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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    Tuesday, January 25

    HIGHLIGHTING JAY ZYGMUNT IN RAMS MAZE OF BLAME
    18:12:45 CST

    ALL FOR SOME, NONE FOR ONE

    How has Zygmunt escaped the finger-pointing?

    It was just two years ago that my brethren in the local media downplayed my reports that the fabric of Rams management was frayed to the point of inevitable tear.

    Last year, I reported that the individual relationships amongst upper management continued to deteriorate. Again, many in the media insinuated that I was over-blowing the situation. Even some co-workers questioned my assessment of the scenario playing out at Rams Park with the big boys.

    This year, I reported that certain relationships within upper management had reached the “white hot” stage and this time the masses listened.

    It’s now become vogue for reporters and broadcasters to insinuate that, for the sake of upward movement, the Rams highest-ranking officials need to find ways to mend fences join hands and work in unison.

    The only problem with the solutions offered by many in the media somehow and someway, have Jay Zygmunt as the one needing to take charge.

    A rectification scenario with Zygmunt as the arbitrator is foolish.

    Simply stated, he is a part of the problem and in some cases he is the problem.

    In fact, with those needing to place blame, it’s amazing that Zygmunt remains clean. Why do those looking to lambaste individuals for perceived failures offer him a free pass?

    Zygmunt has made a number of decisions that proved very costly for this organization over the last few years with Coach Mike Martz and GM Charley Armey catching the heat for the moves.

    To make matters worse, my sources at Rams Park inform me that it’s obvious Zygmunt desires additional authority. Basically, he desires final authority over the football team.

    Zygmunt is extraordinarily bright, well educated, engaging and witty but I’m not sure how or why he would be ordained as the final voice in football matters with Martz, Armey and other talented and experienced minds buried in the cranium of individuals that played the game.

    There was a time when Zygmunt, Armey and Martz each voted with equal share. Somewhere along the line, after the 2001 season, Armey’s share was seemingly transformed into a non-voting share in many cases.

    With Armey playing a diminished role, how could upper management further remove the “football people” from football decisions?

    Nobody is more familiar with team schemes than Martz, and (few if any) in the building at Rams Park has more of a keen eye for talent that Armey.

    Hence, logic would have, Martz and Armey holding the hammer when it comes to personnel decisions.

    I chuckle every time a reporter or sports fan declare that Martz didn’t want this guy, or Armey wasn’t in favor of that guy, etc.

    I chuckle because the blame in regards to personnel is often misplaced.

    Many point to the likes of Trung Canidate or Eric Crouch in an attempt to blowup Martz… however rarely do those same people give a balanced presentation with the positive moves and developments that bear the Martz stamp.

    Consider the receivers, and quarterbacks developed under his tutelage. While he has had a few well-publicized blowups with high profile players through the years… keep in mind that Martz was the driving force that kept Ike Bruce in the fold.

    Prior to the 1999 season, former Rams mentor Dick Vermeil was set on trading both Marshall Faulk and Bruce.

    Vermeil was frustrated with the extended contract discussions between the Rams and Faulk. Vermeil was working on a deal that would send Faulk to Detroit for the rights to Barry Sanders and another that would land the Miami Dolphins first-round pick in the 2000 draft in exchange for Faulk.

    Martz assisted in calming Vermeil.

    Without doubt, had it not been for Martz… Bruce would be playing in D.C.

    Vermeil had soured on Bruce after their relationship was strained during the 1998 season.

    Vermeil had a few possible deals in place and in the end was set to deal Bruce to the Washington Redskins. Again, Martz was a key factor in cooler heads prevailing.

    Sure, Armey has missed on a few prospects however his “hit percentage” still ranks with the best.

    Most fingers are pointed at Martz in relation to controversial personnel issues, and a few others at Armey… I ask again, how does Zygmunt avoid criticism.

    I’m certainly not insinuating that Zymunt should shoulder the majority of the (perceived) blame by those in media that fail to see the big picture however Zymunt played a big role in a number of key losses.

    While the masses have seemingly determined that the loss of London Fletcher was the fault of Martz… the fact is Zygmunt and former Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith made that decision.

    Martz and Armey wanted to retain Fletcher (keep in mind, Fletcher was one of Armey’s true hidden gems). It was Zygmunt that was hesitant in committing to retain Fletcher. Shortly after Smith told Zygmunt and others in the organization that Jamie Duncan could more than fill Fletcher’s role… Zygmunt decided to pass on Fletcher.

    To this day, I can’t believe that the Rams allowed Ernie Conwell to walk. Conwell had averaged 36 catches, 12 yards per receptions with three touchdowns the two previous seasons while proving a very efficient blocker… ultimately the perfect fit in this system.

    The coaching staff wanted to keep Conwell on the depth chart however negotiations soured over time and Conwell ultimately left town for what amounted to less than $100,000 in salary.

    That was the decision of Zygmunt. To this day, the team hasn’t sufficiently replaced Conwell.

    As I’ve written before, Grant Wistrom was lured out of town for what would’ve amounted to a few hundred thousand dollars a season. Wistrom would’ve signed had the Rams offered another $1 million in signing bonus. The Rams refused, Wistrom became one of the hottest commodities on the market and signed a whopping deal.

    Simply stated, those that state emphatically that Martz has final say on all personnel are overlooking the fact that Zygmunt retains the negotiating rights. Zygmunt has exercised those rights several times over the past few seasons… many of which have proven costly in the end.

    Yes, there is no question that Martz has issues with some players and at times could’ve handled those situations better. Yes, it’s impossible to defend the downward spiral of the special teams under Martz.

    But always remember and never forget when it comes to a number of the marquee departures over the last few years, neither Martz nor Armey made those decisions… it was Zygmunt.

    As the old axiom goes, people should do what they do best. Martz and Armey are best-served handling personnel decisions. Zygmunt is best served handling the business aspects of the franchise.

    With all due respect to Zygmunt, his foray into personnel is risky, too risky for this team at this stage. The base foundation of this team is strong enough to remain playoff contenders for several seasons however too many fingers in the personnel jar could lead to depletion.

    There are several other examples of roster moves that jolted the team because of decisions based on a salary tree… nowadays that’s a part of the game. Zygmunt bases his decisions on salary scale that pre-determines a player’s worth.

    That stated, just because a person is capable of planting a tree it doesn’t guarantee his ability to maintain the garden.

    Looking forward, the organization is best served with Zygmunt tending to the (salary) tree while Martz and Armey maintain the garden.

    How Zygmunt avoids equal criticism by those needing to attach blame, escapes me.

    Hopefully for the best of organization, additional “personnel power” will proven equally evasive for Zygmunt.

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  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    But always remember and never forget when it comes to a number of the marquee departures over the last few years, neither Martz nor Armey made those decisions… it was Zygmunt.
    Considering this line in the article, one has to wonder how much weight the whole "Martz took a great team and destroyed them" argument actually has.
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    Considering this line in the article, one has to wonder how much weight the whole "Martz took a great team and destroyed them" argument actually has.
    ......but much more important than that issue is......if Hadley knows what he's talking about and this is all true, where is Team President John Shaw during this whole fiasco? Sounds like a case of negligence. :rolleyes:
    Last edited by Yodude; -01-26-2005 at 02:23 AM.
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    We're going down, Mayday! Mayday! :tongue:
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

  5. #5
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude
    ......but much more important than that issue is......if Hadley knows what he's talking about and this is all true, where is Team President John Shaw during this whole fiasco? Sounds like a case of negligence. :rolleyes:
    Very good point. I don't think I've heard Shaw's name since he was dispelling rumors of Martz being fired. You'd think his name would have popped up around the time of the two new hires, but apparently not.

    Someone in the St. Louis area put out an APB.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    How much longer before Armie jumps ship ??? Can't say I'd blame him if he did.

    Maineram
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    Well, I see our "It's all Martz's fault" brigade hasn't jumped in on this one.

    I wonder why?

  8. #8
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    Hmmmmm. Is anyone else beginning to believe that maybe Martz has taken hits for Ram personel besides his coaches and players?

  9. #9
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    While the masses have seemingly determined that the loss of London Fletcher was the fault of Martz… the fact is Zygmunt and former Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith made that decision.
    But always remember and never forget when it comes to a number of the marquee departures over the last few years, neither Martz nor Armey made those decisions… it was Zygmunt.
    eye-opening to say the least.
    As the old axiom goes, people should do what they do best. Martz and Armey are best-served handling personnel decisions. Zygmunt is best served handling the business aspects of the franchise.
    As another old axiom goes..."Nothing can be more absurd than the practice that prevails in our country of men and women not following the same pursuits with all their strengths and with one mind, for thus, the state instead of being whole is reduced to half."---Plato

    This team is bigger than all three of you boys. Now get it together and get this organization back on track.
    "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

  10. #10
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    Re: Latest from Hadley on Zygmunt

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeilerAsHadley
    Zygmunt bases his decisions on salary scale that pre-determines a player’s worth.
    Before I go jumping on the The-Salary-Cap-Prevents-Me-From-Making-Sound-Football-Decisions bandwagon, I want to know more about this process.

    Is Hadley saying that Zygmunt assigned a value to someone like Hodgins, Conwell, or Berger based on what Ziggy-Stardust thought they were "worth"? Hodgins wasn't worth $1M? Trotter wasn't worth $1M in the FA market? But Manu was worth matching?

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