Haslett off to fast start in St. Louis

Of the 10 head coaches who either retired or were fired after the 2005 season, seven found work as either assistant head coaches or coordinators on new staffs. And all seven -- Dom Capers, Jim Haslett, Mike Martz, Mike Mularkey, Mike Sherman, Mike Tice and Norv Turner -- figure to be candidates again for head coaching gigs somewhere down the road.

But the guy in that group who could find the speediest road back to the head coach ranks, and who took a pretty nice first step last week toward rehabilitating his image, is certainly Haslett. In his new role as the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator, Haslett has embarked on a wholesale overhauling of what has been a pretty bad unit. And he's thrown himself into it with the same kind of energy and verve, and blessedly, less of a personal agenda, than he demonstrated during his six seasons as the New Orleans Saints' head coach.

St. Louis had four new starters on defense in its opening-game victory over Denver. The Rams, who often eschewed defensive prospects during Martz's tenure as head coach, used three of their first four selections in this year's draft on defensive players. And, not surprisingly, Haslett installed a sophisticated and aggressive scheme; the playbook includes nearly 70 different blitz calls. The players love the new scheme and seem to love playing for the fiery Haslett, too.