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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/24/2005

    As another weird day at Rams Park reached even higher heights of absurdity, the man we used to derisively call "mad" suddenly looked like the smartest man in the room.

    Mike Martz smiled wryly for the whirling motor drives and minicams, tossed out gracious bon mots to his players, then flashed a stunning display of class when you consider that everyone in the room knew he was essentially providing us with a fond farewell speech, as the Rams front office awkwardly continued its clandestine plan to run him out of town.

    On the other hand, there was the almost squeamish, but clearly nervous John Shaw. The team president's voice cracked as he spoke in a voice barely above a whisper in the face of all this indisputable evidence that the franchise he's been directed to oversee has disintegrated into one big, unhappy dysfunctional mess.

    His head coach had just announced that he was taking the rest of the season off on sick leave, but not before hinting that his boss was ... well ... a liar. His director of football operations, Jay Zygmunt, was making news for preventing the same ill head coach from relaying play-call suggestions into the coaching booth during the last game. And Shaw was also facing a roomful of inquisitors who were skeptical of everything he was saying, including the stunning sight of Shaw trying to toss interim head coach Joe Vitt under the bus.

    In a span of maybe two minutes, Shaw managed to duck all culpability or explanation for the suddenly omnipresent Zygmunt (a trained lawyer, not a football guy) being in the coaching box, then redirected all questions to an unsuspecting Vitt about that and reports that someone (did someone say Zygmunt?) wanted to fine Leonard Little for missing Sunday's game because he was still grieving the murder of his younger brother.

    And in a move that only Nero could appreciate, Shaw fiddled his fingers while trying to convince us that all the smoke we smelled at Rams Park was from a warm and toasty bonfire, rather than an organization scorched in an out-of-control public relations firestorm.

    "This has been a highly successful organization for a number of years," Shaw said when asked whether there was any way for the dysfunctional trio of Martz, Zygmunt and general manager Charley Armey to ever coexist peacefully. "That group did very well ... I would feel they are capable of doing well in the future."

    Oh, please. The Rams weren't successful because of this dysfunctional madness. They were successful in spite of it. And now it's long past time for Shaw to stop creating excuses for the back-stabbing epidemic at Rams Park and spend all of his efforts cleaning up this sorry, chaotic mess.

    Chaos by accident is a tragedy. Chaos by design is quite diabolical, and only a fool can believe what is happening here is an accident. It's not hard to believe that Shaw and Zygmunt are not only reveling in Martz's health misfortune, but using it as the ideal opportunity to accelerate their plans to run him out of the organization and replace him with some lightweight who these two lawyers think they can control.

    On Monday Shaw tried to deflect the blame for Coachgate - Zygmunt's ham-fisted Sunday disaster when director of team security Dan Linza was physically prevented from relaying a play suggestion by Martz to his coaches - by saying it wasn't Zygmunt's fault. Shaw said he ordered Zygmunt to prevent Linza from entering the booth, even though he later admitted that he had no idea that Linza was trying to enter the booth until Zygmunt dragged the ex-police chief into the owners booth.

    Shaw spent most of the news conference dodging questions like an evasive lawyer. But eventually he did hit on one substantial answer. They now have a window of opportunity to dump Martz. "Mike won't be coaching this team, so as we go forward from here, it will be hard to evaluate Mike as it relates to the team's performance," Shaw said. "But that's not to say that where the team is and the direction we will take wouldn't somehow affect Mike. ... There are a whole number of other issues that could be in play at the time."

    In other words, Martz isn't coming back.

    It's difficult to imagine how anything can get any loopier out here, but you know it will. I hope Shaw and Zygmunt not only get what they want, but a lot more. I hope Joe Vitt leads this team into the postseason. Then at the end of the season, Shaw and Zygmunt will have to tear up their private little wish list of replacements, won't be able to replace Martz with some easily manipulated stooge, and will be forced to reckon with the very strong-willed Vitt on his terms, not theirs.

    In case you haven't figured it out yet from Vitt's increasingly public profile, this is a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails straight shooter who does not suffer fools, con men or political weasels very well. While Martz was more likely to grumble about people messing with him, Vitt is more likely to say, "Hey buddy, DON'T MESS WITH ME."

    Oh, this is going to be fun stuff. If you were wondering how the jut-jawed Vitt might negotiate his way through the deception and intrigue of the political minefield that is Rams Park, the safe bet is that his approach will be predictably direct.

    He'll probably just stomp right through it, consequences be damned.

    When informed by reporters that Shaw suggested it was Vitt's idea to have Zygmunt in the coaches box on Sunday, the South Jersey tough guy just gave it a delicious smirk. "We'll evaluate that as time goes by," he said with a quick shrug of the shoulders, while neither confirming nor denying whose idea it was, slyly hinting that Ziggy shouldn't get too comfortable in his second-row seat.

    Oh, don't you love it when a clumsy plan comes together?


  2. #2
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    This is so sad, I alway knew Shaw was, well Shaw.

  3. #3
    majorram's Avatar
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    Re: Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    whats wierd is that we have a vital game sunday and all the talk is on FO... I hope vitt kicks some BUTT... Shaw is just so soft...


    steve:clanram:
    Last edited by majorram; -10-25-2005 at 11:26 AM.

  4. #4
    Yodude's Avatar
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    Re: Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing
    ...maybe if you're a journalist.

    As a fan, all I can is it sucks.:tongue:
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

  5. #5
    majorram's Avatar
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    Re: Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    Nicly put YO

    steve:clanram:

  6. #6
    maineram Guest

    Re: Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    ONLY, if your a journalist !!
    ESPN loves this stuff, especially being the hated Rams. I find it very disturbing and avoidable. What's the hardest is knowing I'm committed to the Rams more than most in the front office. That's just plain F**Ked up. These people run a team because of a passion for the team and thier duty to the owner of that team, or I would ASSume. I guess I just found my answer, knowing what assuming does. Making an ass outta U & me.

    What a shame my team(ownership,management)has to play games, power struggles, with the players and fans as puppets.

    I wonder what part, local owner Kroenke(spelling) thinks of this latest debacle with his team. I'd like to hear from him !!!!!

    I think we have our own curse to reverse.... Carroll / Georgia handing over of the ownership torch.
    Maybe it's just Carroll haunting this team, will the soap opera ever end ????

    Maineram -

  7. #7
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    Re: Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan Burwell
    On Monday Shaw tried to deflect the blame for Coachgate - Zygmunt's ham-fisted Sunday disaster when director of team security Dan Linza was physically prevented from relaying a play suggestion by Martz to his coaches - by saying it wasn't Zygmunt's fault. Shaw said he ordered Zygmunt to prevent Linza from entering the booth, even though he later admitted that he had no idea that Linza was trying to enter the booth until Zygmunt dragged the ex-police chief into the owners booth.
    I'll give you 100 - 1 Fairchild blew a kiss to Martz while simultaneously snubbing his nose at ZiggyPCPdusted & ShamelessShaw with the reverse call. He told everyone where his loyalties lie - for better or worse. I'd smirk if I were M&M too knowing he still has supporters no matter what some in the FO contrive.

  8. #8
    maineram Guest

    Re: Dysfunction at Rams Park is fun viewing

    Great point Adarian 2,
    Fairchild says...here's some end zone options for ya Ziggy !!!!!
    NOW GET OUT OF MY BOOTH !!!!!!!!!!!
    I hope Vitt throws his arse right out of there from now on. That would be a slam dunk.

    Maineram -

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