Fellow Rams fans, first of all, let me apologize for my absence this week. We've suffered a death in the family and will be attending to that this week, as naturally that comes first. I don't like to get into personal stuff too much here, so I say this only to let you know that I haven't been driven into football abstinence by the Rams this year and haven't abandoned our community. I won't be around much this week, but 3k has you covered. and you can count on quality.
Okay, that out of the way, I wanted to offer a few thoughts on the recent changes. Once again, we're in the midst of a stay alive season. More than that, however, with a big paradigm shift likely on the way for the Rams, we can think of the rest of this season as something like a really intense, long preseason.
Keeping the interim label away from Him Haslett's name is smart. As the PD's Jeff Gordon points out, rather harshly (not that they don't deserve some of it), the spirit in the locker room among the players in questionable. Making Haslett an interim essentially lets the players view him as nothing more than a warm body keeping the head coach's chair moist for a few games. Knowing that he's been tapped to lead the team beyond the string this season ought to force players to be working for the jobs next year.
Not convinced players aren't playing for their future? Let's take TE Joe Klopfenstein for example. The Rams second round pick from 2006 has big shoes to fill with McMichael out with a broken tibia. He'll be asked to take on some of the pass catching work for McMichael. If Klop fails to shine as a fill-in, it likely means the end for him with the Rams and a much smaller contract and no guarantees to make a team if he gets picked up as a free agent. As a further reminder of how much poor drafting has hurt the Rams, the team could have drafted TE Tony Scheffler instead, or even Brady-killer Bernie Pollard, Maurice Jones-Drew, Darryl Tapp or Devin Hester with that pick. Hmm, imagine the Rams with Devin Hester instead of the fossilized Dante Hall returning kicks.
With Billy Devaney and Haslett running the draft, we can expect upcoming Aprils to resemble this last one more than they'll remind us of previous springs filled with missed opportunity. Think about how Alex Barron must feel knowing the Rams will have their choice of OTs, guys like Oher, in the draft this coming spring.
Job security will be a big key for motivating a lot of the current roster this year. Haslett has to make sure they know that things are going to change and use the rest of this season to restore some pride in the on-field product.