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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    St. Louis Rams need help from front office

    Bryan Burwell:

    There are no simple solutions for this. The erosion of a decade's worth of personnel failures inside Rams Park won't be fixed by some populist fantasy football silliness, because in case you hadn't noticed, that's exactly what got the Rams in this gawdawful predicament in the first place.

    So if you're looking for some quickie fix for whatever ails the Rams in the aftermath of Sunday's 47-3 brutal embarrassment at the hands of the New York Jets the worst loss in 21 years stop wasting your time.

    It's not the quarterback. It's not the head coach (at least not any more). It's not the gimpy superstar running back. It's not bad schemes or unimaginative X's and O's. The real calamity goes so much deeper than that. And now Jim Haslett is reluctantly coming to grips with that.

    He wanted to believe he could create a team in his own combative image, and for a while it looked like he possessed that magic touch. He wanted to inject an ornery fire in their competitive bellies that had been lacking so obviously over the last three or four seasons. But here he was standing just outside the visiting locker room in Giants Stadium, and he was coming to the regrettable realization that this was going to be a harder task than he could have imagined.

    When your team essentially does a pathetic first-half belly flop in front of 78,073 witnesses (40-0 Jets), displaying the same infuriating competitive failings exhibited during the end of days of the Scott Linehan era, it's time to come to grips with some harsh realities about what resources you're working with.

    "It's either (the players) don't want to do it or they can't do it," an aggravated Haslett told reporters after the game.

    That, of course was a trick question.

    Unfortunately for Haslett, the answer to that devilish riddle probably is "Yes."

    He probably already knows this. That's why the head coach was not sulking around the room when he asked the trick question. His body language wasn't slumping or despondent, and he wasn't heaping all the blame on his shoulders. Haslett's voice was full of fire and resolve.

    "We're going to find out which one it is," he said.

    If that sounded like both a warning and a promise, then the coach effectively got his message across. In the locker room after the game, Haslett made it very clear to his underachieving players that this embarrassment was all on them. As several players recounted, he stood in the middle of the room and in no uncertain terms let everyone know that his coaches were not going to take the blame for this lifeless defeat. He gave them a seething and brutally honest appraisal of his team's pathetic effort.

    The Rams are not only a bad team, but an emotionally fragile one to boot. It's long past time for them to understand that a team rife with old-age issues, injuries and a profound lack of depth and star talent can't afford to casually sashay into the Meadowlands against a New York Jets team that has postseason aspirations heavy on its mind.

    "It was embarrassing," said Haslett. "It was bad football, bad football all the way around."

    Resolving those competitive issues is going to be Haslett's greatest day-to-day challenge as he tries to fight through the final seven games. Haslett's stuck with a mess. This is a greatly flawed roster. It's a team that seems to have hit every discordant note for a franchise in full decline. Old, inexperienced, injury-riddled, lacking in depth and psychologically withered by years of failure, even if Haslett is some kind of gridiron Dr. Phil, that won't be enough to turn this team around without a real commitment to change from above.

    It's not an impossible mission, because the Jets have already proved that a franchise can turn around overnight with aggressive and intelligent personnel decisions.

    A year ago, the Jets and the Rams were stumbling over each other to see which one was the worst franchise in football. On the final weekend of the 2007 season, the Jets won their last game and finished 4-12, while the Rams lost their last four games to end up 3-13.

    But on Sunday in the Meadowlands, the Jets were 6-3 and tied for first place in the AFC East, while the Rams were 2-7 and tied with the Seattle Seahawks for the second worst record in the NFC.

    So how did the Jets turn it around so fast?

    In the offseason, the Jets' overhaul was done by signing Alan Faneca and Damien Woody to upgrade the offensive line, fullback Tony Richardson to plow the way for tailback Thomas Jones, and trading for nose tackle Kris Jenkins and quarterback Brett Favre.

    So most of the Jets' biggest flaws were fixed overnight. A year ago, they allowed 53 sacks. This year, through nine games, Favre has been sacked only 16 times, none on Sunday. A year ago, they were constantly hamstrung by mediocre quarterback play, so they went out and acquired a future Hall of Fame gunslinger.

    A year ago, one of the Jets' major defensive weaknesses was a lack of a run stopper (they surrendered an average of 134 yards a game). With the monstrous Kris Jenkins clogging up the middle this year, the Jets now allow only 76 yards a game.

    Contrast that with the Rams' off-season moves, also known as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. They brought in Josh Brown, Jacob Bell, Trent Green, Anthony Becht and Dan Krieder. Only Brown, the incredibly reliable place kicker, has proved to be an impact player.

    It doesn't take long to turn things around. But the Rams have so many holes, it is going to require the same win-at-all-costs commitment to overcome the years of bad drafts and regrettable free agent mistakes.


  2. #2
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: St. Louis Rams need help from front office

    I did something yesterday I've never done before; I wrote and sent a letter to Chip Rosenbloom. Sitting in the stands at the Meadowlands and watching the humiliation of a total ass kicking provided the impetus for such a move. I am not in the habit of sending "letters to the editor" or to owners of professional sports teams. But there were a few things I needed to get off my chest after watching an entire decade of bad football (1991-1998) and two back to back abysmal seasons of continued horrendous play.

    I respectfully pointed out a number of things- the Ram organization's proud tradition of winning- begun in the 50's and 60's, cultivated and nurtured by his father Carroll Rosenbloom throughout the 70's, and continued through the 80's. The history of having players with toughness and heart; of guys who made us proud to love the Rams: Jack Youngblood, Nolan Cromwell, Jackie Slater, Henry Ellard, Kevin Greene, Jack Reynolds, and dozens of others. I honestly touched upon the perception that front office strife and people in positions of power not being on the same page have helped create this mess. Poor personnel decisions have contributed to bad football and have allowed the organization to lose their vision of greatness. And I called upon him as owner to make the bold decisions necessary to turn this thing around, for leadership begins at the top.

    I neither ripped individuals nor was I disrespectful. I very honestly but firmly shared my frustrations towards a team I have lived and died with since I was 5 years old, and told him the current state of affairs is completely unacceptable.

    In closing, I mentioned the two guys out there- Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer- who are solid football men and winners; guys who would turn this franchise around. And lastly, the importance of unloading any player or staff member who was not single-minded in purpose of bringing winning football back to the Rams.

    I don't know if it will do any good, but I couldn't stand idly by and not do anything.

  3. #3
    mde8352gorams's Avatar
    mde8352gorams is offline Registered User
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    Re: St. Louis Rams need help from front office

    I agree with your post very much. I have been a fan going back to the late '60's when Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen epitomized the spirit of this team. They were "always" in the hunt. They never quite got there, which kept me rooting for them, but at least you know they would show up. A few playoff games such as the 1975 debacle against Dallas and a late '80's game against Washington were stinkers, but they usually were competitive.

    I hope Chip Rosenbloom takes your message to heart and installs a winning team in the FO and on the field. My concern about Cowher and Shottenheimer hinges on his willingness to hold onto the team or sell it. He must make a distinct committment otherwise these coaches won't come to the Rams. I wouldn't mind if we could find a coordinator who was ready to be a head coach. Look at Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, Ken Whisenhunt and Tony Sparano they have their teams in the playoff hunt. But the key matter is also getting a good judge of talent in the GM spot. That will be almost a more important hire than the HC.

    Go Rams!

  4. #4
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams need help from front office

    Good post, MDE! I'm with you as far as being from the 65-72 Rams era (very fond of the George Allen years, 66-70).

    Interesting article by Burwell on the F.O. And rather than coming up with a sarcastic "What else is new?" remark, I'll make this observation: THOSE UGLY UNIFORMS, there's the problem!!!

  5. #5
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    Re: St. Louis Rams need help from front office

    We really need to bring in top notch football personel into this team.

    I can live with the Haz being coach. He was handed Linehan's team. Arguably one of the worst teams in NFL history.

    We could definately use some support up at the top. Devaney is a good man up there. Keep him. He did wonders for us in the draft. Long and Avery are good picks. Burton shows signs. I hope King does well also.

    We need more personel up there who care about football...

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