To earn the number one pick in the NFL yearly draft means you earned the right because you had the worst overall record among the thirty-two (32) teams. In most cases the team is down in talent, struggled in every phase of the game and lacked direction from the top down. For a franchise to reach this stage of mediocrity, red flags blowing in the wind were deliberately ignored on more than one occasion. A “Domino Effect” is a reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in sequence. This term is best used as a mechanical effect. In the St. Louis Rams case it refers to a linked sequence of events, where the time between successive events is relatively small, sending this billion dollar franchise in a tail spin.
You have heard me mention on several occasions “The Draft is the Bloodline of the Organization; building with youth is the future. Analyzing the Rams draft history from 2004 – 2009, is embarrassing to say the least. One Pro Bowler was yielded during those drafts, Steven Jackson (Running Back). Poor Draft history will and did, set this franchise back for several years to come. Ultimately, earning the Rams the second overall pick back/back (2008/2009) and first overall 2010. Free Agency took a big chunk of the pie, in several ways. Signing no name Free Agents for BIG $’s, was a waste, when you base it on performance and production. What was glaring was all the draft picks that were not kept and developed, as well as those UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent) or RFA (Restricted Free Agents) that were not resigned and are helping other teams prosper.
I think not retaining your Draft picks and developing young talent is a true travesty when building a championship foundation. Resigning your own productive free agents is another area that knocked the organization back like a kick in the crotch several times.
Front office chaos, a solid roster blend of youth and aged veterans in 2005, the Rams front office dysfunction as told to me by players, former coaches, present employees and a lot by my own eyes, where every day was an adventure. When Front Office Executives who worked in the Organization for over twenty years and others, worked to establish inter-office territorialism. As poor draft choices and mediocre records began to pile up for the once budding dynasty dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf”, the rivalries within the Rams organization started the crumble of the championship foundation.
In a chain reaction, positive feedback leads to a self-amplifying chain of events starting with the approval by all thirty-two NFL owners of Stan Kroneke. Stability at the top of the organization is now in place. Coaching turnover is not the answer. The Rams have the most productive Running back from the line of scrimmage since 2006, a two time Pro Bowl selection along with the 2010 number one pick of franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford, who must produce, and he will. The Rams need to surround these two talented players with playmakers, difference makers. Build the defense to stop the run and apply consistent pressure on the pocket. Players should have great character, toughness, production, Smart and a passion for the game. This will stop the domino effect and change the direction of events.