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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Oct. 09 2007

    As votes of confidence go, it was stronger than his infamous "he's got seven
    games to get it right" ultimatum directed at Rich Brooks in 1996.

    Nonetheless, team President John Shaw stopped short Monday of saying
    absolutely, positively that Scott Linehan would be back as Rams head coach in
    2008.

    "I can say that it's not even a subject of conversation today," Shaw told the
    Post-Dispatch on Monday. "Nor will it be until the season's over. There's still
    11 games left in the season. He's our coach. ... We'll look at where everything
    is after the season."

    With the Rams sitting at 0-5 and facing a stretch of four road games in their
    next five contests, Shaw's assessment might sound ominous for Linehan's job
    security if the team continues to struggle. But Shaw has told associates that
    even a complete disaster in 2007 such as a one- or two-victory season might
    not lead to Linehan's dismissal because of the team's avalanche of injuries.

    Also, Shaw is taking into account the fact that the team finished 8-8 in 2006,
    Linehan's rookie season as an NFL head coach. While not cause for celebration,
    that still represented a two-game improvement over the '05 campaign.

    "We've lost some close games that we probably had a chance to win," Shaw said.
    "I think a lot of our problems started with Orlando (Pace) getting hurt in the
    second quarter of the first game. Then we start shuffling the line. Then Marc
    (Bulger) got hurt quickly afterwards. ... And then we went into a series of
    injuries that took away a number of starting players.

    "We played this week obviously without Marc, without Steven (Jackson), without
    Isaac (Bruce). We've played several games without any of the starting corners.
    The offensive line's been decimated.

    "It's gets to be fairly easy to explain (the 0-5 start). What's tougher to
    explain is how we right the situation until we get some of our starters back,
    and get our good players playing at the level that they're expected to be
    playing."

    So how do the Rams get out of this 0-5 hole?

    "I wish I had a magic wand to give you an answer," Shaw said. "Except for a
    couple of dominant teams in the AFC, this is a business where teams are close.
    When the ball doesn't bounce your way, or you get a run of injuries, it affects
    the outcome of the games. (Sunday) was an example."

    Shaw pointed to the injury situation in the secondary against Arizona. Strong
    safety Corey Chavous already was out with a pectoral muscle injury. Jerome
    Carter (fractured foot) and Todd Johnson (sprained neck) were lost during the
    game because of injuries. At that point, the team officially was out of healthy
    safeties with only Oshiomogho Atogwe still standing.

    "We're already short on corners, and next thing you know, we're moving corners
    to safety," Shaw said. "So there's no logical explanation for it. I'm not
    trying to make excuses for the situation. Injuries are part of the game, and
    we're in a streak right now where we've had a run of injuries that are pretty
    overwhelming."

    Some have suggested that the Rams' slow start offensively, and also the rash of
    injuries, might have been prevented had the regulars played more in the
    exhibition season. But Shaw defended Linehan.

    "I rely on the coach's judgment for that," Shaw said. "That's what Scott chose
    to do, and as an organization we support him. We're not the only club that did
    that. Several clubs didn't play a lot of their star players for fear of injury.
    The Chargers didn't play LT (LaDainian Tomlinson); the 'Niners didn't play
    (Frank) Gore; New England didn't play Randy Moss. So you take a gamble. And
    ironically, we still end up losing a couple of players."

    Offensive tackle Todd Steussie (foot), offensive guard Richie Incognito (ankle)
    and wide receiver Drew Bennett (thigh) all suffered injuries during exhibition
    games or in preseason practices. Steussie won't be eligible to return to the
    roster until mid-November after being released with an injury settlement.
    Incognito missed the first four games of the regular season before making his
    debut against Arizona. Bennett missed the season opener, and still isn't
    running at full speed.

    Shaw also defended Linehan's decision to play Bulger against Tampa Bay and
    Dallas despite aggravating his rib injury in Game 2, against San Francisco.

    "We just signed him to a $65 million deal," Shaw said. "You want to go with the
    Pro Bowl quarterback. That's your natural instinct. I think Scott felt that. We
    kind of had that issue with Marc and Kurt (Warner) for a number of games when
    we were 0-5 the last time (in 2002)."

    Following the Dallas contest Linehan made an abrupt change, benching Bulger for
    the Arizona game in favor of Gus Frerotte. In another surprising about-face,
    Linehan took over play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
    Shaw insisted Monday that team management had no influence on either decision.

    "I think Scott just kind of felt that his best chance to win (Sunday) was with
    Gus, considering Marc's physical condition,'' Shaw said. "So he made the
    switch."

    Those changes seemed to spark the offense in Sunday's 34-31 loss. Frerotte
    threw three costly interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown,
    but also threw three TD passes. The use of the no-huddle system, and Linehan's
    play-calling, seemed to give the offense more energy.

    It made for an entertaining game, even in defeat for the Rams, but few St.
    Louisans got to watch the contest. The game was not televised locally because
    it did not meet NFL sellout requirements.

    Shaw said he is concerned about eroding fan support, but also puzzled by it.

    "I anticipate we'll have a number of blackouts (this season)," Shaw said. "I
    think we have good fans here. I understand why fans don't want to watch a
    losing team. But I'm disappointed, I guess, to some degree that the marketplace
    doesn't support a team that might go through a down cycle."

    In the near future, the challenge to ending the down cycle is how well the Rams
    replace several aging core players whose careers are winding down.

    "So I urge the fans to stay committed to the process even though the product
    this year is not really as good as we had hoped it would be," Shaw said.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    The list of injuries is sickening!!!:x

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    Shaw's comments remind me of an old joke.

    This guy goes away for a couple of weeks and has a friend house sit for him. On his way home, he calls and asks how things went while he was gone.

    "Your cat died" the friend blurts out.

    "Geez!" the guy replies, "that's not how you break bad news! First you should have called me and told me that the cat was on the roof. Then the next day you tell me that he fell and was hurt. Then, finally, when I've had a chance to accept what was happening, you tell me the cat died!"

    "I'm sorry" the friend answered. "Next time I'll know better."

    "So..." the guy continues "did anything else happen while I was gone?"

    "Well..." the friend replies... "your Mom is on the roof."

    I wonder...

    Did Shaw just tell us that Linehan is on the roof?

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Did Shaw just tell us that Linehan is on the roof?
    I guess that's one way to see it, but after Shaw made a point of going through the laundry list of injuries and the problems they've created, I've got to believe the FO realizes the extreme nature of Linehan's situation and will allow him a chance to coach under reasonable circumstances.

  5. #5
    Ram Dragoon's Avatar
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    Injuries--is it just bad luck or is it something missing in training/workouts. If all the losses can be attributed for not playing more in pre-season, then by now one would have thought the players would be in playing condition now--or at least the ones still walking that is.

    All I know is that the better conditioned one is the less likely one is to get hurt. Maybe next season, a harder-faster pace is needed in the weight room, and more time spent on endurance. Playing defensive tackle didn't require me having to run up and down a field like the safties/ CBs, but I still ran 2 miles on light workout days and 1/2mile on heavy just to build endurance.

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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    Shaw was a little to over protective of Linehan IMO. How could they not be evaluating him? This is business and big business at that. If the fans aren't supporting this team there will be a change. The Rams will have to do something to regain fan interest. Unfortunately that usually means a change.

    Headlines if you will:

    Come out and see the new RAMS lead by ..........

    I'm just being realistic. I am a Linehan supporter and I do agree the long list of injuries have definitely affected this team. But money talks. It's all about the bottom line.

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    As much as the injuries have hurt immensely, there's been two games against our division no less that should have been wins based on simple playcalling and execution(and refs with eyes), and that falls on Linehan. A healthy team should have just won by more. As for the other games, we weren't prepared for the Carolina game, the Bucs just had our number and the Cowboys are damn good.

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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    As much as I've criticised Shaw in the past, I have to think he has an accurate take on our current struggles. Which is reassuring in your front office.

    I'm not convinced however that such a balanced, objective, and calm approach will translate into Linehan extending his tenure as our coach.
    Last edited by Fat Pang; -10-10-2007 at 01:48 AM. Reason: This post was monitored for syllable infractions.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    [QUOTE=Ram Dragoon;192753]Injuries--is it just bad luck or is it something missing in training/workouts. If all the losses can be attributed for not playing more in pre-season, then by now one would have thought the players would be in playing condition now--or at least the ones still walking that is.

    All I know is that the better conditioned one is the less likely one is to get hurt. Maybe next season, a harder-faster pace is needed in the weight room, and more time spent on endurance. Playing defensive tackle didn't require me having to run up and down a field like the safties/ CBs, but I still ran 2 miles on light workout days and 1/2mile on heavy just to build endurance.[/QUOTE]


    Dragoon, I hear they have pills for that now.
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    Cowboys are damn good
    Teke. NEVER admit to that! You are only 23, you'll learn.
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

  11. #11
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    Re: Rams are waiting to evaulate Linehan

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post

    Did Shaw just tell us that Linehan is on the roof?
    Oh how you would cry tears of joy every night until the 2008 draft if it were so. :imho:

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