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Rams Inside Slant

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  • Rams Inside Slant

    Rams Inside Slant

    So much of what an NFL team does is tied up in player acquisition. In this age of the salary cap, which means frequent changes on rosters, making the right decisions are even more important.

    So, it stands to reason that coaching takes on more importance. How players adapt to new systems, especially younger players, is paramount for success, and it is the coaching that makes it happen.

    With the obvious emphasis on winning, coaching moves in head men and assistants mean a domino effect of other changes. Having a coaching staff on the same page is as important as the players.

    No team is immune. After the Rams' 12-4 season in 2003, defensive coordinator Lovie Smith was hired as the Bears' head coach. Going with him was linebackers coach Bob Babich. Offensive line coach Jim Hanifan retired, and special teams coach Bobby April also moved on.

    Rams coach Mike Martz is pleased with how the new coaches have come together quickly: defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, linebackers coach Joe Vitt, line coach John Benton and special teams coach Mike Stock.

    Said Martz, "There's a chemistry with a staff that happens just like what happens with a football team. A lot of times it has nothing to do with their coaching ability or their ability as a teacher. Their personalities kind of blend. With some of the new coaches on defense it's a unique chemistry. We had a good chemistry in the past here, there was a very good chemistry with Lovie and Bob and some of the guys that have been here, with different coaches that have come through in the last three years. With Larry now and also with Joe Vitt, who I've coached with before; then you add John Benton to the offensive side of the ball, who we had intimate knowledge of. My son played for him in college so I knew him very well. He's been to a lot of our camps so he's very familiar with what we do; were familiar with him.

    "Then Mike Stock. I'll tell you what, when you go looking for a coach you get all these calls when have a position available. You have to be careful with that because if you hire off a good recommendation there's good news and bad news to that. But from people that I know very well -- John Cooper, Dick Selcer -- people that I have great respect for were so high on Mike. I didn't know Mike. We brought him in and interviewed him, and it was clear his personality, his knowledge, his attention to detail; those are all the things we were looking for and he's a great fit. Personality-wise from a teaching standpoint, the chemistry of the whole staff is terrific right now. It's a lot of fun to be part of it."

    Notes, Quotes, Anecdotes

    --The Rams are still looking for depth on the offensive line, especially at tackle, after the decision was made not to sign Jeff Hatch for health reasons.

    A contract agreement had been reached with Hatch, who was originally a third-round pick by the Giants in 2002. However, the contract was contingent on Hatch taking a physical because he had missed his rookie season with a back injury and subsequent surgery.

    The results of the physical made Hatch too high a risk in the Rams' eyes, so the contract was not executed.

    --Rams second-year linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa credits some of his success as a rookie to the leadership of safety Aeneas Williams, who turned 36 in January.

    "The thing with Aeneas is he's pretty much a coach on this team," Tinoisamoa said. "He's the man around here. And he wasn't afraid to tell me: you have to do this, this is what we expect of you, this is what we expect from you. He only expects the best. When he used to tell me things, I had seen how hard he works so I had to respect that and listen. If he said this is how you do it, then that's how I'm going to do it. Everyone needs someone like Aeneas on their team or you're not going to be too successful.

    "There's a void, but Jim's here quite a bit. We've asked him to be here as much as he wants to be here. Jim will always be a part of this. He'll be at camp, during the season, during the week of practice, we'd love to have him at practice. It's not like Jim isn't here anymore. He's around. He's not in all the meetings, but we still feel his presence." - Rams coach Mike Martz on "retired" offensive line coach Jim Hanifan.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Inside Slant

    Great to see that jim hanifan is going to stay involved with the team this year. I believe that other than landetta, he is the last guy left who was active in the league when the rams won their first title in 1945.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


    • #3
      Re: Rams Inside Slant

      Every coaching change leaves a touch-and-go situation. Will the players respond to a new coaching staff, new philosophy, new expectations? From what little we have heard so far, it sounds like the team is acclamating to the new position coaches quite well. That's a positive, could bode well for this season.
      The more things change, the more they stay the same.


      • #4
        Re: Rams Inside Slant

        Originally posted by general counsel
        I believe that other than landetta, he is the last guy left who was active in the league when the rams won their first title in 1945.
        Is it too late to add the General, Sir! to the nominations for funny posters?


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          ďOn the offensive side, Greg Olson is going to be our offensive coordinator. Greg and I have a history. We go way back. Weíre both Dennis Erickson raised, young coaches or players. I played for Dennis. He coached with him as a graduated assistant for Dennis at Washington State University. We were raised under the same system in college, ran the same systems in college at different places. We have never worked together; we have worked with each other in clinics and camps and things over time. I have admired Gregís ability to evaluate. A little history on Greg is he recruited, coached, and groomed John Kitna at a small college in both of our home state, Washington, Central Washington. John has gone on a very successful pro career. He then coached at my alma mater, after I left the University of Idaho to go to the University of Washington, and coached the quarterbacks there. Then was named the quarterback coach at Purdue University. He evaluated and helped recruit Drew Brees, and coached Drew Brees through his college career. We all know Drew was one of the all-time greatest college quarterbacks in the history of the game. A lot of that falls on Gregís ability to, number one, evaluate him, not a lot of people were recruiting Drew...
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        • RamWraith
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          ďEarlier today I spoke with Coach Martz, and informed him that he was being terminated as the head coach of the Rams. We have decided that a change in our head coaching position is in the best interest of the football team. We deferred taking any action until we were sure that Coach Martz had regained his health. His doctor advised us that Mike was fully recovered on January 1, 2006, which as you know was yesterday.Ē

          ďI want to express my appreciation to Coach Vitt and the coaching staff for their hard work in trying to maintain stability under very challenging and disruptive circumstances. I thank them for their efforts.Ē

          ďI will begin a search for a new head coach immediately. Our mission has always been, and continues to be, to be one of the premier franchises in the NFL. I want to assure our fans and our players that we are committed to putting a championship caliber team on the field. That will be foremost in our thinking as we conduct our search for a new head coach.Ē

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          ďA coach that we think will improve our product and put a more competitive team on the field right now.Ē

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          ďThere were several reasons, including the general direction of the team. I canít really pinpoint at what exact time we made a decision to change our coach. But like I said, we were going to defer any action until he had regained his health. ď

          (On when the decision was made to make the change)

          ďAgain, itís difficult for me to pinpoint the exact moment, and it was all somewhat academic because we werenít going to do anything until we were assured through Mikeís doctor that he was healthy.Ē

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          ďI spoke to Mike earlier this morning. I guess there was a sense of expectation that it was going to happen. He was very cordial.Ē

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        • RamWraith
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          ďGood 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.Ē

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        • RamWraith
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          (Karen Elshout/P-D)

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          MIKE MARTZ

          (Opening statement)

          ďI want to thank all of you in the media. I have had so many calls and letters and flowers and gifts. Itís really been overwhelming, and I really want to tell you that itís heartfelt and tell you how much I appreciate your concerns and your attention, and really, thatís why Iím here. I wanted to make sure, because so many of you called and wanted to know whatís going on, and youíve treated me so well over the years, thatís the least I could do is to answer some questions and let you know what the situation is.

          ďI was talking to Dan Dierdorf last week. He called. You guys know Dan, wonderful guy, great sense of humor. He asked how I was doing and, probably the best way to put it is, I didnít know I was feeling so bad until I started feeling good. Thatís kind of where I am right now. I really do feel good. However, I met with Vicki Fraser, Dr. Fraser, from Wash. U, and it was her conclusion that it was in my best interest, health-wise, to not coach the remainder of this season. For at least four more weeks, I wouldnít have been able to do anything, and then there was a possibility of coming back under a limited capacity. Somebody who has this in a normal job, I say normal, but who has a normal job, right, a nine-to-five job, thatís probably do-able. I canít do that. She understood that, and she said the best chance for a full recovery, which I will have a full recovery, and get back to normal is to stay away. For me to have one foot in and one foot out is not fair to the organization, to these coaches or these players. To be back next year with the Rams, here, as a head coach, the best think I can do, personally, is to take care of my health.

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        • RamWraith
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          Thursday, August 5, 2004

          (Opening statement)
          ďGood work today, we had a real solid days work. Itís good to get in there and see somebody different, get a little tempo going.Ē

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          ďA little bit, he came in this morning and we just has a short visit in the office. I think he pulled his hamstring. I told Lovie this (having so many hamstring injuries) is so silly to me. I know one year when we went to the Super Bowl, we had seven guys with hamstrings at this time of year, so it just amazes me, I guess itís whatever way you look at it.Ē

          (On Lovie Smith running his practice the same way as the Rams)
          ďItís just one of those things, how you do it has nothing to do with it, itís just luck. Thereís nothing you can do to prevent that stuff (hamstring injuries).Ē

          (On G Chris Dishmanís intent to retire)
          ďChris did not want to come back and play for a team that he felt like didnít have a chance to contend. He was excited when I called, to be honest with you. He mentioned a couple of other teams that he would consider. He was coaching high school football. He has great passion for this game, he sounds like a coach when you talk to him. Itís going to take a little while to get some of that weight off and get into playing shape. Iíve always admired the way he plays, I know heís got terrific ability, heís a good addition for us. Weíre going to be careful with him, and get him back into shape and get him mentally into what weíre doing, which is going to take about two weeks before he can line up and feel pretty good about knowing what to do. He just sounds very passionate on wanting to play this game. In his position he could easily retire, heís got a nice living going and coaching some high school football. But obviously he wants to play, and heís going to come in and compete for this thing. Our players and (defensive coordinator) Larry (Marmie) gave him such a strong endorsement, from a character standpoint, as a professional and how he prepares to play, and all those things. We felt like if we could just get him into this environment that heíd have some success and we could help him.Ē

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