After some thought and watching the Rams since the firing of Scott Linehan I have come to the conclusion that Jim Haslett is the answer for the Rams in 2009 and beyond. That wouldn't seem to be something you would say for a team that has now lost 7 in a row but there are a number of very good reasons for bringing him back and only one really bad one against it. Here is my reasoning....
#1 This is a huge rebuilding project. Jim Haslett has a history of taking over a franchise that is in disarray. He did it with a horrible New Orleans Saints franchise. He took over a team that was 3-13 and got them to be a playoff team. This was for a franchise that previous to that point had been to the playoffs only 4 times in their entire history. Then he made them competitive year after year and had it not been for Hurricane Katrina he probably would not have had a losing record in any of those seasons of his tenure.
#2 Haslett knows what he has. Haslett has the knowledge of exactly who can play and who can't heading into the future. There isn't anything he can do about what he has on the roster now but come 3 weeks from now he can start making the moves necessary to strengthen this franchise. If the Rams decide to fire him then you are looking at another month before you know who the coach is and then another month of that coach figuring out the current roster. This team can't afford to wait around because there is so much work to do.
#3 Who are the Rams going to get? The Rams are NOT going to go out there and get a Bill Cowher or someone of that ilk. There is not a big name former NFL head coach who is going to come here. So the next choice you have is do you want an assistant with no experience or a college head coach? I don't think in this situation you can hand the reins over to someone with no pro head coaching experience. That means your list is getting pared down pretty quickly. It is still one of only 32 jobs on this planet so I am sure there will be plenty of interested parties but the choice has to be someone you believe can rebuild this thing.
The biggest problem I see at hiring Haslett is that assuming they don't win the final three games or even two of the last three it is going to be a tough sell to Rams fans who are beyond angry at the current situation. How do you sell season tickets to a 25% empty dome for a coach that has a 7 game losing streak. Here is the answer....
The Rams have to clean house top to bottom. They are going to have to have as much turnover as they possibly can. This team quit on one coach and are laying down on another one. They have a shockingly low amount of heart and that will never change. That is a cancer for a sports team and it must be eliminated. There are so many bad apples out there that the problem players can't even be replaced at this point because their backups can't compete at the NFL level.
There are some coaching changes that will need to be made as well. The offensive coaching staff is going to have to be severely changed because as bad as the defense has looked at times this year the offense has been worse. For the good of the football team and for a sign to the fans that things are going to change you need to make wholesale changes on that side of the ball.
Everyone knows that Haslett already has a plan in place should he be made the head coach in 2009. The things I have heard have made a lot of sense. Haslett realizes that not only does he have to rebuild the team into a winner but the franchise needs to re-engage itself with the fanbase. I don't know that there is another person in the NFL right now who understands that or will understand that walking into the job at Rams Park better than Jim Haslett.
I was not in favor of handing Jim Haslett the job after beating Washington and Dallas but now that some time has passed and the heat of the moment is over I think it is time to make Jim Haslett the head coach of the Rams for 2009. I have been won over not by what has been done on the field but what makes the most sense for the franchise going forward.