EARTH CITY, MO - JANUARY 17: St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis and quarterback Sam Bradford look on during a press conference to introduce new head coach Jeff Fisher at the Russell Training Center on January 17, 2012 in Earth City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The "Four Pillars" are gone. Someone backed a truck up, latched a chain around disintegrating concrete columns and yanked them down. Fans rejoiced in a moment of liberation. Vive Le Rams!
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke moved fast to fill the void. No Paul Bremer-esque interim solution would do. The franchise needed direction and it needed it fast before the weakened connection to the fan base fades out completely, like an AM station in the Western half of Kansas. He brought in Jeff Fisher, no ordinary solution to the problem. The Rams also brought in Les Snead to the be the general manager, the football administrator that made sure the front line general had everything he needs for a successful campaign.
He also brought in another list of four. Snead's quadrophenia are less foundational and more operational. Spag's pillars of faith, character, core values and team-first proved to be fence posts, limiting the organization's ability to move freely.
In Albert Breer's piece out Friday at NFL.com, the NFL Network reporter takes a peak behind the scenes at Rams Park, specifically at Les Snead, the general manager who has guided what could be one of the team's most successful offseasons since they hired Dick Vermeil.
You should read the article, especially for its behind-the-scenes nuggets about draft boards and player evaluation, football fan gossip.
The most interesting part for me were the four core principles Snead had written down to present Rams COO over dinner during the early part of the interview process. They were: wake up sprinting, don't be scared, be passionate and be honest.
I'll skip the lengthy semiotic discussion of why Snead's quartet beats Spagnuolo's foursome. What I like about it is the change it represents for the Rams.
Running, literally, on those operational principles we should see a more urgent team than we've seen in a long, long time. An urgency to go places, versus hewing to an approach that isn't working, and maintaining a sense of denial when it become obvious that the approach is not working. As for the passion, that should speak for itself, and it should translate well to the field. I know I'm not the only that ended up questioning that as the 2011 spiraled out of control.
This is a different Rams team, different than anything the franchise has seen since the hey day of Carroll Rosenbloom.
Throughout the offseason, bubbling under the surface, negotiations over the Edward Jones Dome and the team's future in St. Louis have boiled over, sullying a fantastic offseason. The debate on how to improve the Dome is an important one to be sure, for a number of reasons ranging from the actual experience of a fan to the economic fortunes of a city rusting at the intersection of frontier American and the Industrial Revolution.
The most important part of fixing the Dome is putting a better team inside of it. That plan looks like it may be ahead of schedule.