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Thread: Kroenke discusses how Rams will be run ..

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    Kroenke discusses how Rams will be run ..

    BY JIM THOMAS | Tuesday, March 22, 2011 12:05 am



    NEW ORLEANS • The NFL's labor dispute has put a lot of things on hold, including part of Stan Kroenke's first offseason as controlling owner of the Rams.

    How active will the Kroenke Rams be in free agency? Even with the massive organizational changes that followed the death of Georgia Frontiere, will Kroenke reshape the front office now that he's majority owner? And what about the stadium lease situation?

    Kroenke addressed those topics and more Monday at the NFL owners meetings in his first extensive interview since the start of the 2010 season.

    There has been speculation that Kroenke will hire a team president, or similarly titled executive, to oversee operations at Rams Park on a daily basis. While not denying that that was a possibility, Kroenke said any changes in the front office at Rams Park are on hold for obvious reasons.

    "Right now we're not hiring because we're in this lockout," he told the Post-Dispatch. "A lot of this is common sense. We can parse it, but it's common sense — nothing any different than what we would do in a normal business. We'll get some clarity at some point, and if we feel like we're going to be playing football, we'll see where we go from there."

    As for the current impasse between players and owners, Kroenke took the NFL's party line. "I think the right path is negotiation and mediation," he said. "Eventually they'll get it solved."

    Kroenke says there have been no real discussions with St. Louis officials about the stadium lease situation at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "Not really," Kroenke said. "We've got a lot of things to do before we get to that."

    (Beginning early in 2012, a stadium lease negotiation process will begin with the Convention and Visitors Commission that in a worst-case development could lead to the Rams being free to move from St. Louis following the 2014 season.)

    Kroenke was most expansive on the subject of free agency, which has been put on hold in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement.

    "We are not the 'black box' that some other (team) ownerships might be," Kroenke said. "It's so easy to look at our track record."

    In general, the overall philosophy of Kroenke sports teams is to build through the draft and emphasize player development. But if you think a free agent can be a difference-maker, then go get him.

    "We look at the team, the stage they're in, what they're doing," Kroenke said. "If you had a really bad team and you just said, 'I'm going to go out and buy a free agent,' that's not going to change the world. Because a lot of times free agents don't make a difference that way."

    Kroenke says the Rams of the not-so-distant past were an example of free agency gone awry.

    "There's a real mixed history with free agents," Kroenke said. "Teams that typically do well are teams that have a system, draft into that system, build around a few skilled players, and make that system fit 'em and away they go.

    "There is an allocation of resources involved. In the NFL particularly, you've got a hard (salary) cap. You only can spend so much. So make those resources count. Put those dollars in the most efficient place.

    "But I can tell you, you've got to watch this free agent thing very carefully. It's not the answer. The Rams, I've seen us go get free agents that obviously didn't help us. They killed us. If you spend too much on 'em, then you're tied up with their contract for a while. You can't get rid of it."

    As an underlying principle, Kroenke said he's not going to play general manager in deciding which players to pursue. He will rely on his hired help, be it the GM, head coach, or scouting department to make such decisions.

    "We rely on the professionals that are involved," Kroenke said.

    That's the way Kroenke said he has run his other clubs, whether the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association, the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League or the Arsenal soccer team of the English Premier League.

    It's a formula that has worked, Kroenke says with some pride. The Nuggets will make the playoffs for the eighth time in 11 seasons since he bought the club. The Avalanche won't qualify for the postseason this year, but even so, they have earned eight playoff berths in 11 seasons.

    "You want to bring up Arsenal?" Kroenke continued. "Arsenal's run a certain way. But they've always been one of the top teams."

    He wants the same level of success for the Rams in St. Louis.

    "We're going to try to operate this team well, and have a good competitive product," Kroenke said. "That's what we always do."

    The Rams fell one victory short of a playoff berth in 2010, Kroenke's first season as controlling owner.

    "It was exciting to watch," he said. "I wish we would've had a few more players, and we kept getting guys hurt. Particularly at receiver. Let's be honest, it would've helped a lot if we kept those guys healthy."

    Even with the disappointing 16-6 loss to Seattle in the season finale, Kroenke said, "I was proud of our team. I thought we came a long way. It was a big improvement."

    With that improvement came more fan interest. Kroenke pointed out that local television ratings of Rams games increased 66 percent in 2010, which was double the next-highest increase in the league. Much of that renewed interest was spurred by the selection of quarterback Sam Bradford No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft.

    "Great young man," Kroenke said. "It was fun to get to know him a little bit. He's about all the right things. Good to have in St. Louis. He has it all. He has unbelievable talent. I expect him to improve, and I think he will."

    In general, Kroenke said he likes the direction the team is headed but wouldn't hazard a guess when asked how close the Rams are to being a legitimate playoff-caliber team.

    "You never know about these things," he said. "You get guys hurt, and you hope that doesn't happen. If it doesn't, you'll do a lot better than if it does. Believe me. I've been around this. I've been around a lot of games in a lot of sports. And if your team's injured, it can kill you. You've got to have a little luck, too.


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    Re: Kroenke discusses how Rams will be run ..

    Very nice way to frame the discussion about our team. I'm very happy this man is our owner who appreciates the notion of sustained winning with a draft built team. It will be interesting to see if he hires a President to run the operation as right now Devaney and the rest of the FO have a sound strategy in place. Let's hope a new face won't gum up the works. Interesting interview.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Kroenke discusses how Rams will be run ..

    Sounds a lot like DeSpags with his views. Seems grounded, experienced and hopefully patient as an owner of sports franchise.

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    Re: Kroenke discusses how Rams will be run ..

    Quote Originally Posted by mde8352gorams View Post
    Very nice way to frame the discussion about our team. I'm very happy this man is our owner who appreciates the notion of sustained winning with a draft built team. It will be interesting to see if he hires a President to run the operation as right now Devaney and the rest of the FO have a sound strategy in place. Let's hope a new face won't gum up the works. Interesting interview.

    Go Rams!
    If Stan hires a team president, or similarly titled executive, to oversee operations at Rams Park, hopefully the newly hired executive's scope of work would exclude all personnel/cap related decisions. I am sure there are duties that Billy D. has to perform as GM that could be delegated to a non-football guy. I'm cautiously optimistic that Stan being an experienced owner will want Billy D., Spags, and Kevin to be able to focus entirely on football/personnel/contract stuff, without the distractions of non-football duties. Hiring another guy to oversee specifically non-football issues makes good sense from that perspective, and shows Stan isn't afraid to spend if he feels the money's well spent ..

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    Re: Kroenke discusses how Rams will be run ..

    I admittedly have only really learned of the structure of a NFL team in the last 4-5 years from wondering who the heck was making decisions for us on personal and such... Got a question?
    Is the team President second in command to Kroneke? Does Devaney have to report the team president for approval of stuff? For that matter does Kevin as well? and what is the point to hiring a team President? I understand it a little bit how Maui described a non football person handling everything else.

    p.s. had to add into here I'm VERY proud Kroneke is our owner and I think it will be no time within the next 1-2 years before we are consistantly in the playoffs... our old luster will return like before the Georgia days.
    Last edited by ZiaRam; -03-22-2011 at 05:21 PM.

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    Re: Kroenke discusses how Rams will be run ..

    Quote Originally Posted by ZiaRam View Post
    I admittedly have only really learned of the structure of a NFL team in the last 4-5 years from wondering who the heck was making decisions for us on personal and such... Got a question?
    Is the team President second in command to Kroneke? Does Devaney have to report the team president for approval of stuff? For that matter does Kevin as well? and what is the point to hiring a team President? I understand it a little bit how Maui described a non football person handling everything else.

    p.s. had to add into hear I'm VERY proud Kroneke is our owner and I think it will be no time within the next 1-2 years before we are consistantly in the playoffs... our old luster will return like before the Georgia days.
    Agreed ZiaRam, I truly get the feeling, this team is being run by people who up till now have been consistent. I have started to believe in them come draft days, which is a huge one for me. Here's hoping they keep up the good work this year and beyond.
    ZiaRam likes this.

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