Oh, the irony!
Former St. Louis Rams favorite, Scott Linehan is one candidate being considered for the now vacant 49ers offensive coordinator job. Seriously? 49ers, aren't you kind of recovering from some bad years? Have you not learned your lesson about bringing in former Rams coaches? Ok, to be fair, let's answer a question put to us by our friends over at Niners Nation, just who is Scott Linehan and what are our thoughts on his approach to the offense?
I thought Linehan was a little brash with his approach to the offense...at least until it got on the field. Remember, this is the guy that brought in Drew Bennett, released a perfectly good fullback in Madison Hedgecock, drafted Brian Leonard and Joe Klopfenstein in the second round, and never got his team to produce well in the red zone.
Looking back, much of the vanilla play calling we accused him of was, I think, mostly a result of the poor personnel; we saw the same thing with Saunders this season. If you go back and look at the numbers from 2006 - a season that landed Bulger and Jackson their current hefty deals - I think there's something of an illusion as that was the last season before the personnel decline fell off the plateau...and even with those numbers it was a struggle to finish 8-8.
Obviously his 11-25 record as the Rams head coach taints my memory, so I'm not sure about offering a fair assessment of his abilities as an OC. He never seemed to get the players to buy into what he was selling. Remember the scenes of Torry Holt, Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson rolling their eyes and questioning his play calling? Yeah, that's forever burned in my mind. The Mercury News article I linked to above cites Linehan's work with the Dolphins in 2005, turning their run game from 31st to 12th. Ok, sounds reasonable, but look at one of the changes the Dolphins made between those two seasons, taking RB Ronnie Brown with their first round pick in the '05 draft. Some of that also comes from stability on the offensive line, Rex Hadnot and Taylor Whitley split time at RG. During his time in Minnesota, '02-'04, the Vikings offense produced, but they also had Dante Culpepper in his prime as well as Randy Moss, who had 37 TDs in those three seasons.
Linehan also fancies the TE in his systems. During his stints in MIN and MIA, the tight end was always among the top two in catches. In St. Louis he helped trade away blocking specialist TE Brandon Manumaleuna to replace him with wunderkid Joe Klopfenstein, who proved too incompetent to continue the trend, which is why he brought in Randy McMichael in 2007. But by that time it was too late. So maybe he can get more out of Vernon Davis than Martz did.
Hope that helps, SF fans. Rams fans, weigh in. Why or why not on Linehan as the 49ers OC, and not just because we want to beat them next season?