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My home town paper interviews Linehan
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Posted on Wed, Feb. 08, 2006
Ready or not...
The new Rams head coach was an unknown Vikings assistant four years ago. 'No matter how much I try to convince myself that I'm ready, I'm probably still ill-equip-ped to do the job because you can't buy experience,' he says.
In 2002, newly hired Vikings coach Mike Tice handpicked an NFL unknown to direct his offense. Scott Linehan bolstered his reputation for developing quarterbacks and running elite offenses by leading the Vikings to three top-five rankings, including No. 1 in 2003.
Hired away from the Vikings last year by the Dolphins, Linehan improved Miami's ranking on offense from 29th in the NFL to 14th.
After just four NFL seasons, Linehan was hired as the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Pioneer Press NFL writer Sean Jensen caught up with Linehan last week at the Super Bowl.
Q. Did you think this opportunity would come this early in your career?
Well, I look at things differently. Opportunities come up when you least expect them, and you always have to be ready. They come and go. I've been preparing myself to be a head coach at any level, since I got into this business 17 years ago, knowing you're not ready coming out the gates. But you take notes, and prepare for that day, or else those opportunities will pass you by.
I think I'm pretty fortunate — don't get me wrong. But if you have a goal for something, you don't want to let a good opportunity — or a great one in this case — pass you by.
There are some good things in place, talent-wise. I thought it was one of the better openings of the ones that were open, because it had less problems than the other ones.
Are you ready to be a head coach?
I kept notes of my experiences. How would you do things if you were a head coach? If this topic came up, what would I do? How would I handle a situation? That's the only way you can prepare yourself.
No matter how much I try to convince myself that I'm ready, I'm probably still ill-equipped to do the job because you can't buy experience. But it'd be a mistake if you didn't prepare yourself, and watch how other coaches handle different situations, and listen to their reasons as to why this was a good decision. That's the only way you can prepare yourself for this day.
I think that gives me a good start. I know I'm going to be learning hands on and going through my own experiences that I had no idea would be a part of the job.
Have you talked to Mike Tice?
A I left a message. I haven't talked to him. I know he just got hired by Jack Del Rio down in Jacksonville. I'm sure we'll talk.
Did you ever considering hiring Tice?
Of course. He was one of the elite position coaches in the league before he got his head coaching job. But I didn't want him to be uncomfortable.
Things happen, and they happen for a reason. You don't just swap jobs with your old boss. I think it's got to be something that just works and happens naturally. I think he's got a great opportunity to work with his great friend Jack, and he'll do a great job.
I think, over time, it would be great. But right out of the gates, it probably would be best to do our own thing for a while. Sometime down the road, it wouldn't surprise me if we were together.
How is your family adjusting to this opportunity?
A The family is adjusting fine. They still haven't been up to St. Louis.
The day of the press conference, the kids were in school and my wife was probably cleaning the house, watching it on TV.
It just happened so fast.
You also interviewed with the Houston Texans. Were you surprised you weren't contacted by the Vikings?
A This is a business, and people do things and make decisions based on what's best for their organization. I have no qualms about the direction people go because I have to do the same thing in St. Louis now. I have to make decisions on staff. There are a lot of excellent candidates, but you have to decide what's best.
I'm not surprised by anything that happens in this business. But I respect people's decision to go a certain way.
There's a lot of speculation about Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Can you comment on one popular rumor that has you trading for him?
A Rumors are exactly that: they're rumors. I would never comment on a player that's under contract to another club. That would not be a good idea. My whole focus is on the Ram players, and that's how I got to be. That's the only way to be. We've got our own issues to deal with here.
The one thing I will say about Daunte is, I had a great relationship with him in Minnesota, and I will always hold that very close to my heart.
The business side of it? All that is hearsay. There's nothing to it.
When was the last time you spoke to Culpepper?
A Right around the time I left (Minnesota), just to wish him well and all that. When you move on and take another job, you change your focus, and it goes on to the players. I'm sure I'll bump into him down the road.
What do you think of your new quarterback, Marc Bulger?
A He's the classic overachiever, and I love overachievers because there's a reason they are, and you start with their intangible qualities. I was giving (Rams defensive coordinator and former New Orleans Saints head coach) Jim Haslett a hard time. He had all these quarterbacks in his camp at one time.
The guys that were most successful were guys that were cut, Jake Delhomme (traded from the Saints to the Carolina Panthers) and Bulger (a sixth-round pick of the Saints in 2000). But that's a pretty good evaluation by him to get those guys in there.
If we can keep (Bulger) healthy, he can be one of the premier players in this league. Protecting him will be a place to start. We got to keep him clean.
What did you learn in your one season with the Dolphins?
A That was a pretty valuable year because we went in there and we had to fix some things in a hurry. If you do it the right way, we proved that you can do that. If we get everybody (on the Rams) back on the same page right away, you can get headed in the right direction sooner than later, because I had just been through it in Miami. Let's find out what's good about the organization, and build on that. Then we'll work to improve the other areas.
Will you keep the high-flying offense that you're known for?
A You are who you are. Zebras don't change their stripes. The Rams have an offensive personality and attitude.
But we'll do some things.
Re: My home town paper interviews Linehan
I believe thats the best i've heard out of linehan yet.I can feel excited about our Offence returning to the GSOT.
Although I'm not totally sold on linehan yet,i do however like his record with the Vikes and the fins,we will see.
Haslet is another matter,I'll wait for game time until making a judgement,because he has a lot harder task ahead of him with the D.My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild
-02-09-2006 #4Registered User
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Re: My home town paper interviews Linehan
I give the Ram's org a big thumbs down for hiring him. I don't want him learning on the job, on our time - our season.
I would never hire an unproven guy to fill a key spot. That's a mark of a desperate, or uncommitted, uncaring, and unknowing organization. Look at Detroit.
"Hello Mr. Stoogie, I'm Dr. Soundnice, and I'm going to be performing your brain surgery today. I've never done brain surgery before, but I've watched how it's done, and I've assisted other docs in the OR." I'm hoping that we can save your life.
"Hello Mr. Stoogie, I'm attorney Hopeful. I'll be representing you in court today. I've never tried a case before, but I've helped other attorneys, and done lots of paperwork. I'm hoping you won't get the death penalty."
I can't fault Linehan for taking the job. If they offered it to me, I'd take it too. But spare me the 'judgment on attitude' rhetoric; its going to be a painful season. I can hear Baghdad Bob predicting that the Ram's are going to dominate next season.
Last edited by coy bacon; -02-09-2006 at 01:45 PM.