Autumn may the time of hibernation for most species in the wild, but for the endangered species of the NFL general manager (come on, there are only 32 of them after all), hibernation occurs now. Just three weeks shy of the 2013 NFL Draft, GMs, talent evaluators, scouts, and coaches alike are all holing up for their final push into the three-day selection extravaganza that begins on April 25th.
The St. Louis Rams are no exception to this migration trend to the film room. GM Les Snead and Head Coach Jeff Fisher are sure to have their favorite places picked out in the Rams’ facilities, and they will be hunkered down there for the long haul. This collaborative effort is what has successfully begun the rebuilding effort of the Rams franchise. These two don’t look to upstage one another or have the last word; they just want whatever word is the final decision to be the ‘right’ word.
What makes this collaboration word is the fact that one particular individual is never trying to be right or wrong. The two of them together want to have as much success as possible as GM Snead explained to Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saying: “I don’t like to say we’re arguing. I like to use the word ‘discussed.’ And yes, discussing is very much encouraged. Arguing is just, well arguing. And at the end, I’ll win the argument, but that may not be what’s best for the Rams. I read a book one time about the Atlanta Braves’ organization called ‘Scout’s Honor,’ and one of the big things I got out of reading it is you have to listen to your scouts.”
This is the approach that has given Snead the type of early tenure success that he has enjoyed thus far. He understands that the guys doing the grunt work, the scouts watching the games and absorbing all of that game tape, are the ones that can speak best about what a player has to offer. Trusting the personnel that was hired to do their jobs and do it well is what the process is all about. Clearly this emphasis from Snead is what differentiates him from many of his GM brethren.
While he doesn’t have to agree with everything that the scouts may tell him, Snead does want to have their opinions with checks and balances. He went on to show just what can happen without those types of discussions saying: “Everyone in the NFL likes to sit around after the movie’s ended and tell you what’s wrong with it. They can all tell you how they were the only guy in the room who saw the (draft-day) train wreck about to occur. And of course, no one ever actually made the decision that caused the train wreck. But we all saw it occur before it happened. Well around here, I like to say, ‘okay, here’s the deal. Let’s talk about the train wreck now before it occurs. Anybody see a train wreck coming? I want to hear about it now. Don’t tell me about it later.’”
There are just so many things about Snead that make him easy to like and even easier to root for. This guy clearly gets it and knows what kind of philosophical approach it takes to have a successful organization. The Rams are lucky to have found such an intelligent football mind with an even more astute sense of plan of action. Snead has the Rams headed in the right direction, and that will only be further illustrated by whatever choices the team ultimately makes from April 25-27.