Here's a positive report that bodes well for the future of the St. Louis Rams: GM Les Snead handles things differently than his predecessors at Rams Park. I know fans who have enjoyed watching draft picks wash out, washed up veterans flame out and street free agent elevated to starters will be disappointed. But the times they are a changin' and that really is good news.
The Post-Dispatch ran a bye week profile of Snead on Monday morning. The changes being implemented include:
- Tryout Tuesday is gone - Snead says it tips his hand about the team's intentions. It also isn't a very productive way to scout personnel.
- Language - Semiotics is a big deal in football. Snead is adapting the system used by the Falcons for player evaluation, from college prospects to veteran free agents, and implementing a numerical grading system so that everyone can be on the same page when it comes to discussing players.
- Going to games - Here's a novel concept: watching players play gives evaluators a better feel for that player. Snead's predecessor didn't do that, feeling as though it wasn't efficient. Snead is so emphatic about it that he goes to games himself, coordinating his scheduled with the Rams' road games.
The other big change is an expected one, changing out the personnel in the scouting department. Taylor Morton is the director of college scouting and Ran Carthon is the director of pro scouting. Morton comes to the Rams with 12 years of scouting experience with the Falcons, and short coaching staff tour of duty at Auburn. Carthon, a former NFL running back, spent the last four years at Snead's right side as a pro scout.
Snead's system was not in place until after the draft, so the upcoming year will be a big test for this approach. You can see glimmers of hope on the fringes, where players like Joe Barksdale and Shelley Smith have stepped in during the season and made contributions.