    Bringing back Martz as OC would be a huge mistake. The way to beat a Martz offense-not that we have anything like the personnel to make it work-is a strong running game and relentless pressure on the QB. Those are our two greatest weaknesses; stopping the run and protecting the QB.

    As to Haslett's purported plan to rebuild the roster, any of us could come up with that. I'm not impressed.And I think many of us would decry the omission of a safety and center from that list and express concern over the idea that guard is a priority with all the options already on the roster.If we trust in Devaney, isn't that an indictment of his judgement in bringing in Bell and drafting Greco and Schuening? Not a good sign that Haslett and Billy D are on the same page.

    All in all, it sounds like disinformation from the Haslett camp fed to a hack journalist.

    I hope so.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -12-30-2008 at 01:53 PM.

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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    I wouldn't mind keeping Haz. He was thrown to the lions this year, taking over a team that was battered and beaten and not his type of personnel. With that considering, he beat two pretty good teams (dallas, washington) and the rams had played better as the season went on only to lose the last 3 games at the end of the 4th quarter. We already know the team wants him back. Let's give Haz a shot. We need some stability. Constantly switching coaches and schemes isn't going to help us. Let Haslett bring in his kind of guys and I gaurantee you we will be a different team.

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    Re: Jim Haslett as St. Louis Rams coach ... are fans willing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude View Post
    Capers/Martz would indeed be an intriguing combination, but I have to wonder, why on earth would Martz want to come back to the Rams?

    Would Zygmunt's absence be enough to get this done?
    To get the last laugh, of course.

    Oh, and the money.

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