Linehan First Coaching Casualty of 2008

Already on a slippery slope following a 3-13 finish in 2007, Rams head coach Scott Linehan was fired on Monday after an 0-4 start in 2008.

The St. Louis Rams fired head coach Scott Linehan less than 24 hours after a second-half meltdown against the Buffalo Bills dropped his team to an 0-4 record.

"I have enormous respect for Scott Linehan as a person and believe under the right circumstances he will be regarded one day as a fine head coach," team owner Chip Rosenbloom said through a press release. "Unfortunately, the situation with the Rams as they exist today is no longer acceptable and we have to make a change."

After benching quarterback Marc Bulger in favor of 38-year-old backup Trent Green, it initially appeared that Linehan might have bought himself at least an extra game as the team's head coach. The Rams established a productive running game and played a spirited first-half of defense against the Bills. When they headed to their locker room for the halftime break, Linehan's squad held a 14-6 lead.

But the wheels fell off for the Rams in the second half as Buffalo scored 25 unanswered points in front of an increasingly restless and disgruntled home crowd.

St. Louis had an 11-25 record under Linehan at the time of his dismissal, but they were 3-17 since the beginning of the 2007 season. The team has allowed opponents to roll up 30 points or more in their last seven games, dating back to the final weeks of the 2007 season.

The Rams' defensive coordinator, Jim Haslett, has been named as interim head coach, and it's expected that he'll be counted on to lead the team, at minimum, through the end of the season. Haslett has six years of head coaching experience with New Orleans, winning 45 games and losing 51 while leading the Saints.

"By appointing the well-respected Jim Haslett as our head coach, we are making an interim move that we hope will make the Rams winners again," Rosenbloom said.

The Rams are in their bye week, so they'll have an extra week to get organized before their October 12 game at Washington to face the Redskins. NFL Poll

In a weekend poll at's NFL page., fans were asked which struggling head coach should be the first to be fired.

Forty percent of the voters picked Linehan.

The rest of the fans split their votes between the Browns' Romeo Crennel (17 percent), the Chiefs' Herm Edwards (17 percent), the Lions' Rod Marinelli (16 percent) and the Raiders' Lane Kiffin.

Fans can vote in the new poll for the "Most Surprising Team of 2008" at's NFL page.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at You can contact him by email through this link.

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