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Linehan's Rams get set to train for real
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Jul. 23 2006
The turmoil that roiled throughout Rams Park during much of the 2005 NFL season
gave way over the past few months to a noticeable calm.
With little fanfare and few noticeable snags, new head coach Scott Linehan put
together a staff of assistants, dipped heavily into the pool of veteran free
agents, conducted three minicamps, and guided the organization through the
All of which provided the ramp-up for what Linehan considers the de facto start
of the season: training camp, which gets under way this week in Earth City.
Players are to report Wednesday, with the first practices scheduled for
"This is where we all wave good-bye to our families and say, 'We'll see you in
'07,'" Linehan said, laughing. "It's certainly the most exciting part of our
jobs right now, hitting training camp and getting ready to put your team out
Linehan's team will bear some resemblance to the one that Mike Martz left
behind. That's particularly true on offense, where 10 of 11 starters return
from the unit that ranked 11th in the 32-team league - fourth in the NFC - in
On the other side of the ball, though, substantial change has taken place in
the wake of the Rams' 6-10 pratfall in 2005. Gone are safeties Adam Archuleta
and Mike Furrey, along with tackles Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis. Several
other former starters will be fighting for their jobs.
"The great thing about a new staff, a new team a new roster is, there are a lot
of clean slates out there," Linehan said. "A lot of things can be done on the
field now. Put the pads on and see who's willing to tackle, who's secure with
the ball, see how competitive and how tough a football team you are. ...
"The environment is new, and everybody's got to take their game to another
Heading into camp, the only returning starters on defense seemingly still
secure as first-teamers are end Leonard Little and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa.
Many of the nine other spots figure to be filled by newcomers, including safety
Corey Chavous, tackle La'Roi Glover and linebacker Will Witherspoon.
Cornerback Fakhir Brown and linebacker Raonall Smith also could figure into the
mix, along with cornerback Tye Hill, the team's first-round draft choice.
A defensive overhaul was an offseason no-brainer, after the Rams wound up 31st
last year in total defense and gave up more points than all but two other teams.
Linehan's background is offense; he was the offensive coordinator in Minnesota
for three years and in Miami for one season before being hired here. So, he has
leaned heavily on defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and his position coaches in
attempting to rebuild the defense.
"That's why you hire good people, so you don't feel the burden of all the jobs
that you've got to get done," Linehan said. "Our coaches have worked their
No one, however, has spent more time on the second floor of Rams Park over the
past seven months than Linehan, whose SUV seems to be a permanent fixture on
the parking lot. Still, he said the time has "flown by. There's no offseason in
the NFL anymore. You've got so many important dates that come up."
As a first-time head coach, Linehan has strived to make the transition as
smooth as possible while also assuring that he's fully prepared to run his
first training camp.
"It certainly has been different, being in this new position. But it's also
been very enjoyable," Linehan said. "Nothing's perfect, but we've certainly
worked through every part of the whole calendar that you've got to set, the
deadlines that you've got to meet.
"We're as ready as we could be and have done as good a job as we could do to
get to where we are now. We've got a lot of work to do yet, but I'm certainly
happy with how it's gone."
Re: Linehan's Rams get set to train for real
I actually like to hear that Linehan is relying on Haslett. I really like Haslett and his approach to Football. He definitely has a nasty side to him and that's ok with me. As long as he can motivate while giving a butt kicking this "D" will be a very nice surprise for us Rams Fans.