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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/06/2006

    Rams' POLICY As of Tuesday, practices are closed to the media after the first half-hour. Other teams Closing workouts is a trend. Only nine of the NFL's 32 teams open all of practice.

    Rams players stretched and then worked individual drills Tuesday morning as game week officially began for the season opener against Denver.

    At precisely 11:30 a.m., or one-half hour into practice, a horn sounded. As players jogged over to the next drill, members of the media were escorted off the sidelines at Rams Park and away from the practice field.

    A new era in Rams football, at least in the way the organization deals with the media, was under way. Beginning this week, all regular-season workouts are closed to the media after the first half-hour of practice.

    Except for a three-game blip under Mike Martz at the start of the 2002 season, it's the first time any part of practice has been closed since the Rams moved to St. Louis from Southern California in 1995.

    "The Pro Football Writers of America, while recognizing that 30 minutes is the NFL minimum, is very disappointed that Scott Linehan has decided to change years of established St. Louis media policy," said David Elfin of the Washington Times, the president of the PFWA. "Obviously, the Rams are not ignoring the media, but they're giving you as little as they possibly can. And it's an unfortunate occurrence."

    Greg Aiello, vice president of public relations for the NFL, did not return a phone message Tuesday. But the NFL's minimum standard for open practices is 30 minutes, or until the squad goes into "team" or 11-on-11 work.

    The Rams have had a reputation for being media friendly, dating back to the franchise's days in Los Angeles. But Linehan has made several changes to restrict media access since being hired in January. Among them:

    According to the PFWA's annual survey, the Rams were one of only seven teams in the NFL to have extremely limited access, or no access, to assistant coaches.
    The Rams were one of only four NFL teams, according to the survey, that did not hold a pre-draft press conference in April.

    Rams president John Shaw declined to comment Tuesday when asked about Linehan's decision to shut down most of practice.

    Linehan offered this explanation:

    "You're able to keep a lot of the things that you're doing, not necessarily confidential, but there's a lot of things in practice that you try to keep (private)," he said. "And I know (it's) none of you, but it's really more people outside the organization. You never really know what eyes are watching.

    "We instituted the exact same policy at Minnesota. It was a little more extensive, I guess, at Miami, to say the least. I really hope none of you take it personal. It's just what we're comfortable doing at this point."

    Linehan was offensive coordinator in Minnesota from 2002 to 2004 and held that same post at Miami last season before being hired to replace Martz as Rams head coach in January.

    The number of teams shutting down most of practice has grown since Bill Belichick led New England to three Super Bowl titles in four seasons earlier this decade. Belichick is known for his restrictive media access policies, and Linehan is part of Belichick's extended coaching tree. He worked last season in Miami for Nick Saban, who once was an assistant to Belichick.

    According to the PFWA's annual survey, only nine NFL teams open all of practice to the media, but two of them -- Pittsburgh and Seattle -- played in the Super Bowl last season.

    Until now, the only exception to fully open practices in St. Louis came in 2002, when Martz shut down all of practice for the first three weeks of the regular season. Why? He was working on an unbalanced line blocking scheme for New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who had a monster game the year before in St. Louis. Martz closed practices out of fear that word might leak out about that strategy.

    To avoid suspicion that anything special was planned for the Giants, Martz closed practices for three weeks, even though the Rams played New York in Game 2.

    One of the PFWA's main organizational objectives is to work for media access, particularly local media access as conduits to the fans in each NFL city.

    "I speak every year to the agents, to the coaches, and of course to the (team) PR people," Elfin said. "And I always tell them, you can talk all you want about the Internet, you can talk all you want about ESPN and whatever, but your local (media) is still the main way that most of your fans find out about what's going on with your team. So you're really cutting off your hand to spite your face -- whatever that cliché is -- by ignoring the local media."

    In St. Louis, Elfin said the region's considerable financial commitment to lure the Rams to the Midwest is even more of a reason the media should be allowed greater access to report on the team locally.

    "We're pretty disturbed," Elfin said, "especially with those kinds of teams where the fans have, I don't want to say more at stake, but have invested more of themselves financially, that they would choose to go in this direction. I also think this is a manifestation of Scott Linehan having worked under Nick Saban, who believes the media shouldn't even be tolerated."


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    The media writing articles about how oppressed the media is...

    Cry me a river.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    The media writing articles about how oppressed the media is...

    Cry me a river.
    lol, I love how they're all so disappointed with Linehan now. Like all of a sudden, he's the bad guy. It's not like we TOTALLY shut it down, which I would've done if I was a head coach. But, hey, whatever, they can go complain about it, while they know nothing of how the Rams will be playing this year, no sneak peeks for anyone now. And that's something I am VERY happy about.

    Good thinking Linehan, I like the move.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    In St. Louis, Elfin said the region's considerable financial commitment to lure the Rams to the Midwest is even more of a reason the media should be allowed greater access to report on the team locally.

    "We're pretty disturbed," Elfin said, "especially with those kinds of teams where the fans have, I don't want to say more at stake, but have invested more of themselves financially, that they would choose to go in this direction.
    Oh yea, you're doing it for......the fan? Okay, big guy, whatever you say. As a fan, let me just say that I won't be going through withdrawals not seeing the last 1.5 hours of practice.

    This is good for the team, so if it's bad for the media (which it is), I could care less. If kicking a reporter in the face were good for the team, I'd be all for that too.........well, maybe not kicking them in the face, but I certainly won't cry with them, because Linehan made their job harder for the betterment of the team.

    But, seriously, for all you reporters and columnists, don't cry out against Linehan and then say you're doing it "for the fans". The fans don't need you speaking for us, thank you very much.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    The alternative would be to have Linehan allow what ever the media wants and instruct every person involved with the Rams to respond with " NEXT QUESTION "

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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    you got to love it when the media start to cry


  7. #7
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    I have no problem with restricting media access as long as it pays off with victories. I think Nick Wagoner will still be able to post day to day goings on at Ram Park.
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    "The Pro Football Writers of America, while recognizing that 30 minutes is the NFL minimum, is very disappointed that Scott Linehan has decided to change years of established St. Louis media policy," said David Elfin of the Washington Times, the president of the PFWA. "Obviously, the Rams are not ignoring the media, but they're giving you as little as they possibly can. And it's an unfortunate occurrence."
    "
    BOOHOOHOO...good riddance to them

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    As long as they as least let Bernie in, I have no problem with it. I wonder what Bernie thinks about this situation?

  10. #10
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    Was that last post for my benefit?

  11. #11
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    Shut up, Avengerman!

    Yeah I'm peeved! If I don't have access to the team, who's going to believe me when I spread rumors about how bad things are! That Scott Linehan is such a jerk! He refuses to treat me like the celebrity that I am.

  12. #12
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    Will you be joining us at the Bash on Saturday Bernie? Hope to see u there.

  13. #13
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    OH, NO! Whatever will the FFl do when trying to pick starters each week if they cannot get any "inside" inormation from those media types trying to show how good they are by revealing little secrets they have garnered?

    Never seeming to realize some of the tidbits can be used against our team? Loose lips sink ships but what the heck, after all freedom of the press is much more important!

    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

  14. #14
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    Linehan sounds a lot like the paranoid Martz right now. "Must keep the secrets" from the outside world.

    Well I hope they are doing something to encourage a bigger fan base in St Louis. Blocking the local media will hurt the local interest in the team. We are bound to get less information here, as well, if the local reporters have less to report.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Rams: Secrecy is in, media are out

    Quote Originally Posted by Utter
    Blocking the local media will hurt the local interest in the team. We are bound to get less information here, as well, if the local reporters have less to report.
    Maybe, I read it wrong, but my understanding is.....the media is only being blocked from the last 1.5 hours of practice.

    I don't see where they're being blocked completely........what newsworthy tidbits, and sound bites can the media glean from an hour or two of practice that they can't get elsewhere?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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