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Linehan wants Rams to develop a killer instinct
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS --After yet another second-half slump, St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan is looking for ways to help his team develop more of a killer instinct.
The Rams rolled out to a 21-0 halftime lead and then held on for a 28-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
"We certainly have to play much better in the second half," Linehan said. "We have to score more, we have to stop them more, and we have to come up with better special teams play in the second half of games.
"I would rather learn the lesson from a win and a fortunate finish like we had yesterday than to be sitting here talking about what happened, collapsing and those things. You can't continue to do that though and expect to win games. We have to finish it off and have little more of, I don't know if you want to call it a killer instinct sitting here at 3-9, but I think that is the way you have to be."
For the season, the Rams have been outscored 192-66 in the second half.
Linehan said the coaching staff talked to the players about not letting up against the Falcons at halftime on Sunday.
"Maybe we emphasized it too much," Linehan said. "We were determined talking about it at halftime. There was 'no letting up' and it was a '0-0 game' and 'come out aggressive."'
Linehan said he didn't think Rams' play-calling on offense and defense has gotten conservative in the second half.
"We blitzed more in the second half and threw more with the lead than you would if you normally have a 21-point lead. I know I looked at it," Linehan said. "I think we have to look at ourselves."
Linehan said he called more passing plays than running plays in the second half against the Falcons.
"We threw the ball 17 times and ran it 12 times," Linehan said. "I looked at every call I made and it was much more the opposite than it feels. We still have to execute. We can't come out of the gate and let them drive and move the ball. We can't come out and go three-and-out on offense. We can't let them have that one big return each week that we have been giving up. Somewhere we are letting up and we have to get that fixed."
The Rams' defense gave up 283 yards in the second after giving up only 152 yards in the first half.
Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett bristled over a question about how the team has given up a lot of yards in the second half.
"I don't think we're playing bad in the second half," Haslett said. "I really don't. We played a lot of plays in the second half and gave up a couple scores. But teams do score in this league. I don't think we're playing that bad in the second half. I think it's kind of a broad thing. I probably disagree with you on that."
Falcons quarterback Chris Redman entered the game in the fourth and threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Redman hadn't thrown a touchdown pass since 2002. He was out of football working as an insurance salesmen in 2006.
"There were a lot of plays, 32 plays in the fourth quarter," Haslett said of A lot of different reasons. Some of them we didn't play well. They were on the field a long time. Just different things added up to it. There's not one thing that sticks out."
Linehan served as Redman's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during his senior season at the University of Louisville.
"What I saw on Sunday reminded me a lot of what I used to see when I was coaching him," Linehan said Redman. "The guy had a phenomenal game other than the turnover late. The guy looked like John Elway there in the fourth quarter for a couple series."
The Rams have won three of their last four games after starting off an 0-8 starts this season.
Linehan listed continuing to improve in red zone efficiency and continue to fight through injuries as two of his goals for the Rams over the final four games of the season.
"We can't allow ourselves to use every excuse in the book," Linehan said. "I think we just have to continue to find ways. Everybody has injuries. We've had our fair share, but we just have to continue to keep being creative and keep finding ways to improve.
"The thing I'm most proud of maybe in the last five, six, maybe seven weeks is our team has played extremely hard, and we've been right in all of these ball games. At the eight game break, being 0-8 and having a bye, I think it would have been pretty easy for guys to cash it in. We've been 3-1 since, and one yard away from being 4-0. If we can build on that and just keep our focus on this eight-game season in the second half, I think you'll really see a team that will come together."
Re: Linehan wants Rams to develop a killer instinct
I will give Linehan credit for not using injuries as an excuse and having to say you need to fight through it,he may not be the best X & 0 coach in the league but he does show integrity by not looking for excuses and pointing fingers,as far as the killer instinct,I do believe that starts with him and if he shows that fire it will rub off on the players.
Re: Linehan wants Rams to develop a killer instinct"I would rather learn the lesson from a win and a fortunate finish like we had yesterday than to be sitting here talking about what happened, collapsing and those things.
We played a lot of plays in the second half and gave up a couple scores. But teams do score in this league. I don't think we're playing that bad in the second half. I think it's kind of a broad thing. I probably disagree with you on that."
There were a lot of plays, 32 plays in the fourth quarter,"Haslett said of A lot of different reasons.
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