TheFieldGoal: Haslett's Rams get back to back wins!
Rams Owner Chip Rosenbloom responded to the disappointment of the 2008 season with promised changes before the bye week. A critical time to make immediate changes for a new owner and a once proud franchise. As the constant rumors about Scott Linehan swirled with every loss in 2008. Team morale hit an all time low, as players lost faith in Scott Linehan and his system.
After going 0-4, Chip Rosenbloom felt it was time for a change. Scott Linehan had overstayed his welcome. The Rams fan base demanded changes. The buzz in Rams country is pretty positive since the firing of Scott Linehan these days. It took a bye week and no Scott Linehan to figure out what the Rams needed to achieve a victory to cure the bleeding. A coaching change was the medicine the team needed for a horrible cough.
Jim Haslett, defensive coordinator takes the helm as Rams coach in the interim status. Jim Haslett knows exactly what he is getting himself into, which may be his only saving grace as he takes over a Rams team that had posted an 8 game losing streak. And lacked offensive and defensive aggressiveness. Yet optimism may actually be justified. Jim Haslett appears capable of leading the Rams and saving this horrible start to 2008.
The Rams have undergone dramatic change since Coach Haslett took over. No QB controversy and a defined method of execution with the run,play action, pass protection and creating turnovers. Haslett is putting his own stamp on a team that needed instant repair. In a world that's constantly changing, it's comforting to know the Rams are committed to making the changes now.
The Rams believe in reversing the outcomes of games, believing in that they can win. They believe in Coach Haslett's approach to basics. And beating the Washington Redskins 19-17 was a miracle hurdle that this team needed. The nightmare was over for the Rams, as a unit they overcame and won against a heavy favored NFC East team. It was like they had won the Super Bowl. The win against Washington reestablished a new found energy and a belief that they could beat anybody. Josh Brown has been the one stand out in terms of scoring consistency for the 2008 season.
The win against Washington proved that this team had the guts to overcome the consistent losing mentality that had been the norm under the Linehan era. Coach Haslett has always loved the word takeaway. He has in the past had a knack for getting his players to create schemes and attacks that produce takeaway results. You have to admire Coach Haslett's Rams team that is more focus and aggressive. The Redskins DE Jason Taylor stated," We just lost to a team that's 0-4." and added," We're probably better than them, but they were better than us today." Coach Haslett was fired up after the game on the Incognito penalty and stated," If you're going to call a penalty on a guy who swears, if he did swear -then there's going to be a lot of flags flying out there."Haslett's passion and fire added to the contributions by Cory Chavous, Chris Cooley and Rick Manning Jr setting a tone for blitzing and causing turnover opportunities.The result was a shocking upset. Josh Brown the MVP of the team was once again perfect from 49 yards. This is a team in transition that may find this change of coach a cure to the previous ills.
The results so far for the Haslett Era have been gratifying, exciting and his 2-0 record is flawless. The back to back victories against heavy media favored NFC East teams Washington and Dallas was the best thing that could have happened to a squad that was not winning. The Dallas Cowboys came to St. Louis thinking it was going to be an easy win. Instead the Cowboys laid an egg and left town with a beating by Steven Jackson and Company. The 34-14 romp of the Cowboys at the Dome seemed to get everyone involved and as a team the Rams took it to the Cowboys in a game that probably was suppose to be a sidebar heading considering how they beat the Redskins in Washington. Coach Wade Phillips could not explain how his team just did not play to standards and owner Jerry Jones was upset at the wasted payroll on sunday.Terrell Owens was held to 2 receptions. And now America's Team was the highlight shock of the week.
Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson were on fire. But the credit goes to the offensive line and the lanes created to get the opportunities to get Jackson the carries and yardage. Jackson was 25 for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns. Donny Avery also had 65 yards receiving plus a TD. On the other side, the defense led by Will Witherspoon and O.J. Atogwe created forced turnovers and held the Cowboys offense with Brad Johnson intact to a touchdown in the 1st quarter. It was the exciting day the Diehard Rams fans have been missing. Marc Bulger proved that he can get it down field if he gets the protection. But turnovers was the key stat once again under Haslett. He is getting the players to play more aggressive and this will lead to the wins. These players have now bought into the Haslett system. They looked like the Saints under Haslett's first season, determined and focused on the football.
The overall results in back to back weeks have been nothing short of wonderful. The win against the Cowboys was the needed boost to improve morale and reenergize the team and the fanbase. Chip Rosenbloom has to be given credit for making a Jerry Jones move to make the team his priority.
Having Terrell Owens state," We got our butts kicked." , was a wonderful feeling and it just goes to show that if the team has protection and aggressiveness a win is always possible.
It's an Attitude change for the Rams under the Haslett regime. So the nightmare is over and Linehan is in the rearview mirror. A new season awaits the undefeated Rams under the Jim Haslett Era.