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Thread: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

  1. #1
    ZiaRam is offline Registered User
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    Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    by SI Columnist Peter King

    On Black New Year's Day, as 11 NFL teams try to figure out what to do with either their organization, GM, coach, coaching staffs -- or all of them -- I bring you my Smart Team of the Year: the St. Louis Rams.
    I don't mean the best team of the year. I mean the team that, in the span of one year, did the most to turn itself around, and did it wisely, and used every resource it had available to get it done. And if the rebuilders of 2013 are smart, they'll study the lessons of the Rams of 2012.

    First, to be fair, this bit of full disclosure: The COO of the Rams, Kevin Demoff, is the son of my representative, Marvin Demoff. The coach of the Rams, Jeff Fisher, is also represented by Marvin Demoff. So if you find all that to be a little too cozy for you-- and you don't believe I'll be fair or accurate is assessing what the Rams have done this year -- then feel free to skip this first column of the new year, or go straight to the next section of the column. I'll understand.

    A little more than a year ago, Rams owner Stan Kroenke read a book by Boston-based author Michael Holley that I've recommended highly, War Room. It's about the formation of modern pro football teams and front offices, and how Bill Belichick and two former Patriots personnel men, Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff, went about building the Patriots, Chiefs and Falcons. Kroenke liked the division-of-labor aspects of the book, and he also liked the fact that teams can best be formed with a strong titular head of an organization, that most often being a strong head coach. So he had Kevin Demoff, his man on the ground in St. Louis, go hard after the best available head coach/franchise leader he could find. That man, Kevin Demoff thought, was Fisher. After dueling with Miami, the Rams landed Fisher. The next step was finding a smart personnel man who would look everywhere for players -- small college, Arena, Canada, didn't matter. That man, Kevin Demoff thought, was Dimitroff's Atlanta lieutenant, Les Snead. So in came Snead to repair the dumpster fire the team had become (10-38 in the previous three years, 2-14 in 2011).
    The first order of business was deciding whether to draft one of the franchise quarterbacks, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, with the second overall pick. Sam Bradford was the incumbent in St. Louis, but he'd been injured two of the previous three seasons (one at Oklahoma, one in St. Louis), and Snead and Fisher had to study Bradford the person and Bradford the player to see if he was the right man. And they had to see if there'd be a strong market for the second pick in the draft. There was. When Fisher watched Bradford on tape, he knew he could make all the throws. He was comfortable with Bradford's medical reports, and he liked Bradford the person. And once the offers started coming in -- strong ones from Cleveland and Washington -- Fisher and Snead knew a trade would be a smart way to go.

    Washington did the deal: first-round picks in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and a second-round pick in 2012, to move up four spots in the first round. That gave Washington Griffin, as it turned out. And after two additional trades on draft day, with Dallas and Chicago, this is what the Rams got in the trade with Washington, as it stands now:
    St. Louis trades (overall pick in parentheses) St. Louis acquires:
    2012 1st-round pick (2), Robert Griffin III 2012 1st-round pick (14) DT Michael Brockers
    2012 2nd-round pick (39) CB Janoris Jenkins
    2012 2nd-round pick (50) RB Isaiah Pead
    2012 5th-round pick (150) G Rokevious Watkins
    2013 1st-round pick (Washington's)
    2014 1st-round pick (Washington's)


    So, as it turns out, St. Louis moved down 12 spots in the first round in 2012 -- and got two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-round pick for the swap of ones. That's as it stands now. Snead and Kevin Demoff could pull off more deals with the extra ones in the next 16 months.
    The hidden benefit of the deal is that St. Louis, with the current trade parameters in place, will have by 2014 a league-high 12 players, 23 percent of their 53-man roster, under the team-friendly control of the new rookie salary scale. That's two from 2011, four from '12, three from 2013 and three from 2014. In the flat-cap era the league will have in place for the next two years at least, the Rams are ahead of the game with getting good young players at manageable prices. Trading the second pick overall last year yielded, as of today, five of those salary-friendly high picks.

    Now, none of this means anything if Bradford bombs. And the jury's still out on him. In his two full seasons quarterbacking the Rams, all his numbers are pedestrian, at best. He's been the 25th- and 18th-rated quarterback in football in 2010 and 2012, with a pedestrian 58.8 percent completion rate and a plus-11 touchdown-to-interception radio. All the excuses are there for him -- a struggling offensive line, all young and new receivers. But if doesn't make this offense soar in the next couple of years, he'll be forever known as the Rams' Sam Bowie to Michael Jordan, assuming Griffin keeps being the phenom he was in his first season. (Google that, youngsters, if you don't get it.)

    You know most of the rest. Jenkins, shaky earlier and still a worry because of his off-field college rap sheet, was terrific for the last month of the season, and finished with four touchdowns, three on interception returns. Brockers' year was marred by a preseason ankle injury, but he looks like a keeper in the middle of a rising line. Pead was just a guy, and Watkins unimpactful. The Rams have more picks in the first two rounds of the next two drafts (six) than any team as it stands now. Kevin Demoff signed Chris Long and James Laurinaitis as long-term defensive leaders. Snead and Fisher got Cortland Finnegan to come in as the shutdown corner they lacked.



    Fisher ran a tight ship. When he addressed all rookies before the season, he brought all of their family members to St. Louis to make sure not only the players but those close to them understood what his rules would be -- with the tacit message of Help the ones you love, don't drag them down, distract them or leech off them. When Jenkins and fellow rookie Chris Givens broke an unspecified team rule the night before the Rams' game at San Francisco in November, he suspended them for the game and made them run the Candlestick Park stadium stairs as punishment before the game -- with Niners fans watching. The Rams tied San Francisco that day, and beat the mighty Niners at home in December. St. Louis tightened up significantly on defense. The Rams allowed 214 more points than they scored in 2011; they were a respectable minus-49 this year.

    One play, to me, typified what Fisher instilled in this team. Late in the second quarter of the tie at San Francisco, the Rams had a 4th-and-4 at their 10-yard line. Special teams coach John Fassel, in studying the Niners punt-defense team, saw a consistent weakness he thought St. Louis could exploit. The ***** sometimes left the gunner (the punt-pursuit man wide left or wide right of the formation) unblocked by sending the blocker on the gunner in to try to block the punt. How easy it would be, Fassel thought, to complete a pass to an uncovered gunner. He told Fisher about it. Fisher wanted to run a fake at some point in this game. When Fassel brought it to him, Fisher eschewed traditional wisdom about faking a punt from your own end zone. Go for it, he said -- if the Niners went for the punt block.

    On this play, Niners cornerback Chris Culliver came off the gunner, safety Rodney McLeod, two seconds before the snap of the ball. Punter John Hekker saw it. Hekker faked the punt and threw the ball to McLeod. First down.
    Hekker, undrafted rookie free agent. McLeod, undrafted rookie free agent. Hekker, with a pass 23 yards in the air from four yards deep in the end zone. McLeod, with the catch. Imagine having the faith in two kids off the street, in a game against the best team in the division, on the road. If this fails, Fisher is the laughingstock of the league, fake-punting from his own end zone. Unheard of.
    But it didn't fail. Like most of the chance St. Louis took in 2012, it didn't fail.
    live4ramin and RAMarkable like this.


  2. #2
    ZiaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    Great Article into alot of the schematics of what our FO and ownership has done and where we are headed. Hope some of you enjoy this!
    live4ramin likes this.

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    Re: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    p.s. Never Heard of this against the Ninnies! LOL Digit fans were watching em run to!

    Jeff Fisher makes misbehaving rookies run stadium stairs

    Jeff Fisher must be watching plenty of "Friday Night Lights" reruns.
    The St. Louis Rams coach channeled his inner Eric Taylor prior to his team's game against San Francisco Sunday. According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Fisher forced rookies Janoris Jenkins and Chris Givens, who were both deactivated from the contest for violating team rules (reportedly missing team curfew) to sprint stadium stairs at Candlestick Park while the rest of the team warmed up on the field.


    "It was two-fold,'' said Fisher. "They weren't going to play, so they needed a workout. And I guess you can say it was part punitive. We still have to sort some things out about what happened, but hopefully this helps them get the message.''
    It certainly worked for Tim Riggins when Coach Taylor finally allowed him to return to the Dillon Panthers after a weeklong drunken sojourn to Mexico while pursuing a risky surgery for the team's paralyzed ex-quarterback.
    While Jenkins and Givens likely didn't have quite as entertaining of a rule violation, both starters could have made a difference in the eventual 24-24 tie, although neither plays on the Rams' field goal unit, which has a 53-yard overtime kick nullified by a five-yard delay of game penalty.
    Last edited by ZiaRam; -01-01-2013 at 10:06 PM.

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    Re: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    The best part of this article is how it finishes off with rubbing salt in the digits' wounds.


    gap
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    Re: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by gap View Post
    The best part of this article is how it finishes off with rubbing salt in the digits' wounds.


    gap
    Gap you think that was great check these ones out lol!




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    Re: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by ZiaRam View Post
    Gap you think that was great check these ones out lol!
    Good stuff.

    Was the second one expecting the officials to come in and wave off the kick? Maybe he was hopeing for a delay of game penalty to negate it? Oh, wait, they only do that to the RAMS.


    gap
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    Re: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    Loved the article but really didn't like the allusion of Brads to Bowie and Griffin to Jordan. Let us hope that that does not become the case.


    WHAT SAY YE?
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    ZiaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams started their rebuilding effort the right way in 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by gap View Post
    Good stuff.

    Was the second one expecting the officials to come in and wave off the kick? Maybe he was hopeing for a delay of game penalty to negate it? Oh, wait, they only do that to the RAMS.


    gap
    LOL right? I like watching Whiner fan pain! It's sad to see kids are getting raised wrong to be a Digit fan

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Loved the article but really didn't like the allusion of Brads to Bowie and Griffin to Jordan. Let us hope that that does not become the case.


    WHAT SAY YE?
    No way this becomes the case... Bradford might not end up a Hall of Famer but no way with how our team is heading he ends up near the same category as Griffin to Jordan.

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