JavaScript must be enabled to use this chat software. Kroenke's moves put Rams, fans in limbo

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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Kroenke's moves put Rams, fans in limbo

    Kroenke's moves put Rams, fans in limbo

    Columnist By Jeff Gordon

    Now Rams fans know how Blues fans felt earlier this decade when Bill and Nancy Laurie pulled the chute on their NHL franchise.

    Not only did Blues fans endure the year-long shutout of the league -Ė the brainstorm of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, that sportís hapless architect of doom -Ė but they saw their franchise wallow in ownership limbo when play resumed.

    Bill and Nancy Laurie put the team on the block and quit spending money on it. Since the team didnít sell right away, the product suffered horribly.

    Rams fans are feeling that same pain. The NFL didnít shut down for a year, but it might as well have as the Rams staggered to a 1-15 finish in 2009.

    And now this franchise, like the Blues before them, wallows in ownership limbo.

    Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez are trying to sell the franchise they inherited from their mother. That process is not going quickly or smoothly.

    With other NFL owners scratching their heads over Stan Kroenkeís ownership play, the fate of this franchise is up in the air. Itís hard to predict the outcome at this point, but this much is clear: Nothing is likely to happen any time soon.

    So Kevin Demoff, Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo must do the best they can under difficult circumstances. Wish them well, because their job wonít be easy.

    They must continue the ongoing team overhaul by mixing kids and castoffs with the survivors of the unfortunate Scott Linehan Regime. They are rebuilding with draft picks and with veterans other teams deemed expendable.

    (Yes, weíre talking about you, Bobby Carpenter. And you, Kevin Payne. And you, Fred Robbins.)

    Fans are exasperated at this scenario, but where do they direct their anger?

    Rosenbloom has tried to do right by St. Louis. He and his sister inherited a team they couldnít afford to keep. They hired well-respect football people to run the show while they tried to attract an owner committed to St. Louis. In that regard, Shahid Khan seemed like a good choice.

    But you canít begrudge Kroenke for stepping up to protect his interests. Remember how he helped St. Louis get the team in the first place. Remember the positive relationship he fostered with Georgia Frontiere and John Shaw back in the day, when the Rams became the Greatest Show on Turf.

    He had a hand in the teamís success. Unfortunately, as minority owner he wasnít able to head off the chaos that ensued when Shaw allowed Jay Zygmunt to run amok and drive the football operation into the ground.

    Now Kroenke is trying to sustain the franchiseís value. He tried to strike a deal with Khan to protect his interests, but failed. Now he is trying to finesse his way around the NFLís cross-ownership rules.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell will have his hands full with all this. In the meantime, Chip and Lucia have given the Rams an operating budget that allows the team to sign all its draft picks. That budget apparently does NOT allow it to chase high-profile free agents.

    So the Rams will have to make do. Spagnuolo will have to channel his inner Mike Kitchen and try to make progress with what he has.

    It wonít be easy. As Iíve noted in this corner of cyberspace, the Sam Bradford Contract could become a big dilemma. If I represented Bradford, I wouldnít finalize any deal until the ownership is resolved.

    Demoff has similar concerns from the Rams side, since the next owner will write the big checks on this massive contract. How much can he get done with ownership in limbo?

    Moving forward through the spring and summer, the Rams will need to make additional changes. Fans applaud Devaney for shedding failures like Alex Barron, but they fret about the remaining holes.

    The Rams need a better back-up running back. Perhaps Brian Westbrook could be that guy. Devaney will watch the market daily, looking for veterans here or there to shore up depth at other positions.

    But major additions seem unlikely, given the circumstances.

    Moving forward through the summer and spring, Spagnuolo and his staff must coach like crazy. There is a lot of chicken salad to make, if you will.

    An ownership change by summer would have been a cause for celebration. The football staff could have gained the resources and direction needed to bring the good times back.


  2. #2
    RAMarkable is offline Registered User
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    Re: Kroenke's moves put Rams, fans in limbo

    Uh... who the heck is Mike Kitchen?

  3. #3
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Kroenke's moves put Rams, fans in limbo

    None of this makes any sense to me.

    The product suffered horribly because of the years of poor drafting/general mismanagement and insane spate of injuries, not because of money. It's been repeatedly shown that The Rams have not been cheap over the years, just foolish and snakebit.

    The Lurie/Blues comparison is illogical. Would a couple of local tv blackouts really have affected the bottom line like a yearlong lockout? I doubt it.

    The CBA situation ruined the FA season, not the Rams ownership situation. It seems more likely to me that DeSpags/Demoff are acting in character by not over-spending for the few big names out there. And now that Kroenke has made it clear that he wants to remain involved, doesn't the theory that The Rams had no money available to improve the team seem even less likely?

    What? He just woke up one day & thought " Geez, I'd better not let them run my 40% stake, already worth hundreds of millions, into the ground." To me, it's like a homeowner letting their property be infested with raccoons & hold a burglar open house on the furnishings just before it goes on the market.

    And maybe we ought to wait and see what Carpenter, Payne, and Robbins contribute on the field before sneeringly labelling them as other teams' trash, football-wise. All of them have intriguing upside to them & offer stability to the depth issue that has been a major factor in The Rams inability to withstand the injuries to the team's first string across the board.DeSpags aren't flawless but they've silenced a lot of naysayers with moves like Lau over Rey, getting Gibson for Spoon,,paying big money to J. Brown just a year ago when the ownership issue was already in play,etc. And the flopping of released vets like Pace, Holt, and Pisa all look like pretty smart moves, football & money-wise, to me.

    Yeah, DeSpags are sadsack NFL dumpster divers who don't know a Rolex from a Casio and Kroenke is a careless shortsighted billionaire who can't plan more than a few months ahead.


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