Wednesday Linehan Press Conference

Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan talked Wednesday about any lineup changes, the snowball effect of losing consecutive games, on the atmostphere and attitude on the first day of the work week, Donnie Avery, and Brian Leonard among other topics.

Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan
September 17, 2008

(Opening Remarks)
The out players are (WR) (Drew) Bennett and (WR) (Keenan) Burton. Burton did have the scope yesterday afternoon, everything went great, wasn't anything more than what we thought. He'll be out for the bye right now for him, we'll see where he is at that point. (G) (Jacob) Bell and (DE) (Leonard) Little were limited in practice as far as their participation, but we'll know probably by Friday, I would think, it might be a gameday decision, but probably by Friday."

(On if there's any lineup changes)
"Not anything yet. Even if we did we wouldn't announce it."

(On if there are going to more changes on the offensive side of the ball)
"Kicker. We're not going to play (K) Josh Brown, he's just too nervous going back to Seattle."

(On why he doesn't want to announce any of lineup changes)
"I don't see an upside about having any personnel changes in what we do the week before. I don't think there's any upside to it as far as, given the information, it has nothing to do with giving it to you guys it has more for what we're doing  for the gameplan."

(On the snowball effect of losing consecutive games and what's different this week)
"Because we've only played two games. Really, every year is a different schedule and timing of things, all that stuff, and we didn't play particularly well in our first two games, but we played two tough opponents that were probably preseason, Super Bowl, got a lot of accolades as to what they were going to do. We would like to be sitting here in a better situation after two games, but also knowing who we played, and it's not like it's getting any easier, but I just feel, this is our first division game. Really all the goals we've set for our team are right in front of us at this point in the season. Every season, in my lifetime and it might be different for other people, but in my lifetime, has just had a unique feel or flavor to it and this will be no different in my opinion. The guys have been really, really responsive to rebounding and so we'll see, but I just have a good feeling about it."

(On the atmosphere and attitude on the first day of the work week)
"That's great; actually it was really good. I didn't expect any different, but you still have to see. Everybody in the building has to be consistent in that way and I think it's been outstanding. Again, it's early and we'd like to go back and have a couple do-overs, but that's not the way life is and that's definitely not the way football is so if we can keep our head and wits about us, we can really, really get something going at this point because it's still early in the season and we're in a good spot. We haven't played in a division game. Last year after two games we had lost a division game already and those are all unique to this season. My feeling is it's going to really improve as we go on here."

(On if there's anything more difficult than getting the momentum turned around)
"Head coach, player, sometimes if you get into that feel about being snake bit, you're just trying to get something to go your way, then you're just going to keep sitting there hoping. If you go out and execute you have that going for you and if you hope you're not going to have the results you're looking for. To me, it's just about going out and doing and performing and it's really that simple because if you do that then things will go your way, but if you sit back and wait or hope, the likelihood is you're not going to change your current environment, so I think we have to have a lot of go out and do and get it done on this team at every level of the organization."

(On if WR Donnie Avery has fully recovered from the knee injury)
"I would say 100 percent from what I saw today. I wouldn't have said that last week especially Wednesday. He was surprisingly better Wednesday than we thought he would be. That's why he ended up available on Sunday. He really didn't take the reps you want a young player to take during the week of practice. He looks good to go now."

(On what RB Brian Leonard has to do to be one of the 45 active players on gameday)
"Well he's in a unique situation. I told Brian both weeks, it's really not indicative of how he's practiced or performed and at this point, he's in a spot, and it's really a special teams decision and a coaches decision by me. Last year we were able to carry four tailbacks because we carried two quarterbacks, so we kind of had that extra roster spot on Sunday. Because we're carrying the three quarterbacks we're in that spot where it's either going to be running back or a DB or, in our case probably not a linebacker, but a running back, a DB, or a receiver. The first two games, I've evaluated the guys that were on the 45 and I've counted the plays so after two games of really seeing whose playing, whether Brian's the odd man out or somebody else remains to be seen and I told Brian too it's like anyone else, having a really good week on the special teams side of the ball that favors you for having you available on offense."

(On if he is looking to young players for a spark)
"Yeah, I think young players are good that way. I think a lot of questions were about veterans and I think my comment was based on pretty much everybody taking accountability. Young players do bring energy that's created just because of their youth and their effort and their ‘want-to' and hungriness and all that. Young players can give you spark. You saw it in our second home preseason game with the two young receivers. I thought they really sparked our team, really kind of created the atmosphere offensively that we need and we're going to need. So, yeah, I would think young players could really help us."

(On if it is hard to commit to playing young players)
"Yeah, I think that's what you've got to do. You have to make a commitment to do it and go with it. You know you're going to have some growing pains with that, but right now we're looking for guys to jump on grenades and jump on swords and do all that. These guys are just chomping at the bit to get in there. I'm excited about how we perform on Sunday really."

(On if he anticipates Dante Hall returning kicks and punts on Sunday)
"Yes, right now. Right now, we just have not got our return game going, which was our strength last year as a team. We were top 10 in both, but I think we were No. 4 in punt returns and No. 10 or nine in kick returns a year ago. To the two teams' credit, they both had a lot more time preparing for us than normal. I'm not saying that's the case, but they really had a good kick placement plan. The Giants had a total of 13 return yards on the punt in the whole postseason last year. That punter just kicks the ball, basically, out-of-bounds, so that really wasn't there. A couple of the kicks, we had a couple shots, but we just didn't execute. The week before, every kick was hard to handle, so right now, what we have to do is really bear down on our ability to execute our return game and get Dante going, because I still think he can be one of the best in the league."

(On the Seahawks leading the league in sacks and the challenge that presents)
"It's a really tough challenge and they've always really been on their game at their place. That's probably one of the best home field advantages, especially for a defensive line, because of the crowd noise. That's going to be probably our toughest test and biggest match-up question of the game right there."

(On if the pass rush is more than just DE Patrick Kearney)
"Both of their (defensive) ends had two sacks last game and I think one of their linebackers and one of their three rotating (defensive) tackles had one. It's not like you can really double one guy, you have to take everyone into account and block their front. A lot of it is just being prepared to play there and not put yourself in those long yardage situations, because that is what they thrive on."

(On how loud Qwest Field is and if he is taking different preparations this week)
"I think all of the road games, it was loud in Philly, too. Qwest Field is probably the loudest. A lot of noise working. It helps. It's not the same, but you have to prepare for it. I think you mentally just have to get yourself ready to play for it. I don't think the noise, to me, it's as much mental as anything. I know the physical nature, being able to hear, but you just have to see the ball. Instead of hearing the snap, you have to just see the ball snapped. You just have to prepare yourself for it and know that that's part of the deal. Teams have gone in there. San Francisco went in there last week and did it. Teams can go in there and can do it. We just have to go in there and be on our game on that kind of stuff. We can't let little things like that hold us back and that has hurt us there."

(On if he spoke with Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom about his statement of change within the organization)
"I did not see him. He talked to me a little bit about it. It was gracious of him to ask me. I said, ‘Chip, I know what position you're in.' Honestly, I don't really know exactly the content of them, but I know it's very difficult to be in the position he's in, where he and his sister have taking over a team and we've started the way we have. I did get his support. I also don't disagree with the fact that people need to step up."

(On when he spoke to him)
"I talked with him after the game and then on Monday. It was actually before we had the press conference on Monday."

(On what he spoke with him about)
"He just asked me what the plan was and what my thoughts were generally."

(On using an "us against the world mentality" to gain momentum)
"I think that on a lot of different levels, there is a lot to be gained on us against the world. It's not really the term, but as a unit, we can go in and you can really create a team bond that way. It really gets that way when you get on the road, because there is not a tougher place to play, there are a lot of tough places in my opinion, than in Seattle, because of what's riding on the game. It's always a key division game, but the atmosphere has to be something that you overcome."

(On the seemingly different schedule today)
"The schedule is different. It was a different vibe today. We stayed on schedule. We had a lot of work to get done. It's my birthday. I haven't got a happy birthday from you guys, that kind of ticks me off."

(On if he will have cake)
"I haven't had my cake yet. I don't look pretty good for 29, don't I Jim? Yeah, probably. My wife is out of town, so I'll be watching my kids. They're demanding that I get home right before they get to bed tonight, so I'll probably get a slice of cake in with the boys."

(On the Seahawks secondary giving up a lot of big plays and on the Rams approach knowing that)
"Two games, they played kind of like we have. They probably had some inconsistencies and certainly we have. Teams have made plays on them and last week was a good example. Again, two games in, there's a lot of things that might be areas of concerns but it certainly isn't going to be your benchmark. It's going to be how you play through the years. What happens there is the other team has made some plays on them and I'm sure they're going to be working on it to limit them."

(On if the offense is more complex than most other teams and on WR Keenan Burton mentioning how complex it is)
"Than Kentucky's (offense)? Kentucky has a heck of an offense, I think, so I shouldn't say that. I don't know. I'm only in one thirty-second of the league's offensive meeting rooms this time of year, so I don't really know how to compare it too much. I've been part of systems as a coordinator for a lot of years. To me, complex is one thing, effective is another. Right now, I want to have the most effective offense we can have. It doesn't matter if it's 50 straight runs. We have to be effective. We're going to be judged on how we score and how we move the ball and how we produce, really, more than the complexity of it."

(On Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck mentioning that the Rams disguising their defensive formation is leading to guys being out of position and if he has considered making the defense more vanilla)
"I think what Matt sees is we've had some things where we have got ourselves out of position, because we are trying to do too much. I'm not saying do too much as a scheme, but in those particular plays, we have got ourselves out of position. There is some feast or famine to a complex, multiple offense and on defense. He's right in that if you're doing a lot, you're getting out of position, because maybe we're in a position that's not advantageous for us as far as leverage in a play or something like that. We've really taken a good look at it. I think there's always a place for getting good and hanging your hat on something. That's what we're trying to do."


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