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Thread: Demoff Q&A

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    Demoff Q&A

    Transcript: Kevin Demoff Q & A: Part 1 & 2
    Wednesday, April 17 2013 @ 11:39 PM CDT


    Bradford's Contract

    Hi Kevin- Thanks so much for doing these and other Q and A's. You really score points with a lot of us Ram fans for your explanations and willingness to respond to our questions.

    My question is regarding Bradford's contract; can his contract be re-done to result in additional cap savings down the road? I'm a Bradford fan but not a contract or cap guru like you are but anything that allows us to attract and keep good players under the cap I'm all for.

    Thanks,
    ---
    Demoff

    Sam's contract could easily be re-done to result in additional cap savings now, but not down the road. He is owed 3 years and $35m essentially for the remainder of the contract. That's fairly cheap for current starting QB standards that aren't playing on the new rookie wage scale. My preference would be not to touch Sam's contract until we write an extension to avoid increasing his salary cap count in the future years. When we wrote his contract, we structured it in a manner to allow the last years to be fairly uniform. We figured that a new wave of QB Deals would come along and make his deal fairly affordable given the landscape which it has become.

    One aside, much has been made of whether or not Sam "restructured" his contract last year. We did move some money around within 2012, but it did not change his salary cap count in any year and was not done to help create space in any year. It was done to help free up cash flow for signings to take advantage of a fairly minute rule in the CBA, but had nothing to do with "cap space" or changing his cap number. His cap number has been the same every year as was expected when he signed the contract.




    This transcript can be found here: [www.RamsFans,com]


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    max

    Mike Silver

    Hi Kevin,

    I read that Mike Silver will be in the Rams draft room again this year. Why do you guys invite Silver in? Does he have a close relationship with Fisher? And what rules do you have for him on what he can tell?

    Thanks, max
    ---

    Demoff

    I haven't heard that Mike is coming back this year, I think he was joking in his ultimate mock draft about that. After he outed me to my wife on how many Diet Mt. Dew's I drank last year on draft weekend (28), he's certainly not welcome back in my book.

    In all seriousness, Mike did a great job bringing our draft to life and the decisions that were made. We trusted him to tell an accurate story and he did, and that's all you can ask from a writer. For me, our job as an organization is to bring the brand to life and help fans better connect emotionally to the Rams. Writers like Mike help bring our staff and decisions to life and build that emotional connection.


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    laram

    Existing contracts...

    Kevin,

    Why are youy against re-doing existing contracts? Wouldn't it be prudent in some instances to re-do a deal in order to allow for more immediate operating room?

    I've read that you like to pay as you go..but a deferrement gives you options as well, no?

    ----

    Demoff

    I'm not against re-doing exisiting contracts at all. We try to write contracts with higher salaries and roster bonuses to give us more options. The way I see it, our current structure gives us the freedom to take a greater cap hit earlier or convert money if we feel there is an opportunity to add players. My job is to give Jeff and Les the best possible options to build the best possible roster. If I were to develop a philosophy that was inflexible, that hurts the Rams. Our job is to create flexibility and options so that they can make the best decisions, both short term and long term. However, decisions made to improve the short term hurt our long term flexibility. That's not to say that short term decisions are wrong, but they hurt our ability to manuever in the future and limit our options in future years. I like writing contracts that give us the most options at all times. But I don't believe in hard and fast rules -- if restructuring a contract makes a better team, then its something we have to consider. To me, Jeff and Les know our roster best, but we all have to be cognizant that the salary cap is a credit card -- you have to account for all our payments at some point!


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    4thandJuan

    Salary cap question

    Mr. Demoff,
    Thanks a bunch for joining the Herd today.
    My question is about the salary cap, specifically the amount spent to hire players added after the season starts (usually for injury replacements). What is a prudent amount the team needs to have for these contingencies? If a team exhausts its total cap funds, can the league afford any relief in a specially bad rash of injuries?

    ----

    Demoff

    I wish the league would grant some kind of injury salary relief! Unfortunately that's not in the CBA. I always think that $3m is a safe number to handle trades, cuts and injuries at the start of the year, but you could go as low as probably $1m as long as you have some options to create money if you get wiped out in terms of players. Remember, you only have to add the salary of new players coming in, so if a $5m player gets hurt, you don't need $5m, you only need the base salary of the player added for the remaining weeks. A minimum player to add in Week 8 costs roughly $200m. At $3m, you can usually take about 5-6 IR players and have room for a trade midseason. That's the ideal number for us, but teams can manage with less and have done so. It's somewhat personal preference.


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    ScRam

    Draft Grade Tie Breakers...

    When 2 players have nearly equal grades, both play a position of need, no character concerns, no health concerns, what is the tie breaker?
    Signability? (Players agent)
    When a player is available? (like Cinci players who cannot join team until class graduates)
    Strength of draft? (maybe good player of same position can be had later)
    Coin Flip?
    Rock-paper-scissors?

    Thanks for joining us & good luck with the upcoming draft!!

    ----

    Demoff

    If two players have the same grade, that question usually comes down to the scouts and coaches passion for drafting those players. Who is a better fit for the club, which position coach or coordinator goes to bat for the player. If both are on offense, does Schotty prefer one to another, same on defense and Coach Walton. Signability is never a factor, all draft picks sign in time for camp. Some is gut feel on the part of Les and Coach, but usually even if a grade is equal there is just an "it" factor that one player may have over another that determines a pick. Certainly as you say depth of a position may help make a decision if we think we can draft a good player at the other position later in the draft.


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    MamaRAMa

    Character Issues

    I know that you have to look at character issues on a case-by-case basis, but are there certain character issues (that you can talk about)
    that would cause the Rams to pass, no matter how talented a draftee is?

    ----

    Demoff

    I think Les and Jeff have a pretty standard question on character-- "Can we make this player successful? Is there a way to motivate/develop this player and have them contribute?" If the answer to those questions is yes, that is usually a player we can consider. If the answer is no, then no matter what time we put into developing that player, we are likely to fail to help that player reach their ceiling. Les will tell you all of our draft picks are little Simbas, if there is no way to turn them into a Lion, we probably shouldn't draft them!


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    TackleDummy

    S, WR, OG, LB, RB

    Safety, wide receiver, offensive guard, linebacker and running back are positions seen by a lot of fans as positions of need for the Rams. For these positions (and others) which do you see players of value at the Rams first two draft choices (#16 and #22 overall) and which positions do you see players of value who will be available later in the draft?



    ----

    Demoff

    The good news is for the positions you mention, with the exception possible of LB, the draft is fairly deep across the board. We've got good prospects in all different rounds for the majority of those positions.Listening to our scouts, there are a number of linebackers later in the draft but maybe not in the top 2 rounds that are more 4-3 types. I think we proved last year in drafting Watkins, Givens, Richardson that you can find impact players at these positions throughout the draft if you know what you are looking for. McLeod and players like Sammy Brown were good free agent finds. I would expect us to be VERY active in undrafted free agency this year, that is one reason we have kept more roster spots than normal open for this time of year.


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    Ramgator

    We ARE gonna go back to 1973-99 jerseys, right????

    RIIIIGHT???????? LOL Seriously, did you see that look during the Niners game this past season and the electricity?
    The old blue n yellows scream RAMS!!!!!!! It is NOT a Los Anglese or "St Louis needs it's own identity" thing. I have been a fan in Jacksonville, Florida since 1976 and have had more compliments from non fans, about the old jerseys. There IS just some sort of a connection.

    ----

    Demoff

    Isn't a chat without a uniform question. I expect over the next decade you will see us do more to incorporate the blue and yellow and blue and white color scheme, getting away from the gold. We are going to wear our current throwbacks this year and next year for certain, the earliest a uniform change would be is 2015. One thing I gather is nobody is passionate about our current uniforms, the passion seems to be for either the blue and white or the blue and yellow. Anybody for the Cleveland Rams look?


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    CraigMatson

    Other teams needs etc.

    How much time is spent or how is the process done to evaluate the position needs and draft priorities of the 31 other teams? .

    I would think to get an accurate assessment of that question would take almost as much time as evaluating the draft pool available for at least 2-3 positions in this draft but obviously that task needs to be done.

    Can you give us an idea of the size of your entire scouting / player personnel staff is ( assuming they are not the same but still work together for draft duties ) and how they divide responsibilities such as this when preparing for the draft ?.

    Lastly please give a pat on the back to the scouts behind the Div II and undrafted F.A. rookies such as Rodney McCleod and ,Quinton Pointer .Care to expound on who did their initial reports or elaborate on the process for signing undrafted rookies ?

    Thanks for a great season ahead !! Go Rams !!

    ----

    Demoff

    Our pro personnel department's main job during the draft process is to try and evaluate the needs of the other 31 teams. We spend a lot of time studying draft histories (conferences, schools, positions) of general managers or Clubs and also try to factor in what we perceive their needs to be. Opponent research in the draft is valuable but not always an accurate predictor of what other Clubs will do. That being said, everybody knows their own team best and what we may perceive as a need that Club may not think is important. But if most teams are expected to draft BPA, what difference do needs make (Sorry I couldn't resist since I know the BPA/Need debate rages on in every forum)

    Our college scouting staff encompasses about 10 scouts. Each scout is responsible for both a region during the college season and then a position during the post-season. During draft meetings every scout who wrote a report on a player gets to give their opinion. Taylor Morton, our director of college scouting, gives his report on all of the draftable players for the most part. The position coaches also write reports on all of their players. Usually each draftable player has had 5 to 6 grades in our system by the time we discuss them at meetings.

    Finally, many UDFA or CFA's are just somewhat lucky. For example, last year Chuck Cecil went to the UVA workout and loved Rodney McLeod and put a target on him for the post-draft process. He went to watch two other players. Some are 6th/7th round prospects we like who went undrafted for some reason or another. Others like Daryl Richardson were the result of dogged scouting by college scouts like Steve Kazor who followed Daryl's progress all year and went to bat for him extensively at the end of the draft. Some like Nick Johnson are guys who a scout saw once and had some traits and we just happened to hit on.


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    CROMWELL21

    Draft war room

    Thank you for taking time out for us to get an insiders viewpoint. I actually have been going to the Draft for thirteen years and will be in NYC proudly wearing my Cromwell jersey.


    1) Although yourself and Coach Fisher and GM Snead have a good working relationship how is the chaos in the war room managed? Phone calls for trades, picks and scouting information. How is all that information taken in, processed and a general consensus drawn up?

    2) Have the Rams received what compensation they are getting for Josh Gordy and Greg Salas? Yes I was the one that asked you that last year.

    ----

    Demoff

    1) Although yourself and Coach Fisher and GM Snead have a good working relationship how is the chaos in the war room managed? Phone calls for trades, picks and scouting information. How is all that information taken in, processed and a general consensus drawn up?

    The War Room isn't as chaotic as anybody would think. Most scenarios are planned for or some facsimile of them has been considered. If somebody calls with a trade, whoever answers the phone takes the information and passes along to Les and Jeff and they make a decision about how to proceed. It's fairly orderly, and its rare we get a phone call we aren't expecting. Most discussions about trades start 5 or 6 picks out from when a team is on the clock so you have ample time to consider. Some trades are contigent on a certain player being available when you are on the clock. Les and Jeff come up with a game plan and move forward together. They thrived in those situations last year.

    2) Have the Rams received what compensation they are getting for Josh Gordy and Greg Salas? Yes I was the one that asked you that last year.

    Yes, we receieved an unconditional pick in 2014 for Gordy and an unconditional pick in 2015 for Greg Salas. Stay tuned next year for the Gordy pick I know people may wonder why we don't disclose it, but it's like any other agreement that is expected to remain confidential, both sides have to disclose the information to make it public, its not our information to unilaterally disclose. I know that's frustrating since it seems like trivial information but this is the way each team has chosen to handle it, including us


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    jemach

    Draft Strategy

    Kevin, thanks for taking time to interact with some serious die hard Rams fans!

    My question is about draft strategy.

    I hear from time to time, from a draft strategy standpoint, that we don't need to draft a certain position in this year's draft because it's a weak group and there is a lot of talent at that position coming out the following year. To what extent do teams, in this case the Rams, look at next year's anticipated "crop" of talent and use it to influence what may be done in the current year?

    ----

    Demoff

    That's a really good question. I think Les and the scouts are knowledgeable about next year's class, but there are no sure things when evaluating what the class could look like next year. At this time a year ago, Matt Barkley was a sure-fire top 5 pick and very few people had heard of Geno Smith as a Top 10 candidate. Injuries happen, guys play well, guys play poorly, and in many cases, some rising juniors are going to be the best players and those guys have been lightly scouted.


    In past experience, what gets talked about more often is what positions are stronger in a given year than the next. Somebody could say "next year's CB crop will be deeper than this year" and that's something to consider if you are going to take a developmental prospect earlier in the draft who needs a year of seasoning versus taking the same position next year. I think its important to know what next year's draft could hold, but I don't think Les and the scouts make decisions off of it. There are just too many unknowns. A factor, sure, but the determining factor, not likely.

    Kevin

    Kevin- What is pick is a bad kid?

    We appreciate your time, thank you.

    What if the Rams draft a kid in the first or second round and he ends up being a bad kid. Does Stan Kroenke take this in stride or do the front office employees get REALLY nervous? I know it might be tough to answer, but when and where does accountability come in and does it stop at yours, Les Snead and Jeff Fisher's doorstep? Thank you....

    ----

    Demoff

    I don't think anybody ever thinks they are drafting a bad kid, and I would think that label is unfair for 99.9% of the players drafted. Some players may be less mature than others, but nearly all of the players are just like the rest of the college population -- they are finding their way and some may make mistakes that are part of the process of becoming an adult. If a player has made mistakes in the past, its our job to talk to the player about them, talk to their former coaches (college and high school), their families, their agents, try to learn more about the player and why they may have made a mistake. Most of us got to make our mistakes in college away from the public eye, these players never have that chance. I hope fans are hesitant to label players or prospects as bad kids as most are really good kids. For all players though, you have to project how they are going to handle a new city and the transition to the pros.

    As for how we feel, its our job to make sure every player we draft succeeds and to put together a plan that can make them each successful. Any draft pick that doesn't work out, whether a first rounder or a seventh rounder, is a missed opportunity for the Rams to get better. That being said, we've had many more "good kids" who haven't worked out for whatever reason than we've had "bad kids" who haven't worked out.




    This transcript can be found here: [www.RamsFans.com]


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    OhioRam

    Draft My question

    Hi Kevin My question is who has final say on draft picks Snead or Fisher

    ----

    Demoff

    Jeff and Les work together as a team to make the selections, and there wasn't a scenario that came up last year that they weren't unified on. I think way too much is made of who has final say. The entire organization -- from trainers to scouts to coaches to the GM -- drafts a player, not just one person. We all have to work to make sure the picks succeed. If you are at the point where one person is getting the credit or the blame for the picks, we've probably already screwed up the rest of the process.


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    Jelly Belly

    Edward Jones Dome

    Kevin:

    Thank you for taking our questions and for all the great work you and the rest of the staff are doing with the Rams and thanks for being so open and avilalble for us Rams fans.

    My questions are: Will there be any noticeable differences in the programs for us season ticket holders at the Dome this year? Also, will there be any new equipment, signs, score boards, food stands, changes to the facility, etc?

    Thanks for taking our questions and good luck with the draft and the coming season.

    ----

    Demoff

    Jelly Belly,

    We are in the process of analyzing changes that we can make to the Game Day experience to try and make it better for season ticket holders and all fans. We recently just received the final data from the fan surveys taken at the Edward Jones Dome last season and our marketing team, our customer service representatives and our staff are combing through the desert, er I mean data, to try and understand what improvements we can make that will be most impactful to our fans.

    Our focus will continue to be on how can we deliver more replays and highlights from around the NFL to allow fans at the game to follow the rest of the league (ie their fantasy teams) more closely while at the Edward Jones Dome. We are continuing to look at how to speed up the entry process and whether closing Broadway to traffic as we did against Minnesota will help fans get into the stadium quicker. We are working with our concessionaires to find new food concepts and continue to hold the line on pricing so that the cost of attending a Rams game remains among the most affordable in the NFL. We take pride in small things like having the most affordable beer prices of the 3 STL sporting venues. We are re-visiting our halftime entertainment options. There isn't one aspect of the in-game experience we won't study between now and kickoff to see if it can be improved.

    As for season ticket holders, we remain focused on how to deliver a better year-round experience for season ticket holders. Next Wednesday night we will have our pre-draft event with Les Snead at Rams Park for season ticket holders, which if you remember last year previewed a trade down for a DT in the first round. Training camp will feature our season ticket holder shaded tent once again, FanFest on August 3rd will open early to season ticket holders, we will continue to have the season ticket holder luncheons both in-season and out of season. Lastly, we will not sell a ticket inside the Edward Jones Dome for less than a season ticket, our season ticket holders will always pay the lowest price.


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    RAMbeau

    Analytics. . .

    I've heard talk of putting more weight on analytics in evaluating prospects. How far have you taken this. And how much weight are you putting on the scale. My hope is that it never gets to the point where the human element is scrambled in all the math.

    OK. . . now the important question. Will they ever have kosher hot dogs again in the Dome?

    Thanks for everything. . .

    Frank

    ----

    Demoff

    Yes, we had kosher hot dogs last year in the Edward Jones Dome and they will be back again this year!

    As for analytics, I always say the first rule of analytics is not to talk about analytics. Why tip people off to what your team is doing that might give somebody else an advantage. Les is a big believer in data as a tool, but not the only tool. He played football at Auburn, was a GA at Auburn, then has worked in scouting in the NFL since 1995. He's passionate about scouting and evaluating players. That being said, he's built a scouting staff that is modern and studies analytics, trends and data. Those trends help us understand what types of players might be more successful than others or give a picture of historically how similar players have performed. That analysis has to then be combined with the evaluations by the coaches and the scouts. It's dangerous to presume that "this player will be different" than historical norms, but that doesn't mean your scouts/coaches aren't right.




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    BobCarl

    Top-5 WR's and TOP-5 RB's?

    Will you name 5 WR's and 5 RB's that you think will likely be drafted in the first 3 rounds?

    ----

    Demoff

    I think we'd be doing the Rams a disservice by answering that, don't you?








    Demoff

    Isn't a chat without a uniform question. I expect over the next decade you will see us do more to incorporate the blue and yellow and blue and white color scheme, getting away from the gold. We are going to wear our current throwbacks this year and next year for certain, the earliest a uniform change would be is 2015. One thing I gather is nobody is passionate about our current uniforms, the passion seems to be for either the blue and white or the blue and yellow. Anybody for the Cleveland Rams look?

    Sounds great to me!!!!!!!!
    RealRam, Rambos and Dwight Frye like this.



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    Re: Demoff Q&A

    I would expect us to be VERY active in undrafted free agency this year, that is one reason we have kept more roster spots than normal open for this time of year.
    Excited to hear this. I want to see lots of competition from young guys for those last 5 or so rosters spots, hopefully one or more can really contribute to this team.

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    Re: Demoff Q&A

    Thanks Tampa good stuff.

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