I'll preface this article by saying that I don't typically agree with firing coaches after a couple years. I think a coach should have time to do his thing. That said, I have to say that I think it's time the Rams fired Linehan. He's obviously in way over his head with this team, and if he loses his composure AFTER WEEK TWO (his words) there's a problem. Granted, there were legitimate issues outside of Linehan's control which contributed to the crap season...Bulger, an average QB, getting a massive contract at the start of the season, and the injuries. What CAN'T be pushed aside is Linehan's conservative approach to the playcalling. Any time a WR like Torry Holt gets 2 or 3 receptions in an entire game, there's a problem.
I'd love to see a coach be brought in who can kick this team in the ass a little. Light a fire under these guys. It's absolutely pathetic that Seattle won this division again...they're far and away the worst division-winning team I've ever seen.
Anyway, rant over...here's the article:
Linehan takes hard look at himself
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
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 or two. I think it's only fair to say that at this point."
But Linehan doesn't have a firm timetable on making staff changes, and says he really hasn't given the topic much thought until now.
To get things right in 2008, the Rams must hit on their first- and second-round picks in April. Free agency can help, but Linehan realizes teams are doing a better job of keeping their own free agents, thus thinning the market.
"So I don't know how much is done in free agency," Linehan said. "It's hard to get guys out. I think you've got to really look at free agency â€” and trades. Trades are probably as good a way as any to change the face or the culture of your team, veteran-wise."
Over the next several weeks, Linehan also plans to meet with most of his current Rams players, either in person at Rams Park or on the phone.
"We've got to have a lot better offseason," he said. "We've got to see improvements in our offseason program. And the attitude and mind-set of our team's got to change. And it's got to start now. We can't wait until September."
Linehan is just glad he has a chance to make things right in '08, while realizing it's very much a make-or-break year for him as Rams head coach.
"I know the sense of urgency is there," Linehan said. "You put a lot of time and energy into a couple drafts and a couple years. You finish 8-8 (in '06), and then you turn around the next season and for whatever reason you have a lot of adversity and you have a tough year."
So he's grateful for the vote of confidence Shaw gave him in early December.
"It's a good sign for me, not just because I'm still standing, but that we've got (people) who have enough patience to understand that it does sometimes take time to get things done," Linehan said. "They've been through it before."
Namely, in bringing back Dick Vermeil for a third season after he won just nine of 32 games in 1997 and '98. Vermeil and the Rams, of course, won the Super Bowl in the '99 season. Linehan realizes Rams ownership and management could've easily fired Vermeil after a 4-12 season.
"And just moved on to another guy," Linehan said. "They hung in there (with Vermeil)."
Just like they're hanging in with Linehan for a third season after the 3-13 disaster of 2007.
"Hopefully, I'll be the beneficiary of that patience and that support," he said. "I truly believe that it's a blessing to have another shot."