September 5, 2007

Comments from St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan's conference call with the Carolina Panthers media.

On Rams linebacker Chris Draft: I remember Chris very well. He has unbelievable high character, he started a number of games at your place and played, I thought, very well. That's a big reason why we signed him. He just brought tons of leadership and gives us the depth we didn't have at the linebacker spot a year ago.

On picking Draft's brain about the Panthers: Yeah, we talked. He's got his work cut out for him, figuring out ways to stop the Panthers on defense. You know it's overrated as far as trying to figure out what the Panthers are doing on defense, because his plate's full. We talked about it, but it doesn't go much further than that.

On the Panthers new offense: Well that's the advantage when you change coordinators, you change systems. I think it would be foolish to show people what you're going to do. I'm sure they've worked the nuts and bolts of what they do. You have to practice it and you have to go out and run it. We know we are going to see things that we didn't see in preseason and we know we have got prepare for things they did in Cleveland, New England and even things they did last year there. There are still coaches on that staff that were in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship game two years ago.

On Rams running back Steven Jackson being healthy: I don't know that is so much getting healthy. I think Steven had the ball in his hand more than any other back, maybe I could be wrong. He had a lot of carries and a lot of catches. He never really came out of any games hardly. I think you have to be smart with your backs these days. They get hit more than any other position. He never missed one snap in practice. He practices every play with the ones and never comes out of any plays. He's been working so hard I felt like we should lighten the load during the games. We got a young back that we drafted and some new players that needed the work.

On how he feels about the Rams entering the season: I feel great about our team. Our core team has worked extremely hard. What that means right now, I don't know. Playing a team that shut us out a year ago is a pretty big challenge for us. I don't have any idea how exactly the game will go at this point. I feel very confident that our players will be ready. We'll find out Sunday. Again, we've got a heck of a challenge playing Carolina who shut us down last year.

On if being shutout by the Panthers in 2006 is still discussed by players and coaches: No, you can't. The truth is what it is. They're going to watch the film, they see the tape. We've seen it a hundred times already. We got our butts kicked and we had to accept that and move on. Hopefully, we can take advantage of another opportunity to play much better. I don't know what that means either. Everyone is undefeated this time of year, so I think the biggest thing for us is to move on from it. But you also can't dispel it. It happened and, hopefully, we learned from it. But like I said, Carolina had a lot to do with that game. It wasn't so much just us; I think Carolina played extremely well.

On Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon and Panthers linebacker Dan Morgan's friendship and their charitable efforts to help homeless pets: I know Will very well. We put a lot of time and effort to figure out a way for him to come here in free agency two years ago. He talks very fondly of Dan. From what I understand they are best friends and were inseparable during their time there. I think it's a great thing they do there. I wish we would be reading about that kind of stuff in the paper. There is a lot more of that stuff happening in this League on a daily basis.

On Morgan returning to play despite his concussion history: I can't speak for him. I know last year must have been extremely difficult. I know it was a big blow to Carolina's plans defensively and those kinds of things because of what he does for the defense. He is the quarterback for the defense. He's the guy you see around the ball no matter what type of play it is. Run or pass, he's there. I don't know how you replace him. Chris Draft fit in there great last year. It's hard to replace a guy like him, and they have been dealing with that. It looks like they have been smart about bringing Dan back. He played some in the third preseason game. From what I understand he's full go. I'm happy for him. You hate to hear anything like that happening to player