Thomas: Rams Hire Snead As GM
Rams hire Snead as GM
BY JIM THOMAS
Sunday, February 12, 2012
In the earliest days of the Rams' lengthy search for a general manager, Atlanta's Les Snead asked Kevin Demoff:
"Do you think you can get Jeff Fisher? That's a guy I want to work for. That's the opportunity of a lifetime."
The Rams got Fisher. And now Snead has a job as general manager of the Rams in a lengthy process that included nine candidate interviews and took 5∏ weeks. As last week wound down, the Rams narrowed their list to two finalists, Snead and Minnesota director of player personnel George Paton.
Multiple sources told the Post-Dispatch on Friday that Paton was the front-runner, but at the 11th hour Paton took a promotion - to assistant general manager - and stayed with the Vikings.
So Snead was offered and accepted the job, and the Rams began contract
negotiations with him Saturday. The contract should be completed within a day or two, meaning Snead formally will be introduced as Billy Devaney's successor Monday or Tuesday at Rams Park.
Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations, finessed the front-runner issue, saying, "We had two good candidates, we liked 'em both."
But Demoff adamantly denied reports that Paton was offered the job.
"The one thing I want to make clear: George Paton was never offered the job," Demoff said. "How that got misconstrued ... I don't know."
So it's Snead, a native of Eufala, Ala
He's was a tight end for Auburn in the early '90s. And a would-be medical school student. Dr. Snead? That was his plan after graduating from Auburn with a psychology degree. His career path changed abruptly when offered a graduate assistant coaching position in 1994 for his alma mater.
One of his duties as an entry-level Auburn coach was showing NFL coaches around when they came to watch practice and look at tape of draft prospects. Tom Coughlin, coach of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, was so impressed with Snead during one such visit that he offered him a job in pro scouting. Thus began Snead's NFL front office run. He worked for Jacksonville for three seasons (1995-97), then was hired by Falcons office exec Ron Hill in 1998. (Yes, the same Hill who was interviewed for the Rams' GM job two days before the Super Bowl.) Snead has been with the Falcons ever since, first as a scout, then as director of pro personnel and most recently in the more all-encompassing role of director of player personnel.
"First and foremost, he's a dynamic thinker, and his thought process is unusual - and yet that's one of the reasons he's been a good pairing with (general manager) Thomas Dimitroff in Atlanta," Demoff said. "But he's been through a lot of people. He's learned under a lot of good GMs: Ron Hill, Rich McKay, Dimitroff.
"He has a great ability to work well with others. He's survived a lot of regime changes. The fact that he's always managed to grow and gain more responsibility with each change shows his ability to work well with others and to adapt to different situations and different styles."
During that time, Snead also worked with about as diverse a set of head coaches imaginable: Dan Reeves, Jim Mora (the younger), Bobby Petrino and Mike Smith. Plus, two interim head coaches in Wade Phillips and Emmitt Thomas.
"This is someone who has put in the hours to become an expert in the personnel field," Demoff said. "He started out as a pro scout; he worked his way to being a college scout in past years. He's got a very diverse skill set, and that was something we were looking for ideally. ... We think with him and Jeff (Fisher) running our football operations, we have a chance for sustained success."
The Falcons have had four consecutive winning seasons; until 2009, they had never even had back-to-back winning seasons. A wild-card berth this past season gave them back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history. Their 43 regular-season victories over the last four seasons is the fifth-best total in the NFL.
Most of Snead's background is in pro personnel, and in that capacity he played a leading role in signing former undrafted rookies Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo, who became mainstays of the Falcons' offensive line. Dahl is now with the Rams.
But in recent years, following his promotion to director of player personnel, Snead has been more involved in college scouting and has played an important role in putting together the Falcons' draft board under Dimitroff.
"He's had a lot of responsibility at a place that's won a lot of games," Demoff said. "Snead comes from a place that had been up and down. He knows what it looks like. He knows what it's like to change the culture and grow in that culture."
In the last couple of years, his name started to crop up as a potential general manager. This offseason, Indianapolis got permission to interview him for their GM job, which went to Ryan Grigson. (Grigson also was interviewed by the Rams.)
Snead will step right in and get to work immediately at Rams Park. It was always the Rams plan to have the new GM in place before the NFL scouting combine (Feb. 23-28).
"Our scouts are coming in this week for our pre-combine meetings," Demoff said. "We wanted to have the new leadership in place for those meetings.
Re: Thomas: Rams Hire Snead As GM
Is this a Yay or Nay move??
Re: Thomas: Rams Hire Snead As GM
Am Luke warm on this move--don't think we would get much insight as to the behind the scenes in making up his staff...and untill the end of 2012 season and those going forward, don't think anyone will know if this was a good acquistion for the Rams. Much of player negiotiations are not usually released to the general public, least other teams pick up on what your doing and try and undermine or exploit a situation