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Layin' Down the Law

Your chances of reading anything insightful on one of those promotional blogs that pro athletes do are pretty slim. In fact, if you're looking for anything other than the "it was hard work, but rewarding" or "I'm really blessed to be here" kind of tripe, official press releases might make for more interesting reading.

Over at Rams' rookie CB Tye Hill's blog, you'll find just that sort of reading. Hill even starts out with tried and true "first time coming out of the tunnel" line. No word on what is feels like to have Greg Jennings catch a TD pass right in front of your face.

The suits in the PR department initiatied damage control on the Hargrove situation yesterday. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was in the press today with some key talking points designed to convince Rams fans that exiling the third year defensive end to Buffalo was the best for all. From the Post-Dispatch:

"He's a very talented kid. Coming out of the offseason, we thought he was going to be one of our better linemen."

Okay, there's the set up. Admit that he's talented, and then note failure to meet expectations. Part two:

"It just seems like there was something always in the way, or something that happened to him that always brought him down. Sometimes it's not always what you do on the field, it's how you conduct yourself off the field, how you conduct yourself in public, how you handle yourself with teammates."

With the audience already keyed onto the thought that he was failing to meet expectations, the coach delivers a softened blow for the team discipline rationale behind the decision. I don't necessarily disagree with the Rams decision. Establishing the authority of a new regime with a powerful statement and then easing into the kinder, gentler autocrat as your tenure goes on is a time honored tactic, from the freshmen biology classroom to Tiananmen Square. Given the undisciplined way the defense has played this season (see third quarter, week 6 loss to Seattle) laying down some law might be as important as practicing the fundamentals of triple coverage in the backfield for improvement on that side of the ball.

Speaking of coaching regimes, Kissing Suzy Kolber (KSK) has an early rundown of the coach of the year race. Sean Payton gets the nod there, and the cynic in me has to think the emotional return to New Orleans plays as heavy in his favor as fielding a good team does.

Linehan didn't make their list.