Monday, September 15, 2008

Still-angry Linehan: “I’m scared to death to lose”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteeing victory over the heavily favored Colts in Super Bowl III. But Scott Linehan was adamant that his downtrodden, 0-2 crew would bounce back Sunday in Seattle.

“I’m not making any guarantees; you can call it what it is,” Linehan said Monday at his weekly day-after gathering with reporters. “But in my mind, we’re going to beat Seattle and we’re going to right this ship. Because we don’t have a choice. I don’t have a choice, and neither does anybody else around here.”

Linehan was responding to a question about whether he was concerned about his job security. Here’s the rest of his answer:

“I’ve been concerned about my job security since I started coaching. I’m scared to death to lose. If you lose, you worry about everything. For most of my career, that’s been a positive thing. At this point, we’re not winning enough games. So when you don’t win games, people are going to want the head coach’s head; it’s the way it works. I’ve told you that from the beginning. I’ve accepted that only as part of the job, but not as part of where we’re going.”

Obviously angry in his post-game interview after the 41-13 loss to the Giants, Linehan had plenty of fire still raging Monday afternoon. Here are some more excerpts:

*On the Rams failing to “finish” games:

“Two years ago, we finished games great. Our fourth-quarter scoring and production was outstanding. Last year it was bad, and this year it’s not much better. . . . Over the last six months, we’ve done nothing but try to make adjustments and improvements. We have a new offensive system, we’ve got new defensive players, we’ve got some adjustments we’ve made within the (coaching) staff, and we’ve got a few new offensive players.

“That’s all fine and dandy, but we’ve got to go out there and turn whatever those adjustments were into positive plays and positive drives and positive finishes to the fourth quarter. Right now, that’s not happening.”

*On the defense giving up a six-play, 82-yard TD drive after the Rams made it 20-13 early in the fourth period:

“To be in a position where, bang, we finally get something going offensively when we get the touchdown with Torry (Holt) — great play, one of the best catches I’ve ever seen. To a special-teams play, bang, you have another great play (a jarring tackle by Chris Draft on the 18-yard line on the subsequent kickoff). Now it’s 20-13 and you’re really in a position where defensively, you can go out and sack the quarterback, pick off a ball, go three-and-out, and all of a sudden now it’s a one-score game and you’re playing at home and the place is going nuts.

“That’s where we were. We were in a position where we could’ve just taken that game over right then and there. And instead . . . we went back to where we were — down two scores and the clock running out.”

*On possible lineup changes this week:

“Yeah, I think so. Whether we do them or not remains to be seen as we go through the week. But there could be some adjustments to the lineup, for sure.”

*On other possible changes:

“I’ll tell you what: we could flip-flop, practice at midnight and sleep during the day. We could eat baloney sandwiches on Wednesday, penalize the team for not playing very good. We could try all that stuff. But the bottom line is how we play on Sunday and what we do when we get in those moments in the game that are going to decide our fate. That’s really nothing else you can do.”

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