Haslett signs on as Rams defensive coordinator

Updated: January 24, 2006, 4:19 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

The St. Louis Rams have hired former New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Haslett to be their defensive coordinator.

Haslett agreed to a three-year contract Tuesday morning. Haslett met with head coach Scott Linehan in Miami over the weekend and was offered the job. After thinking about it Monday night, Haslett decided to accept it Tuesday morning.

Greg Olson was hired as offensive coordinator. He spent the past two seasons with Detroit, first as quarterbacks coach then as co-offensive coordinator.

Both will work under Linehan, hired last week as the head coach.

Olson is 42, the same age as Linehan. He was quarterbacks coach at San Francisco in 2001, and at Chicago in 2003. Linehan, the former offensive coordinator in Miami and Minnesota, has said that he will call plays.

"I was lucky to be able to get these guys," Linehan said in a conference call. "They're exactly what I was looking for."

Haslett was the 2000 NFL Coach of the Year in his first season after leading the Saints to the only playoff victory in team history. He never made it back to the postseason, finishing 45-51 in six seasons for the second-most victories in team history behind Jim Mora's 93. The Saints went 3-13 this season after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans hasn't had a winning season since 2002, and this year was marred before it even began. Katrina hit New Orleans less than two weeks before the regular season, and the Saints ended up playing four home games in Baton Rouge, La., three in San Antonio and one "home" game against the New York Giants that irked the Saints players because it was played in New Jersey.

Regardless of whether the circumstances contributed, the Saints finished tied with Green Bay as the worst team in the league in turnover margin. The Saints had 24 more turnovers than their opponents.

They also allowed seven returns for touchdowns on turnovers or blocked kicks without getting one of their own.

Haslett coached against the Rams twice a year when the Saints and Rams were both in the NFC West. The Saints' playoff win over the Rams in 2000 ended St. Louis' quest for a second straight Super Bowl title.

Linehan said it wouldn't bother him if Haslett used his spot with the Rams to get back into head coaching.

"He gets another head coaching job, that's a good thing," Linehan said. "That means we've done well. My job is to hire a good staff under Jim so that we can promote from within."

Linehan said Haslett convinced him he wanted to get back into coaching at any level.

"He's a football coach and wants to go to the best place available," Linehan said. "He's a great fit."

As a former head coach, Linehan said Haslett can help with advice.

"I don't know that many people have gone through the ups and downs of a head coach like Jim has, especially last year," Linehan said. "People know how grueling and tough that year was for the organization and he's really held it together."

Haslett broke in as an NFL coach working with linebackers with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1993 before his first stint with the Saints in 1995-96. He was the defensive coordinator his second year with the Saints and for three seasons with Pittsburgh from 1997-99.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

ALSO SEE