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  • How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

    How did the Rams get this bad?

    Columnist Jeff Gordon
    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    11/30/2009

    The Rams are 1-10 and racing toward 1-15, with little hope of actually winning another football game.

    If this team couldn’t beat the reeling Seahawks at home, then you can't expect it to beat anybody left on its schedule.

    The thoroughness of their futility is stunning. How did the Rams get THIS bad?

    Four predominant factors are to blame:

    1. To speed up the rebuilding process, the Rams football operation unloaded much of the remaining big-money veteran talent.

    From the end of last season into the middle of this season, the Rams cashiered tackle Orlando Pace, receiver Torry Holt, receiver Dane Looker, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, defensive tackle La’Roi Glover, linebacker Chris Draft, cornerback Tye Hill, safety Corey Chavous, linebacker Will Witherspoon and others.

    True, many of those guys played their way off the team. But that is a LOT of veteran talent to lose in such a short period of time.

    2. Once again, the Rams suffered an inordinate number of costly injuries.

    The offensive line was coming together nicely this season, but tackle Jason Smith, guard Richie Incognito and center Jason Brown all went down. Once again, the Rams are forced to use a patchwork approach up front.

    Rookie cornerback Fletcher Bradley was emerging as a solid “press” coverage player, but he suffered a catastrophic knee injury. Quarterback Marc Bulger, receiver Keenan Burton, receiver Laurent Robinson, defensive tackle Adam Carriker, receiver Brooks Foster, defensive end C.J. Ah You . . . the list of casualties goes on and on, with new victims appearing on the injured list every week.

    3. The Rams lacked the depth to withstand all these losses.

    For a variety of reasons, this franchise failed to build and maintain a critical mass of talent in recent years. As the Greatest Show on Turf aged, the Rams failed to develop viable replacements.

    The Rams became stunningly deficient in almost every area. They didn’t have worthy prospects ready to replace all the departing veterans. And when injuries hit, general manager Billy Devaney was forced to fetch fill-ins off practice squads and off the street.

    As a result, this season has turned into an extended training camp with youngsters and fringe veterans coming and going at a dizzying rate.

    4. The Rams embarked on this massive rebuilding project with inexperienced leadership.

    From the top of the organization on down, the key leaders are learning on the job. Devaney, president Kevin Demoff, head coach Steve Spagnulo, offensive coordinator Pat Shumur and defensive coordinator Ken Flajole all possess more responsibility than they have ever had before.

    It’s safe to say they have all experienced growing pains during this disastrous season.

    I still believe these men are following the proper blueprint -- but as colleague Bernie Miklasz reminds us in his column, we haven’t seen actual progress on the field.

    Yes, injuries are an issue, as Spagnuolo noted during Sunday’s news conference. So is the relative inexperience of so many players. So is the dearth of proven talent.

    But the men in charge of this football operation still must find ways to get some results. They just do. Hopes and wishes don’t sell tickets or further careers. Only on-field success can do that.


    So where does the franchise go from here?

    One solution could come through the sale of the franchise. The next ownership group would assess the state of the franchise, establish a new plan of action and make the appropriate changes.

    Presumably, the next ownership group will put a strong football man at the top of the organizational chart and go from there.

    If the franchise doesn’t gain new ownership during the next few months, then the current leadership must learn from this struggle and overhaul the entire operation. Everything should be up for re-evaluation.

    Yes, the Rams cleared a lot of dead weight off the roster. Yes, the team sped up the learning process for a lot of young players. Those are positives.

    But the losing atmosphere remains. The Rams still haven’t gained a new identity. The biggest challenges remain unmet.

    The Rams cannot stay on their current course. While it still has the power to make changes, the current regime must act quickly and decisively.

    “We’ve got five more games this season and hopefully we can put together five good ones,” defensive end Chris Long told reporters after the game. “All that matters is the next snap and we’ve got to have that mentality because nobody is going to dig us out of this hole accept ourselves.”

  • #2
    Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

    The Rams cannot stay on their current course. While it still has the power to make changes, the current regime must act quickly and decisively
    Hum!! I wonder what changes is he talking about except getting more talented players on the roster?
    :ramlogo:

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

      Total rebuilding takes time. "REAL" fans will hang in there but the wishy washy bandwagon jumpers will all be gone if they're not already.

      1 win out of 11 games is hard to swallow even for us "REAL" fans. It would be nice if we pulled off an upset or two but I wouldn't count on it this season.


      My outlook is that "BETTER DAYS ARE COMING". Whenever that is I'll still be here!!!


      GO RAMS!!!!!!!!
      sigpic :ram::helmet:

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

        It is frustrating to watch this team continue to free fall, but with a starting point this year of the mess left by Shawgmunt and Linehan, a new coaching staff , a depleted talent pool and the continued insane injury merry-go-round, what else could really be expected? Even with a healthy team, 6-7 wins was the best we were probably going to see anyway.

        We're just going to have to be patient, however painful that may seem. We can't stay snakebitten too much longer, can we??

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

          My outlook is that "BETTER DAYS ARE COMING". Whenever that is I'll still be here!!!
          And so will I.

          Having been a fan of the team all of my life - like a number of you - I have come to expect bad times mixed in with good times.

          Unfortunately, the RAMS have had more than their share of bad times.

          :ram:
          Always a Rams Fan............

          Rex Allen Markel

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

            I tell you what though, next year this team and this regime do NOT get the same free pass they got this year. Results must be better.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

              Bad drafts, bad drafts & BAD DRAFTS, got us in this position. Not knowing what to do with the pics we made with the staff we had didn't help much.

              Pre- Dick Vermeil type drafts & staff.

              Maineram -

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

                whose Fletcher Bradley?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

                  Ha this is funny, me and my friend were just talking about this. We were looking to see when Drew Brees was drafted, it was 2001. That brought back some wretched memories. We have had bad drafts, but I truly believe that had we got this one right, we would be a dynasty right now, maybe on the downside like the Pats, but a dynasty still the same. However we missed on our picks, and now here we are...

                  If you don't know, we had three first round picks in 2001, THREE! We drafted Ryan Pickett, Damione Lewis, and Adam Archuleta. Ok so I like arch as much as the next guy, and pickett and lewis both became solid player outside of stl, however when you look at the draft as a whole, it really is disgusting. We selected two DT in the first, out of a draft class that had Richard Seymour, Marcus Stroud, Kris Jenkins, Casey Hampton, and Shaun Rogers. Let that settle for a second, you almost have to be trying not to pick a superstar DT out of that draft. We did it twice.

                  Of course hindsight is 20-20, however when asking the question how did the Rams get this bad, I direct people right to that 2001 draft.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

                    Originally posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
                    Ha this is funny, me and my friend were just talking about this. We were looking to see when Drew Brees was drafted, it was 2001. That brought back some wretched memories. We have had bad drafts, but I truly believe that had we got this one right, we would be a dynasty right now, maybe on the downside like the Pats, but a dynasty still the same. However we missed on our picks, and now here we are...

                    If you don't know, we had three first round picks in 2001, THREE! We drafted Ryan Pickett, Damione Lewis, and Adam Archuleta. Ok so I like arch as much as the next guy, and pickett and lewis both became solid player outside of stl, however when you look at the draft as a whole, it really is disgusting. We selected two DT in the first, out of a draft class that had Richard Seymour, Marcus Stroud, Kris Jenkins, Casey Hampton, and Shaun Rogers. Let that settle for a second, you almost have to be trying not to pick a superstar DT out of that draft. We did it twice.

                    Of course hindsight is 20-20, however when asking the question how did the Rams get this bad, I direct people right to that 2001 draft.
                    it doesn't end there though C. sadly, the 2001 draft is only 1 bad draft among many. the 2005 draft is another that quickly comes to mind. i think there's what... maybe 1 guy from that class still on the team? sad sad sad

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How Did The Rams Get This Bad?

                      Originally posted by maineram View Post
                      Bad drafts, bad drafts & BAD DRAFTS, got us in this position. Not knowing what to do with the pics we made with the staff we had didn't help much.

                      Pre- Dick Vermeil type drafts & staff.

                      Maineram -
                      Your post answers every Question. From 2000 to 2008 Martz and liny, have
                      dug a hole so huge its going to take a few years to dig us out.:helmet:
                      But i will still be a Ram fan till I die!..

                      Comment

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                      • eldfan
                        Are the Rams really making progress?
                        by eldfan
                        Are the Rams really making progress?

                        Columnist Jeff Gordon

                        STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                        11/04/2009

                        Steve Spagnuolo stood on the Rams practice field on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, two days removed from his first NFL head coaching victory.

                        He allowed himself to reflect -– for just a brief moment -– on the first half of this 1-7 season and see progress.

                        “There were some struggles, there were some good things, but we have built something,” Spagnuolo told reporters. “We talked this morning on the foundation we wanted to build. There is some trust, there is mutual respect, there is unity in the team. I think more than anything, we take that away.

                        “It was a rough road, let’s face it, we had seven losses. But to see what the guys did -– I’m not talking about on the field -– what they did as people and what they did together, that probably sticks in my head more than anything.”

                        Fans can’t see this sort of progress. Neither can prospective buyers of the franchise, analyzing the situation from afar.

                        The players can feel it and insist that it is real. They can point to their collective effort and their unity.

                        They can cite the team spirit that spilled out after the team FINALLY won a game, outlasting the Lions on Sunday in Detroit.

                        The Rams note that they don’t feature the locker room drama seen in other struggling teams, like the cross-state Chiefs. Their star player, Steven Jackson, has matured into the ultimate team player when the franchise needed him the most.

                        But those of us on the outside can only accept this premise of progress on faith, if at all.

                        Is this team really making progress? Are Spagnuolo, his assistant coaches, general manager Billy Devaney and the rest of the football operatives really setting the foundation for future success?

                        Are these the right men to lead the attempted turnaround? Are they really up to this enormous task?

                        This is the great mystery as the Rams scatter to enjoy their bye weekend. We can’t answer these questions until much later, after the football operation fills in the new framework with more playmakers and sturdier depth.

                        This team has lost a lot of talent since the end of last season, including Torry Holt, Orlando Pace, Pisa Tinoisamoa and Will Witherspoon -– leaders who went on to play big roles on other teams.

                        This team has run off a bunch of mid- and low-level players, too, like Drew Bennett, Trent Green, Corey Chavous, La’Roi Glover, Tye Hill, Chris Draft, Quinton Culberson, Nick Leckey, Claude Wroten, Todd Johnson, Antonio Pittman, Joe Klopfenstein, Dominique Byrd, Brian Leonard, Derek Stanley, Dane Looker, Anthony Becht, Jason Craft, Fakhir Brown . . . the roll call goes on and on.

                        This team has taken some serious injuries hits, losing potential building...
                        -11-04-2009, 08:59 PM
                      • r8rh8rmike
                        It Ain't Pretty, But There Are Reasons To Keep Watching Rams
                        by r8rh8rmike
                        It ain't pretty, but there are reasons to keep watching Rams
                        By Jeff Gordon
                        STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                        10/14/2009



                        The Rams have been outscored 146-34 this season. They have lost 32 of 37 games and 15 in a row.

                        These are mind-blowing numbers. We are witnessing sustained failure of historic proportions.

                        It is difficult to be THIS BAD in a league dedicated to maintaining parity, but the Rams have become exceptional losers. Week after week, they discover new ways to succumb.

                        Believe it or not, though, the football operation appears to be adding potential building blocks, one by one.

                        Second-round draft pick James Laurinaitis appears to be a worthy foundation on which to rebuild the defense. He is piling up tackles week after week and his pass coverage is improving, as he proved Sunday by picking off Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

                        Just five weeks into his NFL career, Laurinaitis is emerging as a leader too.

                        “As long as the guys keep the heart that they have, we’re going to be all right,” he told reporters after the Rams lost to the Vikings 38-10 Sunday. “When we’re out there on the goal line stand, you have a lot of guys out there with a lot of heart, who just truly love playing this game and really want to get things corrected and win.”

                        General manager Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo keep milling the practice squad and the bottom half of the roster, auditioning new players on a weekly basis.

                        Wide receiver/kick returner Danny Amendola appears to be a nice addition. He has produced one home-run return (which, of course, was negated by penalty) and nearly popped several other big gains.

                        More impressively, he has emerged as a viable third receiver within a few weeks of his in-season arrival. His quick feet add some life to a generally moribund unit.

                        If the pint-sized Amendola can improve his ball security and avoid getting squashed, he will earn a place in this group moving forward.

                        The same can be said for tight end Daniel Fells. Sunday’s red zone fumble was a shame, since it overshadowed his emergence as a viable offensive option.

                        Fells and Kyle Boller developed a love connection. It will be interesting to see if Marc Bulger bonds with him Sunday at Jacksonville.

                        The Rams accumulated some interesting depth on the defensive line, with 25-year-old LaJuan Ramsey making a mark at defensive tackle.

                        While it is a shame that journeyman run-stuffer Gary Gibson suffered a season-ending injury, the team was overloaded at that position. Perhaps rookie Darell Scott can step in the breach and build on his solid preseason showing.

                        Rookie cornerback Bradley Fletcher has gotten burned here and there, but he is showing some potential to play the “press” coverage favored by this coaching staff....
                        -10-14-2009, 01:47 PM
                      • r8rh8rmike
                        About All The Rams Have Left Is Their Composure
                        by r8rh8rmike
                        About all the Rams have left is their composure

                        By Jeff Gordon
                        STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
                        10/28/2009

                        So far, anyway, the Rams have handled relentless adversity in a professional manner.

                        They don’t have their star running back spewing insults via Twitter and barking homophobic taunts at media types, as the Chiefs have.

                        They haven’t rendered their head coach a lame duck and forced him to surrender play-calling responsibilities, as the Redskins have.

                        They haven’t had the head coach accused of assaulting one of his assistant coaches, as the Raiders have.

                        They haven’t had the wife of a deposed general manager insulting current management on local radio shows, as the Titans have.

                        All in all, the Rams have maintained their composure through their 0-7 start. But that doesn’t mean the players are happy about it -– or that they are immune to the immense frustration that builds while a team loses 17 games in a row and 34 out of 39 overall.

                        “This has been a brutal stretch the last 2 ˝ years,” said defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who has been along for every bit of this suffering. “We have to keep believing in ourselves, believing in the coaching staff and believing in the philosophy they are putting in place.”

                        Of course, that is easier said than done. The Rams need a breakthrough performance to keep from moving closer to the disarray we’re seeing elsewhere.

                        The Rams need to beat the 1-5 Lions. They just do.

                        Yes, the Lions are better than the Rams right now. Yes, they are hosting the Rams on Sunday. They are favored to beat Steve Spagnuolo’s battered team –- and rightfully so.

                        Former Rams coach Scott Linehan is probably staying up nights devising some newer and slightly less vanilla offensive plays to beat his old team. Detroit’s first-year offensive coordinator wants this game big-time.

                        “This is not a game we can take lightly,” said Ryan, a Michigan native who has heard all the Lions jokes while visiting his family between seasons. “Everybody wants to downgrade the Lions . . . there are some talented players on the Lions. They competed with the Saints for two and a half, three quarters.”

                        But some how, some way, the Rams have to win this game. They just do.

                        Losing takes a heavy mental and psychological toll. So does the mounting casualty list, which got longer with the demise of cornerback Bradley Fletcher -– who could be sidelined well into next season with a massive knee injury.

                        Fletcher was just starting to arrive as the physical cornerback the Rams need to play “press” coverage in this defense. Now he faces two surgeries and a long and difficult comeback to regain his full speed and mobility.

                        This was a huge loss, just as the demise of top receiver Laurent Robinson punched a hole in...
                        -10-28-2009, 05:29 PM
                      • RamWraith
                        Magic can't save Rams season, but problems shouldn't linger
                        by RamWraith
                        By Jeff Gordon
                        ONLINE SPORTS COLUMNIST
                        Sunday, Oct. 14 2007

                        It’s been a tough Sunday here in cyberspace. Duty forced your correspondent to
                        watch the entire Rams game, which was an uncommonly painful experience.

                        Then duty required a lengthy chat session with disgruntled and disgusted fans.
                        About 100 replies later, I’d like to make two overriding points.

                        The local NFL souvenir shops don’t sell magic wands. The Rams are 0-6 and
                        riddled with injuries. Coach Scott Linehan hasn’t found many answers, but
                        hiring an ex-coach from the broadcast booth isn’t feasible in October.
                        Improvement during this season will have to come within the current group, one
                        way or another. The current coaches must coach better and the surviving players
                        must play better.

                        Turning around the Rams after this season shouldn’t be a long-term project.
                        Dramatic reversals of form are the norm in the Not For Long league. Green Bay
                        is 5-1 this season and Tampa Bay is 4-2. Conversely, the Saints went to Seattle
                        winless and the explosive Bengals lost four of their first five games. Things
                        change in a hurry in the NFL.

                        Believe it or not, the Rams do have some young players to build around. Clifton
                        Ryan and Adam Carriker were forceful in the middle of the defensive line the
                        last two weeks. Tye Hill, Jonathan Wade, O.J. Atogwe, Victor Adeyanju, Mark
                        Setterstrom, Richie Incognito, Brian Leonard -– these kids all have some value.

                        This is a different offense when Steven Jackson, Orlando Pace, Marc Bulger,
                        Isaac Bruce, Drew Bennett and Dante Hall are all healthy. We never saw that
                        scenario this season and we never will.

                        Defensive veterans Leonard Little, James Hall, Fakhir Brown and Will
                        Witherspoon are worthy players, although Witherspoon would be more forceful
                        playing outside linebacker.

                        Before players began to fall, I believed the Rams would start this season by
                        winning four of their first six games. Instead, they lost all six as their
                        casualties mounted.

                        The difference between 4-2 and 0-6 isn’t as great as you would think. Better
                        health, better coaching, better effort and better luck could have kept these
                        same players in contention.

                        But this season, Linehan reminds us, “is what it is.” The Rams failure is, as
                        Linehan says, “humbling.”

                        (“Embarrassing” is another word for it, but Linehan objected to that adjective
                        at his news conference last Monday.)

                        In the near term, Linehan and his assistants must coach every day as if it is
                        their last. They must try new strategies and different motivational tactics.

                        They must turn Rams Park upside down. Business as usual won’t cut it anymore.
                        This is an emergency. Players should...
                        -10-15-2007, 06:08 AM
                      • MauiRam
                        Only time will tell nature of new Rams ..
                        by MauiRam
                        BY JIM THOMAS
                        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                        07/26/2009

                        As the final weeks ticked by in a miserable 2008 football season, Rams fans demanded change. Big change.

                        They got it.

                        As the Rams prepare this week to open their 15th training camp since the move to St. Louis, the franchise has undergone tumultuous change from top to bottom. The changes range from big to small; from the obvious to the subtle.

                        John Shaw's 15-year run as team president has ended. Shaw, who had been an executive in some capacity with the Rams for 29 years, now has a "reduced" role as senior adviser/owners' representative.

                        President of football operations and general manager Jay Zygmunt is gone after 27 years in the Rams' front office.

                        Last year, Bob Wallace was sixth on the organizational depth chart— behind only club owners Chip Rosenbloom, Lucia Rodriguez and Stan Kroenke, as well as executives Shaw and Zygmunt. But Wallace, who joined the team in '95, has been stripped of his title of executive vice president and no longer has day-to-day responsibilities. He works out of his home as the team's general counsel.

                        And those are just the (big) tips of the iceberg.

                        In the personnel department, three scouts were fired. Samir Suleiman, Zygmunt's righthand man in contract negotiations, is gone.

                        The Rams have a new director of game day entertainment in Scott Brooks, with Keely Fimbres — who handled those duties in the past — reassigned within the organization.

                        There's a new ticketing department. (Plenty of seats remain for the upcoming season, by the way.)

                        Dan Linza, the team's longtime security director is out. So is longtime team photographer Bill Stover.

                        In fact, this housecleaning has been so complete that even the house-cleaners are gone. That's right, the Rams have hired a new janitorial service for Rams Park.

                        There are some observers who doubt if all this was necessary. After all, a security director never missed a tackle. A team photographer never lost a fumble. And in franchise history, a Rams janitor never was charged with a false start.

                        Of the 113 employees in the building, a total that does not include players, less than two dozen remain who were here for the inaugural season in St. Louis in '95. And, the offseason purge was not limited to the front office, or the so-called "non-football" areas.

                        There are 16 new members of the coaching staff, led by head coach Steve Spagnuolo, former defensive coordinator of the New York Giants. As for the players themselves, 46 of the 85 who were on last season's training camp roster are gone. Among the departed:

                        — Receiver Torry Holt and offensive tackle Orlando Pace, both seven-time Pro Bowlers.

                        — Starting strong safety Corey Chavous, the leader of the secondary...
                        -07-26-2009, 06:27 PM
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