From a 30 Year Ram Fan: Why Billy Devaney Lost My Confidence.

David LeonCorrespondent IMay 14, 2010


The St. Louis Rams are now following a rebuilding path that leads to nowhere roughly 70% of the time.  If you study the history of the draft over the past 30 years, you will discover that 29.85% of all the quarterbacks selected in the 1st round of the draft have panned out to some degree.  

The good ones have a nice QB rating, they helped turn losers into winners, they get elected to a ProBowl or two, have a few playoff appearances, and maybe even a Super Bowl victory.  A little more than 70% of the quarterbacks selected in the first round cannot claim these achievements, especially not on a consistent basis.

Yet Billy Devaney decided to use the absolute #1 pick in the 2010 draft to select a quarterback.  Not just any quarterback either:  A fragile QB with a history of injuries.  We might say he has the same 29.85% chance of panning out that all rookie 1st round QBs do, but this might be a tad-bit optimistic.

After completing the absolute destruction of QB Marc Bulger in 2009, it seemed to me that my Rams had a lot of fixing to do on offense.  A lot of fixing to do before selecting a new quarterback, that is.  Let's remember:  The Rams killed Marc Bulger, Marc Bulger did not kill the Rams.  We allowed the offensive line to go to hell.  We allowed the receiver corp to go to Hell.  Now we are putting Sam Bradford in that same Hell, and we expect him to be successful.

Smart!  Damn smart!

It seemed to me that we should do something about our tragic offensive line that has given up 40+ sacks for 10 straight years.  It seemed to me that we should do something about a weak receiver corp that poses no threat to our opponents. It seemed to me that we should form a running back committee, something that all solid rushing teams have.  It seemed to me that we should do all these things BEFORE selecting another quarterback.

If we had done a bit of rebuilding first, waiting for green-shoots on the offensive line, we might have done something to maximize our new quarterback's chances of success in this league.  This might have reduced that 70% tragedy rate among 1st round QBs, at least in our case.

No, no, no, no, no.  There is no time for rebuilding.  We must cut past the rebuilding project, and leap ahead by select our new frail QB right away.  We must put him behind our sketchy line, get him right to work with our weak receiver corp.  We must begin the process of destroying his career just as quickly as possible.  

Don't laugh.  This is the plan in St. Louis.  This is the program Billy Devaney set in motion just last month.  This is the operational plan we are working on right now, at this very moment.

Did it every occur to anyone that we should (maybe) select a robust, durable, mesomorphic quarterback with some speed and evasivness this time around?  Maybe a guy who can run?  Somebody who can take hit?  Somebody like... er... I don't know... maybe Tim Tebow?  Why go after two fragile, injury prone QBs in a row?

Nope.  We don't want Tebow.  It will take to long to get results that way, and we might not get the results we want.  We like fragile ectomorphic passers with pretty throwing motions.  Remember, we need to throw this kid head-first into the shark tank immediately and start getting those good results as soon as possible.  We believe our odds are much better this way.

Don't laugh.  This is a fair interpretation of the decision Devaney just made.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  You know, like putting frail QBs behind weak offensive lines, and expecting good results.  My Rams are certifiable under this diagnostic test.

But wait!  There is more!  We're going a run the WCO, an antiquated offense that his been systematically defeated.  Pat Shurmur is at the helm of our offense, and were really going to get things going in 2010.  When enemy DCs run the Belichick Box on us, we're are going to punish them with Steven Jackson, who is just coming off Herniated Disc surgery.  

Incidentally, Steven has no competent backup.  If he goes, we can't punish defenses that run the Belichick Box.

Devaney's decision to draft Sam Bradford was a foolhardy move.  It is an ultra-high risk shot.  It was at least one year premature, and perhaps two.  The offensive unit was nowhere near ready to absorb a new, young QB, who is fragile.

So what if it works?  Devaney is a genius then right?  That is what the majority of football fans will say.  We know that a sucker will occasionally make a crazy roll at the Crap table and get lucky.  That doesn't mean the sucker's good.  It just means that he was lucky.

So why in the world did Devaney set such a high-risk course in the 2010 draft?  There are a couple of strong possibilities.


  1. Kroenke is in love with Sam Bradford, and really wants him on the team.  In this case it is the new owners fault, not Devaney's.  Devaney secures more time by doing things Kroenke's way.
  2. This is a splashy, Hollywood, box-office, PR move.  The objective is less to fix the football team, and more to jump-start ticket and jersey sales.  Chinese clone vendors didn't even bother to mint a replica jersey for Jason Smith last season.  They immediately manufactured Sam Bradford Jerseys this year.  I know.  I already own two.  Drafting a QB #1 is a very nice splashy PR laiden move.  We need to get some A-Listers in our motion picture.
  3. Devaney actually thinks this is the best way to proceed from a football standpoint.  If that is the case, he is crazy and not to be trusted.  He is a breed appart and he makes no sense.  He needs to go up on top of a mountain where he can fast & pray. He needs to seek deliverance from the daemons that enchain him.


So here we are.  I find myself in a position not unlike those who opposed the Iraq war, and now support the troops.  I didn't want to draft Sam, but Sam is now a member of the family.  We have to do what little we can to hammer management into making moves that will give this kid some sort of shot at a career in the NFL.

We need to bear in mind that we have a stone-cold crazy GM at the helm whilst we do this.

I believe Billy Devaney showed very poor judgment in the 2010 draft.  For this reason, he has lost my trust.  I think we are dealing with a mad-man here.


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