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VooDoo coach says he wants to build on the team's success

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  • VooDoo coach says he wants to build on the team's success

    Tuesday, June 29, 2004
    By Jim Derry
    Staff writer
    The Arena Football League arguably enjoyed its most successful season in 18 years of play, and the expansion VooDoo was part of the reason.

    The league set an overall attendance record, with the VooDoo ranked third, averaging more than 15,000 fans.

    From Our Advertiser

    The leader on the football field was AFL Coach of the Year Mike Neu, the man in charge of a team that set a record for most wins for a first-year team (11). In a Q & A session with staff reporter Jim Derry, Neu looks back on the season, how he ended up in New Orleans and his thoughts on his new hometown.

    Putting your playoff loss aside, this season had to be satisfying for you?

    It was. I'm very excited to be recognized as the most successful expansion team in the history of the league. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to have come to New Orleans. I've been dealt an incredible hand to have these kinds of facilities, to have these kinds of resources, to have a partnership with an NFL team and to have a team to be able to attract free agents to. I was given an unbelievable opportunity from (owner) Tom Benson and (executive vice president of football operations) Mickey Loomis to come here, and, although I am disappointed about not winning the playoff game and having a chance to win a championship, to be able to win 11 games, which has never been done before, and qualify for a first-round playoff game at home (is satisfying).

    You won the Coach of the Year award in just your second season as a head coach in the league (Neu was coach of Carolina in 2002). How much has your background shaped you, with your experience as a player and assistant coach in the AFL and as a head coach in af2?

    It has a lot to do with the person I am and the coach I am right now. Those experiences and those trials and tribulations, that's what makes you who you are. I wouldn't trade that path for anything. To be a quarterbacks coach (at Nashville in 1998), to be an offensive coordinator (at Nashville in 1999), to be a head coach in the af2 league (at Augusta, Ga., in 2000) was a start. That experience I gained there -- putting an organization together from scratch -- I mean, those experiences are some of the best I've had. Then there was the opportunity in Carolina, where I learned about free agency. Those experiences had everything to do with who I am. Even when I was a player in Nashville and Orlando. . . . I've had great teachers all along.

    As a quarterback in college (Ball State), how did you go from playing football to playing and coaching arena football?

    As a quarterback, you always want to throw the football on every down. When I first got into the arena league in 1996, I thought this is great, throwing on every down, and what better league could there be for a quarterback? The thing that is very unique about the arena league is the quarterback. You have to be very sharp. You've got to make great decisions. You have to be fast. You have to be thinking all the time because you don't have any time to waste in the pocket. . . . You have to think like a quarterback when you're out there coaching this game.

    Players talk about how important it is to have solid team chemistry, and you had 25 players who seemed to really like playing together. How do you assemble that?

    I wanted certain guys in free agency. The nucleus of our team, I've had a chance to coach some of those guys in the past, and I knew what they were about, character-wise. . . . They're good people, and they work hard. They always come to work every day on time, enjoy what they do, and these cats hang out with each other away from the field. I think that in itself tells you a lot about them as teammates. They love each other.

    How easy will it be for you, knowing that you should have the same core group of guys going into next season?

    When I interviewed all the players before they left, I told them that I hoped they felt as if they were treated like a man and treated like a pro. I hope they felt well-respected, and I think the tough thing for us is that we're going to have to keep all those guys from going other places. I think, through the experience we had here and the fun we had and the support we've got, I think a lot of those guys will be back.

    Do you think the fact that you're close to their age (33) has helped you?

    I think that it has. I can relate to those guys, and my approach has always been that I feel like I'm a teammate. The only difference is I'm in a different role. I don't try to put myself on a pedestal. I just try to work hard. I try to treat players with respect, and I try to demand the most out of each and every guy. I don't try to be somebody that I'm not. I try to be a hard worker, and when guys see that, they buy into what you do. . . . I think being younger helps me understand them a little bit better.

    Talk about how the city has seemed to have learned the game and is excited about it.

    With the fan support, we've just been overwhelmed. I talk to fans in restaurants, in a grocery store, after a game, and they're so genuine. They have a passion for the game, and we were very fortunate that they gave us a chance. We were a new product coming in, if you will, and not a lot of people knew about the arena league, with it not being here since (the New Orleans Night) in the early '90s. After we worked hard on the field, people respected that, and they got their friends to come out also. But I can't say thanks enough to our fans, because they created the best environment that I've ever been in in the arena league, and they have made it truly a home-field advantage when we play at New Orleans Arena. I can't wait to one day award those fans with a trophy.

    . . . . . . .

    Jim Derry can be reached at [email protected] or (504) 826-3839.

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  • RamWraith
    Entire news conference in wrting
    by RamWraith
    President John Shaw

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    (Introduction of Scott Linehan as the Rams’ new head coach)

    “Good morning. It is my pleasure today to introduce Scott Linehan as the new head coach of the St. Louis Rams. The hiring today culminates an aggressive and extensive search for a new head coach where we interviewed a wide range of candidates including three NFL defensive coordinators, two offensive coordinators, a college head coach and one former NFL head coach. After all of these interviews it was clear to us that coach Linehan should be the next head coach of the St. Louis Rams. By way of background, Scott Linehan is considered one of the young, bright offensive minds in the NFL. Last year, he was the (offensive) coordinator of the Miami Dolphins and for the three years before that, he was the (offensive) coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. For the three years that he was the Vikings coordinator, their offense ranked in the top four in the NFL. Prior to that, he was a college coach for 13 years. Scott is married to his wife Kristen for 17 years, and he has three young boys. On behalf of Georgia Frontiere, Stan Kroenke, Jay Zygmunt, myself and the entire Ram organization, I welcome our new head coach, Scott Linehan.”

    Head Coach Scott Linehan

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    (Opening statement)

    “It feels kind of like kickoff. I’ll tell you, I’m pretty excited about this opportunity. I do want to tell you on behalf of my wife, Kristen, and our three young boys, we are very, very excited to be a part of the Ram family. I also want to thank John [Shaw], and Jay [Zygmunt], and obviously the ownership. I had a wonderful meeting with Georgia a couple days ago, and it’s been a great experience, and they’ve done a lot of extensive work. I don’t know how they do it. There were a lot of great candidates that they’ve been evaluating, and I feel very honored to be selected for this position. The one thing I want to make sure is really established right away is that this is going to be a family environment here at the Rams. We will do things cohesively as a group, as a unit and make decisions as a team from day one. That’s how things get done. That’s how things get done properly. That’s the most important thing that I feel needs to be established right away. The next thing is I believe this is a new Rams era within, what I believe, is a great tradition. The tradition here is kind of a well-kept secret in a way, because some people don’t really describe it that way to me. It’s really hard for me to believe that there are many teams in the modern era, for example the last seven years, have won or been in the top five in wins, won an NFC Championship and a World Championship. That is outstanding. It is a tradition that we will hold, the entire organization to that standard and to get back to that level of excellence...
    -01-21-2006, 07:00 AM
  • RamsFan16
    Coaches Media Luncheon Quotes
    by RamsFan16

    Nice article IMO! The bold is what I think is most interesting....
    -02-15-2006, 05:41 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rosenbloom/Haslett Comments
    by RamWraith
    Rams Owner/Chairman Chip Rosenbloom

    September 29, 2008

    (Opening remarks)

    “First of all I would like to say; this is a sad day because we lost Jack Faulkner last night who I have known since I was eight years old. I feel, he is apart of the Rams family, our family and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I can’t overstate the significance that he has played in the history of the Rams. We lost one of the great connections to our past and so, sorry to his family. I just wanted to say that.”

    “I wanted to talk a little bit about Scott Linehan. Scott lost his job and he is a good and decent man, an honorable man. He came to speak with (President) John (Shaw), (Owner/Partner Chair, Community Outreach) Lucia (Rodriguez), and I last night. And after the talk with (Owner/Vice Chairman) Stan (E. Stanley Kroenke), Lucia and John and (President, Football Operations/General Manager) Jay (Zygmunt), we made the decision that a good man had to lose his job today. He took 100-percent of responsibility for the failures of this organization. But we are all comparable; we all share in the responsibilities of losing games. That includes other coaches, that includes the players, that includes the administration, that includes the ownership. I feel that Scott will have a future because I think under different circumstances he will be successful. I really would like to say, that the kind of pressure that he has been under has not been reasonable, just from a humane level. My heart goes out to him and his family. You all know him as a kind, decent and honorable guy and when he walked into that hotel room yesterday, he took 100-percent responsibility and put no blame on anybody else in the organization, in any category, at any position, on any of his players. I think we should all inspire to be men like Scott Linehan. That is what I like to say about Scott and now I would like to introduce our new head coach Jim Haslett. Jim coached successfully for six years in New Orleans. He was a fantastic player. I think we have the elements of success in our future. I think that, after meeting with Jim, he is the man that can turn this team around. I think that the community deserves a team that wins and I think that Jim Haslett is the man to do it. Without any further ado, I would like to introduce Jim.”

    Head Coach Jim Haslett

    September 29, 2008

    (Opening remarks)

    “I would like to thank (Rams Owner/Chairman) Chip (Rosenbloom) and (Owner/Partner Chair, Community Outreach) Lucia (Rodriguez), and (President) John Shaw, and (President, Football Operations/General Manager) Jay (Zygmunt), for this opportunity. This is not really the way you want to become a head coach, at someone else’s expense. I thought that Scott (Linehan) did about as good a job as you can get, he tried everything and obviously...
    -09-30-2008, 04:19 AM
  • RamWraith
    Players and Coaches Quotes from Sept. 7
    by RamWraith
    Wednesday, September 7, 2005

    Head Coach Mike Martz

    (On making the transition to the regular season)

    “There’s just no similarity. [During training camp] you’re looking at personnel, it’s time to scrimmage, you’re looking at plays. You’re trying to find out who you have that’s new to the team that can help. Now you’re starting to run, so it’s totally different.”

    (On preparing for a team with as many new players and coaches as San Francisco)

    “Anytime you play a team that is new like this with new coordinators, they’re new on both sides of the ball, there’s a little bit of trepidation. You need to go back and do your homework on it. Obviously, you have a number of things ready, just in case, so to speak. So I think we’ve done our homework and we’re prepared for those kinds of things, and we’ll adjust as need be, but it does give you a little more problem.”

    (On how early he started thinking about the San Francisco game)

    “I guess, as soon as they were on our schedule. At first when the schedule came out, but we do that each year, especially with the fact that it is a division game and we’re opening up with them out there. So we’ve been thinking about this for some time.”

    (On whether this game being opening day and against the ***** makes it special)

    “I’m more concerned about the Rams, really, to be honest with you. That’s what we talked about. We concern ourselves about the Rams and our uniforms and all that stuff. I’m not being disrespectful to them at all, that’s not the point. We can’t control anything about the *****. It’s a great rivalry. There’s a lot of tradition behind it. We pay our due respect to that. They are well coached. They are a good team. We understand all of those things, but that is as far as that goes.”

    (On whether there is a noticeable difference having T Orlando Pace participating all preseason)

    “Yeah, there’s just a remarkable difference. The fact that he’s been here, where he is in the offense, allows us to insert things that this time last year we couldn’t do because we had to wait for him to get in and get him up to speed. One guy can keep the entire offense under wraps until the season starts, and that’s what happened the last two years. With him here now we have been able to move on.”

    (On whether the rivalry has the same meaning as when the Rams were in Los Angeles)

    “It does. I think that Isaac [Bruce] and myself, we are the only two that are left that were coaching or playing at the time in L.A. that made the transfer here…this goes way back. Even growing up in San Diego watching this rivalry for many years, you have a real respect for the competitive nature of this matchup.”

    (On whether he takes pride in his record against San Francisco)

    “Nothing that happened yesterday has any bearing...
    -09-08-2005, 05:12 AM
  • RamWraith
    Haslett Comments
    by RamWraith
    Head Coach Jim Haslett

    December 24, 2008

    (Opening remarks)
    “(TE) Daniel Fells practiced today and (G) Jacob (Bell) didn’t. We will see how he is Friday but he says he is ok. (CB) Fahkir (Brown) didn’t practice again and we will see how he is Friday.”

    (On if G John Greco would start if G Jacob Bell is not able to play)
    “Yes he would start. He took the majority of the reps today.”

    (On how G John Greco did today)
    “He did fine. It is practice; he just has to do it in the game.”

    (On how G John Greco responded after criticism)
    “I talked to him and he will be fine. He is a young kid and he has a ways to go. He is going to be a good player. With his mass and size and athleticism, once he understands what you want out of him in the game, I think he will be a pretty good player. He is 6-5, 325 and a pretty good athlete. He has good qualities about him. ”

    (On how relaxed the team is)
    “I told them that we have nothing to lose and this team is playing for the conference championship. Let’s go out and be the spoiler. Let’s go out there and put on our best performance and lay it out on the line. We have nothing to loose so let’s go out and play hard and we will see what happens.”

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    (On players trying to make a last impression)
    “I think every time you step on the field you make an impression. The camera is on you and everybody in the league is looking at you. This staff and other coaching staffs are looking so anytime you step on the field you need to know what the consequences are because people are looking at you.”

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    (On what he wants to see from the team to end the season)
    “I would like to see a win. I would like to see us play hard like we have been playing...
    -12-25-2008, 07:15 AM