The St. Louis Rams made more changes to the staff last week, firing VP of Operations John Oswald and Alumni Relations Coordinator Lory Fabian (both of whom have a standing invitation to discuss the circumstances at TST). These "moves in a different direction" are part of a trend at Rams Park since the team hired Steve Spagnuolo as its head coach in 2009. Coaches are by nature controlling, think of a film director, so making moves to bring in their own people isn't out of the ordinary. What's raised eyebrows about these moves is that they are people with deeply rooted connections to the franchise, but little connection to the game being played on the field. Therefore, it's a bit of a surprise to see that the Rams scouting department hasn't been subject to these changes.
The Rams scouting department mostly predates Spagnuolo's time with the Rams. It's notable because the scouting department does play such an important role with the product on the field. Scouting departments are usually one of the first areas to experience turnover with new general managers and coaches. Not the case at Rams Park.
Here's the scouting department, as listed on the Rams official web site, with their Rams tenure noted beside each name.
Mike Williams, VP of Player Personnel - The direct manager of the entire scouting department, Williams came to the Rams in 2009. It is notable that the head of the department is a Spagnuolo hire. He replaced Tony Softli, officially, in the same position in June 2010. Softli held the position Rams during the Rams' 2006-2008 period when the team bottomed out in personnel acquisition; his role in 2009, Spags' first year, was minimized significantly. Williams was with the 49ers from 2000-2008. Billy Devaney worked for the 49ers as a pro personnel assistant from 2001-2003, where he worked closely with Williams.
Lawrence McCutcheon, Director of Player Personnel - Rams fans from back in the day should know McCutcheon for his rushing prowress as a five-time All-Pro running back with the Rams from 1972-1979. He's been working for the Rams for 37 years, including the last four in his current position.
Debbie Pollom, Director of Scouting Administration - 19th season with the Rams in the same department.
John Mancini, Director of College Scouting - Has been a scout with the Rams for a decade, and was promoted to his current position in 2010.
Larry Clerico, Director of Video Operations - 20 years with the Rams, 16 in his current role.
Ray Agnew, Pro Scout - 11 years with the Rams, 4 as a pro scout.
Chris Breaks, Pro Scout - No information.
Russ Bolinger, Scout - A former Rams offensive lineman from 1983-1985, he was hired away from Washington in 2009.
Drew Casini, Scout - Two years with the Rams, as a scout. He was a 49ers scout from 2000-2004.
Luke Driscoll, Scout - 11 years with the Rams, 6 as a college scout.
Jonathan Gannon, Scout - Two years with the Rams, and worked as a scout for Atlanta in 2007, while Devaney was with the Falcons.
Brad Holmes, Pro Scout - 8 years with the Rams, 5 as a scout.
Steve Kazor, Scout - 4 years with the Rams.
Brandon Schwab, Scout - Was a quality control coach in 2008, who joined the scouting side in 2009 when Williams was hired.
Evan Ardoin, Scouting Assistant - He's been with the Rams since 2007.
Will Rodriguez, Scouting Assistant - Still listed as a scouting assistant, he moved over to the PR side in 2010. He's been with the Rams since 2002.
There's still some long-time Rams employees in the scouting department. It should also be clear that Devaney calls the shots in that wing of the building too. It's well known that Devaney is heavily involved in the personnel side of things; that's what makes him a good GM...and the results via the draft and free agency support that idea.
A scouting department marked by continuity and stability (yes, it's notable that the head of the department changed with the GM, as you would expect) stands out in the wake of the firings of other long-time Rams employees, people whose work is more on the administrative side of things than the football product itself. It also makes those firings even more of a head scratcher.