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  1. #1
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    Looks like it's Billy's call.

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/31/2008

    Looks like it's Billy's call.

    Newly named general manager Billy Devaney will have a search committee of Lawrence McCutcheon and Bobby Beathard to help with the preliminary interview process. He has a pair of advisors in Dan Dierdorf and Marshall Faulk to assist in fact-finding.

    As the process winds down, owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, as well as senior advisor John Shaw, will offer their opinion. But Devaney says picking the Rams' next head coach will be his call.

    Speaking of Rams ownership, Devaney said, "They told me they'll have an opinion, and they want a chance to meet these guys and express their opinion. But when it's over, they'll let me make the decision."

    Rosenbloom, Rodriguez and Shaw will sit in on the final round of interviews. Shaw's presence has led to some criticism from fans wanting a clean break from the past regime, where Shaw and former president of football operations Jay Zygmunt made almost all of the big decisions.

    But Devaney endorsed the presence of Shaw in the process.

    "John doesn't have any role in the initial phase," Devaney said Tuesday. "He's going to be in on the final interviews — the second and final go-around. Whether that's two, three, or four candidates that we wind up interviewing, John wants to sit in on that and ask questions. I'm sure he'll have an opinion. And that's fine. I think that's good."

    Devaney confirmed Tuesday that Green Bay assistant head coach-linebackers coach Winston Moss will be part of the preliminary round of interviews and will be interviewed by the end of this week.

    Devaney also announced that Jim Haslett, who was the team's head coach for the final 12 weeks of the 2008 season, gets a "bye" into the finals.

    "I think it's safe to say Haslett will be a finalist," Devaney said.

    But Haslett won't be the only candidate who will bypass the initial interview phase. Last year at this time while working for the Atlanta Falcons, Devaney was part of a coach search team that led to the hiring of Mike Smith. Some of the candidates who sought that job are expected to be in the mix this year in St. Louis.

    While not naming names, Devaney said, "I'm sure a couple of those guys will automatically be finalists, just based on what I know about them," he said. "So that part of it helps, just to speed up the process a little bit."

    That group could include Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Baltimore defensive coordinator-assistant head coach Rex Ryan, and Minnesota defensive coordinator-assistant head coach Leslie Frazier. All were interviewed by Devaney and the Falcons last year.

    Because the Titans have a first-round playoff bye, Schwartz can be interviewed this week under NFL guidelines. But league sources told the Post-Dispatch that Schwartz probably won't be interviewed this week; that he's likely to be interviewed during the finalist round. But there's one complication. Under league rules, if the Rams pass on Schwartz this week, he cannot be interviewed until the Titans are eliminated from the playoffs. If that's the case, the Rams may not be able to wait on him.

    Ryan and Frazier are with wild-card teams that play this weekend. Win or lose, the Rams can interview them next week, but not this week.

    League sources also have said the Rams' price range in hiring a new head coach probably is $2 million to $2.5 million. Prospects such as former Pittsburgh head coach Bill Cowher, New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and New England offensive coordinator-quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels are out of the mix; they're expected to command more money.

    "You know, (money) has never come up where John or Chip or Lucia has said, 'Don't even think about talking to so and so,'" Devaney said. "All our focus is on who you think is the best guy, the right fit as much as anything. That's never been broached."

    If that's the case, would Devaney be willing to pay Cowher $8 million a year to coach the Rams?

    "Whoa now," he said. "I'm not going to recommend that (kind of) guy. In case he bombs out: 'We just paid this guy $8 million and we win two games next year.' I'm not going there. So they don't even have to say that."

    Devaney mentioned Smith of the Falcons, John Harbaugh at Baltimore and Jim Zorn of Washington, who weren't the most high-profile candidates when they were hired as head coaches for the 2008 season.

    "Their press conference wasn't great," Devaney said. "It wasn't the wow factor. They weren't the $4-5 million-a-year kind of guys. They were meat-and-potato football coaches that have done a pretty darn good job. I think a lot of owners are looking at that now like, 'Tell me why we have to spend $4 million on a guy?'"

    The now-retired Beathard, a longtime NFL personnel executive, and McCutcheon, the Rams' director of player personnel, will help find such candidates.

    "I'll lean on Bobby and Lawrence to do some background, to do research," Devaney said. "Both of them have incredible contacts in the NFL. They will sit in on the initial interviews. We'll be in this together and I'll lean on both of those guys for a lot of help and a lot of information."

    Faulk, the former Rams great, and Dierdorf, the Hall of Famer from the St. Louis football Cardinals, won't sit in on any of the interviews.

    "I can call them at any time to bounce ideas off," Devaney said. "Names. Get their opinion on things. ... They're out and about. They talk to a lot of people. Again, this is about getting accurate information."


  2. #2
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Looks like it's Billy's call.

    I'm starting to believe in Devaney even more. I really hope we get Schwartz or Ryan. The Spags is my favorite candidate, but as mentioned, he may be out of range.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  3. #3
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    Re: Looks like it's Billy's call.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    I'm starting to believe in Devaney even more. I really hope we get Schwartz or Ryan. The Spags is my favorite candidate, but as mentioned, he may be out of range.
    I know Rams are at the "beginning stages" of this whole coach hiring process but here is my projection as of right now (total guess) in ranking order of probablility that they get the Rams HC job:

    1) Rex Ryan, DC-Baltimore
    2) Leslie Frazier, DC-Minnesota
    3) Jim Schwartz, DC-Tennessee
    4) Eric Mangini, HC-NY Jets
    5) Jim Haslett, HC-St. Louis
    6) Winston Moss, LBC-Green Bay

    I think those are the "serious candidates right now. I am "ruling out" Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spagnuolo and Josh McDaniels because I don't think those guys will consider St. Louis and I don't think your owners will pay the money to get those guys...

    Anyway, that is my "guess" for now......Watch out for Leslie Frazier - I think DeVaney really likes him but I rank Rex Ryan as the slight favorite. While Schwartz is supposedly "brilliant" I think his personality is somewhat arrogant which probably is not what DeVaney is looking for since he wants a "media/fan friendly" head coach to help market the organization.

    I would not be at all suprised if the head coach ends up not even being a guy that I have on the list above. Some other guys not listed above that come to mind are Ron Rivera and Russ Grimm. I predict Devaney is modeling the search much like the Atlanta search - which was exhaustive.
    Last edited by Falconator; -12-31-2008 at 02:45 PM.

  4. #4
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    Re: Looks like it's Billy's call.

    Quote Originally Posted by Falconator View Post
    I know Rams are at the "beginning stages" of this whole coach hiring process but here is my projection as of right now (total guess) in ranking order of probablility that they get the Rams HC job:

    1) Rex Ryan, DC-Baltimore
    2) Leslie Frazier, DC-Minnesota
    3) Jim Schwartz, DC-Tennessee
    4) Eric Mangini, HC-NY Jets
    5) Jim Haslett, HC-St. Louis
    6) Winston Moss, LBC-Green Bay
    My turn.

    1) Leslie Frazier, DC-Minnesota
    2) Jim Schwartz, DC-Tennessee
    3) Rex Ryan, DC-Baltimore
    4) Winston Moss, LBC-Green Bay
    5) Jim Haslett, HC-St. Louis
    6) Eric Mangini, HC-NY Jets

    Quote Originally Posted by falconator
    Anyway, that is my "guess" for now......Watch out for Leslie Frazier - I think DeVaney really likes him but I rank Rex Ryan as the slight favorite. While Schwartz is supposedly "brilliant" I think his personality is somewhat arrogant which probably is not what DeVaney is looking for since he wants a "media/fan friendly" head coach to help market the organization.
    I think arrogance can only be a good thing at this point in time, because it's something the team really lacks. A swagger, to be more precise. But you don't want Plaxico Burress type swagger. What I'd like to see is a real disciplinarian. A hard nosed, my-way-or-the-highway type of coach who doesn't cop no nothing from nobody. A young one, too, like Mike Tomlin... co-incidentally the man Leslie Frazier was hired to replace in Minnesota.

    You want to improve our defense?
    During his time in Indy the Colts passing defense improved from 15th in 2005 to 2nd in 2006.

    He's helped develop some of the best defensive players in the country during his tenure with different teams. In Philadelphia, Brian Dawkins. In Indianapolis, Bob Sanders. He's working with Antonie Winfield now. In Cincy his defensive unit was number 3 in takeaways in 2004.

    That's a proven track record of success.

    What's even more interesting when looking at these coaches is the free agents they'd be likely to bring with them. Obviously there's the Jim Schwartz/Albert Haynesworth connection, and if we could rope those two together fans the world over would have a collective Ramgasm.

    Terrell Suggs is a purported free agent from Baltimore. He'd be ideal if the Rams were to switch to a 3-4 and as it stands is just a stick of dynamite to the quarterback. Dawan Landry is the other available from Baltimore. He's showed major promise as a strong safety.

    It's difficult to fathom what sort of relationship Frazier might have with offensive players as the DC/Asst. Head Coach, but Matt Birk is probably the best thing coming out of Minnesota. God knows we need a Center.

    The other interesting prospect arising might be Carolina's offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson. There's a good chance the Panthers won't be able to sign both Jordan Gross and Julius Peppers, Gross being the likely odd-man-out.

  5. #5
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    Re: Looks like it's Billy's call.

    Love it,....(Not Shaw, thought he was going to stay out of the football decisions),..................but what I do love is that Marshal Faulk will advise him.

    Hmm, O- Line coaching job for Marshal? I would love it!!!!!!!!!!
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  6. #6
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    Re: Looks like it's Billy's call.

    .
    It's wicked stupid to give Haslett further consideration.

    Think 10 yards per carry by the Falcon's RB's - in a game that Haslett knew would effect his job prospects.

    If you need to see more of Haslett at this point, I don't know what to tell ya.


  7. #7
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    Re: Looks like it's Billy's call.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Soprano View Post
    .Think 10 yards per carry by the Falcon's RB's - in a game that Haslett knew would effect his job prospects.
    Oh yeah you're right.

    So, knowing he was being evaluated for future job prospects, short of running out on the field and making a tackle or bringing in an entirely new D roster, what if anything should haslett have done differently?



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