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Rams owner: 'I think we're closer than most or our critics think''

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  • Rams owner: 'I think we're closer than most or our critics think''

    Rams owner: 'I think we're closer than most or our critics think''


    The glass always is half full with Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom. That's his personality and the way he goes through life. It's not surprising then, that Rosenbloom is optimistic about the future of the team. He hopes Rams fans share that view.

    "I think fans should be optimistic about the direction of this organization," Rosenbloom told the Post-Dispatch in a rare interview. "We made a sweeping restructuring of the entire organization so that we could be winners on the field to put us in position to start winning games.

    "Now, this is not a one-season fix. This past season was sort of an interim year in my opinion before we see a more successful on-field product. I think this year it was necessary to get through a lot of stuff."

    Over the past year or so, the Rams underwent an organizational shakeup from top to bottom, one that was unprecedented since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995. It included sweeping changes in upper management, the front office and personnel department, the coaching staff and more.

    The roster itself was purged of many veterans. Financially, that meant the Rams led the league in 2009 in dead money money that counts against the salary cap for players no longer on the team. In terms of salary-cap room, the Rams will be in much better shape entering this offseason (although it looks like 2010 will be an uncapped year).

    "There are still a handful of pieces needed to make this thing really work," Rosenbloom said. "So I'm optimistic. I think if we'd sat back and done nothing, that fans would have a right to be upset. I don't think we've done nothing."

    That may be true, but they sure didn't win. The 1-15 record was the worst in franchise history.

    "Clearly we were disappointed," Rosenbloom said. "Clearly to lose 15 games, there's no excuse for it. I think Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo and Billy (Devaney) have said as much. We're a lot better than that."

    Rosenbloom agreed to the interview reluctantly. He said in hiring Spagnuolo as head coach and promoting Devaney to general manager, part of their job description was to be the voices of the team at least in terms of what's happening on the field.

    "We made a conscious decision to hire people who had a football background to make football decisions," Rosenbloom said.

    The biggest off-the-field issue surrounding the team is the pending sale of the team. League sources told the Post-Dispatch recently that the sale probably will be completed before the NFL draft, which is in April provided Rosenbloom and sister Lucia Rodriguez decide to sell the team. And contrary to recent reports, there still are three bidders involved in the potential purchase of the team, all of whom have offers that are "acceptable" to Rosenbloom and Rodriguez.

    But Rosenbloom declined to talk about the potential sale.

    "There are confidentiality agreements regarding prospective bidders," Rosenbloom said. "And so I'm not going to discuss it. We're running a football team."

    It's a football team that most observers feel needs more than "a handful of pieces" to become competitive. But Rosenbloom disagrees with that sentiment.

    "I think we are closer than most of our critics think we are," he said. "People that really understand the game know that with a handful of pieces in place we're a highly competitive team."

    This past season, Rosenbloom added, "We had six or seven games where within the last five minutes of the game it was within one score. ... I think Steve came in and did a really good job. Again, the victories don't reflect it. But this was a rebuilding year.

    "Steve is an absolute winner. There's no doubt in my mind. When all the pieces are in place, he has all the tools to become a great coach. He's got what it takes, and I've been around long enough to know."

    Although Rosenbloom just completed only his second year as Rams owner, he has been around football all his life. His late mother (Georgia Frontiere) owned the Rams from 1979 until her death in 2008, and his late father (Carroll Rosenbloom) owned first the Baltimore Colts, and then the Rams from 1953-79.

    Rosenbloom thought the Rams' defense showed improvement in '09, although he realizes its play was inconsistent. But what about an offense that was the most feeble in the league in terms of scoring?

    He said it is difficult "when you go through three quarterbacks and get your quarterbacks beaten up'' and that it's difficult "when only one wide receiver who was in training camp actually finishes the season. And with all the injuries, of course it's going to be tough to score in those situations."

    Rosenbloom said he liked the working relationship and the performance of the team's power trio of Spagnuolo, Devaney and executive vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff.

    "I think Billy did a very good job," Rosenbloom said. "Think about historically where we've been with these drafts. Time will tell on the more recent drafts. But Billy has done a very good job on restructuring the football side."

    While unwilling to overtly criticize past players, or past team executives, Rosenbloom noted that the Rams haven't had disaster drafts under Devaney, as has been the case in the recent past.

    "There is an upward trend to this team, not a downward trend, with football people in charge in an organization that's trying to build a foundation," Rosenbloom said, noting that the organizational conflict of the past is gone. "We have a harmonious organized franchise now that's moving in the same direction. That's always better for producing a winning team."

    So what would Rosenbloom do with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft?

    "The way I was raised, my father said you always take the best player available in almost any circumstance," Rosenbloom said. "Now I would say this: If you have Peyton Manning on your team and the equivalent of John Elway is available, you might not take him."

    But in the case of the current Rams, there are next to no positions at which the team can feel like it's set. Especially at quarterback, where the Rams won't be passing on the next Elway if he were available in the 2010 draft pool. And he's not.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • #2
    Re: Rams owner: 'I think we're closer than most or our critics think''

    Originally posted by HUbison
    "The way I was raised, my father said you always take the best player available in almost any circumstance," Rosenbloom said. "Now I would say this: If you have Peyton Manning on your team and the equivalent of John Elway is available, you might not take him."

    I feel like that's a pretty good sign of who we will be taking in April.


    Related Topics


    • MauiRam
      Rosenbloom: Rams headed right direction ..
      by MauiRam
      Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz

      I'd like to begin by revisiting Saturday's column and cleaning up an error. Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers informed me that he did not watch last Sunday's Vikings-Rams game from Billy Devaney's box at The Edward Jones Dome, as I had reported.

      It is true that Devaney extended an invitation to Simers to watch from his family's box, and it is true that Simers chatted with Devaney and Rams consultant John Shaw before the game. But Simers watched the Vikings-Rams from a seat in the press box. I apologize to Simers, Devaney and the readers for getting it wrong.

      That said, Devaney didn't score any points with his bosses by inviting Simers to watch from a team suite. And the quote that Simers solicited from a Rams "official" didn't play well at Rams Park or in Los Angeles at the home of Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom.

      Here's the quote, in case you missed it:
      "Five years from now, we might be back in LA. Just imagine that."

      The quote upset Rosenbloom, because he believes it undermines the team's efforts in St. Louis. I spoke with Rosenbloom on Saturday and he was perturbed by the tone of my Saturday column. Rosenbloom doesn't disagree with my premise that the Rams have to do a better job of being accessible and open in communicating with the fans through the media.

      But Rosenbloom is bothered by my suggestion that St. Louis isn't a priority for the team's owners, and he wanted to clear the air. And that's healthy, because I think the fans need to hear more from Rosenbloom and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez.

      "We're entirely committed to building a winning team and a successful organization," Rosenbloom said. "Doing better what's right for the fans of St. Louis has been our priority since we took over following the death of our mother.

      "And we've been making that effort to reshape everything. We listened to the fans and agreed when they told us the franchise needed new leadership. So we changed the operation and put in new leadership in, including Billy as the GM. And Kevin Demoff (as the chief operating officer). A lot of people didn't think we could attract Steve Spagnuolo to our coaching job, and we did. That was the start, but it's a process."

      Rosenbloom said that if his priority was to save money, take the cheaper way out, and use the Rams as a cash machine, he wouldn't have made major changes after last season. He estimates that hiring a new coaching staff and executives and paying off the guaranteed contracts of dismissed coaches required an investment of around $8 million.

      Rosenbloom said salary-cap issues are a hindrance because the Rams are carrying so much "dead" money salaries of long-gone players that still count against the cap. He said the problem...
      -10-19-2009, 08:54 AM
    • Nick
      Chip says money not a factor in Rams' coaching search
      by Nick
      Owner says money not a factor in Rams' coaching search
      By Jim Thomas

      Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom denies strongly that general manager Billy Devaney is under any financial restrictions in the search for a new head coach.

      "There have been no constraints put on Billy in terms of spending on coaches," Rosenbloom told the Post-Dispatch. "We may be one of the few teams in the league that has not said money is a factor in the decision. Although I do think that some salaries are out of whack, if Billy thinks the best guy will cost $6 million a year that would be who we hire."

      Rosenbloom said that neither the ongoing process of paying estate taxes following the death of his mother, Georgia Frontiere, nor the possible future sale of the team has any effect on how much money the Rams spend for a coach, or for anything.

      "Ill stick by what Ive said before about the possible sale of the team," Rosenbloom said. "If the right offer comes along maybe Im interested; maybe Im not. But were not in a position where we have to sell the team. Were in a position where were trying to make the team as good as possible.

      "So its not accurate to say were cheap or were trying to save money because we want to sell the team. If we were doing that, we didnt have to fire the coach (Scott Linehan), we didnt have to make changes in the front office."

      If he wanted to position the teams finances to sell the team, Rosenbloom said he could have traded out of the No. 2 spot in the draft last April to save money. (Rosenbloom said its possible the team could trade down this year from the No. 2 spot, but only if Devaney thought extra picks were the best way to improve the team.)

      "Weve attempted to do the right things to make this better," Rosenbloom said.

      He said hes as angry, just like Rams fans, over the teams 5-27 record the past two seasons, including a 2-14 mark this season.

      "Things got screwed up and were trying to straighten them out," he said. "Its not as though Im saying, 'lets just keep the status quo.' "
      -01-02-2009, 01:01 PM
    • AvengerRam_old
      I don't care if Chip Rosenbloom sells the team or not, but...
      by AvengerRam_old
      I've read a lot of posts calling for Chip Rosenbloom to sell the team. My question is, why?

      Since Chip Rosenbloom took over, he has hired Bill Devaney, who I think shows promise, and fired Scott Line#%4, who did not. He demonstrated that he was willing to pay for FAs (Brown, Bell), and apparently did not interfere in the selction of draft choices.

      Where's the problem here? As long as he puts the team in good hands, signs the checks, and stays out of it otherwise, what makes him a bad owner?

      That said, I do think that Chip needs to publically state what his long term intentions are. If he wants to sell the team, do it quickly. If not, let the world know he is here to stay. Otherwise, coaches and FAs might be weary of joining a team perceived to be in flux.

      That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
      -11-26-2008, 08:12 AM
    • MauiRam
      Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom checks in ..
      by MauiRam
      Team's new owners make the rounds at NFL meetings
      By Jim Thomas

      Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom

      PALM BEACH, Fla. As a neophyte NFL owner, Chip Rosenbloom experienced at least one "rookie" moment at the league meetings this week in Florida.

      Standing in a meeting room with sister Lucia Rodriguez and Rams executive vice president Bob Wallace, Rosenbloom's mind was elsewhere during the perfunctory team-by-team roll call.

      "I didn't even hear 'St. Louis' called," Rosenbloom said, smiling. "And I hear Bob Wallace say, 'Yes.'"

      That is "yes," as in present and accounted for, which also sums up Rosenbloom's first NFL meeting as a Rams owner. Advertisement

      Over the years, Rosenbloom has attended about 15 of these meetings, but many were as a child tagging along with his late mother (Georgia Frontiere), or late father (Carroll Rosenbloom).

      He also has attended several of these meetings later as an adult, including last year's gathering in Phoenix.

      Those times, he was in the meeting rooms rubbing elbows with owners and executives as league matters were discussed.

      But this week is different, serving as his official introduction as a Rams owner.

      "Last year, when I went to the meetings, people knew me as Georgia's son," Rosenbloom said. "And this year, Lucia and I are here as the owners of the team. It was a different experience definitely."

      Rosenbloom and Rodriguez inherited the family's 60 percent share of the team when Frontiere died of breast cancer Jan. 18. Rosenbloom has the franchise's controlling vote.

      On behalf of the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell paid his respects to Frontiere during his opening address Monday.

      According to Rosenbloom, Goodell told the group that the NFL had lost part of the family and that Frontiere was a wonderful, optimistic and inspiring person.

      "It was very nice. And sad," Rosenbloom said Tuesday. "They applauded her, and then he introduced Lucia and me."

      Throughout the week, team owners and members of ownership families have paused in meeting rooms or the hallways of the posh Breakers hotel to individually pay their respects and offer condolences.

      "Dan Rooney (Steelers), Bob Kraft (Patriots), Steve Tisch (Giants), John Mara (Giants), Dean Spanos (Chargers) a lot of people," Rosenbloom said. "I can list practically everybody. People have been so nice with their fond memories of my mom. It's been a very touching trip here. ... It's just too bad she wasn't here to hear the warmth and respect that other people have for her."

      And for Rosenbloom, some habits are hard to break.

      "After (Monday's) meetings, I went...
      -04-02-2008, 12:53 AM
    • RamWraith
      Rams not for sale
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      Tuesday, Jul. 15 2008

      Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom confirmed Monday evening that the team has hired a
      Baltimore firm that specializes in sports investments. But not, Rosenbloom
      insisted, for the reason that was reported earlier in the day.

      Rosenbloom said Moag & Co. is not seeking prospective buyers of the team, as
      the weekly SportsBusiness Journal reported, citing unidentified sources.
      Rosenbloom explained that Moag was employed to field the many inquiries that
      had been swamping him and Rams president John Shaw.

      "We finally said, 'You know what, this is not how we want to spend eight hours
      a day. We need somebody to handle them,'" Rosenbloom said. "It would be totally
      inaccurate to say (Moag) is searching for buyers. ...

      "We did not authorize (Moag) to go out and say, 'Hey, the team's up for sale.'

      simply returning these people's phone calls."

      Since taking over the Rams after the death of his mother in January, Rosenbloom
      has been steadfast in declaring his desire to keep the Rams in St. Louis. But
      he never has dismissed the possibility of a sale, and he reiterated that stance

      "It's the same as it's been," Rosenbloom said. "If the right person at the time
      right time with the right price came, I suppose that you might sell your house,
      right? So, I don't say never. ... If we get a phone call today from somebody
      who says the right things, we would listen. And that's why Moag is there."

      Said Shaw: "If (Rosenbloom) received an offer he couldn't refuse, he'd have to
      consider it."

      Moag & Co. did not respond to a phone message or an e-mail Monday.

      The Rams have at least one past tie to the firm: Marketing executive Max
      Muhleman is a member of Moag's board of advisers. Muhleman introduced the
      concept of personal seat licenses, or PSLs, to pay for stadium construction
      when he was with the Charlotte Panthers. Later, he assisted the Rams in
      developing a plan to use PSLs revenue to pay off their stadium lease in
      Anaheim, Calif., and help with their relocation costs when the team moved here
      in 1995.

      Rosenbloom and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez, split the 60 percent ownership they
      inherited when Rams owner Georia Frontiere died Jan. 18 at age 80 after a
      lengthy battle with breast cancer. Stan Kroenke retained his 40 percent share
      of the team. The NFL requires all teams to designate a managing partner, and
      Rosenbloom is filling the role.

      In an earlier statement, Rosenbloom noted that "when a team is passed from one
      generation to another, it becomes a calling card that the team must...
      -07-15-2008, 03:53 AM