It's bye week as winless Rams dismiss Linehan
The winless St. Louis Rams fired coach Scott Linehan yesterday, the morning after a fourth straight lopsided loss to start the season.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, once the coach of the New Orleans Saints, will replace Linehan. The Rams made the decision in the middle of the night and made it public several hours later.
"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," owner Chip Rosenbloom said in a release. "Unfortunately, the situation with the Rams as they exist today is no longer acceptable and we have to make a change."
Linehan had an 11-25 record in his first head coaching job. The Rams have been outscored, 147-43, this season, and have allowed at least 30 points in seven straight games dating to last year.
The move was made heading into the Rams' bye week and several hours after the Buffalo Bills outscored them, 25-0, in the second half of a 31-14 victory Sunday.
St. Louis has lost 17 of its last 20 games.
"This is not really the way you want to become a head coach, at somebody else's expense," Haslett said. "I feel for him and his family.
"We're going to do the best we can to try to get this thing turned around."
One big change under Haslett: practices will be open to media. Linehan closed workouts after the first 20 minutes.
"You can watch practice, you can be on the field," Haslett said. "You're not going to see anything you don't see in any other game."
The 0-4 start is the second straight for the Rams, who lost their first eight games last year en route to a 3-13 finish that landed them the second pick in the draft.
Haslett was fired as coach of New Orleans after the 2005 season, and joined the Rams on Linehan's first staff in 2006. Rick Venturi, assistant head coach and linebackers coach, was elevated to defensive coordinator.
No matter how dire the Rams' situation appears, Haslett said it'll never be as bad as in his final season as head coach of the Saints in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"This is nothing compared to that," Haslett said.
Jet suspended for hitHours after Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt called for the NFL to review a helmet-to-helmet hit by New York's Eric Smith on Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin, the Jets safety was suspended for one game.
Boldin was resting at home one day after being carted off the field in the Cardinals' 56-35 loss to the Jets in New Jersey.
Smith also was fined $50,000 for a flagrant violation of player safety rules, the league said.
Whisenhunt said he believed the hit violated the safety edict issued by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but he stopped short of calling for Smith to be suspended.
Boldin returned to Phoenix Sunday night after being examined at a New York-area hospital. A Cardinals spokesman said Boldin was fully mobile and was "resting comfortably at home." Whisenhunt wouldn't speculate whether Boldin could play this weekend against Buffalo.
Boldin tried to catch a pass from Kurt Warner but was hit in the back by Kerry Rhodes and then took a shot to his helmet from Smith. After being worked on for several minutes, Boldin was immobilized and placed on a stretcher before he was carted off the field.
"You feel awful when something like that happens," said Smith, who was briefly knocked unconscious.
Running back Jesse Chatman rejoined the Jets after being suspended four games without pay for violating the league's steroids and related substances policy.
The Jets released Australian punter Ben Graham.
Burress, Giants close
The Giants and suspended star receiver Plaxico Burress are close to an agreement that will cut his fine (estimated to be around $235,000) for missing a team meeting last week.
Burress still will have to sit out the team-mandated one-game suspension against Seattle this weekend.
QBs are optimisticGreen Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers intends to play against Atlanta this weekend despite a sprained shoulder that his coaches will be watching closely in practice.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy will spend this week monitoring Rodgers's progress and preparing rookie backup Matt Flynn to start, just in case.
Rodgers was injured on a scramble in the third quarter of Sunday's loss at Tampa Bay. He stayed in the game and threw a touchdown pass but sat out part of the fourth quarter. McCarthy said medical tests revealed no major structural damage.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer expects to be limited in practice this week by a sore elbow on his passing arm, but he insists he'll be ready to face Dallas this weekend. Palmer sat out a 20-12 loss to Cleveland Sunday, the first game he missed since the end of the 2004 season. He hurt his elbow a week earlier in a loss to the Giants, but stayed in that game and practiced for two days last week despite pain in the elbow.
The Bengals struggled behind backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former Harvard standout who hadn't thrown a regular-season pass since 2005.
Receiver Chris Henry was cleared to practice with the Bengals, having completed a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy. The Bengals got a one-week roster exemption for Henry, who will be allowed to practice with the team but doesn't have to be added to the active roster.