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  • Linehan knows future is now

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/24/2008

    At age 44, Scott Linehan is still young and inexperienced by NFL head-coaching standards. He has been around long enough, however, to realize what he's facing this year.

    "I feel like I've got to win," Linehan said. "I'm not going to (con) anybody. There's no question."

    In some way, shape or form, Linehan must win "X" amount of games this season to keep his job. And what's the magic number?

    "I don't know what it is," Linehan said. "But we've got to win."



    Linehan says no one in upper management or ownership has communicated that to him. But they don't really have to.

    "They know that I know we've got to win," says Linehan, who's entering Year 3 of a four-year deal. "They've been nothing but supportive, between Chip (Rosenbloom) and Lucia (Rodriguez), and John (Shaw). And obviously, I work with Jay (Zygmunt) on a day-to-day basis.

    "They want nothing more than for our football team to have success, and to say, 'We did pick the right guy.' It pains me to not be able to give them the product. Especially a year ago."

    After an 8-8 inaugural season in 2006, a year in which the Rams closed strongly and barely missed a playoff berth, the wheels fell off in '07 when Linehan's injury-ravaged team finished 3-13.

    "We felt we should have done a lot better, in every way, basically," Linehan said. "But it happened. If you lament about it, it's not productive. You've got to take the experience, turn it into a positive, and work that much harder. Make sure you're smarter about your approach."

    The early weeks of the offseason were perhaps the toughest stretch of Linehan's coaching career. He looked inwardly at what he could do better, and then outwardly to see what could be improved around him. Here's what Linehan came up with:

    HE HAD TO HANDLE LOSING BETTER

    There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of Linehan moping after losses, to the point of even returning to Rams Park on Sunday nights following a defeat, munching cereal and roaming the halls in sweat pants. Trouble was, those feelings spilled over into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and on.

    Linehan concedes: "My biggest flaw is that you spend all week beating yourself up to the point where you can't let it go."

    Imagine how those feelings compounded last season as the Rams endured an 0-8 start.

    "I think that's the No. 1 job of a head coach ó that he gets his team moving forward no matter whether you win or lose a game," Linehan said.

    Easier said than done. In the end, it's what drove Dick Vermeil out of coaching after his first NFL head-coaching stint with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976-82.

    "I couldn't handle it at all my first seven years ó at Philadelphia," Vermeil said during a trip to Rams camp earlier this month. "I was still mulling over on Friday why we lost, and we're playing (again) Sunday.

    "Later, you develop a philosophy where, hey, you move on, and you learn how to handle it. If you as the leader can't handle it, your squad isn't going to handle it. Your coaching staff's not going to handle it."

    So how does Linehan do a better job of handling defeat?

    "Well, we're going to find out," he said, smiling. "You've got to have that short memory. You've got to move on to the next week, and you can't get caught up in how it feels."

    HE REALIZED HE WAS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM

    This led to some tough decisions about staff changes. Perhaps we'll never know how much management influenced Linehan to make changes, but when all was said and done, seven coaches were gone from his 2007 staff, and six new coaches were added.

    "It was very unpleasant," Linehan said. "But you've got to do what you think's best. ... The biggest lesson I learned last year is I need to surround myself with as good of people as I possibly could.

    "The people who have been successful in any business, and in this game, have had great support. I'm talking about from players to coaches to support people. The real good ones do a great job of delegating the responsibilities, and trusting and having faith in those people."

    HE DECIDED TO TURN OVER PLAY-CALLING DUTIES

    This was a telling move. Linehan wouldn't be a head coach today if not for his prowess as an offensive coordinator in the pro and college ranks. And in Al Saunders, he hired an experienced, high-profile coordinator and former NFL head coach. Someone who would run the show, not just be a figurehead.

    "Really, it wasn't hard," Linehan said. "To me, I feel like I could always go back and coach at a high level as a coordinator. But that's not what I want to do. That's not my goal. Those were my goals.

    "Once I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity that I have in St. Louis, it's all about being the best head coach that I possibly can be. And to do that, I need to have the best coordinator I can possibly have on offense. The best coordinator I can have on defense. The best special teams coach. And then assistant coaches, and then players that fit our system, and support staff."

    HE DECIDED TO TAKE A CEO APPROACH

    Because he was so tied up with offense, Linehan felt he was neglecting other areas of the club. Now that Saunders has taken over the offense, Linehan has been free to roam the field during practice, have a better handle on defense and special teams, and try to set the overall tone for the entire team.

    "I think it's important that I have a relationship with all the team," he said. "I always felt I had a good relationship with the players, but I'm not sure I could say I knew every player because I was pretty consumed with the offense."

    Linehan is trying to change that this season. He's trying to give his assistants and players the best working environment possible, and in doing so, demanding a certain level of performance.

    "There has to be a sense of urgency from everybody within our organization, to not just do better, but do a lot better," Linehan said. "Take it to a whole different standard. If by approaching it that way, it doesn't work ó well, so be it."

    And if it doesn't work, well, Linehan knows what could follow.

  • #2
    Re: Linehan knows future is now

    the guy realized he needed to change things and that what he was doing wasn't working so you have to give him alot of credit for that,in the big ego world of sports its not always easy to admit your wrong,so I am going to support our head coach this season,nobody better than him knows what is at stake.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Linehan knows future is now

      "In some way, shape or form, Linehan must win "X" amount of games this season to keep his job. And what's the magic number?"

      I not sure what's the magic number but the team can not start out like last season. He would lose the fans for good.
      :ramlogo:

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Linehan knows future is now

        with a four year contract, id say 9-7 with or without a play-off place;lets him see out his final year of that contract.
        then if his 4th year returns to last years form..he`s gone,goodbye extension!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Linehan knows future is now

          I would only keep him if he won x (10) amount of games. 9-7 is still unacceptable. He took an 8-8 team and decimated it. 9-7 would have been fine in his first year. To add insult to injury after last years performance would be keeping him after an 8-8 season.

          10-6 is my answer and one playoff win. Nothing less, otherwise "CAN" this guy without flinching. Escort him to the front gate and don't say bye! :ram: Angry Ram Avatar! Urrgh!
          Last edited by LA Rammer; -08-24-2008, 06:19 PM.
          LA RAMMER

          It's Jim not Chris
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Linehan knows future is now

            10-6 sounds like a reasonable number, better of course would be 11-5 and a division championship. Baring that, beat San Fran and Seattle twice and ending 8-8 would be a maybe.

            Nothing like holding ones feet to the fire to motivate success. The NFL is the perfect example of a "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY" universe we live in.

            Who really can explain the Rams?? You have a HC on the hot seat, the fans are restless, ticket and merchandise sales are down. And what kind of off-season did the Rams have? Notta, much more then a peep. For the Rams I think after 5 regular season games, will be the bell weather for the whole of this season

            Comment

            Related Topics

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            • RamWraith
              Linehan puts passion on display
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Thomas
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              01/20/2006
              )

              He was part Dick Vermeil. Why, he nearly teared up explaining what it meant to be an NFL head coach.

              "I promised my wife I wouldn't cry, so I'm not going to do that," Scott Linehan said Friday. "But it's fulfilling a dream. Being in the greatest profession in the world, and being in the greatest league in the world. How lucky am I?"

              And he was part Mike Martz - almost eerily so - in describing his offensive style, his insistence on calling plays. Even his tendency to become impatient at times.

              "It's aggressive; it's attacking," Linehan said. "I think it will be similar to a lot of the things you've seen here before. ... We want to be dominant, be relentless."

              He did everything but invoke Martz's pet phrase: fast and furious.

              As for his passion for play calling, Linehan said, "It's like giving up a dog, or something. I can't give that away."

              Similarities aside, during his introductory news conference as the new coach of the Rams, Linehan made it clear there will be no identity crisis at Rams Park.

              "I'm Scott Linehan," he said. "I'm not anybody other than that, and I will never try to be like anybody else. But I will always work on being a little bit better every day so that our team can continue to improve."

              So who is Scott Linehan?

              He's the youngest of seven children.

              "My entire family was teachers," Linehan said. "My dad was a high school principal. That was where I developed the work ethic."

              He played college football at Idaho for Dennis Erickson, who went on to win two college national championships at Miami and become a head coach in the NFL.

              "He was one of the first people to basically become an attack-style offensive coach in college football," Linehan said. "He used a spread offense. ... He had the biggest influence on me as to the style of offense and system.

              "John L. Smith, the head coach at Michigan State, gave me my first job. He also gave me another job later in my career and actually hired me a third time. He's hired me three times; I don't know what the heck's wrong with him. ... He's been a great mentor for me."

              Then there was Jim Lambright, who gave Linehan his first NCAA Division I job in 1994 as an assistant at the University of Washington.

              And Mike Tice, who hired Linehan out of the college ranks in 2002 to be a coordinator in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings even though Linehan had no NFL experience.

              And Nick Saban, who lured Linehan away from Minnesota a year ago to revive the sagging Miami Dolphins offense.

              "So, I've named a lot of people there," Linehan said. "I...
              -01-21-2006, 07:13 AM
            • RamWraith
              Linehan takes hard look at himself
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Thomas
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              Tuesday, Jan. 01 2008

              There will be coaching staff changes and numerous player changes in the weeks
              and months to come. But before going there, Rams coach Scott Linehan is
              starting his evaluation process by looking in the mirror.

              "I'm actually spending this week really putting a lot of thought into
              evaluating the season, starting with myself to be honest with you," Linehan
              said. "Looking at the things that I've got to change first, before we start
              talking about the staff and the personnel on our team. If I can come to terms
              with that first, I think I can make much better decisions (on everything else)."

              With the dust barely settled on a 3-13 season, Linehan already has come to one
              key conclusion on Linehan. Namely, he has to do a better job of handling
              adversity.

              "I personally was devastated by the way we started the season," Linehan said.
              "I didn't want to admit it, or tried not to show it. And I'm not going to say
              the first four games or eight games; I'm talking about the first couple (games).

              "If you go into a season, and you drop your first game or first two games, if
              you're feeling that disappointment or whatever, it sometimes may affect you."

              After squandering second-half leads in home losses to Carolina and San
              Francisco to start the season, Linehan believes he started pressing.

              "And it showed up in maybe how I coached, how we played and performed," Linehan
              said. "Hopefully, I've learned that lesson, and won't do that again. ... You've
              really got to put those (tough losses) to bed as quick as possible, and move on
              and get yourself ready to go with a whole fresh approach."

              But Linehan realizes he can't sit around all month in self-reflection. The
              annual West Coast summit meeting with team president John Shaw and president of
              football operations-general manager Jay Zygmunt will take place sometime in
              mid-January.

              The Senior Bowl is in late January, and because the Rams finished with the
              worst record in the NFC, Linehan and his staff probably will be asked to coach
              one of the squads of NFL draft prospects all week leading up to the all-star
              game.

              "I'm not opposed to that," Linehan said. "Certainly with the high pick we have
              this year, it can be very valuable."

              The Rams have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The Senior Bowl also is a
              job fair for assistant coaches looking for jobs, and head coaches looking for
              assistants.

              Does Linehan foresee many changes on his coaching staff?

              "I don't know," Linehan said. "There possibly could be a change...
              -01-01-2008, 06:10 AM
            • Rambos
              Linehan has grown into a true leader for the Rams
              by Rambos
              By Bernie Miklasz
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              06/14/2007

              Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
              [More columns]

              Scott Linehan represents a different style of NFL coaching. This grinding and demanding profession has pushed more than one head coach to the brink of madness, and more than a few of these burnout cases have contributed to their own demise.

              Whether it be all-night video study, sleeping on office couches, being isolated from their families, or having extreme mood swings, these guys can become totally consumed by coaching. They lose themselves, and then they lose their jobs.

              When Linehan became the Rams' head coach on Jan. 19, 2006, he made a promise to his wife Kristen and their three sons, Matthew, Michael and Marcus. Simply: He'd always come home at night. He would not turn Rams Park into a residence hall.

              Linehan works hard and wants to win as much as any NFL coach. But there's a balance to Linehan that I've come to appreciate. I had to learn. Through much of Linehan's rookie season, I misread him.
              His low-key manner seemed boring, but he really wasn't dull ó he was steady. There's more to leadership than raging, picking arguments with reporters, or ripping players in public. And Linehan's calmness served the Rams well during a five-game losing streak. They rallied to win their last three games, finishing 8-8.


              We were looking for a show at Rams Park, because that's been the routine. Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz were often dramatic, be it the emotional DV's teardrops, or Mad Mike revealing his tormented psyche. News conferences were grand entertainment. But Linehan had to do it his way, and his stability is an asset.

              "There's going to be some good days, and some trying days," Linehan said Wednesday. "It's easy to be sky high when things are good. It's hard to be consistent when things aren't going well. Being steady gets you through to another level. You don't disintegrate and go the other way and cause other people in our group to implode. Bottom line is, if you take accountability as a team, it gets you through the tests and the stress. That starts with the coach."

              Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy and Chicago coach Lovie Smith performed a valuable service last season in getting their teams to the Super Bowl. They proved it was possible to win with class and dignity. You don't have to be mean spirited or spew lava to win in this game. Linehan is along those personality lines; he's comfortable in his skin. And as we saw last season with defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who skipped practice and got traded, Linehan doesn't tolerate foolishness. He's as tough as he needs to be.

              For Linehan, the most important development in his rookie season was staying true to his nature. Being genuine and trustworthy is good leadership. So is recognizing your weaknesses, and...
              -06-14-2007, 09:17 AM
            • RamWraith
              Linehan Staying Positive
              by RamWraith
              Tuesday, October 30, 2007
              By Nick Wagoner
              Senior Writer

              For Scott Linehan, it would be easy to dread going to work every day to try to resurrect the 0-8 Rams. Nobody could blame him if the pressures of one of the most high profile jobs in sports (head coach of an NFL team) became too much to bear and he had a blow up.

              But Linehan, ever the optimist, isnít worried about anything outside of what he can control as the Rams take their bye week to rebound, rehabilitate and recover from the worst start in franchise history.

              The Rams are looking forward, not back and Linehan is doing everything he can to keep them focused on whatís ahead.

              ďI donít do a whole lot of consoling myself,Ē Linehan said, in rwesponse to a question. ďTo be honest with you I do a lot more of the other. There is some truth to the fact that there are some things out of your control but what is in your control is what you have to focus on. And there are things that have been in our control that we are still falling short on, regardless of the bad luck that we have had. As long as you keep your open mind and keep learning and you donít get sensitive and stay the course I think you will always come out on a better end.Ē

              With eight games to play, Linehan is ensuring the Rams take the proper steps so they can stay the course. The goal, of course, being that course will take them back to the level that they finished Linehanís first season.

              At 0-8, the Rams bye week comes at the exact midpoint of the season. Itís an opportunity for the players and coaches to get away and re-focus on a second half that almost certainly wonít yield a playoff berth, but could help the team gain traction for 2008.

              And Linehan isnít worried about whatís being said outside of the Russell Training Center.

              ďNo I donít hear it; I know its there,Ē Linehan said. ďCommon sense, I think you understand itís part of the business. I understand it, too, I really do and I donít take any offense to it. Itís motivation for me because I want to turn this thing around. This season has gotten away from us. The experience has been that I have learned a lot about myself and you know that you never want to feel like this ever again so whatever you can do to avoid it is worth the trouble. Iím no different than anybody else; everybody has a vested interest in this thing.Ē

              Although Linehan does his best to avoid hearing the outside chatter and the whispers about the teamís and his performance, it would be hard for anyone to keep their sanity in such a highly scrutinized position.

              ďI keep my sanity because I have a lot of things going for me,Ē Linehan said. ďFirst, I will always say this: I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have one of these 32 jobs and to be in this position. I donít think I am having the luckiest season of my career but this isnít about me either,...
              -10-30-2007, 06:57 PM
            • RamWraith
              Energy, spirit help Linehan score a victory
              by RamWraith
              By Bernie Miklasz
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              01/21/2006


              The morning began with Scott Linehan walking into the main auditorium at Rams Park to address the team's noncoaching, nonplaying employees. On his first day on the job, Linehan wanted to reach out to everyone who works for the Rams.

              "Everyone in this room, at some point this year, will be the most important person in this organization," Linehan told the staffers. He mentioned a variety of jobs, from the person who fixes the coaches' headsets on Sunday to the crew that keeps the building tidy.

              Understand that no one gathered in that room will ever run for a first down, make a block, throw a deep pass, cause a fumble, make a spectacular catch, leap for an interception or kick a field goal.

              That's OK with Linehan.

              Coach wants everyone on his squad.

              Linehan told the staffers they were vital to the overall performance of the franchise. He told them he needed their support. He vowed to learn each of their names. At one point, he talked about how happy he was to get this opportunity, and was briefly overcome by emotion. And Linehan got choked up later, when he spoke of fulfilling the dream of becoming an NFL head coach.

              And as the staffers filed out of the auditorium, Linehan offered a greeting and a handshake.

              Dick Vermeil's kind of guy, this Linehan.

              Friday, the Rams' new head coach breezed into Rams Park, as fresh and brisk as a sunny winter morning. We do not know how many games Linehan will win, and we do not know whether he can make a successful transition from coordinator to head coach, and we do not know whether his radiant optimism will fade. This moment, for this situation, Linehan's enthusiasm and genuine personality were exactly what the Rams needed.

              It has been a sad, depressing 12 months at Rams Park. The 2004 Rams were blown away in a playoff loss in Atlanta last January. The relationship between head coach Mike Martz and team management splintered and collapsed. Martz got sick and had to be hospitalized with a bacterial infection of a heart valve. And even then, the bickering did not cease. The Rams were 2-3 when Martz departed, and injuries ravaged the roster. The Rams couldn't cope, fell apart and finished 6-10.

              And worst of all, Jack Snow died Jan. 9.

              "It's been a tough time, just brutal," team president John Shaw said. "We've all felt battered in some way."

              Linehan apparently is a quick study with sharp instincts. He was fully aware of the recent history and knew he had to change the vibe. From his first hour on the job, Linehan stressed a theme of unity and togetherness. He obviously wanted to send this instant message: The infighting, the politicking, is over.

              "The one thing I want to make sure is really established right...
              -01-21-2006, 07:16 AM
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