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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Burwell: Rams' Snead Is About To Hunker Down

    Burwell: Rams' Snead is about to hunker down

    18 hours ago • By BRYAN BURWELL bburwell@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8185

    In the early afternoon at Rams Park, 24 hectic days before the start of the NFL’s elaborate draft weekend, Les Snead is roaming the upper hallways with a rather casual strut.

    He is neatly coiffed, clear-eyed and showing no signs of the foreboding darkness that is upon him. He does not look like a man who is about to burrow himself into a dark and intense football cave for the next few weeks, only occasionally peeking out into the light for brief bursts of carefully scripted normalcy.

    In the 24/7/365 world of the National Football League, the autumn is for the players and coaches. But in the early days of spring — just as we’re about to fully immerse our athletics appetites with the sights and sounds of baseball — the NFL turns its world over to talent evaluators such as Snead. This is his time of the year, a bleary-eyed fortnight when men like the 40-year-old Rams general manager earn their money and solidify their professional reputation.

    He jokes about how Monday was the last sane day of his existence until after the three-day NFL draft concludes April 27.

    Starting today, every organizational scout, personnel assistant and coach basically will be sequestered in the Rams’ war room down the long hallway on the second floor. If they are not shuffling off to airports to pick up potential draft picks to be interviewed, they will be in that war room arguing for their favorite players or giving the kiss of death to their least favorites.

    “I don’t like to say we’re arguing,” Snead says. “I like to use the word ‘discussed.’ And yes, discussing is very much encouraged. Arguing is just, well arguing. And at the end, I’ll win the argument (because he’s the boss?), but that may not be what’s best for the Rams. I read a book one time about the Atlanta Braves’ organization called ‘Scout’s Honor,’ and one of the big things I got out of reading it is you have to listen to your scouts.”

    There have been a lot of people who have sat in what now is Snead’s office over the past decade, and every one of them had a plan. Many of them were bad. Some were disastrous. Most of them perpetuated a dysfunctional calamity that kept repeating itself over the course of several failed football administrations. But now with Snead as the GM and coach Jeff Fisher as his partner, at last there seems to be a master plan to turn the Rams back into a credible organization.

    The greatest compliment I can give them is that they honestly know what they’re doing. They’re not guessing. They’re not experimenting. This is an ego-free collaboration that has no place for yes men and political con men. It’s real football men making real football decisions with instincts honed from years of trial and error followed closely by decades of proven success rates.

    Snead has been at this for 15 years, and by NFL standards, he’s something of a quick study. But that’s not the way he sees it. From the day he became a graduate assistant at Auburn in 1993, then a college recruiter and ultimately an NFL bird dog, Snead developed a taste and a talent for player evaluation.

    “It goes back to what I call ‘The 10,000-hour Rule,” he says. “You have to watch so many players over and over again over the course of 15 years or so. And you have to hit on some and miss on some and then you have to be able to go back and know why you hit on this one and missed on that one.”

    Because this is a baseball town, let’s put this in baseball language. Snead is something of an anti-Moneyball guy. He’s all about instincts and feel, not the cold analytics that the advanced metric guys love.

    “You have to go to a live game so you can feel that player,” he says.

    And what does he mean by “feel’’?

    “It’s like if someone asks you to pick someone as a graduation speaker,” he says. “Do you just go on his nice résumé or how well he can write and put words together on a sheet of paper? Well, those may be the metrics of the situation. But for me, before you pick that speaker, I want actually go hear him and feel him speak. You want to go to that room and get the feeling of how that room reacts when he talks. Does he move the crowd? If you’re in the room, you can feel it, and then you can say, ‘Yeah, now he’s that guy!’”

    It’s the same way with general managers, too. I’m in the room with him and I can feel why he’s that guy. And a lot of it has to do with this simple story he tells about life in that war room.

    Anyone who has spent any time in NFL circles knows this story. Snead chuckles when he tells it, but it is some of the best cold-blooded truth ever spoken inside these walls.

    “Everyone in the NFL likes to sit around after the movie’s ended and tell you what’s wrong with it,” Snead said. “They can all tell you how they were the only guy in the room who saw the (draft-day) train wreck about to occur. And of course, no one ever actually made the decision that caused the train wreck. But we all saw it occur before it happened.

    “Well around here, I like to say, ‘OK, here’s the deal. Let’s talk about the train wreck now before it occurs. Anybody see a train wreck coming? I want to hear about it now. Don’t tell me about it later.”


  2. #2
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Burwell: Rams' Snead Is About To Hunker Down

    "just as we’re about to fully immerse our athletics appetites with the sights and sounds of baseball" ?!

    Now there's some writing that smells a funny color.

  3. #3
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    Re: Burwell: Rams' Snead Is About To Hunker Down

    i ordered a "keep calm and snead on" shirt. hope it arrives before the draft. would love to wear it during the draft.


  4. #4
    Randart's Avatar
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    Re: Burwell: Rams' Snead Is About To Hunker Down

    As the Falcons are my son's fave team I have known of Les for a while now... The more I read and hear about and from this man the more I get excited he is the Rams GM! We certainly have had some doozies!

  5. #5
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    Re: Burwell: Rams' Snead Is About To Hunker Down

    Didn't we have some old regime scouts clean out their lockers after the season ended?
    Let the hype begin.

  6. #6
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    Re: Burwell: Rams' Snead Is About To Hunker Down

    Quote Originally Posted by Tampa_Ram View Post
    i ordered a "keep calm and snead on" shirt. hope it arrives before the draft. would love to wear it during the draft.
    Does it have his hair or face as opposed to the crown?

  7. #7
    Richbert88's Avatar
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    Re: Burwell: Rams' Snead Is About To Hunker Down

    I've had it with Snead. Thoughtfulness and foresight is not what I am accustomed to in this organization. He has to go! Long live the 'winging it' days. Bring on more of the 'he was a TE but is now an athletic, though inexperienced OLT" so "let grab him with the #2 overall".

    Last edited by Richbert88; -04-03-2013 at 03:52 PM.
    Semper Fi!

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