Rams' problems could be systemic
December 23, 2008 10:15 AM
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Rams' problem areas span top to bottom. The team began its shakeup at the top by forcing out longtime executive Jay Zygmunt. At the bottom, the team levied a $25,000 fine against backup running back Antonio Pittman for missing practice Saturday, the day after his birthday.
Meanwhile, interim coach Jim Haslett wants everyone to know that a coach can't change an organization's culture midway through the season. That is undoubtedly true in some cases. It might be true in the Rams' case.
But the Rams lost Sunday to a team that can make case to the contrary. The *****, 2-5 under Mike Nolan to start the season, have posted a 4-4 record under Mike Singletary. The record is 4-3 since the bye week, when Singletary made a clean break from J.T. O'Sullivan to Shaun Hill at quarterback.
The Rams' problems run so deep that ownership might decide this is the time to start fresh with a new coaching staff and significant roster changes.
The Rams are an older team. Heading into Week 16, the Rams had the third-oldest 53-man roster in the league. Their starters were the third-oldest in the league. Older players can become jaded, making it harder for a coach to sell his philosophy.
The Rams have 15 players in their 30s, one off the league high, and nine starters in their 30s, tied for the league high.
Every team needs veterans, and some of the Rams' older players are assets, but I'll be interested in seeing how many are back for another season in St. Louis. New England led the league with 16 players in their 30s entering Week 16, but the Patriots have an established program. They also run a 3-4 defense, which often works best with veterans.
A quick look at Rams players in their 30s heading into Week 16: Trent Green, La'Roi Glover, Leonard Little, Cory Withrow, Orlando Pace, Corey Chavous, Jason Craft, Chris Draft, Dane Looker, Torry Holt, James Hall, Marc Bulger, Anthony Becht, Fakhir Brown and Todd Johnson.
Re: Rams' problems could be systemic
Can't argue with anything here. The organization must be purged of everyone- players, front office people, coaches and other employees who have contributed to their current state. They must get younger. And football decisions must be made intelligently by football people, not bean counters.
It is tough for an outsider to easily and objectively evaluate a coach who came into the middle of a season, but a nine game losing streak speaks for itself. The lack of passion also speaks for itself. That many of the players want Haslett back is of absolutely no consequence. If the players REALLY wanted him back, they'd be playing their asses off each week and would have stolen a win or two along the way. That hasn't happened. They need a guy who is going to instill some pride, toughness and a willingness to do anything to win ball games. Because of his past connection to this losing franchise over the past three seasons, I think it is necessary to unload Haslett.
A tremendous amount of work needs to be done to get the Rams back to respectability, and their margin for error when making these decisions is very slim.
Re: Rams' problems could be systemic
the mere fact that the majority of the players want Has back is one of the main reasons i dont...if i were hearing stories of Has busting balls in training..calling veteran players out (not just rookies) i might!
i think we only ever gonna see the true potential of Adam Carriker come to fruitition is if we move him to DE in a 3-4 base D...It will probably mean that the back in form Pisa wouldnt fit anymore in our D but the fact that there seems to be more players on the D who are suited to a 3-4 than a 4-3 means we should make that move! it would mean a major over haul in what IMHO is the weakest group of our entire team..The Linebacker Corps,but we can move Little to the outside etc...
also altho we have plenty of veteran players..we have a mix of...players with leadership who shouldnt be on the field..e.g. Chavous and veteran players that can take care of their own business..e.g. Pace but have never been vocal leaders.
we need as many fundamentally sound players as we can get...id rather see someone with an undesirable 40 time who dont miss tackles over a flying ball hawk who cant make the tackles.
fortunately there often seems to be players coming in the draft who fit that criteria late in the rounds and sometimes even go Un-drafted!
the Off-season should certainly be more exciting than the last two regular seasons atleast!