Originally created 01/25/00

Rams leave assistant coaches home for two days of work, Titans plan same



ATLANTA -- St. Louis Rams assistant coaches missed the first day of the Super Bowl buildup, sticking to their regular Monday duties rather than making the trip to Atlanta.

"We felt we would keep them on their normal routine," coach Dick Vermeil said. "We like how we do things, and if we can do that without breaking any rules, we'd like to do it."

Every Monday during the regular season, Vermeil broke down game tape before meeting with the media. This time around, he left it to his assistants, although he set up a video room in the team hotel to analyze the Rams' NFC championship game tape later Monday.

The Rams made it to their first Super Bowl in 20 years with an 11-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The team arrived in Atlanta late Monday afternoon.

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz and the rest of the staff, including assistant head coach Mike White, will fly out on a charter Tuesday night and join the team for practice on Wednesday. The assistants will miss the league's Media Day on Tuesday.

Players didn't mind the coaches staying behind.

"I think it's a great idea," said wide receiver Ricky Proehl, who caught the winning touchdown pass Sunday. "They don't have to come here and set up in a hurry and they can just do their job."

Linebacker Mike Jones pointed out the players don't normally have much contact with the assistant coaches until Wednesday, anyway. Vermeil gave the players the day off after victories during the regular season, and Tuesday is their regular day off.

"So it's sort of like the status quo," Jones said.

Vermeil had total confidence in his assistants.

"We have outstanding coaches with tremendous experience that didn't take a 14-year layoff," said Vermeil, who returned to coaching in 1997.

League spokesman Greg Aiello said the Rams did not violate any NFL policy because there is no two-week break this year between the championship games and the Super Bowl. Normally, if there was such a break, all coaches would be required to accompany the team to the site.

Aiello also said the NFL had given both teams permission in advance to let the assistants remain at home. He said that with just a one-week break, only the head coaches were required to be in town.

The Titans also planned to arrive without their assistant coaches later Monday night.