Politics, revolutions, general managers and coaches...the behind-the-scenes tales of intrigue that come out of regime changes are always fascinating. Why would things be any different for the St. Louis Rams? We start our Saturday with some insight into the last days of Jim Haslett and John Shaw and the old Rams leadership.
After taking over for Linehan, Haslett apparently wanted to make some changes, firing a few assistant coaches. He didn't reveal who that would have been in the Post Dispatch article, but there's an overt belief that it surely would have included offensive coordinator Al Saunders. Hmm. In the wake of Linehan's offensive coordinator shuffle the season before, when he and Olsen swapped play calling duties, you got the sense that decisions made at Rams Park weren't always, um, logical. On paper, the hiring of Saunders looked good, but it didn't square with Linehan's offensive philosophy, no easy thing to decipher in and of itself. That there was tension among the coaches, particularly insecure, inexperienced head coaches like Linehan and well established guys like Saunders and Haslett should come as no surprise, especially given the vacuum of leadership in the front office prior to the end of last season.
Haslett points to the too-late decision of removing Steven Jackson from the Dallas stomping as a breaking point in the season; was that the final straw between him and Saunders? Saunders tried to make it work, but he didn't have much to work with, especially with a porous offensive line and an injured Jackson. The play calling caused some head-scratching on more than one occasion, but the Rams did play much better (a relative thing) down the stretch.
Whatever happened in the waning days of the old regime, the entire operation needed to be turned over. It just had to be done. Some positive insight into why the house had to be cleaned was on display yesterday morning at a forum hosted by the St. Louis Business Journal featuring GM Billy Devaney, VP Kevin Demoff, and Steve Savard, i.e. the new regime. Demoff echoed the point about the need for a fresh start:
Every organization will reach a point where it needs a massive overhaul. Most everything you see this year is new. We are putting people in position to make an effective change.
From there, he and Devaney laid out their vision to make the Rams into a winning franchise again, over the long haul, not just the upcoming season. Every decision made at Rams Park this year, from the hiring of head coach Steve Spagnuolo to bringing in free agents who have to fight for a roster spot, aligns with the franchise's future plans. It should be refreshing for fans to hear, even if it's not the first time we've heard it.
- Speaking of those old haphazard days of Rams football, free agent bust WR Drew Bennett signed a deal with the Ravens.
- September's a rough month for the Rams, who start their season in Seattle before heading to the other side of the country the next week to face the Redskins, before finally coming home to play the Packers. Rams Herd predicts a brutal month.
- Rams Gab previews the guards.