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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    07/23/2006
    Bernie Miklasz
    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    [More columns]

    In a few days, the Rams will open training camp and a new era. Scott Linehan is the coach, having replaced Mike Martz, the leading man in our town's most fascinating and frustrating sports soap opera.

    For all of the raw hatred spewed at the controversial Martz in recent years, fans have hardly bum-rushed the box office in support of the organization's decision to dump Martz, recruit Linehan and modify the second-floor power structure at Rams Park with the hiring of Tony Softli as VP of personnel.

    After a 56-36 record, two division titles, four playoff berths and one Super Bowl trip, Martz flipped out in St. Louis and hauled his encyclopedic playbook and mood swings to the Detroit Lions.

    So why isn't everyone happy?


    Perhaps a skeptical football public lacks faith in Rams management after last season's 6-10 record and family feud. Perhaps Linehan's unproven profile is causing the "Show Me" side of fans to kick in.

    Whatever the reason for the apathy, the Rams needed to move tickets for 2006 and addressed it by launching an aggressive marketing campaign. The Edward Jones Dome probably will be filled, but is the fan base firm?

    "We just want to continue our streak of consecutive sellouts," Rams president John Shaw said. "Our sales for 2006 weren't down all that much, but we want the stadium full, and we were ambitious in trying to let fans know tickets were available."

    Well, that's the answer to one question.

    And as the Rams enjoy their final hours of freedom before entering the sauna of two-a-day practices, I have several other questions:

    How's Linehan doing? The early signs are positive. He's developed strong relationships at Rams Park. Linehan has impressed key co-workers with his democratic approach; he really wants to hear everyone's opinion on football matters. Linehan seems to understand how an organization must function to operate smoothly. He's a team player.

    "He's very calm and unifying," Shaw said. "He does a good job of keeping things on a steady keel. It will be very interesting to watch him as he goes into his first camp, his first season. There will always be challenges for any coach."

    Especially during times of adversity.

    Is Linehan too nice? That theory has been proposed on Internet boards and talk shows. I think it's funny. One of Linehan's first moves was to fire underachieving tight end Brandon Manumaleuna and trade him to San Diego. Linehan banned reporters from having free access to his assistants. Linehan is basically banning reporters from practice this season. He's also limiting the number of training-camp practices open to fans. Don't let that Howdy Doody grin fool you.

    Is Steven Jackson ready? Linehan will feed him the ball. The hope is this: Jackson will be too busy, and too tired, to file complaints about not being used enough. Jackson is going to get the chance to prove he's tough enough to be a feature back.

    * Is Jim Haslett the next Buddy Ryan? Larry Marmie is gone after a disastrous two-year term as Martz's defensive coordinator. And vanilla has been banned from Rams Park. Can Haslett, the feisty new defensive coordinator, build a nasty unit that can stuff the run and pound quarterbacks? He needs more players. The signing of defensive tackle La'Roi Glover, linebacker Will Witherspoon and safety Corey Chavous was a good start. Using the No. 1 pick to draft the super-fast cornerback, Tye Hill, was the right move. Haslett, the old head-banging linebacker, surely will get the boys cranked up.

    But does Haslett play well with others? Haslett has a renegade streak. He's a street fighter. Haslett has earned a reputation for being a helpful man of whispers to national reporters. Remember how Ryan built a separate kingdom inside team headquarters when he coordinated the mighty Chicago Bears' defense for head coach Mike Ditka? Could it happen at Rams Park with Haslett? Just wondering.

    Can we have a roll call? For the Rams to compete for a playoff spot, they'll need young veterans to move, take a firm grip on jobs and play to their potential. Is DT Jimmy Kennedy an impact player or a pouter? Is LB Pisa Tinoisamoa overrated or a true player? Is DE Anthony Hargrove just an impressive practice-field athlete or a force who can make game-changing plays? Is safety O.J. Atogwe ready to justify his status as a No. 2 draft pick in 2005? And can guard-center Richie Incognito win a job on the interior offensive line?

    It's time to begin the process of turning potential into performance. And that includes the coaches.


  2. #2
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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    The old saying is; Time will Tell.

    I am feeling very positive about the future of our beloved RAMS. Linehan seems to have addressed the areas of concern from my point of view.
    TE, D coordinator, d-line,lb,secondary,back up QB,etc.. However now with Marshall out of the picture, RB is a concern for me. My biggest concern right now is who or whom will fill in for Steven Jackson if he gets hurt ???

    :confused:

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    Is safety O.J. Atogwe ready to justify his status as a No. 2 draft pick in 2005?
    Oh Bernie, Atogwe doesn't have to justify his status as a #2 draft pick, because he was a third round draft pick.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



  4. #4
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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    Love the post , I think most of those things will happen , I've said it before and I'll say it again , We have the talent to make us a contender and as long as the new staff can pump our guys up and redo the the heart problem that created the problem which was boys at the top ... We will have wait and see how our new staff does , for myself I'm excited and can't wait ...

  5. #5
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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    I have a feeling that the Haslett/Linehan relationship isn't going to be like Ozzie and Harriet.

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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    So TX, is that an "I think they will butt heads" or an "I didn't think that Ozzie and Harriet had a mutually beneficial relationship" statement??

    I am seeking a little more clarity here.

    ARF

  7. #7
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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    Well, my take was from Raising Arizona when Nic Cage tells his wife their relationship isn't like Ozzie and Harriet.

    Which means, Linehan and Haslett are going to butt heads....let me rephrase that. Haslett and the entire management team at Rams Park are going to butt heads.

    That's just my take.

  8. #8
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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Blarney MrArse
    In a few days, the Rams will open training camp and a new era. Scott Linehan is the coach, having replaced Mike Martz, the leading man in our town's most fascinating and frustrating sports soap opera.
    Its only a soap opera to you, Blarney. To the rest of us, its a sport.

    For all of the raw hatred spewed at the controversial Martz in recent years
    Such as yourself?

    Martz flipped out
    Case in point.

    So why isn't everyone happy?
    Who's are these unhappy people of whom you speak? The voices in your head, perhaps?

    That theory has been proposed on Internet boards and talk shows.
    Of course, these are the same mediums in which you can hear theories about how Bigfoot teamed up with the Loch Ness Monster to fake the lunar landing.

    It's time to begin the process of turning potential into performance. And that includes the coaches.
    If only the same could be said of sportwriters.

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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    Well, my take was from Raising Arizona when Nic Cage tells his wife their relationship isn't like Ozzie and Harriet.

    Which means, Linehan and Haslett are going to butt heads....let me rephrase that. Haslett and the entire management team at Rams Park are going to butt heads.

    That's just my take.
    I disagree. Haslett came to us as a Defensive Coordinator, because of Linehan. Linehan not only wanted this guy, but admires and respects his decisions. I think Linehan was very smart to get this guy for two big reasons...1. He has experience as a Head Coach, and he can be taught well. (He is obviously a good HC, and a Great DC.) 2. He knows how to run a Defense, and he's going to totally turn the Rams D around into a good, agressive Defense, no one has seen in quite some time with the Rams.

    Can I say there won't be any butting heads? No, there's never any guarantee on anything like that. But, what I can tell you, is that it will be nothing like Martz and the FO, for example. I think Linehan will learn from this guy, and will want to take tips from him. Haslett came here, because he thinks there may be something good coming from all this, why? Because Linehan convinced him. I think they'll be fine, I don't think we have to worry about this at all.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: In Rams 'Jeopardy,' the answers are ...

    Haslett will not hesitate to give his opinion, but he also realizes that if he screws this up, there goes his chance at another head coaching spot. Just like Mad Mike, he has an opportunity to show he can teach and be part of a team.
    "I was the originator of smack. Some guys rattle with smack; with other guys it rolls right off their shoulders like nothing. "
    -Deacon Jones

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