Chain of command becomes a lot clearer
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Friday, Feb. 06 2009
John Shaw quietly slipped into St. Louis on Wednesday, and was at Rams Park on
Thursday for a series of meetings and some office relocation.
Shaw moved his stuff out of his old office — from his team president days — and
into a smaller office. Yes, he will still make the occasional trip to St. Louis
as senior adviser to Rams ownership.
Shaw met with general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo
during his visit. And with the start of the free agency and trading period
exactly three weeks away, he also met with the team's new "cap guy," executive
vice president of football operations-chief operating officer Kevin Demoff.
For better or worse, Devaney, Spagnuolo and Demoff are the new troika of Rams
football. As part of his new, more low-key duties as senior adviser to Chip
Rosenbloom and Rams ownership, the main purpose of Shaw's trip was to spell out
the working relationship between Devaney, Spagnuolo and Demoff.
Ever since the hiring of Demoff was announced last week, some Rams fans have
been almost obsessed with the organizational depth chart at Earth City. In
other words, who reports to whom? Does Devaney report to Demoff? Or vice versa?
Actually, neither answer is correct.
Shaw made it clear that Devaney will have full control over player personnel,
with strong input of course from Spagnuolo. Demoff, meanwhile, will control the
business side of Rams Park, reporting directly to ownership on such matters.
Obviously, where Devaney's and Demoff's jobs intersect is in signing players.
Shaw made it clear that deciding who to sign is Devaney's call, again with
input from Spagnuolo.
But when it comes to signing players, particularly "big-ticket" items in free
agency, Demoff obviously must get the approval of ownership before committing
the money and executing the contract. But Demoff will not have input when it
comes to which players should be signed.
In other developments at Rams Park:
— Brian Stewart, who spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator in
Dallas, interviewed Thursday for a defensive backs position with the Rams. More
specifically, cornerbacks coach, according to league sources.
The Cowboys finished eighth in the NFL in total defense this season, and ninth
in total defense in 2007 under Stewart. Nonetheless, he was dismissed at the
end of this season in a staff shakeup after the underachieving Cowboys failed
to make the playoffs.
Stewart, 44, has a background coaching the secondary. He was defensive backs
coach for the San Diego Chargers for three seasons (2004-06) and broke into NFL
coaching as assistant secondary coach with the Houston Texans (2002-03).
Earlier in his career, Stewart had two stints as an assistant at the University
of Missouri — in 1999 and 2000, and in 1996.
— Director of football operations Samir Suleiman's nine-year tenure with the
club is coming to an end. As part of the overall front office restructuring,
Suleiman will not be returning. He has interviewed for a front office position
with the Cleveland Browns.