The job was supposed to be George Paton's to lose. Lose it he did, opting to stay with the Minnesota Vikings and taking a promotion to do so. As a result, the St. Louis Rams will hire Les Snead, formerly of the Falcons, as their next general manager, according to Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch.
Snead is the second consecutive GM the Rams have plucked from the Atlanta front office. Fans hope that this one will work out better than the man he replaces, Billy Devaney. Of course, Snead is something of a junior partner with Jeff Fisher more the titular head to the junta at Rams Park. Why else would Paton take an assistant GM job in Minnesota if he wasn't calling more of the shots in St. Louis as GM?
Snead has been with the Falcons for 13 years, where he started in the scouting department. For the last three years he has been the director of player personnel and the right hand man for GM Thomas Dimitroff. In his current role, he oversees both the pro and college scouting operations for the Falcons. He also participates in the evaluation of the current roster.
He's a pure personnel guy.
Snead's getting out of Atlanta just as the team faces some serious roster decision and cap questions. The Falcons traded away the keys to the castle in last year's draft, moving up to the sixth spot to get Julio Jones. It was supposed to be the move that put them back in contention for the NFC Championship, but they never played up to that level this season.
Still, the Falcons' personnel moves and drafts with Snead overseeing the scouting departments have been solid, certainly much better than the Rams' moves have been over the last three years.
UPDATE: There's been some wondering about just what kind of arrangement Fisher and the new GM will have. Most seem to be under the impression that Fisher is atop the whole thing and the GM his errand boy. It's not quite like that. Fisher will most likely have veto power over roster decisions, but one person who knowns Snead says that's not quite how it will work.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports spoke highly of the hiring.
Love the hire of Les Snead as Rams GM. He is a grinder.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) February 11, 2012
He also said this about how Fisher and Snead will work together.
One thing about Jeff Fisher, he will lean heavily on Snead. He's smart that way.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) February 11, 2012
It looks like, reading the tea leaves, that Kevin Demoff is going to be the money man and Stan Kroenke's right-hand in the process of lease negotiations. Fisher will run the football operations.