Linehan to meet with Rams team president next week
Thursday, January 3, 2008
ST. LOUIS -- Wanting to put a 3-13 season behind him, St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan is moving forward, preparing for a meeting with team president John Shaw.
With an 11-21 record in two seasons, Linehan said Wednesday he will meet with Shaw next week in Los Angeles to discuss the state of the team. Everything will be on the table during the meeting to turn the Rams around.
Since the season ended, Linehan said he has been working on what he wants to do and how he wants to go about it in preparation for his meeting with Shaw.
"In general, we'll talk about the direction we need to go and what to put our focus on," Linehan said. "The changes that are going to possibly be made and how we're going to incorporate them and how we're going to be going about executing those things. We'll be looking at what we're doing schematically, offensively and defensively and special teams, and any adjustments that are going to be made.
"Then we'll get pretty seriously into the personnel side of things and what we can do there," Linehan said. "Free agency is one way. Trades are more rare, but that's a possibility as well. We'll then turn to the draft."
The Rams will have the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
"We want to add a player that can impact our football team," Linehan said. "We're going to have some pretty good draft picks. Right now, we'd like to add a player like a Marshall Faulk, who can impact your team like they did eight or nine years ago, I guess, or even be able to draft a player like Torry Holt that you can pencil right into your football team."
Linehan said he expects his roster to be markedly different next year. At least one-third of the players will be new.
"I think that's the average turnover," Linehan said. "I'm not anticipating more than the average, but there will be some potential change and some significant change."
Shaw gave Linehan a vote of confidence last month, saying the injury-plagued 2007 season was not a fair test of Linehan's ability. The Rams lost three offensive line starters, their top rusher, productive players at cornerback, middle linebacker and the return man.
The Rams ended the season with four consecutive losses to match the 1991 record for the worst by the franchise in a 16-game season. It was the worst showing in 13 seasons since the organization moved to the Midwest in 1995.
It appeared at times the team's top stars were less than pleased with Linehan. In the home finale against Pittsburgh, Holt got into a profanity-laced tirade with Linehan after a failed fourth-down play. Earlier in the season, quarterback Marc Bulger rolled his eyes while Linehan was talking to him and running back Steven Jackson had a tantrum on the sideline.
"I'm spending the majority of my time right now on what I need to do," Linehan said. "The first priority is try and have great success next year. There's a lot of things we can do to get better."
It was success as an offensive coordinator with the Dolphins and Vikings that landed Linehan his first head coaching job at any level in 2006, but this year the Rams scored only 263 points, the franchise's lowest total since 1993.
"It was very disappointing," Linehan said. "If there was ever a year when you learned your lessons well and apply them to the upcoming season, it was one."
Team owner Georgia Frontiere is in ill health and hospitalized. Linehan said he did not know how that will affect the organization.
"I don't have any idea," Linehan said. "I guess my view on that is my only concern is toward Georgia herself. She's been such a kind and generous owner from my vantage point. She's given me every chance I've ever dreamed of."