While many of us watch the preseason, some with angst, some with ambivalence and others with anticipation, something much deeper is happening behind the scenes.
A discreet group of men and women whose solemn oath is to make their teams better. It is their promise to be a solution and not the problem. It is their duty to do their due diligence on the determination on what is right and what is wrong for their respective team. This group is considered to have expertise at analyzing what is and what is not a good football player make up and potential.
Past the popcorn, beer and nachos and fanfare. Past the intriguing individual stories of the players fighting for a roster spot. There is an entity that watches, waits with an always ongoing process of analytic elimination of potential players that could further their organization's cause and that is to make it to the Super Bowl.
Bottom line is...one man's junk is another man's treasure depending on defensive scheme and offensive philosophy.
Now is when the rubber meets the road for the scouting team.
For us, the ring leader and captain is the wheeler and dealer Les Snead. I would say that based on the influx of talent that we have seen, he has put together a team that exudes his ideals, evaluation methods and football philosophy.
In these last hours, I imagine some of the questions that are tossed around in their meetings and conference calls are:
Is there anyone that has been released that is an instant upgrade to what we have at:
1. RB - Yeah I know all about how Zac Stacy pushed the pile in this last preseason games and I was perfectly aware of how Benny Cunningham made his presence known. Even Mr. Isaiah Pead tried to show something. I have no question about Daryl Richardson's ability to hit the hole square and with authority. Nonetheless, you have to ask the question, what else is out there that could help us even more?
2. Safety - How safe are we? That might be a good piece to write but you have to still ask the question. I am a fan of T.J. McDonald and I like how Matt Daniels played with the Super Bowl champs' two and three's, but with over 1,180 players released in the last week, one would be dumb not to at least watch the wire or listen to the ground for that next guy.
3. Offensive Line - Come on, do I really have to even go into detail? Ok, fine. I know what potential our is with our new LT and new additions to the line, but now is when you see the changing of the guard (so to speak). When an organization decides that a rookie has played his way into a job and it costs too much to keep the vet on payroll. The Rams could have a chance at some upgrades on the line due to the healthy depth on another team.
4. Wide Receiver - Don't you tell me that one game against Baltimore has you on the solid side for Brian Quick?! Ok yeah I was hype about his upgraded play this last game too. Yeah I had big smiles with every catch cause I am rooting for Mr. Quick. The only reason why I even bring up receiver is that we simply do not have the experience it takes to get into the playoffs and know how to move on. There are only so many games that Torry Holt and Marshall Faulk will be at and hell they have their own jobs to do too let alone time to tell someone else how to do theirs. They don't have that opportunity to try to pull one of the receivers and say, "Come back to him when he needs you on the hook!" We may want to at least check and see who has been released that could potentially be that veteran guy.
5. Last but not least....backup quaterback. I'll give it to him, Kellen Clemens played with heart and toughness against Baltimore. He played with guts in the Green Bay game also. He made plays against tough play-calling and will a lower grade offensive line. He did get his nose broken in a preseason game with mostly 2s, 3s and other fringe players looking to put film out on themselves. He also took a lot of shots that a veteran QB that is smart would not have taken. If you don't have the hawk-eye out for this position you are crazy!
So while we cheer, there is an agent looking at most every game or a group watching many at one time. Notepad in hand whether traditional or digital, the scouting department watches for that next UDFA or unknown talent to reveal itself to the world.
So here's to all of those watchful eyes and football brains of the scouting department for the St. Louis Rams. Keep doing what you're doing!