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 optimal manner, once that is accomplished talent evaluation will remain the key to the future. These four objectives, are important factors which allow an NFL franchise to stay on top, away from the bottom, extreme pressure, dark and cold like a Lobster, but rather a competitive feisty sailfish, enjoying fresh air, and weather while moving towards the ultimate destination.
Mr. Kroneke will encourage and demand smart business decisions, aggressive and creative marketing and sales within the state of Missouri and surrounding states, this will insure a smooth finish to the rock solid foundation. As the product is football players, the Rams Organization must distinguish themselves from the thirty-one other NFL teams, to gain the competitive edge and championship mindset. They must transcend from a good personnel department, to a great personnel department. To accomplish that, you first change the trajectory in which the department is presently moving, and aim higher in order to achieve the ultimate goal, WINNING the Super Bowl. As the player personnel bus moves forward, it is extremely important for the bus to have balance, and is well weighted with knowledge and road experience, so it can travel forward with a combination of speed and power for the long haul.
As said many times, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance; greatness is a matter of conscious choice”, working together with Ownership, Executive Management and the Head Coach along with support staffs and business side of the house, together as a TEAM everyone will achieve greatness.
Looking at the current situation, I see several challenges in front of the Rams Organization. The personnel department should focus equally on what not to do and what to stop doing, to ensure a bright and successful transformation. The main goal is to identify and acquire players that fit Coaches scheme to ensure a solid championship foundation, allowing limitless possibilities with greatness in the near future. The personnel department should identify players that are over valued as well as undervalued in pro personnel, and build with youth through the college draft each year. This direction will help the organization to the next level, while working on strategic ideas and methodologies that will develop a winning formula.
With a possible lockout on the horizon, NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) Union and Ownership posture over a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). The Salary Cap heightens the need for communication within the front office. One important factor, make sure the Salary Cap/Contract negotiators and talent evaluators are on the same page, the value the player brings to the team from a personnel point of view, while not handicapping the organization with future CAP problems. It is true that financial responsibilities, as well as player evaluations are both critical aspects of an organization.
TEAM WORK; Ownerships vision, Goals and Direction; Managements – aggressive and hard/unpopular decisions; Innovative coaching; Players with good character, Smart, Tough, Competitive, Productive, with a Passion for the game; Successful habits our structured and repeated; Demand change/constant Improvement; Operate an environment where change is encouraged not discouraged.
In the end Stan Kroneke will change the culture and address the key principles of building a WINNING Organization from the ground level up, and what is important to ownership as it applies to Football Operations, Marketing and Sales as it pertains to the long term success of building a winning organization. The architect of several Sports Franchises, Mr. Kroneke will have a plan in place. Let’s hope it starts Sunday on the field in the ED, defeating the Arizona Cardinals.