St. Louis Rams: They Know The Risks With "Red Flag" Players

I might have a couple of red flags, but I'm not a bad guy. - Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Sometimes you have to take risk.

In 2009, the St. Louis Rams head coach was Steve Spagnuolo - one of the rising stars in the coaching ranks. Spagnuolo had a theory, he wanted to rebuild the Rams he with his philosophy. That philosophy revolved around 4 pillars: faith, character, core values, and team first. Not a horrible plan, but he was canned after a 2-14 record netted the Rams the 2nd overall pick in 2012.

Jeff Fisher inherited the pick, and became the new chief in St. Louis. Fisher has never mentioned 4 pillars, because his thing is bringing in talent. Fisher isn't nervous about bringing in players with red flags, especially when they can help the team.

Case in point: Before free agency began, the Rams signed Titus Young. A receiver who was drafted high by the Detroit Lions, he definitively had the talent. But off the field issues drove the Lions to release him. The Rams knew he had issues, but wanted to surround quarterback Sam Bradford with talent. Days later, the Rams cut ties with Young. Luckily, the Rams released Young before he placed the team in a negative light, so now the Rams don't have to worry about him taking naps at the local AT&T stores.

Now this isn't about failed ideas or the downfall of a talented player who will sleep at your local store. It's about the new Rams regime taking chances on players with red flags. Teams who take these risk can make their franchise better, or they could flame out and leave a big hole when the player is cut. The Rams brass aren't naive; they know there's a chance these risky additions cab backfire.

From Peter King's latest Monday Morning QB article

Many have said the Rams are going to have one of these risky high picks -- Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree -- blow up on them, the way Pacman Jones and Albert Haynesworth blew up on Jeff Fisher in Tennessee. I didn't use it in the story for space reasons, but COO Kevin Demoff admitted to me that it was likely that one of these days they'd have an issue with one of the high-risk guys, and it was simply the cost of doing business when you take a talented player who has had issues.


The difference between these two Rams head coaches is interesting. However, Fisher should be able to pull off handling players with red flags, because he's known as a "players coach". If you think about it, Pacman Jones was the only player who blew up in his face. From reports, it sounded like Fisher wasn't in love with the idea of Vince Young, but he dis have a winning record while playing for the Titans. Albert Haynesworth was handled well enough by Jeff Fisher. So much so that he received a giant free agent contract with the Washington Redskins.

The Rams might have a couple of players with red flags, but if the past is any indication, they won't be any trouble. The again, they could end up running bleachers and missing a game.

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