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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams offer new hope in new course

    By Bernie Miklasz
    Monday, Feb. 11 2008

    In more ways than one, the Rams are in transition. The franchise changed hands
    with the death of beloved owner Georgia Frontiere. Her son, Chip Rosenbloom, is
    in control now, though it will take time for him to assume a more proactive

    To their credit, the Rams aren't moping around, waiting for a dramatic
    transformation to occur, until a new course is set by Rosenbloom. Instead, the
    front office and coaching staff are making things happen.

    "We just have to go," Rams general manager Jay Zygmunt said. "We're circling
    the wagons. We don't get this time back. It's an important offseason. You just
    can't stop."

    The Rams are off to an encouraging start in their attempt to dig out from under
    a disastrous 3-13 season.

    — Head coach Scott Linehan has retooled his staff, bringing in several new
    assistants, including highly regarded offensive coordinator Al Saunders, who
    should reenergize the offense. Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Marc Bulger are
    thrilled by the Saunders hire. And Linehan seems determined to become a better

    — The organization made a wise (if obvious) decision to freeze season-ticket
    prices for PSL owners.

    — And in a surprise move, the Rams hired Billy Devaney as executive vice
    president in charge of player personnel.

    During the season, Rams President John Shaw expressed a desire to improve the
    team's slumping performance in the draft, and in all personnel evaluations. But
    much time had passed, and with Shaw consumed by matters pertaining to
    Frontiere's declining health and subsequent ownership issues, I just presumed
    another offseason would pass without major action.

    And now Devaney is on the way, and this is a good move by the Rams. Devaney has
    a strong background, has served multiple winning organizations and is respected
    around the league.

    Devaney was trained by Bobby Beathard, one of the top GMs in NFL history.
    Beathard helped build the dynasties in Miami and Washington before heading to
    San Diego to lead the Chargers to one appearance in the Super Bowl. Some awful
    drafts in the late 1990s (Ryan Leaf!) caused Beathard's demise, but Devaney
    wasn't to blame. He learned a lot — good and bad — from Beathard. Devaney was
    considered more conservative than the freewheeling Beathard, who liked to trade
    away No. 1 draft picks.

    In his most recent job, as the assistant GM in Atlanta, Devaney got the credit
    for making a complex trade that landed defensive end John Abraham, who had 10
    sacks last season. The Falcons have hired a new GM, Tom Dimitroff, so Devaney
    apparently decided it was time to move on. He jumped at the Rams opportunity.

    OK, so how will Devaney fit here?

    It depends on the organization's eventual restructuring. If Shaw becomes a
    consultant, Zygmunt may have a broader role in the front office. In that case,
    Zygmunt wouldn't be as heavily involved in the daily football operation. And
    Devaney would presumably become the point man for football decisions.

    Until all of that shakes out, the Rams will probably continue their committee
    approach, but with a reduction in power among the coaches. Tony Softli, hired
    in June 2006 to coordinate predraft scouting, will continue in that role, at
    least through the 2008 draft.

    Fans will be skeptical if Zygmunt has final say over personnel. But this isn't
    about power, Zygmunt insists.

    "We know we have to do a much better job," Zygmunt said. "That's the bottom
    line. That's what this move is all about."

    Zygmunt was battered by the 2007 experience. He hates losing. He wants to try
    things a different way. He actively recruited Devaney. And I give J-Z points
    for that. If this was about ego, Zygmunt wouldn't have hired Devaney.

    "Billy is just another great resource for us," Zygmunt said. "With all of the
    problems we've had, we're just trying to do everything better. He can help us.
    The timing couldn't be better. We've got the (draft) scouting combine coming
    up, and free agency. This is such a critical offseason for us."

    They're a long way from where they need to be, but the Rams are making progress.

  2. #2
    bruce4life's Avatar
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    Re: Rams offer new hope in new course

    and progress is all you can hope for correct? I love the way this offseason has started

  3. #3
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams offer new hope in new course

    Sounds good, sounds good! :r

    Hopefully next time Rams top brass members are introduced before a full house* they will be cheered instead of jeered.

    *. - During Faulk's jersey retirement ceremony at the EJD

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