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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Here's how Devaney sees football

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Dec. 18 2008


    Bobby Beathard helped build Super Bowl champions in Miami and Washington. He
    was one of the great general managers in modern NFL history, even though his
    last job, in San Diego, ended poorly.

    Billy Devaney was with Beathard in Washington and San Diego, witnessing the
    good and the bad. He was a super scout for a brilliant Redskins team that won
    three Super Bowls and 19 postseason games. The San Diego experience wasn't a
    success, but Devaney learned from the mistakes.

    I asked Devaney about Beathard's influence, and the most important lesson he
    learned from his mentor.

    "It's a team effort," Devaney said. "It's not about one person. It's players,
    coaches, scouts, management, everyone in the building. You have to build
    something together.

    "Organizations win."

    Organizations lose, too.

    And with the Rams skidding with a 5-25 record over the last two seasons,
    someone must step into the leadership void to create a new football
    organization. Someone must take the lead role in changing the culture, changing
    the direction.

    Devaney, the Rams' executive VP of personnel, is in line for a promotion when
    Rams owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez restructure the team's front
    office after the season.

    Devaney will head the search for the next coach, with Jim Haslett among the
    candidates. He already coordinates the team's draft. And he will supervise free
    agency.

    Devaney hasn't been informed of the owners' plans for him. He does not want to
    be presumptuous. He's sensitive to the perception that he's the GM in waiting
    at Rams Park. Devaney emphasized that he's interested in doing one thing only:
    contributing to a organization-wide effort to transform the Rams.

    But if Devaney is asked to take over the football side, what can we expect?

    In two separate interviews this week, Devaney articulated a vision for the
    future.

    Devaney wanted to make one thing clear: "We have a lot of good players," he
    said. "We have components in place to build around. When I talk about
    improving, it shouldn't be taken as an indictment of the 53-man roster."

    Here are some of Devaney's key philosophies:

    Beef up the scouting department. He believes the Rams have a good staff of
    college scouts. But he'd like to see more manpower dedicated to the pro
    personnel department.

    Beef up the roster. "The team needs to get bigger, physically," Devaney said.
    "The team needs to be tougher, physically and mentally. This is a tough, nasty
    game. Physically, you have to be able to handle it. But you also have to be
    mentally strong. There's a lot of adversity. You get your brains beat in. So
    it's just as important to change the mindset."

    Improving the offensive line is a top priority: "The offensive line should be
    the personality of your team," Devaney said. "We have a big, powerful back in
    Steven Jackson. Now we have to match our personnel around him."

    Construct a strong defensive middle: "We need to bring in some bigger pieces
    for the defensive line," Devaney said. "We need a big, sloppy-body,
    run-stuffing tackle. And you need a physically imposing middle linebacker."
    (Devaney added that he respects the job that Will Witherspoon has done at MLB
    for the Rams, but he believes Witherspoon will thrive as an outside
    linebacker.)

    Put a premium on finding character players. "You've got to care deeply about
    winning," Devaney said. "It's got to matter to you. You have to hate losing. We
    want players who won't accept losing. And when we look at players in the draft,
    and in free agency, they have to represent that mentality."

    Develop a team personality, and reinforce it: "There are a lot of ways to
    win," Devaney said. "Bill Walsh did it with the passing game. Vince Lombardi
    did it with the running game. Tampa Bay's thing was the Cover 2 defense. The
    goal is to identify what you are, and stick with it. Determine what you want to
    be and don't deviate. Before you bring a player in, you have to ask the
    question: 'Does he fit with what we are?' You can't have a hodgepodge
    collection of players."

    Do not obsess over winning the sweepstakes for top-dollar free agents. "This
    is a game of depth," Devaney said. "It's important to reinforce the mid-roster
    depth. You need a lot of players who can fill a role, players who can move up
    and start. The successful teams have stars, but what gets overlooked is that
    they also have that mid-roster depth that covers a lot of holes that inevitably
    arise."

    If asked to serve, Devaney definitely has a plan in mind. Devaney may wince at
    the notion that he's some sort of visionary, but he clearly has a vision for
    what the Rams should be.

    The Rams are in desperate need of a coherent organizational strategy.

    Devaney is in the right place at the right time.

    Yes, there's hope.


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    The Front Office lead by someone who actually understands how to build a winning football team...

    What a concept.

  3. #3
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Dec. 18 2008


    Improving the offensive line is a top priority: "The offensive line should be
    the personality of your team," Devaney said. "We have a big, powerful back in
    Steven Jackson. Now we have to match our personnel around him."

    Construct a strong defensive middle: "We need to bring in some bigger pieces
    for the defensive line," Devaney said. "We need a big, sloppy-body,
    run-stuffing tackle. And you need a physically imposing middle linebacker."
    (Devaney added that he respects the job that Will Witherspoon has done at MLB
    for the Rams, but he believes Witherspoon will thrive as an outside
    linebacker.)

    Put a premium on finding character players. "You've got to care deeply about
    winning," Devaney said. "It's got to matter to you. You have to hate losing. We
    want players who won't accept losing. And when we look at players in the draft,
    and in free agency, they have to represent that mentality."
    Wow I like the way this guy thinks, a strong running game, stopping the run, moving spoon back to the outside
    :ramlogo:

  4. #4
    C-Mob 71's Avatar
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    He wants to get bigger and tougher, and he wants players who refuse to lose...

    Tim Tebow welcome to the Rams

  5. #5
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Pinch me I'm dreaming. Someone in the FO saying things that make sense?!? OK, where's the hidden camera? Where's Ashton. You guys got me good. I'm Truth, and I've been Punk'd.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    He needs to stay in the front office. I think if Chip keeps anybody, its Devaney.

    I really hope he turns this thing around for us.

  7. #7
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Construct a strong defensive middle: "We need to bring in some bigger pieces
    for the defensive line," Devaney said. "We need a big, sloppy-body,
    run-stuffing tackle. And you need a physically imposing middle linebacker."
    (Devaney added that he respects the job that Will Witherspoon has done at MLB
    for the Rams, but he believes Witherspoon will thrive as an outside
    linebacker.)
    This sounds promising. I know a lot of folks around here have been complaining about both those issues for a while now.

  8. #8
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Go Rams! Go Devaneeeeeeeey!

  9. #9
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Devaney has figured out something that the current 'business types' haven't been able to grasp: If you build a winning team, YOU MAKE MONEY!

    I think Chip might just have some blue & gold blood running through those veins. If he promotes Devaney, then we know for sure.

    I know it sounds wrong this early, but I'm already pumped for next season!

  10. #10
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFanSam View Post
    Devaney has figured out something that the current 'business types' haven't been able to grasp: If you build a winning team, YOU MAKE MONEY!

    I think Chip might just have some blue & gold blood running through those veins. If he promotes Devaney, then we know for sure.

    I know it sounds wrong this early, but I'm already pumped for next season!
    Amen brother, this offseason is an opportunity to get this franchise back in full swing as early as next season. With a few right moves in personnel, free agency and the draft, we'll at the least have some momentum going for us. I am excited to see who the candidates are for the head coaching position and I am hopeful that Devaney will be the GM for the Rams. We gotta get the right people involved...


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  11. #11
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Excellent article and maybe the most promising thing I've read in a long time. Devaney hits the nail on the head on every issue, in my opinion: Strong defense up the middle, depth, character players, a hated of losing, a beefed up offensive line, physical and mental toughness, an organizational philosophy. Every single one of these components reflects what the Rams currently lack.

    Devaney needs to receive this promotion the day after the season ends so he can start implementing this vision. It is without a doubt a winning formula.

  12. #12
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    He was a super scout for a brilliant Redskins team that won
    three Super Bowls and 19 postseason games
    Not that he should or would be dictated by it, but I have to wonder if this might shift the field slightly towards Russ Grimm.
    "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

  13. #13
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Not that he should or would be dictated by it, but I have to wonder if this might shift the field slightly towards Russ Grimm.
    Interesting thought Hub. Now tell me that a "Hog" is not a tough guy with a fundamentals first attitude, and Oh boy would the O-line improve!!!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    SJax, a developing quarterbacks best friend...

  14. #14
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    Re: Here's how Devaney sees football

    The most important thing in his plan is the sound of passion. It sounds like he knows what the missing pieces to the puzzle are, and he'll do what it takes to install them. He knows what it takes to have a successful franchise but its easier said than done so we'll see what happens.

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