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  1. #1
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Linehan has grown into a true leader for the Rams

    By Bernie Miklasz

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    [More columns]

    Scott Linehan represents a different style of NFL coaching. This grinding and demanding profession has pushed more than one head coach to the brink of madness, and more than a few of these burnout cases have contributed to their own demise.

    Whether it be all-night video study, sleeping on office couches, being isolated from their families, or having extreme mood swings, these guys can become totally consumed by coaching. They lose themselves, and then they lose their jobs.

    When Linehan became the Rams' head coach on Jan. 19, 2006, he made a promise to his wife Kristen and their three sons, Matthew, Michael and Marcus. Simply: He'd always come home at night. He would not turn Rams Park into a residence hall.

    Linehan works hard and wants to win as much as any NFL coach. But there's a balance to Linehan that I've come to appreciate. I had to learn. Through much of Linehan's rookie season, I misread him.
    His low-key manner seemed boring, but he really wasn't dull — he was steady. There's more to leadership than raging, picking arguments with reporters, or ripping players in public. And Linehan's calmness served the Rams well during a five-game losing streak. They rallied to win their last three games, finishing 8-8.

    We were looking for a show at Rams Park, because that's been the routine. Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz were often dramatic, be it the emotional DV's teardrops, or Mad Mike revealing his tormented psyche. News conferences were grand entertainment. But Linehan had to do it his way, and his stability is an asset.

    "There's going to be some good days, and some trying days," Linehan said Wednesday. "It's easy to be sky high when things are good. It's hard to be consistent when things aren't going well. Being steady gets you through to another level. You don't disintegrate and go the other way and cause other people in our group to implode. Bottom line is, if you take accountability as a team, it gets you through the tests and the stress. That starts with the coach."

    Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy and Chicago coach Lovie Smith performed a valuable service last season in getting their teams to the Super Bowl. They proved it was possible to win with class and dignity. You don't have to be mean spirited or spew lava to win in this game. Linehan is along those personality lines; he's comfortable in his skin. And as we saw last season with defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who skipped practice and got traded, Linehan doesn't tolerate foolishness. He's as tough as he needs to be.

    For Linehan, the most important development in his rookie season was staying true to his nature. Being genuine and trustworthy is good leadership. So is recognizing your weaknesses, and correcting them. When Linehan fired himself from calling plays (giving the duty to assistant Greg Olson) after a horrible Week 11 loss at Carolina, he became a true leader.

    "It was a matter of growing," Linehan said. "And becoming the head coach. Not being the guy who got the head-coach job that's still the offensive coordinator. That's a big transformation. As the head coach, you are accountable, and you can set the standards, and you have to be knowledgeable in all areas, so you know when things need to be shaken up and adjusted on offense, defense and special teams. But if you hire someone to be a coordinator, then let them do their job.

    "And you have to be willing to listen. I've encouraged our coaches not to be thin-skinned, just like I shouldn't be. If you think your way is the only way and you're not the problem when things aren't going well, then that's when things really start to disintegrate within. That's what I learned the most last year. Not so much giving up the play calling, but maybe being the guy who got the job because he was an offensive coordinator, and who was trying to figure out how to be the head coach while he was still the coordinator. You have to become the head coach and take on more of a role throughout the entire team."

    Linehan is looking forward to his second season. And Kristen and the boys are enjoying life in St. Louis, as they get heavily involved in competing in multiple sports, and putting down roots in the community. The oldest son, 12-year-old Matthew, recently made a request of his dad.

    "He told me to win a bunch of games and get to the Super Bowl, because he wants to stay in St. Louis at least long enough to graduate from high school," Linehan said with a laugh.

    As Linehan puts the Rams through minicamp, he's relaxed, and confident. He has a team that he really likes, a team he really knows. That's a big change from the spring and summer of 2006, when Linehan felt like a stranger trying to find his way through a challenging new environment. But he made it home. He always does.

  2. #2
    VegasRam's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan has grown into a true leader for the Rams

    "...I misread him."

    I guess that was "sort of" an apology. I think Bernie took a lot of unwarranted shots at Linehan last year, but here is just another example of Linehan's leadership and class as he's apparently won Miklaz over.

  3. #3
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Linehan has grown into a true leader for the Rams

    Great to know Coach Linehan has settled down and is manning the team by working smarter and not necessarily by working harder. This too reflects strength and character on the team.

  4. #4
    marccat Guest

    Re: Linehan has grown into a true leader for the Rams

    I love the fact that our head coach is his own man and not a clone like so many other coaches. Keep on truckin' Scott !!!

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