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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
    MauiRam is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    What is so different this time around ..??

    As the 2009 season draws nearer, I can't help but think back and remember my enthusiam when Linehan was hired. Say what you will about him, but he had an impressive resume at the time, and I believed he would bring some stability to the Rams after the tumultuous last couple of years of Mike Martz's reign. Yes Scott looked distinctly namby pamby with a smile resembling a halloween pumpkin, but what the heck, he was purportedly a bright young up and comer who wasn't afraid to hire a former HC as his new DC. A heady, confident new coach who was going to lead us to the promised land ..

    Now Spags has taken over a thoroughly battered Rams' ship. He's brought in some young and eager coaches, (Flajole and Shurmur will be 1st time coordinators), and two or three solid (on paper anyway) free agents. However, as I think back to Linny, and his bringing in Haslett - a guy with HC experience, I must admit I was at the time besotted with cool-aid .. Haslett would bring fire to our milk toast D, and Linny would bring balance to our offense without getting our QB killed .. right? I know .. some of the members here weren't all that thrilled with Haslett, but probably the majority of us were guzzling the sweet stuff ... After marshmellow Larry Marmie, Haz was going to kick some butt and right the ship on D ... Yeah, right .....

    Ok, it's 2009 and the cool-aid is looking very tempting again .. What is so different this time around? Should we jump off the wagon and guzzle?? Thoughts ..


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: What is so different this time around ..??

    I'm with you Maui. When we hired Linehan I was excited but when we hired Jim Haslett I was over the top. I really thought we had the right people leading our team. I truly thought the team would respond, especially to Haslett. Then bringing in Saunders really put the icing on the cake in my mind.

    Let's not forget we improved from 6-10 to 8-8 in Linehan's first season as our headcoach. Then we were slammed with the injury plague the following season. So all the excuses were somewhat accepted. Linehan/ Haslett had a pass going into their third season. Again, bringing in Saunders for that third season sure seemed like the right thing to do. Unfortunately things only got worse. At least the front office gave Linehan the tools he needed. He can never say his hands were tied. He just wasn't headcoaching material. Maybe someday down the road he will be but we couldn't afford to wait any longer the changes had to be made.

    I am trying to hold back with the old let's wait and see attitude as far as the upcoming 2009 season goes. That Linehan/Haslett thing really set me back and has left me with my guard up. Protecting myself from disappointment.

    However....

    We have brought in a new Headcoach with a defensive background. (Something the RAMS haven't done since who? Ray Malvasi?) He in turn has really cleaned house and is saying and doing all the right things. Getting back to basics and building that foundation that a team needs for the longhaul.
    So actually it's very hard not to be excited knowing in my heart of hearts that our "team" is going to be alot better in 2009.

    Yes....I'm drinking the Kool-Aid but with a straw for now.

    GO RAMS!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by laram0; -06-12-2009 at 04:28 PM.

  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is online now Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: What is so different this time around ..??

    Differences....

    1. Offensive Line

    During the Line#%$ era, there was a lot of lip service towards improving the O line. But, apart from the signing of Jacob Bell, there wasn't much done other than hoping that injured players would return healthy. This year, the Rams have added two Blue Chip O linemen (Brown, Smith) along with a proven blockers at FB (Karney) and TE (Bajema). Add to that the fact that Greco has a year under his belt, and appears ready to step in if Incognito or Bell falters, and the prospect for vastly improved O line play is there.

    2. "Up the middle" Defense

    The Rams have added a DT (Scott), MLB (Laurinaitis) and SS (Butler). This, along with the decision to allow Carriker to finally settle into a single role, should make the Rams much tougher in the middle of the defense. If this goes according to plan, it should free up players like Long, Little and Witherspoon to make plays on the outside.

    Beyond these personnel changes, I think there is a significant improvement in the unity of the team's leadership. Before, there was Shaw and Zygmunt in one corner, Devaney trying to play the middle, Line#$% with a tenuous grip on the HC role, and Haslett looming as a likely interim leader. Now, Devaney is clearly at the top, and he seems to have a very good working relationship with Spagnuolo. On the coaching staff, Spagnuolo was able to build a team of coaches that he is comfortable with (I never bought the notion that Haslett was Line#$%'s choice).

    Finally, I think that there is something to be said about moving on from the past. This Rams team should be young and hungry, and won't be forever measuring itself against the GSOT.

    Will this translate to immediate success? Who knows.

    But I do think that there are reasons to be optimistic that did not exist in recent years.

  4. #4
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
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    Re: What is so different this time around ..??

    Av hit the nail on the head. There's plenty of reasons to be more optimistic this season, as this team is now finally headed in the right direction. The changes made this season that have me excited are what happened in the front office more so than what has happended on the field. But the personnel changes made by the new staff have been huge, especially on the offense. This new O-Line will protect Bulger and open holes for Jackson, who finally has a real, nasty FB to lead the way. The FB position is so underestimated, IMHO, and the difference in those two elements alone will be noticed.

    Look, this organization was a disaster and it won't be fixed overnight. But it IS being fixed. I cannot wait to see the difference in this team, not necessarily with wins/loses (although I truely believe there will be plenty more "W"s.) but with attitude. I think we'll finally begin to see a tougher Rams team, and a very competitive team.

    Maybe I am drinking the Koolaid, but heck, I'm thirsty.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

  5. #5
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
    RamsFanSam is offline Pro Bowl Ram
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    Re: What is so different this time around ..??

    Adding my take on this:

    1. Attitude. The coaching staff has a new attitude, one that I like. It's now "Do your job, or we'll replace you with someone who will." They weren't afraid of getting rid of the guys who helped take us to two Superbowls, they're not afraid of getting rid of those who are marginal performers, and they act like they expect to get performance for the buck - you get a big paycheck, you better earn it. Or else.

    2. New blood. We don't have players that have to carry their walkers onto the field anymore. With a few exceptions, we've got a bunch of kids who still believe in Santa Claus. By that, I mean they don't have a losing attitude - they are young enough to still see the glitter associated with a winning franchise.

    They will still be the Rams, but they will look a LOT differrent.

  6. #6
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    Re: What is so different this time around ..??

    My list is similar to others here with slightly different emphases:

    1. New Management. Devaney, our new GM, is a bona fide football guy with background in player evaluation. With the additions of Tony Softli as director of player personnel and Mike Williams as director of pro personnel (a position that hadn't been filled in the Rams front office since 2000), there is reason to hope that we will do a better job of acquiring and retaining talent.

    2. Rebuilding instead of Retooling. When Linehan arrived, we already had a successful offense. The expectation was that although the defense needed to be rebuilt, our window for contention had not yet closed with most the cast of the GSOT still around. The older stars were both a blessing and a curse. Linehan may have inherited more skilled players but with formidable salaries and declining physical abilities. The start of the new era comes with much less baggage.

    3. Coaching Experience. When Linehan took over, he had only four years of experience coaching in the NFL, three of them under the notably lax discipline of Head Coach Mike Tice in Minnesota. Spags, on the other hand, has been in the league for the last ten years coming up under the auspices of Jim Johnson in Philadelphia and then serving under the iron-handed Tom Coughlin in New York.

  7. #7
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    Re: What is so different this time around ..??

    With being a Rams fan, i'll be excited if Gary Coleman was our head coach..it just seems to be alot more involvement with going after the top HC candidate & actually signed players that made sense..Not quite sure how the atmosphere was with Martz & Soiled Linen, (its my 1st year w/the Clan & where i live not easy to access Rams info) but i think right now would be the right time to be the most excited we've been in a LOONG time..Why?
    (in no particular order)
    1.Its Bulgers make or break year

    2.We have a defensive minded coach

    3.We brought an OC & DC from 2 respectable teams

    4.The team seems to be heading in the right direction

    &

    5.Nobody has cleaned house like this before..

    There may be more but thats what i thought up real quick..

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