Results 1 to 3 of 3
Hard part starts now for the Rams
By Bernie Miklasz
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Feb. 26 2009
It's been a giddy and hopeful time at Rams Park, with a new regime taking
charge to give this tired and bloodied franchise a fresh start. One of the
worst organizations in professional sports was torn apart, and the rebuilding
had to begin on the top floor, where the decisions are made.
Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom hired Billy Devaney as general manager. Devaney
hired the promising Steve Spagnuolo as the head coach. Spagnuolo quickly
assembled a staff of assistant coaches. Kevin Demoff was recruited to manage
the salary cap and supervise the business operation.
This infusion of leadership was just what the Rams needed. But the
introductions have been made, the group photos have been taken and the fun part
Serious work must be done to clean up the horrific pool of waste left by the
previous football regime. Extreme damage was done during a reign of error
marked by the mad descent of Mike Martz, the hostile takeover of the football
operation by Jay Zygmunt and the incomprehensible ineffectiveness of Scott
One of the more sinister mistakes in recent years was pushed aside Wednesday,
when the Rams released bread-pudding soft wideout Drew Bennett. To me, Bennett
is the No. 1 symbol of the sweeping incompetence demonstrated by the prior
football administration. Linehan and Zygmunt wanted to pay Bennett the large
dollars instead of retaining the younger, faster and more talented Kevin
And if that wasn't enough, Linny and Ziggy handed Bennett a starting job by
escorting franchise icon Isaac Bruce to the on-ramp of I-70 West. In two
seasons as a Ram, Bennett collected $12 million in bonuses and salaries and
caught 34 passes. And now he's gone with the wind, along with all of that money
turned into useless confetti, leaving the Rams short of receivers.
The Rams may release or trade wideout Torry Holt to clear more cap room; they
could save around $8 million by doing so. But therein lies the problem. It's
one thing to let go of the aging Holt — though I still think he can play — but
who fills the position? The same applies to veteran offensive tackle Orlando
Pace. The Rams would have about $6 million in additional spending money if they
cut ties with Big O. And then what?
Can the Rams sign free agents to take the spots of Holt and Pace? Sure, but
that will cost them plenty of bucks to hire first-rate replacements, and that
assumes that free agents want to bypass a contender to come here. OK, so what
about using a premium draft pick to find a wideout and an OT? Sure. But by
sacrificing top picks to address those positions, the Rams won't have as much
flexibility to use the picks to fill other roster needs.
The old regime made another titanic gaffe by failing to secure a contract
extension with the emerging cornerback, Ron Bartell. He will probably command
elite (and possibly insane) dollars on the free-agent market, and the Rams
could have gotten Bartell for a lower price had they acted sooner. If Bartell
bolts, it leaves another roster crater. And the franchise will go around in
circles again, investing money and picks on positions that should have been
locked down by previous rounds of spending and drafting.
Hey, all the Rams need is an offensive tackle, a center, a tight end, a couple
of wideouts, a good backup quarterback who can push to start, an upgrade at No.
2 running back, a middle linebacker, reinforcements for the defensive line, and
an assortment of cornerbacks and safeties. Oh, and probably another guard.
Other than that, they're all set. This is a piece of cake, right?
Because I am strongly in favor of having the NFL return to St. Louis, I'm
hoping that Devaney, Spagnuolo and their men can surprise me, hit a few
unexpected home runs and make the right roster maneuvers over the next few
months. But I can't sit here and pretend that all that's required is a little
nip and tuck. This roster restoration is a major project. And these people have
a painful job to do. The trainers better keep a lot of aspirin and antacid in
I'm willing to be patient as long as we see incremental, sound improvements.
I'll take a pass on the desperate, panicky, quick-fix mentality that put this
franchise in dire straits. The Rams should resist the notion of signing some
"name" player just to appease restless, unrealistic fans. I've seen enough
front-office dramas and disasters for a while. It's time for some steady and
reliable leadership at Rams Park.
Re: Hard part starts now for the Rams
It all comes down to the expectations of each individual fan. I'm not expecting a huge turnaround for 2009 but.............see what I mean?
Re: Hard part starts now for the Rams
Typical Bernie "Check which way the wind is blowing and then pile on" Miklasz article.
By RamWraith in forum RAM TALKReplies: 0Last Post: -12-31-2008, 08:07 AM
By RamWraith in forum RAM TALKReplies: 1Last Post: -09-08-2008, 08:23 AM
By RamWraith in forum RAM TALKReplies: 3Last Post: -03-25-2008, 06:58 PM
By RamWraith in forum RAM TALKReplies: 5Last Post: -03-18-2006, 11:18 PM
By OldRamsfan in forum RAM TALKReplies: 3Last Post: -01-09-2006, 03:53 AM