Under first-year head coach Scott Linehan, the St. Louis Rams quietly have made their presence known in the NFC West, getting off to an impressive 4-1 start and a tie for first place in the division. The keys have been a balanced offensive attack and a new, aggressive defense implemented by defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
After a disastrous 2005 season that was marred by constant tension between the front office and head coach Mike Martz, between Martz and his players, and between the front office and the media, the team underwent an offseason makeover. The hiring of Linehan, former offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins, was the cornerstone, but his hiring of Haslett cannot be overlooked.
The 2005 Rams ranked 22nd in rushing yards per game and fourth in passing yards. Linehan, though, has preached balance since the day he took over. Through five games, the Rams have 141 rush attempts and 169 passing attempts. Their league rankings illustrate the improved balance as well. St. Louis is 17th in rushing yards and eighth in passing yards.