Author: Tony Softli

Rams Architect, Changing the Culture

While Rams majority owner Stan Kroneke, will likely sit back and critic Rams Front office, Coaches and Players in 2010, he soon will put his architectural touches on a franchise that hit rock bottom. When you’ve won six games in the past three seasons and find yourself at the bottom of the NFL, it is dark, cold and a lot of pressure at the bottom, like the ocean floor. I’m not a scientist or an oceanographer, but I remember a few things from my oceanographer class. Benthos, sea animals which spend their entire lives near or on the bottom of the ocean floor. Lobster, worms, starfish and other various sea life, swim endlessly. Lobsters, for example swim the ocean floor, their content, comfortable while stuck in their surroundings and really can’t survive away from it. Not all NFL franchises are structured the same. It starts with “Strong Ownership”. That direction creates a solid foundation, a “Winning Tradition” is the bottom line. Mr. Kroneke understands the Most Valuable Member of his team, are “Rams Fans“. A strong and supportive fan base is the key to driving “Revenue”, bring profits to the organization. Build a championship team through the draft, while adding key Free Agents when needed, and winning the division every year. All aspects of the organization both Business and Football Operations must run in the same direction at an...

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Front Office 101

I started my Coaching career in Issaquah, WA. (Issaquah 89ers little league). I also coached for Sammamish H.S., the Seattle Cavilers, Eastside Express (Semi-pro), Flyde Falcons (Blackpool England), University Of Washington, and was in player personnel with the Carolina Panthers (Scout, Director of College Scouting 11 years) and St. Louis Rams (VP Player Personnel 4 years). In every step of the way player evaluation is extremely important. In the NFL and all professional leagues, making sure the coaching staff and personnel department speak the same language in meetings, writing reports, and evaluating players DNA (film), is key to the success of the total evaluation process. For all you Fantasy football owners, football junkies, and all those females that know the NFL better than their husbands, listed below are positional definitions that will help you speak the language of a professional scout, when breaking down a position. This is Football 101 – from the front office perspective. QUARTERBACKS Leadership: Natural born leader that commands respect. Poise: Composure and the ability to perform under pressure situations; courage. Judgment: Field vision and not forcing balls into double coverage. Clutch: Ability and confidence to consistently deliver big plays under pressure. Defense Recognition: Pre snap defensive reads, finding primary and secondary receivers, blitz recognition, ability to audible or change play at LOS; coverage recognition on the move. Set-up: Quickness to release from under Center...

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NFC West: Niners are the team to beat

As I evaluate the final 53 man roster for each of the NFC West teams, I see several question marks and some glaring weakness. San Francisco 49ers. Coach Singletary is preaching to his football team, with a good mix of youth and veterans, “staying focused and win one game at a time, while maintaining consistency”. The 2009 team took a turn for the worse with a 2-6 stretch run that ultimately derailed their playoff hopes. As the NFL is a quarterback driven league, Alex Smith must play at a high level in order for the Niners to achieve their goal of winning the division. He played very well in the back end of 2009. They secured the offensive front by drafting Idaho’s Mike Iupati (OG) and Rutgers Anthony Davis (OT), both in the first round. Defense for San Francisco will set the tone and carry this team into the playoffs. They have built their defense thru the draft, while filling hot spots through free agency. They have playmakers on the edge with Michael Crabtree (WO), Josh Morgan (WO), Pro Bowl TE Vernon Davis, and Ted Ginn Jr. is the key to their return game. If Frank Gore can stay healthy, this is a potent offensive attack, and will take pressure off of Smith. On defense they are extremely talented and a fast, hard hitting bunch led by Pro Bowler...

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The coach from Whitinsville, Mass.

Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnulo is known as Spags among his family, friends and NFL peers. In 2009, in his first few days on the job, Spags immediately infused the Rams with discipline, direction and wisdom. The first order of business after assembling his coaching staff was getting his message out. That message? TEAM first! He delivered his address to the organization. Explaining to ALL what they should expect from him as the Head Coach. He wanted to know how he could help each and every department. He spoke about TEAMWORK, DISCIPLINE and TOGETHERNESS. Steering everyone eye to eye, he wanted it understood that it was extremely important that everyone moved in the same direction. That was paramount. Each person would play a very important part of building this championship foundation. The speech was from the heart and every word was meaningful. I was in my third season with the Rams organization; Spags was the first Head Coach or Front office Executive to address the organization with direction – so refreshing! He continued to meet in small groups with each department as promised. When photos of former Rams players were pulled off the hallway walls leading to the player lounge and locker room, it stirred up a hornets nest, but for no reason. All the photos in that area of Rams Park were littered with individual shots. His message...

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Bradford brings hope but SJ39 carries load

With the emergence of Sam Bradford, hope for the future travels through the halls of Rams Park. With every performance of the young franchise quarterback, there is enough juice or electricity to light up the hallways of the Russell Training Center. But with all the excitement stirring up huge predictions for the 2010 season, the workhorse that will carry the load is SJ39, Steven Jackson. This physical and talented running back led the NFC with 1,416 yards, and started fifteen games while dealing with disc issues in his lower back. He displayed toughness and the heart of a true warrior. The two time Pro Bowl running back and All Pro selection is a true threat for defenses and makes for some long nights for defensive coordinators game planning efforts to defeat or slow down Jackson each and every Sunday. After his back surgery, SJ39 reshaped his physique, dropping weight while adding muscle during the off season. His chiseled frame stands 6’2 242 pounds with only 5% body fat. Changing his workout regimen this off season, lifting twice a day once in the morning and afternoon, with running sessions and agility drills between. He even swam with sharks as part of his conditioning – I’m kidding! He did swim with sharks but not for conditioning, while vacationing in Africa and taking in some World Cup Soccer action. Jackson has shown...

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