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  1. #1
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    Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/01/2006

    During the final months of Mike Martz's coaching tenure, it became a hot-button issue at Rams Park. Martz wasn't happy with the structure of the Rams' personnel department, particularly the lack of a director of pro personnel.

    Before and shortly after Martz's contract was terminated, Rams president John Shaw indicated that the issue would get plenty of attention. But nothing happened, weeks passed, and the issue faded into the background.

    Now, with the 2006 NFL draft having come and gone, the issue is back on the front burner. Shaw met Monday with coach Scott Linehan and president of football operations Jay Zygmunt, and the topic was among the items discussed.

    "I think they're going to evaluate it," Shaw said.

    Shaw said that to a large degree, he will let Zygmunt and Linehan decide what course of action to take - if any - in restructuring the personnel department.

    "There could be, I guess, a wide range of possibilities," Shaw said. "No change at all. Change the whole department. Or name a new pro personnel person. I think one of those things will happen. I just don't know right now. It's still all being evaluated."

    Over the course of Martz's final season in St. Louis, and shortly thereafter, the Rams met with several candidates about a personnel department position with the team. That group included Ron Hill, former vice president of football operations in Atlanta; Bob Ferguson, former general manager in Seattle; Rick Spielman, former general manager in Miami; and Clyde Powers, director of pro player personnel in Indianapolis.

    Some of the interviews were more informal in nature. But no interviews - formal or informal - have taken place since late January, or shortly after Linehan was hired.

    "We concluded that it didn't make a whole lot of sense to make changes without the new coach being involved," Shaw said.

    Once Linehan was hired, it quickly became apparent that there were more pressing issues to address, such as hiring a coaching staff and preparing for free agency and the draft.

    "At some point after the hiring of Coach Linehan, we all decided to go through the current draft and then re-evaluate," Shaw said.

    An underlying theme in any restructuring of the personnel department was the possibility that general manager Charley Armey might be on the way out. As part of the "clean sweep" mentality that pervaded Rams Park after Martz's dismissal, it was widely speculated that Armey was on the way out.

    But on Monday, Shaw didn't close the door to the possibility that Armey would have at least another draft - or more - with the team.

    "Charley's done a good job over the years," Shaw said. "It's an issue with Charley of being close to retirement age. So is any restructuring a short-term plan? Is it a longer-term plan? So that's a factor."

    Obviously, if the Rams decide on a longer-term plan, they may decide that Armey, who turns 67 in July, doesn't fit into that plan.

    "We're kind of at a point where we're making changes in the organization, and often when you hire a head coach, he looks to have certain personnel people changed also," Shaw said. "But I don't think there's an issue at all about Charley's competence. He's very good at what he does."

    Armey had a health scare over the weekend when he was hospitalized overnight for tests and observation after experiencing pain in his chest and arm. But initial tests turned out fine, and it is believed that Armey may have simply been fatigued, dehydrated, and not taking the proper dosage of medication for high blood pressure.

    Armey would only say about his status with the team that he is under contract through this calendar year, and deferred all questions on the matter to Shaw.

    But Armey apparently didn't hurt his cause with the way the personnel department prepared and performed for the just-completed draft.

    "I think Scott was pleasantly surprised with the process," Shaw said. "The stacking (of the draft board). How the draft went. It pretty much went off the way it was stacked. He thought the scouts did a good job."

    So instead of bringing in someone new to head the personnel department, with perhaps a new system of personnel evaluation, Linehan, Zygmunt - and ultimately Shaw - may decide to simply stick with the status quo.

    But even if Armey returns, the issue of whether to beef up the pro personnel department must be resolved. The Rams haven't had a director of pro personnel since Mike Ackerley left after the 2000 season for a job with the Tennessee Titans.

    "There was a belief at that time that we didn't need the (pro personnel) process so defined, or that position so defined ... that our head coach and our scouting department would be more involved," Shaw said. "I think now there's kind of a belief that we should have a more traditional setup where there is a director of pro personnel. And it's more clearly defined."

    If that's the case, Shaw seems more inclined to go outside the department for a pro personnel director. Then again, the Rams have several veteran scouts who are highly regarded around the league and could be candidates, including Dick Daniels, Tom Marino and Dave Razzano.


  2. #2
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    Rick Speilman would be an ideal choice for this department. His insight on ESPN was refreshing and insightful.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    I'd keep everything and everyone we got at the moment, all we've had was success at this point, why not keep it up?


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    Because we don't have a personnel development department. The Rams I believe have less scouts than anyone in the NFL. This is one area that the Rams really need to focus on.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    Rick Speilman would be an ideal choice for this department. His insight on ESPN was refreshing and insightful.
    NOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    Speilman is the genius who gave a 2nd round pick for A.J. Feely and a 3rd round pick for Lamar Gordon! People down here in South Florida consider him the worst personnel guy the Dolphins ever had!

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    Fine.....ok......

    I must be approaching Bernie status with every post.

    geeez

  7. #7
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    Not at all. I just disagree with you.

    As Dennis Miller used to say... of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    I would like to see the Rams board now that the draft is over. I read they where pretty much on it as the players came off the board. Army, I read did a nice job with the department, if he was not so close to retirement would be my choice.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    I'm really going to miss Armey. He did a good job with everything. I think that we should hire Aeneas as our GM
    RamsFan16

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    I agree with AvengerRam on the below....

    Isn't someone within the organization have the inside track on this job? I can't remember who right now.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  11. #11
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    If this team had a pro personnel department we wouldn't have seen so many bust acquisitions like Jamie Duncan, Terrance Wilkins, Chris Claiborne etc.

  12. #12
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    Quote Originally Posted by ZigZagRam
    If this team had a pro personnel department we wouldn't have seen so many bust acquisitions like Jamie Duncan, Terrance Wilkins, Chris Claiborne etc.
    Very true. Too bad we DON'T have one. Our coachs are just smart which is the reasoning for our what appears to be outstanding draft this year!
    RamsFan16

  13. #13
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    Hope we get somebody thats not Ziggie puppet.
    My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild

  14. #14
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    I must be approaching Bernie status with every post. -- TX
    'Bernie' status he says. LOL That would make you a marked man here at the Clan!

    I've got your back, amigo.

  15. #15
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    Re: Rams ponder retooling personnel division

    OT: Love the avatar psycho.

    Best guitarist ever.

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