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Family feud at Rams Park? Stay tuned
Now...I wonder if the locals are just trying to stir things up because it is slow going right now or if someone knows something that we don't. I know I don't put much weight into this article.
BY JEFF GORDON
Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
Colleague Jim Thomas painted us a picture of the Rams front office in Tuesday’s Post-Dispatch -– and the portrait was rather disturbing.
Let’s see now . . .
President John Shaw is holed up at his Los Angeles office this winter, as usual. This makes perfect sense because lead owner Georgia Frontiere lives in Arizona and minority owner Stan Kroenke has extensive sports holdings in Denver.
St. Louis? Don’t worry, Rams Park remains accessible by telephone.
The team’s other president, Jay Zygmunt, is working without a contract. As a contract negotiator and salary cap manager, he is nearly without peer in the NFL. But Zygmunt also sees himself as a football man.
Uh-oh. This has led to conflict with Charley Armey, the franchise’s nominal general manager. Armey, as luck would have it, is only under contract through the upcoming NFL Draft. His role has been diminished to that of a head scout during the last few seasons, to his chagrin.
Zygmunt has also clashed with head coach Mike Martz, who essentially gained general manager powers when he succeeded Dick Vermeil back in 2000. Zygmunt and Martz have disagreed on a variety of pro personnel matters during the last few seasons -– and we all now how stubborn Mad Mike can be.
As he did back in 1999, Shaw needs to restore order in the Rams organization and get everybody working closely toward the same goals.
Is that possible with the current cast of characters? Perhaps, although Zygmunt, Armey and Martz would each have to accept less authority than they covet.
And you know how difficult that is.
So, as Shaw told Thomas, “There's a possibility of a reshuffling at some point. But there's nothing imminent.”
The current Rams management team may get one more chance to run the football operation correctly. We presume Zygmunt is busy analyzing contracts, crunching numbers and looking for creative ways to create more cap room.
We know Armey and his men are busy analyzing draft prospects, who are assembling for the NFL Scouting Combine cattle call.
Martz has been analyzing his current personnel, deciding who must stay, who must go and what sort of commodities the Rams must pursue in free agency and the draft.
Can this group have the sort of offseason the Rams enjoyed in 1999, when the front office overhauled the roster and built a World Championship from the wreckage of the ’98 collapse?
Probably not. That was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Who could have guessed the Indianapolis Colts would just GIVE the Rams all-pro running back Marshall Faulk? Or that a former college basketball player, London Fletcher, could energize the defense?
But this front office could do considerable good if it can somehow work in concert.
Tackle Orlando Pace must be signed to the sort of long-term, cap-friendly deal that Walter Jones got in Seattle. Faulk needs to accept a restructured deal if he wants to hang around for another year.
A hard-hitting veteran linebacker simply MUST be added to the middle of the beleaguered defensive unit to work with the kids. Another solid offensive linemen or two must be thrown into the pile, just in case Scott Tercero, Blaine Saipaia and Larry Turner don’t continue their upward progression.
This list goes on and on. The Rams can’t make a lot of personnel mistakes this winter. Other sports call this the “silly season,” but there is nothing funny about this team’s front-office feud.
Re: Family feud at Rams Park? Stay tuned
Must be a slow day at the PD.
Mr. Gordon, allow me, if you will, the opportunity to supply the Cliff's Notes version of your article.
1. The front office has more questions than answers.
2. Wasn't '99 great?
3. We need O-linemen.
4. We need linebackers.
Does that about sum it up sir.
While I'm thinking about it...former college basketball player, London Fletcher
-02-22-2005 #3Registered User
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Re: Family feud at Rams Park? Stay tuned
ya you didnt know that? he played center. LOLOLOL