A morning with the Rams brain trust ..
St. Louis Rams Examiner
July 24, 3:01 PM
I had the pleasure of attending a public forum with Rams General Manager Billy Devaney and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The event put on by the St. Louis Rams and AAIM gave some terrific insight into the direction the Rams are headed in 2009, but more importantly where the franchise is headed beyond this upcoming season.
There were a number of takeaways from the event but the most important thing I came away with is for the first time in a very long time, possibly as long as the franchise has been in St. Louis, the Rams organization has a true cohesive plan in place to be successful. That is not to say that there has never been a plan in place at Rams Park but it seems for the first time in a long time the football side, the scouting side and the business side are all headed the same direction and everyone is on the same page. That has not been the case at Rams Park in a long time. You may not agree with some of the things the Rams have done this offseason but there was a definitely a thought process and a plan behind it.
Both Devaney and Demoff talked about not only making decisions for this season but making sure the Rams are set up for future sustained success. I think the most telling remark from today was when one of the people in attendance asked about some of the holes at running back and wide receiver Devaney said "We're aware of what is out there but if someone becomes available it is not going to be a knee jerk reaction. We are going to do things the right way." Devaney expanded on the point earlier saying that the organization knows there are players that can help to some extent in 2009 but that they need to be players that are still trending upwards and need to be someone who can contribute beyond this season. This is a huge departure from previous regimes. The Rams have been a play for this season franchise for a long time. At times that has been helpful but for the long term it has not and the bill has come due the past few seasons.
Some of the other discussions were also enlightening. When asked about the future of the Rams in St. Louis Kevin Demoff said that there was very little concern at Rams Park for the future of the Rams in St. Louis. Demoff said "We are not going anywhere anytime soon," and later added "we'll figure out a way to be here as long as we can."
Both Demoff and Devaney made it a point to bring up that the organization understands the disconnect between the team and this city. They both acknowledged that they have to work harder to bring people back to the Dome. Devaney said "We have to hold up our end of the bargain and start winning." He labeled the past few years as "ridiculous" and said that the number one factor in bringing people back to the Rams....start playing winning football.
One of the more interesting conversations that took place was the discussion around what type of team the Rams are going to be. Devaney told a story about how he would look out on the field last year and did not see any direction as far as what kind of team they were supposed to be. He would see parts of everything and not any true sense of what kind of team they were going to be. He then explained that the vision of the Rams under himself and Steve Spagnuolo is that they are going to be a big physical defense, and be a power running team. For me that there is a stated goal of what the Rams are going to be is huge. That hasn't been seen since the Mike Martz/Lovie Smith era here in St. Louis which is now five years ago.
A couple of other quick notes from today's event.....
You will see some vast improvements in the Dome this year. They have done some renovations that include allowing in some natural light, putting in new HD video replay scoreboards and have introduced some different suites and club seating. Both acknowledged that these were some first steps into making the gameday atmosphere more attractive to fans.
Demoff stated that he has "great expectations" that both Jason Smith and James Laurinaitis will be in camp and under contract before the Rams hit the field for the first time next week. Every team in the league believes they won't have any problems with signing their player, but just from the tone of what was said I do believe that this should be attainable.
Devaney spoke about the Ronald Curry trade today saying that they "took a flier" on him and Laurent Robinson to help address the depth issue at wide receiver. He considers both low risk moves that could become high reward.
Ultimately every team believes they will have a good season in July. The Rams no doubt believe they are going to be improved. The question of course will be how much better will they be? I walk away from today most impressed with the fact that there is a concerted effort to make this franchise better in every possible way. There will of course be some misfires and missteps along the way , hopefully more great moves than not, but at this point the ship is at least pointed in the right direction and as a Rams fan that is what gives you hope.
Does anyone hear the screech of rubber as the vehicle of mediocrity rapidly slows to a halt ???
Re: A morning with the Rams brain trust ..
I like that. No reason to mince words - just tell it like it is, we all know the previous management and coaches were inept. Honest and straightforward. No blaming the fans either - ever rising ticket prices and 2-3 wins a year in the midst of a financial meltdown, I wish we had the most hardcore fans in the NFL (compared to a lot of other teams we sure don't - at least not in St. Louis) that would show up no matter what, but if you look at it objectively this team also has to provide a lot more value-for-money before we can reasonably expect to sell out every game.
Originally Posted by MauiRam
I agree 100% with this. You can agree or disagree with Martz/Lovie (I happened to agree with Martz's offense and not so much with Lovie's defense) but they both had a plan and a clear idea of what their schemes looked like and what they wanted to see on the field. This is the first time since then that it seems like we have a clear direction again.
Originally Posted by MauiRam