Linehan content not to call plays on offense

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, left, congratulated Rams head coach Scott Linehan at midfield after Sunday's game in St. Louis. The Rams beat the 49ers 20-17. (TOM GANNAM ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- Rams coach Scott Linehan decided to delegate play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Greg Olson with St. Louis mired in a five-game losing streak.

A day after the Rams stopped the skid with a 20-17 victory over the 49ers, Linehan said it definitely was the right decision. The change was so well received that it likely will last the rest of the season, and perhaps beyond that.

"If you continue to do things the same way, the old saying goes, you'll continue to get the same results," Linehan said Monday. "I don't really have that big of an ego. I just want to win."

Linehan had been thinking of making a transition to more of an overseer as the slump progressed. He decided to take action after the Rams (5-6) got shut out for the first time and mustered only 111 yards in a 15-0 loss at Carolina.

The 49ers game was his first without play-calling duties since 1995, when he was wide receivers coach at the University of Washington. And he liked it for how it freed him to keep tabs with the defense and special teams and other coaching duties, instead of immersing himself in the game plan.

One such duty was delivering a lecture to rookie cornerback Tye Hill, who was penalized for taunting in the second quarter after intercepting Alex Smith.

"An excellent play happened, and then a very bad decision happened," Linehan said. "Those are the kinds of things that have cost us. Those are the kinds of things that need to be addressed by the head coach, period."

Olson called plays the last five games at Detroit last year after being elevated to offensive coordinator when Steve Mariucci was fired. He also called plays the last three games in 2004 in Detroit after Mariucci shook things up.

Linehan took the Rams job with the intention of calling plays until he felt comfortable turning those duties over to someone else. He's been telling Olson all season to prepare as if he was that guy, and last week it was no drill.

"It was exciting," Olson said. "I was excited to have the opportunity."

The Rams returned to the running game they abandoned the previous week against the 49ers, with Steven Jackson rushing for 121 yards on 23 carries after getting only seven carries the previous week.

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