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  1. #1
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    Linehan's the Man

    Linehan's the Man
    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    After 17 days of searching preceded by a couple months of preparation, Rams President John Shaw has found his man. The Rams have selected Miami offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as their new head coach.

    Linehan will be introduced in a news conference Friday afternoon.

    Linehan emerged as the favorite after a strong first interview about two weeks ago. He impressed Shaw and the rest of the Ramsí brass with his ideas for a potential coaching staff and the organization as a whole then and did not disappoint in his second interview on Monday.

    After Shaw made his recommendation following the completion of interviews of the rest of the candidates (Cam Cameron and Ron Rivera), Linehan was taken to Arizona to meet with owner Georgia Frontiere on Wednesday night. With her approval, Linehan was named the 22nd coach in the history of the organization Thursday afternoon.

    Linehan takes over a team that finished 6-10 and ranked among the leagueís worst in terms of defense and special teams. With that in mind, it might have come as a surprise that St. Louis chose to go with an offensive coordinator, but after interviewing Linehan and speaking with a number of trusted people around the league, Shaw altered his course slightly.

    The Rams originally seemed poised to make a run at a defensive-minded coach with the hope that he could bring in a talented offensive coordinator to handle that side of the ball. But Linehanís plan for the entire franchise, including both sides of the ball and special teams was so impressive that Shaw began to rethink his strategy.

    With a plethora of talented and experienced defensive coordinators available, including the likes of Jim Bates, Dom Capers, Dick Jauron and Ted Cottrell, it became apparent the Rams didnít necessarily have to have a defensive guy as the man in charge.

    While it remains to be seen who Linehan will bring with him to fill out the staff, it is clear that the Rams will target one of those established names to take over the defense.

    Offensively, Linehan has earned a reputation in his four seasons in the NFL as one of the gameís brightest offensive minds. He spent his first three seasons in the league in Minnesota, where he was the Vikingsí offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He led Minnesota to one of the leagueís most potent offenses, taking charge of a unit that finished first in 2003 and fourth in 2004.

    Linehan earned the respect of all of his offensive talent, drawing high praise from quarterback Daunte Culpepper and receiver Randy Moss for his work in developing the Vikings into one of the leagueís most high-octane units.

    After his contract with Minnesota expired after the 2004 season, Linehan became a coveted man with new Dolphins coach Nick Saban offering him a lucrative contract to take over Miamiís stagnant offense.

    Although the Dolphins finished just 14th in total offense this season, they made a dramatic improvement on their performance the season before and did it with Gus Frerotte, a glorified journeyman as the starting quarterback.

    Linehanís offenses might be known most for the vertical passing attack that was keyed by Moss and Culpepper, but there has been plenty of balance to Linehanís units. In 2003, when the team finished first in total offense, the Vikings were fourth in the league in passing and fourth in the league in rushing.

    That should bode well for a Rams offense that already has plenty of talent in place. With the likes of quarterback Marc Bulger, running back Steven Jackson, receivers Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kevin Curtis and a pair of bookend tackles in Alex Barron and Orlando Pace, Linehan will have one of the most talented offenses in the league to work with.

    Make no mistake, Linehanís system is different from the system run by former Rams coach Mike Martz, but it has been almost as successful at its peak. The best news might be for Bulger, who has been battered because of protection problems in the past two seasons, costing him a number of games with a shoulder injury.

    Linehan prefers to use multiple tight end sets and isnít afraid to go to max protection to keep his quarterbacks clean. Miami was fourth in the league this season in fewest sacks allowed.

    Linehan doesnít have any head coaching experience, but spent 14 years as a college coach before jumping to the Vikings in 2002. He played his college ball at Idaho, where he played quarterback. He signed a free agent contract with the Cowboys before a shoulder injury ended his playing days.

    The next step for the Rams and Linehan will be to make decisions on the rest of the staff. Team sources have also indicated that Linehan will be involved in the process of developing a revamped pro personnel department that will allow Linehan to focus his efforts on the team.

    Linehan emerged early as the favorite and made the cut to the final three along with Cameron and Rivera this week. Rivera apparently finished his second interview strong and was reported to be in the mix, but Linehanís overall vision for the future proved too much and the Rams made their decision soon after Riveraís Wednesday interview.

    In the end, Shaw interviewed seven candidates in person with one phone interview. Linehan, 42, is the sixth head coach with no prior head coaching experience to be given his first shot in this offseason.


  2. #2
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    Re: Linehan's the Man

    Alright! It's a done deal! I like the choice. From everything we've been reading about the guy, I can't help but be excited. He brings alot to the table. I'm looking forward to the anticipated changes of this new era for the Rams.

    This could be good, folks! Something to be excited about! Let's hope he lives up to his billing.

    Go Rams!!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Linehan's the Man

    Scott, don't let us down, bring back the D and bring back the GSOE

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    Re: Linehan's the Man

    On Scott:
    the impact of having the assistant calling plays from the field, plenty of statistics suggest otherwise.

    This one in particular: The Dolphins are undefeated.

    The team has gone 5-0 since Nov. 27, the first time this season Linehan joined his players on the sideline. During those wins, the Dolphins scored 21.6 points per game — 5.4 more than they averaged before Linehan made the move.

    So is the timing of the move and the Dolphins' success coincidence? Or has Linehan's presence on the sideline truly had an impact on the Dolphins' current winning streak?

    Tight end Randy McMichael disagrees with Booker.

    "Having him down there, seeing things the way we see them, he can come to us directly to let us know what he's thinking," McMichael said. "It makes a big difference."

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