ATLANTA -- Here's a new strategy for preparing to play the Super Bowl: Leave the assistant coaches at home.
The St. Louis Rams did it. So did the Tennessee Titans.
All of the assistants were breaking down film Monday and planed to put together game plans today before heading to Atlanta on evening flights.
''I think it's a great idea,'' said Rams receiver Ricky Proehl, who caught the winning touchdown pass in the NFC championship game Sunday. ''They don't have to come here and set up in a hurry and they can just do their job.''
That job has been complicated by the lack of a one-week break between the title games and the Super Bowl. While both teams and the head coaches were required to be here on Monday, the NFL gave the Rams and Titans permission to leave the assistants behind.
Further complicating matters for Tennessee were logistics. The Titans won the AFC crown at Jacksonville on Sunday, then flew home. They attended a celebration at Adelphia Coliseum that drew more than 30,000 fans, then had a light workout Monday before traveling to Atlanta.
''We left the staff back in Nashville to game-plan,'' Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. ''We don't have much time to think about this one. We want to get into a normal routine as fast as we can.''
Fisher met with his assistants before the team left Nashville.
''They're acquiring information now and putting it together,'' he said. ''They begin game-planning (today) with the first phase. They'll call me with it and if I didn't like it, I told them I'd have one myself.''
The Rams weren't quite so put out, because they won their title at home. They also ran lightly and lifted weights Monday before heading to the site of Sunday's big game.
''We're here to start a work week totally different than we have at any time this year,'' Coach of the Year Dick Vermeil said. ''Most of you probably recognize that football coaches are terrible creatures of habit and feel very insecure outside their normal routine.
''So right now I feel a little bit insecure, because I'm not working in our normal routine. But hopefully, it won't show on Sunday. Other people are being forced to do the same thing.''
The people back home in St. Louis include offensive coordinator Mike Martz and defensive coordinators John Bunting and Peter Giunta. They are charged with putting together the game plan anyway, with Vermeil serving as an overseer. Vermeil will stay busy breaking down film in a video room set up at the team's hotel.
''We have outstanding coaches with tremendous experience that didn't take a 14-year layoff,'' said Vermeil, who returned to coaching in 1997. He led Philadelphia to the Super Bowl in the 1980 season, where it lost to Oakland.
Fisher plays a bigger role in comprising the game plan, but also leaves the bulk of the work to offensive coordinator Les Steckel and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Fisher, like Vermeil, said he prefers the one-week break, but has no control over it.
''With the extra week, you get everything done, then have the next week to rehearse it,'' Fisher said. ''We don't have that luxury. The coaches are working and will continue to work and will present the game plan to the players on Wednesday as usual.
''We actually may have a little more time with them here, because they aren't going home.''
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