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Thread: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

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    Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Bryan Burwell
    Sunday, May 13, 2012

    Because the changing of the guard is so much a regrettable old routine around Rams Park, whenever a new coach rolls into the place it's always fun to pick out the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the dearly (or not-so-dearly) departed and the new man in town.

    So consider this the first sign that life around Rams Park is going to be a bit different now that Jeff Fisher is roaming the hallways. On Friday afternoon, a few hours after the new coach had just run his new draft picks and undrafted free agents through their first day of rookie minicamp, Fisher was seen chasing his son's rather excitable golden retriever up and down the back corridors near the press room.

    So there you go. This was the first obvious sign of the dramatic transformation from Steve Spagnuolo's rather structured "Four Pillars" mentality in Earth City.

    The new sign over the entrance to Rams Park now reads "Continuity X Training Center," but it could just as easily say "Animal House," because in comparison to last season, things are going to be a little different around here, and maybe a bit more colorful too.

    We're being a bit cute with the "Animal House" reference, but it's no exaggeration that Fisher and general manager Les Snead have already dramatically altered the attitude around here. They are going to take chances. They aren't going to shy away from high-risk, high-reward draft picks. They aren't going to lose sleep over negative public perceptions when it comes to finding the sort of talent that can turn this franchise around in a hurry.

    So if that means taking risks on players who've had one or two brushes with the law, so be it. They ask two very important questions around here when it comes to overhauling this roster:

    1. Can he play?

    2. Is he stupid?

    If the answer is yes to No. 1 and no to No. 2, then Fisher and Snead are comfortable with the risk. Just know this. There is a difference between being comfortable and gullible. They're not trying to turn Earth City into a town for wayward boys. But they're not nave enough to think that fielding a successful professional football team can be accomplished by stocking the roster full of choirboys. This isn't revolutionary stuff, but it is a part of intelligent team building in the modern era of pro sports.

    "A large part of (what we rely on are) the background checks and the due diligence and all the research that we did before the draft," said Fisher. "We were convinced that everybody we drafted this past month is going to come in and play and not have any problems."

    Fisher is no novice to dealing with bad boys. He has had some very good success stories and some notable disasters. But with each one he has learned what worked and why things went wrong and not only kept good notes but made corrections all along the way. It's what distinguishes him from the nave coach who thinks that he can play Father Flanagan with an unrepentant knucklehead and save him. How many coaches have fooled themselves into believing, "Oh, it'll be different with me."

    "I think you have to look at each individual and set of circumstances and what the issues were," said Fisher. "That's what we did."

    It's a page right out of the old Oakland Raiders handbook of John Madden, who was famous for the way he handled his renegade players, but with some modern adaptations. You give them clear rules that make sense. You surround them with strong-willed leaders in the locker room and you surround them with smart people outside the locker room who will help teach them how to make better decisions with their lives than they did in the past.

    "I'm not going to get into real specifics for any one player, but we have a plan," said Snead. "Remember now, we're dealing with all these players who are in their early 20s and asking them to produce in a high-pressured situation and they get critiqued publicly and they are given a lot of money. So you're asking for a lot from these 20-, 21- and 22-year-olds. Our goal is to really make sure that they can handle that."

    It may vary depending on the player, but the Rams are going to make sure through their own player programs and the NFL's programs that their rookies get their finances right so that there are no issues with child support or family and friends draining them of their newfound but potentially fleeting wealth.

    "You have these kids coming out of college, no matter if it is a small school or a big one, they have not really had to live yet on their own," said Snead. "So our big goal is to take them in each phase of living and show them how to become a professional, and they have to become a professional fast. They don't get to go to Europe and backpack. They don't get to go and intern and sit in a cubicle and have fun and put some cool pictures up on the bulletin board and really not have any pressure.

    "It's not even like baseball where you get to bounce around in the minor leagues where you travel on the bus and you're in Wichita, Kansas and nobody sees you make the errors," said Snead. "(In the NFL) they get to see you make the errors. So the goal is to develop them. Everybody touches them in our building. We will help these kids understand what it will be like to get money, handle money, get new 'friends' and meet long-lost 'cousins' who are all holding their hands out. That kid can't be pulled in a hundred different directions and he has to learn how to say no to some of those people."

    If this plan works, the reward will be so much greater than the risk. Better yet, if it turns out these high-risk, high-reward guys can really play and if the plan of Fisher and Snead plan keeps most of them on the right path no one in St. Louis will care about anything else. The coach and the GM are smart enough and bold enough to know that.


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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Throw the 4 pillars out. There are only 2 questions we need to ask about each player, Is he stupid? And Can he play?
    THOLTFAN81 and GROUND DOG 39 like this.

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Seems to me it wasn't all that long ago we welcomed a previous regime into town amidst word of "changing the culture" in Rams Park. If guys stay out of trouble and we win, I'll be a believer- anything else is irrelevant.

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    Seems to me it wasn't all that long ago we welcomed a previous regime into town amidst word of "changing the culture" in Rams Park. If guys stay out of trouble and we win, I'll be a believer- anything else is irrelevant.
    It's pretty much par for the course. Nobody takes over a bottom five team and talks about how the old regime had the right idea but just didn't get enough time to see the result. It all sounds good, but Fisher's days in Tennessee weren't exactly without problems.

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    Seems to me it wasn't all that long ago we welcomed a previous regime into town amidst word of "changing the culture" in Rams Park. If guys stay out of trouble and we win, I'll be a believer- anything else is irrelevant.
    I never liked the four pillars concept from the start so I personally didn't like that changing of the culture. However, I was happy when Spags was hired and thought he would be a great coach, despite a flawed concept.

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by THOLTFAN81 View Post
    I never liked the four pillars concept from the start so I personally didn't like that changing of the culture. However, I was happy when Spags was hired and thought he would be a great coach, despite a flawed concept.
    I will never understand the Clanrammers (or anyone for that matter) who continue to bemoan the "four pillars" concept- as if it's some ridiculous idea. I have news for all of you: A quality coach tries to win in a classy manner with upstanding people. But these players also must have TALENT- and Spags/Devaney's mistake was in not being able to identify enough of these guys. There are PLENTY of guys around the league who are good, classy guys who also are winning players where you shouldn't have to go out there and draft talented ***holes. But I digress.

    Jeff Fisher has been given carte blanche to run things his way because he is an established coach whose body of work gives him instant credibility. He can take a gamble on a Janoris Jenkins and he'll be given a pass if it doesn't work out. Steve Spagnuolo had no such luxury. As a new head coach, he chose to try and build with good character people who would be part of the solution, not head cases. Again, it's a sound approach- provided you bring in the talent to achieve your goals. He didn't, and it cost him his job.

    Funny how the "four pillars" was all perfectly fine and good when the Rams went from 1 win to 7 wins, but once we regressed amidst injuries, underachieving and a brutal schedule, the "four pillars approach" was the reason we lost ball games. Hypocritical crap.

    "Culture Change" is just another one of those empty phrases that sounds good but means nothing. Let's just hope we win some ball games this year.
    Last edited by NJ Ramsfan1; -05-14-2012 at 11:00 AM.

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Yea, screw the "4 Pillars" thing. I don't care about "4 Pillars" in a player. All I want is a talented player with:

    1. ...enough character to work hard every day,
    2. ...a love for football at his core,
    3. ...faith in himself, his teammates, & his coaches,
    4. ...a willingness to put his team first.

    Yea, who needs the 4 pillars anyway? I'd rather have all that stuff.
    Hey, wait a minute......
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    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I will never understand the Clanrammers (or anyone for that matter) who continue to bemoan the "four pillars" concept- as if it's some ridiculous idea. I have news for all of you: A quality coach tries to win in a classy manner with upstanding people. But these players also must have TALENT- and Spags/Devaney's mistake was in not being able to identify enough of these guys. There are PLENTY of guys around the league who are good, classy guys who also are winning players where you shouldn't have to go out there and draft talented ***holes. But I digress.

    Jeff Fisher has been given carte blanche to run things his way because he is an established coach whose body of work gives him instant credibility. He can take a gamble on a Janoris Jenkins and he'll be given a pass if it doesn't work out. Steve Spagnuolo had no such luxury. As a new head coach, he chose to try and build with good character people who would be part of the solution, not head cases. Again, it's a sound approach- provided you bring in the talent to achieve your goals. He didn't, and it cost him his job.

    Funny how the "four pillars" was all perfectly fine and good when the Rams went from 1 win to 7 wins, but once we regressed amidst injuries, underachieving and a brutal schedule, the "four pillars approach" was the reason we lost ball games. Hypocritical crap.

    "Culture Change" is just another one of those empty phrases that sounds good but means nothing. Let's just hope we win some ball games this year.
    Good post! I was on the 4 pillars bandwagon bigtime! Why draft knuckleheads when you can find team-first players? However, as you so aptly pointed out, they also must be possessed of talent. Devaney and Spags were unable to acquire players with both attributes.

    I'd say there is a cultural change occurring within Ram Park directly due to the acquistion of Fisher and Snead. The change being that players will be truly believing they can win. Whether we do or don't right away remains to be seen, but we should finally be able to make sensible adjustments during games, and won't be making rookie head coach "learn on the fly" mistakes. The veterans on our team surely know this already, and welcome the change.

    There won't be a lot room for second guessing now as occurred in previous years when there was no clearly established leader. Fish is unquestionably GOD at Rams Park. The era of Georgia R. has ended. Silent Stan set a new course for the good ship Rams by providing a bonafide captain - just this act alone set the stage for "cultural change." I believe Ram players will be expecting to win this year, and they just might.

    Culture: the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.

    Do we believe ?? Or has so much "losing" relegated us to merely hoping?

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    The only culture I want to see changed is the losing culture. We brought in Linehan and his new culture and lost! We brought in Spags and his new culture and lost! Again, I don't care what Fisher has to do to win. Winning is all that matters to me!

    If we win with Choir boys, GREAT! If win with a bunch of knuckleheads, Great! If we win with a bunch of ex convicts, GREAT! If we win with any combination of the 3 that's great to! JUST WIN!!!
    Last edited by laram0; -05-14-2012 at 05:45 PM.
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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    You know what the difference is between an inspirational mantra and a corny platitude?

    Wins and losses.

    If the Rams had gone 6-10 in 1999 and Dick Vermiel had been fired, people would have derided the "gotta go to work" slogan as proof that Vermiel was a relic who lacked the ability to connect with the modern player.

    Similarly, if the Rams had won the division last year, fans would be praising Spags for "doing it the right way" with the Four Pillars approach.

    The real four pillars, of course, can be found in a team's skin... or should I say, pelt.

    Preparation
    Effort
    Luck
    Talent

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    Re: Fisher, Snead changing culture of the Rams ..

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    The only culture I want to see changed is the losing culture. We brought in Linehan and his new culture and lost! We brought in Spags and his new culture and lost! Again, I don't care what Fisher has to do to win. Winning is all that matters to me!

    If we win with Choir boys, GREAT! If win with a bunch of knuckleheads, Great! If we win with a bunch of ex convicts, GREAT! If we win with any combination of the 3 that's great to! JUST WIN!!!
    Al Davis said it best, "Just Win Baby"

    100% agree. Been a fan of too many losing seasons... Time to start winning some games

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    Spags got dealt a bad hand, no question. Had injuries only Pyrrus could appreciate, and was on the ground floor of a brand new, (and 30 year overdue) reorganization. And was himself inexperienced. The planets lined up in a bad way, the 7 wins were a fluke...

    IDK - to me it was sort of doomed.
    But I was very excited when he was hired, and had no problems with the four pillars.

    That said, personally I much prefer Fisher and Snead 's style, and believe we will see it translate into better football. Winning would be great as well.

    I think I'm totally alone in this, but the Rams have been total crap for so long that just watching a real football team act like one is almost enough for me.

    The winning will take care of itself.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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