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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    By Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Dec. 31 2007

    GLENDALE, ARIZ. If this were any organization but the St. Louis Rams, this
    would make no sense at all. But since these are your perennially idiotic,
    predictably back-stabbing, systematically dysfunctional and always clueless
    Rams, this makes all the sense in the world.

    As the Rams put the final touches on their unsightly 3-13 season with a 48-19
    beatdown at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, de facto
    owner John Shaw and his scheming weasel right-hand man Jay Zygmunt reportedly
    were already putting into motion Shaw's promise of significant offseason
    organizational changes.

    Most organizations with a genuine interest in improving like the 1-15 Miami
    Dolphins decide that the surest way to alter the course of a pitiful
    franchise is to make a change that will reverberate across the NFL landscape.
    So the Dolphins hire living legend Bill Parcells as their front-office savior.

    But the Rams, being the Rams, make changes that don't so much reverberate as
    burp.

    The Rams with an embattled head coach fighting back an internal player
    revolt, with a general manager who has no credible football background, with an
    absentee de facto owner whose mind is a million miles away, and with a roster
    overloaded with knucklehead players who greatly outnumber the true pros have
    decided to go after the one guy who has absolutely no culpability in any of
    this disaster.

    According to several team and league sources, vice president of player
    personnel Tony Softli, with the organization for exactly 1 years, will be
    fired sometime between now and the completion of the draft.

    If you made up a list of 10 suspects who deserved to lose their jobs for the
    mess that this franchise has become, Softli wouldn't be on it. If the list ran
    20 deep, he still wouldn't be on it. Heck, the truth is, if that list was
    expanded to 50, or ran from the top of the Arch to the front door of Rams Park,
    Softli's name couldn't be on there because he just hasn't been around long
    enough to merit being the organizational scapegoat.

    Softli is not the problem. When he was hired in June 2006, he was given the
    fancy title of vice president, player personnel. But almost immediately after
    he got the job, Softli a career football man who played Division I football,
    coached on the collegiate level and scouted on the pro level was quickly told
    by Zygmunt to limit his activity to scouting college players. Zygmunt, the
    trained lawyer and accountant who has never played, coached or scouted on any
    level beyond high school to the best we can find, said he would handle the pro
    personnel side.

    And how lovely has that worked out?

    Meanwhile, here's what Softli, the scapegoat, has done since showing up in St.
    Louis: He brought Will Witherspoon (team MVP) and Chris Draft (strong team
    leader) with him from Carolina as free agents. And the only draft that was on
    his watch (the 2007 class) produced no fewer than five players Adam Carriker,
    Brian Leonard, Jonathan Wade, Clifton Ryan and Derek Stanley who were on the
    field against Arizona making meaningful contributions.

    Softli did not draft Alex Barron, Dominique Byrd, Joe Klopfenstein, Robert
    Thomas, Jimmy Kennedy, Trung Canidate, Jon Alston, Claude Wroten, Anthony
    Hargrove, Eric Crouch, Damione Lewis, Jacoby Sheperd, Laulana Noa or a decade
    worth of other ingloriously failed draftees.

    Those are the names that belong on the professional obituary of a failed
    general manager or team president. Yet for some mysterious reason, those names
    seem to bounce off Shaw and Zygmunt like they're made of Teflon.

    But only with the Rams does blaming Softli for the problem make any sense.

    Of course, that's the Rams Way. Asking people who are the problem to fix the
    problem gets you these cockeyed results.

    That's the Rams Way.

    Tickets on sale tomorrow.

    Plenty of seats available.


  2. #2
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    and with a roster
    overloaded with knucklehead players who greatly outnumber the true pros
    Name some players.

    will be
    fired sometime between now and the completion of the draft.
    Hmm makes no sense at all, if true.
    Last edited by Rambos; -12-31-2007 at 01:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    How does he know that Softli is going to be fired? That is completely absurd and I will have to see it to believe it.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  4. #4
    moloch41 Guest

    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    Well, it certainly couldn't be Linehan or Haslett's fault anyway, so it must have been Softi's doing!!!
    Last edited by moloch41; -12-31-2007 at 04:49 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    If they do that I can no longer in good conscience support this team. Because that would mean another 20 years of mediocrity, and I don't know if I could take that. By the way I've been a fan since the 70's some of you weren't even born then, Some were, some before. I've had the chance to chat with some legends who played football for the L.A. Rams and they all say the same thing, the Rams have always run this way.

    I had one who thinks the owner had her husband killed, "George was a strong swimmer doesn't make any since." anonymous. Don't ask cause I'm not saying who said it. But anyway Unless this team makes some serious changes I can't stick as a fan, and that hurts. Cause I love this team, I mean Love it.
    Last edited by jjigga3000; -12-31-2007 at 04:50 PM.

  6. #6
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    IF Burwell is to be believed, and that's a big IF (anonymous league sources rarely get it right), then this would rank as not just one of the biggest rearranging of deck-chairs, but cursing the deck-chairs for hitting the iceberg.

    Just seems crazy.
    "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

  7. #7
    BigGameMN Guest

    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    IF Burwell is to be believed, and that's a big IF (anonymous league sources rarely get it right), then this would rank as not just one of the biggest rearranging of deck-chairs, but cursing the deck-chairs for hitting the iceberg.

    Just seems crazy.
    Not only are league sources saying it but Softli, who had attended every single game since he was hired, was mysteriously absent from Sunday's game. Not only that but he couldn't be reached for comment on why he was absent.

    I will say this was an excellent article by Burwell. Any article that calls Jay Z a weasel gets a thumbs up from me.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    Say it isn't so.....more poor decisions being made by the Front Office. Boooo.....
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Tony Soprano Guest

    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    .
    His firing will convince me all is well. At least we have a great Head Coach in Linehan and
    a stellar organization behind him.

    Shaw is top-flight too.

    I feel much better now.

  10. #10
    TekeRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    Or, you know, Ziggy, you could admit that you're a sodding moron when it comes to being a GM, and let a quality guy in Softli do it, as he certainly knows talent, and knows what talent is worth keeping, unlike you and Shaw.

    I, too, don't know how much I could keep supporting this franchise if someone who hasn't done anything but actually do positive work gets canned for this mess of a season, when those who are responsible are given a pass. Very very rarely are coaches not given extensions previous to their final season(Coughlin is the only one this year), which leads to guess that either Linny will be fired(yes, yes, a thousand times yes!) or will be given an extension(please dear go no!).

    If Softli is released and Linehan is extended, I may just go burn down the dome.

  11. #11
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    It really doesn't help Burwell's credibility when he says things like this...
    Quote Originally Posted by Burwell
    Meanwhile, here's what Softli, the scapegoat, has done since showing up in St. Louis: He brought Will Witherspoon (team MVP) .... with him from Carolina as free agents.
    Spoon was signed 3 months before Softli got here.
    "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

  12. #12
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    It really doesn't help Burwell's credibility when he says things like this...Spoon was signed 3 months before Softli got here.
    OOPS!!!!

  13. #13
    RAMFANRAIDERHATER's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    Quote Originally Posted by jjigga3000 View Post
    If they do that I can no longer in good conscience support this team. Because that would mean another 20 years of mediocrity, and I don't know if I could take that. By the way I've been a fan since the 70's some of you weren't even born then, Some were, some before. I've had the chance to chat with some legends who played football for the L.A. Rams and they all say the same thing, the Rams have always run this way.

    I had one who thinks the owner had her husband killed, "George was a strong swimmer doesn't make any since." anonymous. Don't ask cause I'm not saying who said it. But anyway Unless this team makes some serious changes I can't stick as a fan, and that hurts. Cause I love this team, I mean Love it.
    I hear 'ya my friend. I too, have had conversations with a few former LA Ram players and can say without hesitation that what you heard is a fairly popular belief among some ex-Rams. Heck, anyone that's a long-time Ram fan has read the well publicised quotes from Fred Dryer about Ms. Ram and the organization. When Georgia and Shaw ran the team into the ground so she could pick up and move the team to St. Louis w/o fan opposition. The penny-pinching and player personnel decisions that turned a winning franchise into the laughing stock of the NFL.

    Sadly, I too have had about all can stand from this losing organization. I became a fan of a team that was a feared and respected franchise in the '70's. Now, they've become a standing joke. A organization that is led by an ex-dancer (I would have used another word, sounds like "snow", but it violates the rules of this forum), an accountant and God-knows-what Jay Z is. And now the rumor is that they want to fire the only guy in the bunch that knows football? Just so they can redirect the heat for what's happened?

    For years, whenever I wore the Ram logo, I've had to answer the same old question; "how can you continue to support a team that screwed you over and abandoned you?" I answer that once you've grown up with a team, it's hard to change up. ...and I suppose that when no replacement NFL team came to LA/OC, I figured; "why not?" ...but I'm tired of this organization's ineptness.

    JJigga, don't feel like the lone-wolf here. Some of us old LA Ram fans are having a hard time hangin' in there. I suppose that most of us are just waiting for the inevitable. Some day Georgia will not be around, and perhaps, just perhaps, we'll get an owner that loves football, AND understands how to run a franchise.

    Someone like Carroll Rosenbloom.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

  14. #14
    Ram Dragoon's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    There is a true cure to the Rams woes....Since the Rams are a business, the only way to fix a problem is to loose money. Assuming Georgia is still mentally functional, when she isn't getting her piece of the action ($$$), she will act, hopefully to sell the team.

    Mr Z and Shaw if they have any concerns for their long term prospects which I don't think they care having already milked the cow dry, would be shown the door. So the solution may not be a team revolt, but a fan revolt. Stop going to games, stop purchasing merchandise.

    Regardless of ones politics, sometimes MARKET FORCES, do solve problems

  15. #15
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    Re: Rams appear ready to anoint scapegoat

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    There is a true cure to the Rams woes....Since the Rams are a business, the only way to fix a problem is to loose money. Assuming Georgia is still mentally functional, when she isn't getting her piece of the action ($$$), she will act, hopefully to sell the team.

    Mr Z and Shaw if they have any concerns for their long term prospects which I don't think they care having already milked the cow dry, would be shown the door. So the solution may not be a team revolt, but a fan revolt. Stop going to games, stop purchasing merchandise.

    Regardless of ones politics, sometimes MARKET FORCES, do solve problems
    The almighty buck. And here's the cold hard secret: It really does make the world go round.

    You're completely right in your assessment, but if GF is to keep the business within the family when she sadly passes, who's to say that Shawgmunt are out?

    These are money men, not football men. And if I'm anyone close to ms Fontiere's son, I'd be beating this drum till the cows some home: You have to spend money to make money. Hire a top flight GM, KEEP Tony Softli, get some football people into the program. Guys who know how to handle the footballl side of things. If you want to do it two ways, and have a Players GM and a Revenue Guru, so be it. But place the investment. If that means hiring a new coach, new co-ordinators, whatever; so be it.

    On a smaller scale, look what happened to the Colts and Peyton Manning. The highest paid player in NFL history, leads the team to a superbowl, generates revenue, boots attendance, the town is still abuzz with Colt fever. The franchise recognised the importance of one man to their franchise, and they paid the big bucks to ensure he stayed. If this team wants to remain competitive, then it starts at the top. Spend some time, spend some effort, and spend some money on a new Front office. Let them choose what to do with the coaching staff, and let the coaching staff target the free agents. You spend money to make this team functional, and I guarantee they'll make you money in return.

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