For those that don't know much about Jim Haslett, let me fill you in. He was an All American defensive end at Division 2 Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He set a school record with 20 sacks his senior season. He was dominant enough to be inducted into the College Hall of Fame and become a second round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills. He started at middle linebacker as a rookie in 1979 and played eight seasons in the NFL. He was known as a hard nosed intense linebacker who would do just about anything to make a play or win a game.
His Saints teams were tough as nails and overcame a lack of quality skill players by playing hard nosed football on both sides of the line. He was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2000 leading the Saints to their first division title and a wild card playoff win over the Rams. That Rams-Saints rivalry was known as much for the jabs that Haslett and Mike Martz used to exchange as the games on the field. It was an intense rivalry. His tenure in New Orleans ended in ugly fashion but even his critics in New Orleans admit he did an admirable job of holding the team together in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They won only 3 games in 2005 but they played hard and didn't use the disaster as an excuse.
What can we expect here? He'll be as brutally honest and at times rude with the media as he is with his players. He doesn't sugar coat things. He'll be a lot like Tony La Russa in that he'll take exception to questions he finds dumb or if he believes the questioner isn't paying attention.
After speaking with him today, I expect to see plenty of changes in the coming weeks. It's no secret that Haslett and Scott Linehan didn't see eye to eye. In truth, they disliked each other greatly. I don't have all the inside info to know who was at fault there and I don't care. Just win some games, please.
This is speculation on my part but I expect Haslett to re-insert Marc Bulger as the starter immediately. I'm told he thought the change was the wrong move. Also, I think we'll see Todd Johnson play a bigger role at safety, perhaps even start. And I'm guessing Derek Stanley may be elevated from the practice squad and given a shot at returning some kicks.
It's about to get more interesting at Rams Park. I hope that means more wins. Losing is hard on everyone.