A year ago in their annual ranking of every general manager, Rotoworld had Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead in the middle of the NFL at 18.
A year later following a 4-12 homecoming season that saw the firing of his longtime ally in Head Coach Jeff Fisher, Snead has plummeted nearly all the way to the bottom. Snead comes in at #28, next-to-last because of the three first-year GMs who are not included in the rankings:
28. Les Snead, Rams
Last Year’s Ranking: 18
Les Snead still has his job, but he no longer has his alibi. With Jeff Fisher gone, there’s no one to hide behind. Snead has to own a roster that’s been historically inept on offense and riddled with underachievers on defense. To his credit, Snead has approached 2017 with a sense of urgency. He replaced Fisher with his polar opposite, making offensive-minded Sean McVay the youngest head coach in NFL history. Next, he lured LT Andrew Whitworth from the Bengals, filling a hole the Rams have had since Orlando Pace left St. Louis. Letting Kenny Britt walk in favor of Robert Woods was questionable, but clearly at the behest of his new head coach. Snead’s biggest problems as he untangles the headphone cords of the Fisher era are directly related. He doesn’t have a first-round pick. He flushed it down the toilet in last year’s calamitous trade for Jared Goff. With no signal caller or first-rounder, it’s going to be hard to get this gas guzzler out of neutral. It will likely end up a job for another man.
If we’re being blunt, Snead’s assessment is all about...Fisher.
Their relationship clouded any fair evaluation prior to this offseason. Who was responsible for the decision to trade up to the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft leaving a 4-12 team with no first-round pick? Who was responsible for taking OT Greg Robinson with the #2 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft? Who deserves the credit for taking DT Aaron Donald not long after? Was “Priority A” just empty rhetoric floated by a GM covering for his team’s backroom dealing and personnel operations or did it represent an absolute failure apart from those same efforts?
All of those questions were unable to be pinned directly on Snead as long as Fisher remained in house with whatever degree of managerial authority he held.
With Fisher gone, there’s no cover for Snead. There’s no way for him to avoid taking responsibility for what is being built. There’s no scapegoat left below him.
Snead signed a two-year extension along with Fisher last year. While his job security was reportedly “tenuous” back in January, he was able to transition into the Sean McVay era unscathed. His ability to remain so might well depend on the Rams’ 2017 season.