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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    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
    is over.

    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
    Linehan.

    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
    Curtis.

    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
    stock.

    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.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Hard part starts now for the Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Feb. 26 2009

    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.
    This will be easier said than done. (For me and most fans I suspect) Especially if we start the 2009 season with a win or two right out of the gate. The opposite of that would be if we start out on a losing streak. Ah! the highs and lows of being a die-hard fan........
    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?

  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is offline Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Hard part starts now for the Rams

    Typical Bernie "Check which way the wind is blowing and then pile on" Miklasz article.

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