Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Rams gained one poxy point... 65 + 1 = 66

Me bucco Daniel Wolf at the Bleacher Report published a piece regarding the 2011 Madden team rankings yesterday. As many are saying, the Rams enter the season as the presumptive worst team in the league: Our ranking is #32. How about the strength score? Our 2010 strength score was 65. Our 2011 strength score stands at 66.

One poxy point: That's how much we improved as a result of Billy Devaney's wonderful draft list. Of course, Devaney would attempt to throw the EA Sports team under the bus, and saying things like 'they don't know shit from shine-ola'.

I beg to differ. They do know shit from shine-ola, and a lot more than that. Madden has the most advanced football simulator ever devised. It is so good, they can sell it on the open market at a handsome profit. It's so good, that every new release is major event in the gaming world. A lot of academic computer scientists can't say anything of the kind for their weather simulators.

Why is Madden so good? It's partially because they have John Madden counseling them about what is good and bad football. He insists on realism, and the programming team loves it. They are obsessed with building a perfect mathematical model of reality. They've got heavyweight stats men pouring through the data everyday, trying to find out what really matters to wins and losses.

The proof is in the pudding: They have accurately prognosticated the Super Bowl 7 out of the last 8 years. They have some bear & lion heads on their wall to point at.

You see! I am not the only one. Some of the most sophisticated football analysts around did not care much for Devaney's draft either. The horror of looking a #32 ranking and a +1 strength score after selecting #1 overall is tempered by the fact that I more or less wrote as much in very public forums around the net. I did not like our draft at all. I would have selected different players in almost every slot. Saffold and Gilyard are the only two picks I am willing to bet on.

The video blogger on Fox Sports stated openly that he hated our draft and didn't think Devaney was anything resembling a quality-personnel man. He mocks the fact that we are drafting based on a need for asses in the seats rather than solid architectural logic. He said the coaching staff is bad. I disagree with his assessment of Spags, but it goes double for Pat Shurmur, a dude who would have been fired months ago under my administration. Schein calls it out: We've made a lot of bad decisions... Most recently in the 2010 draft.

The sting of this criticism from a Patriot fanboy is tempered by the fact that I said as much (or worse) in very public forums around the Internet. This Patriot fanboy was basically seconding my motion in his video blog. Don't forget the dynastanalingus whilst you do that, Schein. Actually it is a dead dynasty so call it necro-dynastanalingus.

I wrote, in these very pages, that we are drifting, nearly rudderless. The current plan is a poor plan, and we will have to wait a couple of years for the house of cards to collapse. Perhaps Kroenke will make positive changes in the near future (meaning a year or two).

I'm going to state it concisely one more time: lacking a line, a healthy running back, and a wide receiver corp, a man would have to be a fool to draft a frail quarterback #1 and pay him the sum of $80 million, $50 million guarenteed. Is that a receiver corp you've got there, or a witness protection program. He looks a lot more like Donnie Brasco than Donnie Avery. Don't look now, but we don't have Sam Bradford under contract just yet either. I don't like that... I'm just saying... I don't like that.

One other point I want to clear up: I know for a fact that the Rams organization knew that Steven Jackson had either had or would soon have spinal surgery as they made their decision to select Sam Bradford. They may choose to down-play that surgery, but I know they know. They knew the whole cover-story ("Steven Jackson is Sam Bradford's security banket") was utter bullshit even as they uttered it off-the-record, so it could be repeated 100 times on the NFL Network.

I know they know that there is a high-probability that they will throw Sam Bradford head-first into the shark-tank, naked, sink or swim style. When I say naked, I mean without line, receivers, and a healthy running back.

I reasoned with several different (knowledgeable) Oklahoma fans online about this very point. They dearly wanted Bradford to be the #1 pick, even ahead of Gerald McCoy. I warned them that his chances for a good start with the Rams (nay even a good career) were slim. They seemed aware of all the drawbacks of our current roster. They simply regarded it as part and parcel of being the #1 pick. The #1 picks always go to a bad team. That's just the way it is. They felt Sam was good enough to survive and turn things around.

Now they don't seem so sure. Read some articles in the Tulsa newspaper, if you want samples.


So I have not been watching a lot of the NFL Network or ESPN lately (it is the deep off season) and I just accidentally stumbled upon this video online. Have a look folks. It does not look good. The NFL Network is doing the 32 teams in 32 days routine, and guess who leads off in the 32nd position? You got it: The St. Louis Rams.

Remember the NFL Network has a promotional function. Their purpose is to promote interest in the upcoming 2010 campaign, even in St. Louis. There was not much the gang could say about my Rams. My main man Jamie Dukes tried to put it as gently as he could: "Who is the guy helping Sam Bradford in St. Louis. We know he's a talented kid. You need to do something to surround him with talent."

Believe me, he could have hit the ball much harder than that during baseball season. He hit a polite 1st base ground ball when he could have hit a 560 foot tape-measure home run.

All the homers in St. Louis tore me a new one when I critiqued our dastardly off-season moves. They use terms like 'negativity' and 'pessimism' and 'doom and gloom'. These are the same folks who think Hank Fraley is going to save our offensive line.

No. It's called looking in the mirror and starring reality in the face. Sometimes the truth hurts, but the truth is never bad. It's always the truth.