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Burwell: St. Louis Rams Are Getting Busy

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  • Burwell: St. Louis Rams Are Getting Busy

    St. Louis Rams are getting busy

    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell

    Less than 48 hours after the worst season in Rams history had ended, Billy Devaney was already in a good mood. General managers live for the offseason. The players and coaches dominate the games, but once their jobs are done, the spotlight shifts to men like Devaney, whose bird-dogging instincts for talent evaluation will make or break an organization's future.

    "There's no pressure," Devaney said on Tuesday. "All this draft stuff and free-agent stuff is going to be a lot of fun."

    The GM was grinning and cracking jokes and playing coy with his answers about the obvious stuff we all know is in the Rams' future, like certain subliminal messages being floated into the air about a certain defensive tackle from Nebraska who would look mighty good as the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

    (Psssst: Ndamukong Suh ... Ndamukong Suh ... Ndamukong Suh).

    "I heard you whispering," Devaney said with a chuckle.

    The offseason winds of change have already begun blowing at Rams Park, and Devaney is already knee deep in the evaluation process of everything. He's meeting with his pro and college personnel guys all week, poring over a pile of evaluations on college prospects and potential pro free agents. He's considering every kind of plan of attack, including ones that involve an uncapped free-agent market place and the ramifications of a capped one, too.

    But he's also trying to determine what to do about some of the players who are already on this 1-15 team. One of the biggest decisions he'll be making over the course of the next few months is what to do about the Rams quarterbacks, and part of that process begins with what to do with veteran starter Marc Bulger. Thursday, the Post-Dispatch reported that several team sources were convinced that the embattled 33-year-old passer is considering retirement.

    Yet on Tuesday, R.J. Gonser, who represents Bulger with agent Tom Condon of CAA, said Bulger isn't ready to hang up his cleats just yet. "Marc considers himself the quarterback of the Rams and wants to remain the quarterback of the Rams," said Gonser. "He has a lot of loyalty to St. Louis. He is about to marry a St. Louisan, wants to start a family here and spend the rest of his life in this city."

    It remains to be seen if Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo are in the mood to grant Bulger his wish. It's also too early to tell if Bulger who is signed through 2013 will change his mind about retirement based on his available employment options for 2010. Clearly, his first choice is to come back to the Rams, but so far, everyone in Earth City has been noncommittal about things. So who knows what Bulger would do if he has to go somewhere else to earn an NFL living.

    So rather than play a repeat of the "What Will Brett Favre Do?" game, just let this thing play out in its natural time.

    If you listen to the grumbling voices among some unhappy Rams loyalists, they have already made up their minds. They think the team can't afford to bring Bulger back as their starting quarterback if they want to show the ticket-buying public that this organization is in the mood for change. But Devaney said a few days ago that whatever decision he and Spagnuolo ultimately make about the QB position for 2010, it will have absolutely nothing at all to do with public sentiment and everything to do with smart football decisions.

    I hope he's right, because if he isn't, everything we've been led to believe about this "new" era in Rams history has been phony window dressing.

    I know a lot of you want Bulger gone and some of you actually understand the practicality of keeping him but no matter where you stand on the Bulger debate, if you are a smart football fan, you surely can't want the GM of this team making decisions based solely on the whims of an emotional fan base.

    There are plenty of good football reasons to keep Bulger and just as many to let him go. But none of those good reasons on either side of the debate should have anything to do with the impulses of disgruntled fans.

    That's one of the many reasons why this organization fell on hard times in the first place, because far too often the most critical decisions on the football side of the Rams were being handled by non-football people who couldn't do anything without first fretting over how it will play in Internet chat rooms, on sports talk radio and with angry e-mailers.

    Do I need to remind you of the not-so-distant past when a potential dynasty was ruined by the crazy decisions of non-football people, including a certain "semi-retired" former Rams executive in Los Angeles who was always quietly pulling strings and manipulating chaos over every important decision behind the scenes?

    I want to believe that it will be different this time, that the sound practicality of smart football men headed by Devaney and his revamped personnel department will be valued far more than the fickle biorhythms of the ticket-buying public.

    Every decision over the course of the next few months regarding the future of this organization needs to be left in the hands of those competent football men who are working so hard at Rams Park. If Devaney and Spagnuolo decide that Bulger is the best short-term answer to the quarterback position, they ought to be able to arrive at that decision based on their instincts (and a ton of game footage). If they think Bulger still has something left in his gas tank at age 33 even after three rugged seasons worth of losing it might be smart to keep him around.

    But if they think it's time for Bulger to go, then let him go.

    But it has to be for intelligent football reasons, not popular marketing concerns.

  • #2
    Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Are Getting Busy

    i only read the headline of Bernie's recent apparent Bulger bashing article, but it sounds like a very different take than what Burwell sets forth here.

    i agree. if its Bulger, fine. if its not Bulger, then thats fine too. we all know the Rams weren't going to get fixed in a single season after so many years of abuse from the Frontiere regime. either way, i'm excited to see how Devaney Demoff & Co. continue their overhaul. Its too bad they came too late to save Bruce from his send off. This also brings Pisa to mind. Didn't want to see him go, but it made a ton of sense.

    anyways, here's to the '09 Lions for losing to the Rams and allowing us to avoid joining them in their 0-16 legacy.

    cheers Rams fans!


    • #3
      Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Are Getting Busy

      The Post-Dispatch must be desperate if they pay this guy to write this kind of garbage.

      I'm fairly certain that an intelligent Middle School student could write a better column.


      • #4
        Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Are Getting Busy

        Originally posted by HornyRam View Post
        The Post-Dispatch must be desperate if they pay this guy to write this kind of garbage.

        I'm fairly certain that an intelligent Middle School student could write a better column.

        How is this garbage?


        • #5
          Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Are Getting Busy

          Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
          How is this garbage?
          Oh, apparently you disagree?

          It is poorly wriiten and makes conclusions while giving the reader very few, if any, facts to draw upon. The "What Will Brett Favre Do?" comparison is a major reach and quite laughable.

          It also plays captain obvious with reference to the mismanagement of the team in the past. When this reporter and the rest of the post-dispatch sat idly by and failed to report any of this mismanagement as it was occuring.

          It scolds the fans for not supporting a poor product and at the same time somehow gives these same fans the credit for possibly influencing bad football decisions.

          Certainly the fan base wants a winner every year and for their efforts or possible influence they were given a loser?

          All of this, written by a "professional" sports columnist.

          If this were written on paper, and in front of me, I'd wad it up and toss it in the trash after reading.

          In contrast, how is this scrap book material, and not anything but garbage?


          • #6
            Re: Burwell: St. Louis Rams Are Getting Busy

            Compared to the tripe Bernie regularly chucks out, this looks fine. Not great, but not trash either.