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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Interesting Burwell article

    The Rams should strive to emulate Patriot games
    By Bryan Burwell
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    02/05/2005

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The easiest thing to do when looking at the on-field success of the New England Patriots is to mumble, mutter and groan. The defending Super Bowl champions are on the verge of rising to dynasty status Sunday night, if they can find a way to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, which understandably provokes most Rams devotees to sit there with green eyes blazing.

    Human nature being what it is, how can Rams Nation not look enviously at the Patriots? This should be your coronation ball. This should be your giddy moment in NFL history, because it was only a few short years ago when the football world was preparing to crown the Greatest Show on Turf as pro football's next great dynasty.

    But then the Patriots spoiled all that.

    And now here we are three seasons later, and the pain and disappointment of that Super Bowl still fester like an open wound. It's supposed to be the Rams, not these insufferable Patriots, on the brink of legendary Super Bowl glory. So it's understandable that from your green-tinted view back in St. Louis that you might look at what's happening in Florida and curse your wretched fate while envying theirs.

    Yet I prefer another tact. I don't want to hate the Patriots. I want to imitate them. All week long, I have spent a great deal of time picking the brains of some of the smartest folks in football, trying to figure out what's good and bad about the Rams. I've had countless private and not-so-private conversations with coaches, former coaches, Hall of Fame players, television analysts and current players, and they've all led me to the same conclusion: The Rams need to start imitating the Patriots, because what the Rams are doing is fraught with flaws.

    So I've buried my nose in their blueprints, ripped off several enlarged photocopies, and now I'll stuff them into all the appropriate mailbox slots at Rams Park.


    Dear John Shaw, this one's for you. We've underlined a couple of key pages we think you might find to be fascinating reading. Pay particular attention to the section marked "Lack of dysfunction in the front office."

    The upper tier of the New England organization chart does not operate like detached splinter cells in which the right hand doesn't know - or particularly care - what the left hand is doing. Patriots coach Bill Belichick actually gets along with personnel chief Scott Pioli. They work with each other, not against each other. They are an orchestra, not several soloists doing improvisational personnel jam sessions on draft day.

    "You know what else I love about the way the Patriots do business?" asked Ron Jaworski, a former Eagles quarterback and current ESPN analyst. "When it comes to scouting and coaching, Bill wants to know what a player can do, not what he can't do. Then he puts his players in positions that emphasize their strengths. He has all these hybrid players on his team - linebacker/tight ends, safety/linebackers, wide receiver/defensive backs, defensive ends/linebackers - and he manages to find a way to use them all in various situations that no one else seems to see they can do."


    Dear Mike Martz, please refer to the details highlighted in the section marked "Bill Belichick: real man of genius," and "Romeo Crennel: now he's REALLY the best!" defensive coordinator

    Several very astute football people I talked to made these observations about Martz in comparison to Belichick: Until Martz stops acting like an offensive coordinator and starts acting like the chief operating officer of the Rams, the team will continue to struggle. They praise his offensive genius but wonder why his defense is so undisciplined.

    "I watch game film of their defense and I see 11 undisciplined guys all trying to make a play," Jaworski said. "They're not acting as one unit. It's like they're all acting independently, flying all over the place with no structure."

    Former Rams linebacker Don Davis, now with the Patriots, would not delve into any analysis of Martz. But he did explain why you don't see that unstructured craziness on the Patriots. This is a disciplined team that does not do self-destructive things. You might beat them, but they never beat themselves.

    "And it begins with (Belichick) and his attention to detail," Davis said. "He doesn't just tell you not to make mistakes. He shows you in graphic detail why you can't make a mistake. He presents it in a way that makes you feel like you are letting down your teammates if you do make a mistake. And because the emphasis is so heavy on the team, not the individual, you don't want to do anything to let the rest of your teammates down by making mistakes."


    Attention all Rams players: did you read that? Here, let me make additional copies for you. It's called "Mistake-free football: Love it, live it."

    On media day, Davis held court with a small gathering of reporters and talked about how the Patriots' unusual success has not gone unnoticed by inquiring minds at Rams Park.

    "A guy like my friend (Rams safety) Aeneas Williams is fascinated with winners and winning," Davis said. "He said, 'How can you guys keep taking the losses like you do and keep winning? You lose Ty Poole, Ty Law, you lose a Eugene Wilson for a time, you lose a Richard Seymour, and you're still in the Super Bowl? How can this be?'

    "Well, it's because our players are dependable and smart," Davis said. "Our guys are not going to make stupid mistakes. Those who do aren't going to be here very long."

    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
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  2. #2
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    The Rams should strive to emulate Patriot games
    Hmmmmm...where have I heard that before...oh yeah, now I remember.
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    There were a lot of good points in this article. Well done, Mr. Burwell. But what frustrates me, is why must these questions be asked by a PD reporter instead of our management? I'm thinking our ship has more rotting wood inside it than a couple of coats of paint can take care of. Something has to give; is it Martz, is it the core of players, is it Shaw, is it Zygmunt, is it Armey? I've got to know, what is the cancer that has eaten this team up over the past 5 years? We're doing something right (the playoffs in 5 of the last 6 seasons), but I think we could agree that this team was capable of more than 1-1 in the SB during that span.
    "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: Interesting Burwell article

    Patriots took a different route than the Rams.

    Rams signed Warner, Bruce, Faulk, Pace and Holt to big money contracts. Patriots let people walk if they wanted big money.

    It could have bit them in the end but it didn't. Their system wouldn't work for every team.

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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    Patriots took a different route than the Rams.

    Rams signed Warner, Bruce, Faulk, Pace and Holt to big money contracts. Patriots let people walk if they wanted big money.

    It could have bit them in the end but it didn't. Their system wouldn't work for every team.
    But Tx, you said it youself, they "let people walk if they wanted big money". They have been succeeding with average players. No superstars, just solid performers. Sounds to me like that system could work for every team.
    "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

  6. #6
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Causation vs. coincidence... or....


    Do the Patriots win because they don't give big contracts for the most part, or do they win despite the fact that they don't give big contracts?

    The Rams should try to be the best at what they do, not at what some other team does.

  7. #7
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    But Tx, you said it youself, they "let people walk if they wanted big money". They have been succeeding with average players. No superstars, just solid performers. Sounds to me like that system could work for every team.
    That's a myth. The Patriots do have "superstars." They just recognize the talent early enough in the players' careers to have them on the roster before they get established enough to demand huge money. Plus, it hasn't hurt that they got those draft choices for Bledsoe and stole Corey Dillon.

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    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Causation vs. coincidence... or....


    Do the Patriots win because they don't give big contracts for the most part, or do they win despite the fact that they don't give big contracts?

    The Rams should try to be the best at what they do, not at what some other team does.
    Contracts have little to do with it. And THAT'S why they win.

    And why is it that the Rams aren't being the best at what they do? I'm not saying we make copies of Belicheck's playbooks and start passing them out. I'm saying why aren't we maximizing our potential like the Patriots obviously do? Why have they gone to (and won) 3 of the last 4 superbowls, while we have fallen short of expectations every year since '99? There's a difference there, and somebody within the organization, not just a PD sports reporter, needs to be asking this question and spending every waking moment trying to find the answer, and then implementing the solution.
    "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: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    That's a myth. The Patriots do have "superstars." They just recognize the talent early enough in the players' careers to have them on the roster before they get established enough to demand huge money. Plus, it hasn't hurt that they got those draft choices for Bledsoe and stole Corey Dillon.
    Call it a myth, if you like. Trying to define superstar is purely semantics anyway. The issue is not a comparison of individual talent, the issue is that the Patriots win consistently. And they happen to do it with players that place higher regard on the success of the team than their own. With the exception of Lawyer Milloy, and some would say Drew Bledsoe, their personnel believe in the furtherance of the team first and foremost. Now I know that every organization in the NFL will say they feel that way, but the Patriots are the only one's that have 3 Lombardis to prove it.

    Their front office is on the same page. Ours is not.
    Their head coach gets along with the front office. Ours does not.
    Their player's are disciplined to the point of putting team first. Ours (with a few exceptions) are not.

    I don't know all the facts, nor do I have anymore insight about the inner workings of Rams Park than you or anyone else. Therefore, I (unlike some) am not willing to call for anyone's head. There's a cancer there, but I don't know who it is. What scares me, is that it appears the powers that be don't know either. If they don't recognize the problem, there is no chance of said problem getting corrected.

    Well boys, you got the rest of the offseason to figure it out. Earn your paycheck.
    "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: Interesting Burwell article

    I don't bison....guess you could argue either way and I'm too tired this morning to argue.

    :redface:

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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    I don't bison....guess you could argue either way and I'm too tired this morning to argue.

    :redface:
    So was the night too late or the morning too early?
    "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: Interesting Burwell article

    Morning too early and 24 ROCKED last night.....

  13. #13
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    Morning too early and 24 ROCKED last night.....
    That's a shame. At least a late night offers more fun. I've never had fun during an early morning.
    "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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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    Hmmmmm...where have I heard that before...oh yeah, now I remember.
    Better ice down that shoulder. Wouldn't want it to get sore from your patting yourself on the back. :tongue:



    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    They have been succeeding with average players.
    Let's be honest - for the most part, that's a bit of a stretch. They succeed with players we might not have heard of every week on Sunday, but I would be hesitant to say they're doing things with average players.

    I think some of the things Burwell points out that need to be done aren't exclusive to the Pats but just general football principles to strive for: better cooperation in the front office, more discipline on the defensive side of the ball, minimize mistakes.

    To say the Rams should emulate the Patriots is somewhat misleading, IMO. As Avenger said, not every team is going to succeed with what New England is doing. We have guys locked up in big contracts. Right now, that's unavoidable, unless we want to make some cuts and go through cap hell.
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    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting Burwell article

    Quote Originally Posted by NIck
    Let's be honest - for the most part, that's a bit of a stretch. They succeed with players we might not have heard of every week on Sunday, but I would be hesitant to say they're doing things with average players.
    No more of a stretch than saying their line-up is filled with superbowl talent. Since the comparisons have already been started, I'd say of the current Pats, the 90's Cowboys, the 80's whiners, & the 70's Steelers, the Pats have the least talented roster, which makes their results even more amazing. On an individual basis, they have several good players, and even a couple of great players. But those good players bring about outstanding results.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    I think some of the things Burwell points out that need to be done aren't exclusive to the Pats but just general football principles to strive for: better cooperation in the front office, more discipline on the defensive side of the ball, minimize mistakes.
    Of course every team should strive towards those goals, but only the Pats are consistently getting it done. The question is, why?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    To say the Rams should emulate the Patriots is somewhat misleading, IMO. As Avenger said, not every team is going to succeed with what New England is doing. We have guys locked up in big contracts. Right now, that's unavoidable, unless we want to make some cuts and go through cap hell.
    Then I have to ask, what do you mean by emulate? I don't think we should match NE player for player, coach for coach, or exec for exec. That's not the emulation I want. However, there is something there, a philosophy, a strategy, a relationship...something that sets them apart, that allows them to maximize their potential. That is what we HAVE to emulate. We would be foolish to not find ways to maximize on what we already have. Let's face it, that has not been our strength (with the exception of QB).

    I'm getting the feeling that when people see that we should emulate the Pats, that is being read as "we should change our personnel to meet their's". I don't think that should be the issue. Instead, we should take what we have (which is plenty) and get the most out of them. This is where we come up short, and the Pats don't. In that manner, we should emulate the Pats.
    "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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