Owners Introduction Press Conference
Chip Rosenbloom, Lucia Rodriguez and John Shaw
Owners Introduction Press Conference
April 24, 2008
John Shaw opening statement:
“It’s nice to see all of you. This is kind of a bittersweet occasion for me. I have the opportunity to introduce the succession of a long time ownership of the Rams, a 50-year ownership really, from the Rosenbloom-Frontiere era, to the new Rosenbloom-Frontiere era. As you guys know, Georgia passed away about three months ago. She was a friend of mine for a very long time, for the better part of 30 years. She was an inspiration to me. She was very brave. She was courageous. The last six months of her life were incredible. She made everyone around her feel great, despite a very difficult illness. It was a trying time for her family and for me and for people that knew Georgia. We are now here for a new era of the Rosenbloom-Frontiere legacy. As you know, Georgia is a 60 percent owner of the team. It is now owned equally by her children, Chip and Lucia. Of course, Stan Kroenke remains a 40 percent owner. Chip is the controlling managing partner, even though Chip and Lucia are really equal owners. I’m happy to introduce Chip and Lucia. They have been part of my family for a long time. I guess from when she was 17 and chip was 15, maybe younger when I first met them. They are terrific. They will be great owners for the team. They are genuine, inspiring, very graceful, nice people. I’m positive that the city of St. Louis will find this to be a terrific opportunity for the city and will be very pleased with our owners. So, without further ado, I introduce Chip first, and then he’ll introduce his sister.”
Chip Rosenbloom opening statement:
“Thanks John, and thank you everybody for being here. First of all, to echo some of John’s sentiments, it is bittersweet. My mom was incredible. She was inspiring, and I know many of you knew her pretty well. She had such a fondness for the press in St. Louis, the fans in St. Louis, the community, our corporate sponsors, everywhere she went, she felt loved in St. Louis. The last six months of her life were so traumatic for all of us, and her bravery, her courage, her strength, it’s indescribable what Lucia and I and John and our families witnessed. You may have heard me comment before on this, but I knew my mom was a strong person, but she was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, so it is a bittersweet day. I also want to thank everyone for their patience. I know it’s taken us a while to get here, and I want to thank the Rams staff, I want to thank John and Jay and coach (Scott Linehan) and everybody involved in helping us with this transition. As you guys can imagine, it is not easy. So, I have some prepared remarks, and then I’ll introduce Lucia and we’ll open it up to some questions. If you don’t mind, I’ll read from some of these remarks as this is kind of new to me.
Speaking for me and my sister, there have been two things that have been constant in our life, football and our mother. We miss our mom dearly. We wish she were here today, and we weren’t being introduced as the majority owners of the Rams. As you can imagine, with someone as charismatic as our mother, we envisioned her being here forever. I couldn’t imagine a time without my mom or her vibrancy or charisma. But now we have the responsibility and privilege of succeeding our mom. So it will be a new experience for us. It’s going to take some time to grow accustomed to our responsibilities with the Rams. This transition will be challenging, but it’s already been made easier by the outstanding staff we have. The corporate support we’ve experienced here since moving in 1995, I can tell you that the reception here is greatly different from what we experienced in Los Angeles. We’re from Los Angeles. We love Los Angeles, but the experience in St. Louis as children of an owner of a football team was remarkably different. And we thank you, and we thank the fans for their support.
As everybody knows, St. Louis was my mom’s hometown, it was my grandmother’s hometown, it was my great grandmother’s hometown. If we find the family bible, we’ll find out how far that actually goes. We visited here as children, but as you know, we didn’t grow up here. We’ve had a fondness for St. Louis since we were children, since visiting our great grandmother here as little kids and our great aunts. Then, when we moved here, we felt embraced by the community. I want to assure you that Lucia and I are committed to St. Louis. We’re grateful for the reception that we’ve experienced so far. I also want to thank all the people who have sent cards, letters, everything. We’ve gotten so many notes of appreciation of our mother from well-wishers, and we’ve tried to personally thank everybody. I think we’ve done a pretty good job, but some things may have gotten lost in the shuffle. I want to thank everybody for their condolences to my sister and me and our families.
Talking about the season, I’m an optimist by nature, but I really am optimistic about this season. I think we have reason to be optimistic. I think we’ve made some exciting offseason moves. I think we have a great home schedule. And I think we’re going to get a great player on Saturday.
I’d like to thank you for attending, and now I’d like to ask Lucia to talk about some of the memorial plans we have for my mom, because this is a season really to honor our mom. My mom carried on a legacy started by my father, and this is a year to honor my mom and to honor my dad. Our parents were wonderful, compassionate, caring, loving, charismatic individuals, and we are going to try and carry on their legacy and make them proud.
Lucia Rodriguez opening statement:
I would just like to reiterate what my brother has just so beautifully said. Thank you to the St. Louis community and to all the fans and our staff for their support in dealing with the patience of our slow arrival to St. Louis, and certainly, the outpouring of love to us and our families from everyone who really loved our mother. It’s really heartwarming to know just how many people she touched. Perfect strangers have written us the most heartfelt notes that we’ve shared with our children. It’s really a wonderful thing. Anyone that’s known my mother has know that there was never a charity that she didn’t fall in love with. She just embraced every city she ever lived in. She loved to get involved in whatever the local charities are or were. In St. Louis, Variety Club was the big one. In fact, I was just speaking with Jan Albus yesterday, talking with her about how my mother had photographs of some of the children from Variety in her hospital room. On her toughest days, she’d look at the pictures of these children and say ‘you know what, Lucia? As hard as this is, I have nothing to complain about. Look at what these kids go through every day of their lives.’ So, that’s really the example that our mother set for us and our spouses and our children. It was just a remarkable, yet sad experience for us.
We have many plans to memorialize our mother this year. First of all is the St. Louis Race for the Cure, we have Team Georgia. That’s going to be on June 21 in downtown St. Louis. We hope you’ll all come. You’ll get a Team Georgia T-Shirt. You can visit the website, The official site of the St. Louis Rams - Home Page, and click on the Team Georgia banner to be linked directly to the Race for the Cure site for registration. Under my mom’s leadership, the Rams have been involved with the Race for the Cure since the events inception. So we thought this would be a very fitting way to honor her while also helping others, something that she would have wanted. She had plans on beating this disease, unfortunately that didn’t happen. Chip and I felt very strongly that we need to educate women, and I think she would have wanted that. Particularly women of a certain age that may not be used to going and getting mammograms and taking care of their health in a way that’s really more for the younger people. We hope that you’ll join us for that.
We also have plans around the home opener. On the Friday before the home opener, we have a celebration of life planned to honor our mom, with poetry readings, music and everything that our mother loved. At the home opener against the New York Giants, we have several in-game activities, including a halftime celebration.
We have this jersey. I’m not sure if you all got to see this, but they have a patch up here that says ‘Georgia.’ It’s kind of hard to see against the blue, but the players will be wearing these for the season.
CR: It’s actually her signature.
LR: It is her signature, yes. It’s a very beautiful, distinctive signature.
We have a golf tournament coming. Georgia’s Drive for the Kids. We’ve played around a lot with the name of that. We wanted to tie in the kids, because she loved kids so much. We’re sharing the proceeds with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital on that. That will be on Monday, September 15. we’re working with them to host a pairings party and dinner here at Rams Park, followed by the golf tournament at Foxrun Golf Club.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve renamed in her honor the Community Quarterback Awards, which are now the Georgia Frontiere Community Quarterback Awards, where we will award $20,000 to local non-profits. We will also be honoring the most outstanding off-field player performance with the Georgia Frontiere Humanitarian Award as part of the end of the year team awards. There’s a common theme here from the beginning to the end of the season, because our mother was so charitable and so loved to give back to the community that we want to continue her legacy in any way we can. We wish she was here, and we will do our best to honor her.
John Shaw: I would like to add just a couple more thoughts, and then I’m sure Chip and Lucia will take any questions you have. It was Georgia’s wishes the last six months of her life to really keep her illness private. She kept encouraging all of us to focus on the football team. She was a very positive person. I personally observed the family going every single day for six months to the hospital, and the support she had from her family was incredible. It wasn’t just Chip and Lucia, but their spouses, Kathleen (Rosenbloom) is here today, and Lupe Rodriguez is here today, and their children. Lucia has four children, Will is here, Lauren is here and two of her other boys, Stu and Andrew aren’t here. Kathleen and Chip have two children, Olivia and Alexander, and they are both here. And obviously, Earl Weatherwax, who was Georgia’s companion for the last 20 years was unbelievably supportive for those six months in the hospital. He’s not here today, but he is in town, and you’ll probably see him at some other point. In one way, I’m sorry that it was so private, but on the other hand, that whole experience and the support of the family speaks incredibly well for the family and as you get to know Chip and Lucia, I think you’ll feel the same sort of caring and love that they had toward their mother toward this community.
CR: I wanted to just add two things about our family and about John (Shaw) and Mike (Moyneur) and Tom () and Jay (Zygmunt) in particular. We could not have gotten through it emotionally and psychologically. My mother was the strongest of all of us. We walked into that hospital room where she was at, and every day it was smiles. She had a doctor, her main doctor, who spoke at her service in Los Angeles, who said he’d never had a patient that never once complained and instead focused on him and his wife and his kids. That’s what she did with all of us. The memories that I take from it are my sister and her husband and her kids and my wife and my kids walking into that hospital room, and Earl who was there almost around the clock, and just seeing the love that my mother had for all of us and just hoping that we wouldn’t be overly concerned. She could pick up an expression on somebody’s face and make that into ‘is everything all right with you guys,’ as opposed to anything that had to do with her.
The other thing I wanted to point out is the Georgia Frontiere Humanitarian Award, the Rams have had three legendary owners. Starting with Dan Reeves, we have the player of the year award. Then we have the rookie of the year award, named after our father, Carroll Rosenbloom. We think it’s appropriate that the humanitarian award is named after our mom, in keeping with the legacy of the ownership of the Rams.
(On what the last three months have been like)
CR: It’s been really tough. We’ve had a lot of responsibilities, but if you’re talking personally or professionally. Personally, they’ve been tough. We’ve had a lot of trauma and turmoil in our lives, but we’ve also had the blessings of so many kind and thoughtful people. We’ve had incredible support. When my mom was really sick, and we thought we were prepared, it was a day that John pulled us aside and reflected on his father’s passing. He said ‘you guys will never be prepared,’ and obviously (not being prepared) was the most traumatic thing of all. It was a very strange experience. I don’t know how many of you have lost a parent, but this happened after my father passed away, it happened after mom has passed away, I’ve picked up my cell phone and said ‘oh, I have to call my mom.’ I’ve picked up different pieces of paper, because I would fax her all the time, and say ‘where is she, is she in St. Louis or Sedona?’ Professionally, the staff has made it really easy for us in regards to the Rams. We’ve made some major decisions, and that’s been relatively easy, but as far as getting through some of the other things, it’s complicated, it’s confusing, and we’re doing the best we can.
(On how he sees himself as an owner)
CR: I think that Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones do great jobs. I see Lucia and I both being present owners, but not as hands-on as Dan and Jerry.
(On how much time he plans to spend in St. Louis during the season)
CR: We’re working that out right now. I will tell you that I turned down a directing job that was shooting this fall. I told them that I wasn’t able to do that until next year. At the same time, Lucia and I both have family responsibilities, but the Rams are clearly a priority, and you’ll be seeing a lot of us.
(On what it means for him to be able to take over for his mother as Rams owner)
CR: It’s daunting. I think we’re learning our way. It’s an education. For 43 years, football has been in my life, first with the Colts, then with the Rams, first with my dad, then with my mom. Now it’s with us, and you think you know what you’re doing, and we’re trying our best, but it’s a learning experience. There is a learning curve with this, and we’re doing that. We’re trying our best.
(On moving to Los Angeles once the stadium is complete)
CR: As Jim Thomas may have written, and I think Bernie (Miklasz) has commented on this, we have a lease, first of all. We have a commitment to St. Louis. Secondly, we don’t have any interest in moving to Los Angeles. Is that clear enough?
JS: I don’t think the news was that there was going to be a stadium built, I think the news was that there is a proposed stadium site.
(On his personal feelings against moving back to Los Angeles)
CR: I think that St. Louis is a great home for the Rams. I don’t see any reason why we would move the team. I know people have speculated about ‘well, after our benchmarks are up, then we’ll move.’ I think St. Louis is as committed to the Rams as the Rams are to St. Louis. So, I don’t see anything, certainly I don’t see any reason why we would initiate a move to any other city.
(On his reception at the owners’ meetings)
CR: They were terrific. Lucia and I went to the meetings, and I would say we sort of shared responsibilities at those meetings. I’ve known a number of them for many years, and Lucia’s more casually known them. But everybody from the commissioner to everybody in the league office to all the owners to staff of the other teams, they’ve just been wonderful. So much of the league meetings were business oriented, but it had an emotional aspect for a lot of people in that they really took the time to honor my mom’s contribution to the league. I think maybe sometimes she was underestimated. I actually was so happy to experience owners that I didn’t know very well come up to me and tell me how much they were impressed by my mother and how fond they were of her. That really meant a lot to me. That was one of those times when I went up to my room and I was like ‘I have to call her and tell her what Wayne Weaver (Jacksonville Jaguars) just said,’ and countless other owners. I think she knew that in her heart, and I’m just very grateful for the reception we’ve gotten so far.
(On what is patience is like with a team that went 3-13)
CR: So you’re saying we had a 3-13 season, and how patient are we going to be with this season? This is somebody that is an avid football fan. So, somebody who is dedicated to the Rams, and I saw a team that was decimated by injuries last year, and I saw us rebound when players came back. I saw a coach who handled his losses and some of the problems within the team with grace and dignity and quietly. I saw offseason moves that were remarkable, I think, done very quickly, and I have a lot of respect for what Scott (Linehan) has done this offseason. I also want to remind you that two seasons ago, we went 8-8. We could have been 10-6. Some people say we could have been 6-10, but we could have been 10-6 with those two Seahawks games, and we would have been a playoff team. I consider this a playoff caliber team, and once we get into the playoffs, we have every shot at the Super Bowl. The very idea that the Giants won the Super Bowl this year, I don’t know anybody in this room, aside from somebody that’s a psychic, that would have predicted that the Giants were going to win the Super Bowl. I don’t know anyone in this room that would have predicted coming off of 4-12 in 1998, would anyone have predicted that? I’ll tell you one thing. I remember a phone call from John, and he talked about the injury to Trent Green, and it was just like ‘oh no, what’s going to happen.’ My mom was just like ‘I think we might have another Johnny Unitas on our hands.’ That is an absolutely true story, and she was right. I think that’s one of the great things about the NFL is that you never know what’s going to happen in a season, and I think this season is something to be excited about. I actually like our competition. I like the idea that we can start off the season with some impressive victories. Hopefully, that will lead us to the playoffs, and then anything’s possible.
(This was before Kurt Warner played any regular season games)
CR: Yeah. My mom had met him, and she’d met Brenda and she’d been impressed casually, but she said ‘I just have a feeling about him.’ Now, you can imagine John’s reaction to that.
JS: interestingly enough, as sick as Georgia was the last six months, she was totally committed to the football team and to making football decisions while she was in the hospital. Often when I’d visit her, or she’d write me notes and she was very supportive and very opinionated about retaining coach Linehan as Stan Kroenke was also. She was concerned about a lot of the players’ injuries and I found it really very inspiring and interesting that during a really horrific time, her mind went to the team and to the transition and making sure that the continuity was something that she would liked to have seen. A lot of the decisions that were made at the time fully had her support and Stan’s support.
CR: I’d like to add something to that too which was that my mom had been around football for nearly 50 years, so she has seen the ups and downs of football organizations. I remember conversations with John and my mom in her hospital room where she said ‘he’s having a tough time, we had a lot of injuries, but he’s a good guy, he’s a good coach, he’s a winner and we’re keeping him. What do you guys think?’ It wasn’t ‘what do you guys think?’ It was ‘We’re keeping him, what do you guys think?’ Both John and I agreed and Lucia agreed and Stan agreed. I’m impressed every day with what I’ve seen with Scott Linehan.
(On being rebuffed by the league regarding wearing throwback jerseys this season)
CR: I wouldn’t characterize it as being rebuffed. The league has a policy, and there are a number of reasons why they have that policy. I think that clearly we’re not going to be able to do it for this season, but they’ve been really helpful to us for next season, which will be the 10th anniversary of our Super Bowl win and hopefully the first anniversary of another Super Bowl win. I don’t want to say we were rebuffed, we were turned down.
(On Saturday’s NFL Draft)
CR: Yeah, John’s going to announce (the draft pick, laughing). I know that John and Jay and Billy (Devaney) and Scott and the whole scouting department and coaches have a lot of meetings coming, and we’re now first in the Draft, so it should be very exciting.
(On anything specific that Georgia wished to be carried on)
CR: My mother didn’t really talk in terms of mortality or anything negative. She talked in terms of kindness, generosity, being a gentle person, using your heart first, and I think that’s the tradition that we’ll carry on, because as you all knew from her, that’s the kind of person she was.
(On how the chain of command will work)
CR: This season we’re taking a watch and wait and see approach to things, and kind of learning. I think we have a setup that works for us. So, I think the chain of command will remain as it has been. I think we’ve really been underestimated. I’m not putting this out to the press or whatever, but I think a lot of people around the country have underestimated the Rams and if you reflect back not too long ago, John and Jay and the whole staff produced winners consistently. We were a winning team throughout the ‘80’s. We had four or five rough seasons, and then we’ve been consistently a winning team. I think that we have some of the best football executives in the league, and I think that this year will prove that.
Head Coach Scott Linehan & Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Billy Devaney Pre-Draft Press Conference
April 24, 2008
(On if there have been any trade talks with other teams)
Billy Devaney: Actually, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on today. We’re very indicative of what 31 other teams are doing. This is kind of the last ‘work’ day. Friday, the day before the draft, everybody gets away and gathers their thoughts. There’s not a whole lot happening the day before. That’s what we’re doing right now – finishing the process that started a long time ago. I feel very strongly that it’s been a complete and thorough process. We’re getting to the critical point. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re close. I would expect in the next 48 hours that we’ll get to that point.
(On when the team actually decides on who the pick will be)
BD: I think kind of the way we left it is ‘get away from it tomorrow.’ Everybody’s just going to be on there own. I don’t even know if we’ll come in tomorrow quite frankly. We’ll put all our thoughts together, everything we’ve been talking about, for what seems like forever now and probably talk about it late tomorrow night sometime and see where we’re at.
(On how a consensus is achieved when choosing the pick)
Scott Linehan: Well, I don’t think anybody’s really any different. I’ve been in, this will be the fourth different setup, but generally the board’s stacked. It’s set. There are a lot of things that happen. My first year as a head coach here we traded our pick. We were pretty prepared regardless of whether we could or couldn’t. We were going to pick a player and then with about four minutes to go when we were on the clock there was a trade made. We’re just ready for those scenarios. I think right now it’s pretty much you just kind of count where you are in the draft and you know what pool you’re probably going to be picking from and we’ve pretty much decided that if nothing were to change we’ve got a game plan.
(On if the team will pick based on the draft board in the first round)
BD: That depends. The way it’s shaping up, and we’re not kidding anybody, this process started a long time ago and there are thousands of names going back to September and through the course of the year you whittle that down and eliminate people and you meet and you start stacking people into rounds and then start narrowing that down and who fits your needs and hopefully you get to the point that you have a couple of players that are graded close enough that you can take a specific player that fills a need. I think we’ve been fortunate, and you know the players involved that we’ve been talking about, I think that’s definitely the case. They are high rated players, they’re all lumped together, they’re very close, and at the end of the day or at the end of the night tomorrow night we just have to come to a conclusion which guy fits for us.
(On if the three players that the media thinks that the Rams are interested in are closely rated)
DB: Absolutely. That’s why we’re still talking about them. If there was a gap between one guy and the other two then he would have been eliminated already. That’s why all three are right there clumped together.
(On if the decision is still based on a consensus opinion)
DB: That’s how we’re going to arrive at the pick. Absolutely.
SL: You guys know how it has worked here and it’s always been a team effort. I think the great thing about how we involve everyone in the whole picture when you start going with the scout as well and the coaches and everybody that has done all this hard work up until now, all the real hard work has been put in and I think the draft is the fun part for all of us. Obviously that is where you see the work executed. I think the fun part about it is the scenarios that can happen and I think the Rams have been as active in being on the phones as anyone. We’ll listen to anybody about anything. The bad thing is that we end up with really great draft picks this year, but the great thing about it is that we have great choices and they’re going to be outstanding football players for us for the years to come. I think the momentum of all of our goals for next year can really get jump started with a great draft and we really feel comfortable with obviously not trading this pick at No. 2, and No. 33 and so on.
(On if the team is actively looking for trade offers for the first-round choice)
No. Like we said, it sounds like a broken record, but any of those three guys that we have been zeroing in on we’d be thrilled and it would take something really exciting to get us off of that. We’re not being active looking to trade out of there. If something presents itself and we think it makes us a better team and we have good options to move back then we would think about it, but right now we’re excited about those three guys.
(On if the team is allowed to negotiated with potential selections since Miami signed Jake Long as the No. 1 selection)
SL: No, that has been decided. Basically we’re on the clock and we’re No. 2 and there are no negotiations or anything at all.
(On if the team is comfortable with the medical status of LSU DT Glenn Dorsey)
BD: We cross-check with other teams. We had Dorsey in about a week ago and we had him checked one last time. We were at his pro day and we met with three or four trainers and doctors down in Baton Rouge and they presented all these tests that had been performed by a variety of experts around the country. We’ve exhausted everything and the guy played every game last year. We’ve completely signed off that he’s healthy and it’s not a concern.
(On what the team likes about Dorsey, Virginia DE Chris Long and Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston)
SL: They’re all great players. Honestly, I don’t mean to generalize too much, but they’re all very effective at the positions they play and are a handful for the opposing team to block whether it’s Dorsey at tackle or the other guys at end. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
BD: That’s why we’re still talking about them. There are strengths and weaknesses to each. Character-wise, and this is what makes it great, they are off the chart in a positive way, all three of those guys. You can’t go wrong character-wise. As players, all three of them bring different things to the table. We’re trying to figure out just which fits best with what we’re looking for at this point. Like Scott said, we feel like we can’t go wrong. We’re going to get a great player and a great guy that is great for our organization.
(On if the team would have made a decision on a pick already if they had been able to negotiate with potential selections)
BD: No. It kind of makes it academic that we were told that we couldn’t because we’re not even at that point. We wouldn’t have been near starting negotiations, because, like I said, we haven’t figured out which way we’re going yet.
(On where DL Adam Carriker will line up for the majority of plays next season)
SL: His versatility probably creates some confusion for the whole process. Adam is a great football player. For him to from playing college defensive end to playing nose guard last year, and playing very well, says pretty much all that you need to say about Adam. Adam, across the line, can play really good defense for us. I don’t know that nose is his natural position, but he played very well for us and our run defense really did show great improvement from the year before, because he really added to what we were missing on the inside. The guy was an all-American defensive end so he could play out there and we wouldn’t have any problem with him playing some end as well. I think you’re going to see him playing across the board. I think tackle is really his best position, but there’s no reason he can’t play anywhere on our line to be honest with you.
(On if Linehan likes not having to worry about as many scenarios because the team is picking high in the draft)
SL: It makes it a lot easier. We can count to two and now we’re just counting to one. It gives us a lot of time to discuss the pluses and minuses of the guys we’re looking at now.
(On if there are groups of people advocating for different players as the team’s selection)
BD: No. I think what’s made it really enjoyable is that there are personalities here, but at the end of the day people state and make their evaluation, but they always end it with ‘whatever you guys think is the best player that helps us the most I’m comfortable with that.’ That’s not always the case in places that I’ve been. It does make it difficult and that’s not the case here – be in scouts, position coaches, coordinators or what have you. Of course there are going to be differences in the way people see players but since we started this it’s always been at the end of the day whatever you think is best just get the best player.
(On what happens if there is a difference opinion among the decision makers)
DB: I’ll give an example. Obviously so much speculation is spent on the first round pick, but we’ve been spending a lot of time and having differences about fourth and fifth round guys also. I got with the scouts yesterday and we said there are two guys that we are kind of off on – and we’re talking about maybe fourth round guys. I said, ‘the coaches see it this way let’s go back and look at these guys again.’ We divided up into groups so it was more objective and we met at the end of the day and quite honestly we said ‘We can see what they’re saying. For these reasons we can alter it. If it came down to these two then we should go with the way the coaches had them ranked.’
(On if those discussions are limited to players that are ranked very close to each other)
BD: Ideally you stick to the board. In this case there was a sizeable gap, but there was a difference of opinion. That’s why for the most part we’ve been in agreement. There haven’t been many of those discussions where we’ve said we better go back and lot at this player because we’re way off on this guy. There have been one or two guys where there have been a sizeable gap and we’ve had to go back and redo.
(On if having Jake Long off the board has helped in the decision making process or if there is still confusion)
SL: I wouldn’t call it confusion. That’s just how the draft works. I think being at 11 or 15, that’s a problem because you don’t know which guys are going to come up. Wouldn’t you love to know that whoever you’re picking is going to be a great player. I’m not sure you can say that about mid-round guys. And I’m sure there have been top-round draft picks that haven’t panned out based on expectations. I think this is kind of an unusual year, because like Billy said, these guys carry the traits that we’re looking for regardless of the position. Then they bring that intangible factor in there and you say ‘this is really what we need.’ To be honest with you, there’s no downside with whoever we pick.
(On if some players have been removed from the draft board due to character concerns)
BD: It’s more than four. I promise.
(On if Arkansas RB Darren McFadden is also a possible selection at No. 2)
BD: We’ve talked about McFadden as part of one of the hundreds of scenarios that we’ve laid out if certain things happened. Is he a candidate if we stay at two, if we go back to five or seven and he’s still there? That’s all I can tell you. He’s been talked about and he’s still very highly rated on our board.
(On if the later starting time to the draft on Saturday gives the team more time to discuss trade options)
BD: It means you can go for a longer run in the morning and not worry about getting back for the draft.
(On if defensive philosophy dictates who is selected)
SL: I can answer that really easily. Obviously the tackle fits 4-3 as a three-technique. He’s a great player there. And the other two guys are defensive ends in our mind. I’m sure they could play in a 3-4, both kids, and I’m sure Dorsey could be a heck of a nose guard in a 3-4 or a five-technique. You could make that assessment if you were a 3-4 team. In our case, all three of them fit our defense. That actually probably adds to why they’re all still in the mix.
(On if there is any interest in trading some of the team’s picks away for future draft picks)
BD: No, not for futures. We want players now. They’re right towards the top in every round and we expect a good player to be there in the second round. The third-round pick is the start of the second day now and as a rule after the first day of the draft teams go back and look at their boards and they start looking and there are some guys on the board where they say ‘this our last chance to get a tackle’ or ‘this is our last chance to get a receiver’ so guys kind of get pushed up. We’ll get a lot of phone calls for that third-round pick just for that reason.
(On how deep this draft is as far as players picked in the third and fourth rounds that could be starters)
SL: Some of those guys could be starters and some of them are a ways away. It just kind of depends on the position.
BD: I’m pointing the finger at personnel people. I hear ‘Our first-round pick has to come in and start. Our second-round pick, we want starters.’ It’s hard to start in this league when you’re a rookie. First-round guys, wherever you’re drafted, this is hard. To say that in the fourth or fifth round realistically that you’re going to come away with a starter is really stretching it. If you get your first-round pick on the field and he’s starting that’s great. If you get your second-round pick and he’s starting you’re doing pretty good.
(On if the team is looking for a quarterback in this draft and when they may draft one)
SL: Yeah, and maybe it’s just because of my background, but it’s really something that you’d like to do. We’re very comfortable with our quarterback situation. Getting a young guy that you could develop is always part of it. It’s really difficult though because there’s less of them than there are of others. Regardless of whether we drafted one or signed a free agent that could be competing with Brock (Berlin), that would be fine too. I would be fine with either scenario. I’ve always got my eye on some guys personally and we’ve got some really good quarterback evaluations within our staff and personnel department. We were just talking about maybe we need to go hit the arena league circuit and drum up another Kurt Warner somewhere. You never know.