10 For Tuesday: Rams’ Demoff Further Exposed

DemoffRams(St. Louis, MO)

@RealShaneGray

By now, many of you have likely either watched or heard quite a bit about the head-scratching, mind-boggling presentation that Los Angeles Rams Chief Operating Offender Kevin Demoff made at Harvard-Westlake High School on March 1.

Unfortunately, if you missed the video and want to see it, Demoff has apparently had his infamous, boneheaded speech pulled, after several comments he made were strongly scrutinized in articles by the likes of The Sporting News’ Ron Clements, InsideSTL’s Tim McKernan and 101 ESPN’s Randy Karraker as well as in audio by 101 ESPN’s Bernie Miklasz, among others.

In other news regarding the Rams’ great deceiver, Demoff spent time this weekend speaking at the South by Southwest conference about “the intersection of personal ethics, fandom and commerce in sports.”

Yes, you read that correctly.

The same man who quite obviously has no appreciation or understanding of proper personal ethics and who blatantly lied to his fans repeatedly was invited to speak about “the intersection of personal ethics, fandom and commerce in sports.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

If Demoff’s speech was honest, this appearance would have consisted of him talking about how he believes that any respect towards personal ethics or fans should be tossed out and stomped on if needed when “commerce in sports” is involved.

With that said, today’s “10 for Tuesday”…

 

1. Some people want the N The Zone family to continue talking about the Rams, while others want us to stop talking about the *%$#*@-up franchise altogether. I can see both sides.

With that said, the above is new information and — I for one — will continue to report anything that exposes Demoff for the deceptive, dishonest, slimy human being that he has proven himself to be. Consider it a warning for our L.A. brethren and appropriate reporting for the STL family.

So, if you don’t want to see it, you’re on the wrong site. On the other hand, if you want to see Demoff called out for his lies and exposed for all the damage he helped bring to St. Louis and the fans here, then you’re exactly where you need to be.

2. In Demoff’s aforementioned presentation, he made it clear that the move to L.A. was in the works for two-and-a-half years prior to its approval. In other words, the Rams began plotting for relocation by at least the Summer of 2013 when Sellout Stan Kroenke called Demoff about the Inglewood site.

3. Additionally, Demoff detailed how the Rams were quietly but earnestly making moves towards the move by the Spring of 2014 and that they were “stealthily” working hard towards an L.A. stadium in the summer of that same year.

4. Points two and three — like the Rams relocation proposal — add more proof that Demoff was lying to St. Louis since — at least — roughly the close of the dome’s arbitration case in early 2013. When looking at points two and three, these words from 2014 — among many others you can find here from both 2013 and 2014 — look particularly pitiful:

Demoff (to InsideSTL)

“I expect it (our future) will be right here in St. Louis. I don’t see any reason that that can’t be so.”

“I promise you Stan is looking at lots of pieces of land around the world right now and none of them are for football stadiums.”

Demoff (to 101ESPN):

“..I know everybody can sit here and say, especially this weekend, “The building can rock like it did in 1999,” which is absolutely true. If we play better football, it will be loud, passionate. But in terms of getting people off the couch away from television which is a fight that everybody in the NFL is going through and everybody in sports is going through, how do we improve the fan experience and give them the best? I think that’s the solution. If we can come up with it whether it’s downtown, whether it’s in the county, whether it’s somewhere else, I think we’d be in favor of it.”

Demoff October 2014 (CBS Sports 920’s McKernan, Edmonds & Moe):

“I think when he (Kroenke) said what he said (about wanting Rams to stay) when he bought the team, he was sincere, he was genuine and in the meantime there’s a path and a process that’s behind closed doors, and that’s what we’ve adapted to.”

“It’s hard to believe now but the Seattle Seahawks actually moved to Los Angeles for about two weeks in 1996 before returning back to Seattle. I don’t think anybody now looks at their fanbase and says they’re not passionate, they’re not a great team, that’s not a great market. So these things tend to get worse before they get better and I always look at if we can get this thing done, how do we move forward, how do we build a great stadium, how do we make St. Louis a better place for having a great venue?”

5. Clearly, Demoff served as Chief B.S.er in St. Louis, along with his duties as Vice President of Football Operations. And while were on the football side, Demoff also let this gem slip out at his presentation at Westlake-Harvard, via Turf Show Times:

“I will say, we’ve been really crappy in free agency. I’ve written a lot of bad deals. We just haven’t found a lot of success in free agency. And so I think there’s a buyer beware in all of that, in terms of going out and buying other people’s players, that we just haven’t figured out.”

There are clearly a lot of things that Demoff and the Rams haven’t figured out on the field, as evidenced by there historically poor performance over the last decade-plus. But for Demoff to admit that they aren’t being aggressive in free agency due, in part, to them not having the confidence to believe they are capable of getting it right… well… that is stunning.

I mean, everyone who’s followed the Rams in recent years realizes they aren’t getting it right and haven’t for some time, but for the team’s COO to admit that they are basically inept in regard to free agency is eye-opening and scary.

Best of luck with that, Los Angeles. You sure as heck will need it with Kroenke, Demoff and company at the helm.

6. Demoff’s presentation also revealed that when then Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was knocked out for the year in the preseason of 2014, that he welcomed a “distraction” from the on-field “trainwreck” that was likely to come.

I have to wonder what current players or former Rams like Chris Long or James Laurinaitis think knowing their top executive — and who knows who else in the organization or on the coaching staff — had given up on the season before it even started. I have to think they aren’t very appreciative of the thoughts.

Either way, the comments vividly show that Demoff possesses quite the loser’s mentality, giving up on his team before the season even began. What a competitive fighter to lead the organization from the top, right? And you wonder why the Rams haven’t had a winning season since 2003? With leadership like this, don’t much to change for the Rams on the field other than the stadium and the city the team plays within.

7. Along the same lines, Demoff essentially shared that he was thankful that the Rams fell out of the playoff race late in 2015 so that he could concentrate more on the franchise’s reLIEcation application.

What a slap in the face to the hard-working, paying customers buying tickets in St. Louis and the players who put their bodies on the lines on the gridiron. Yet another example of the classlessness at the top of the Rams organization.

8. With all of the above in mind, I wonder how many season ticket holders out there have emails from 2013-2015 from Demoff? I know that many do, as he was quite interactive with fans and media during many stretches. I would love to see ’em.

9. On another note, we would love to have your feedback on what you think of the N The Zone Show. Tweet @RealShaneGray, @thelegendkil, @TheATrainSTL or @NTheZoneShow to provide us with your feedback and we will try to respond to everyone’s thoughts and opinions.

10. Finally, a little late on this, but excited to see St. Louis land an NHL Winter Classic game for 2017 against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues and Cardinals worked in conjunction to bring this to pass. Good to have a couple of civic-minded professional organizations in town working together to bring great events to the STL.

Thanks for reading…

 

Thursday’s Thoughts

janorisjenkins-

(St. Louis, MO)

by @RealShaneGray

-I was happy to see former University of Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel agree to terms yesterday on a three year, $21 million dollar contract with the Philadelphia Eagles that includes $12 million in guaranteed cash. This is Daniel’s second significant “second string” contract of his career — after just finishing a three year, $10 million dollar deal with the Kansas City Chiefs where he served as a backup to Alex Smith.

Considering Daniel’s sizable contract in relation to his professional resume, ESPN’s Adam Schefter was right in pointing out that the former Mizzou standout will receive at least a puncher’s chance to win the Eagles starting quarterback job over incumbent QB Sam Bradford — who somehow recently reeled in a 2 year, $35 million dollar deal to remain in Philadelphia.

Furthermore, this move puts Daniel in position to potentially land at least a handful of starts in 2016 due to injury, considering the fragile history of Bradford, a player who has missed 33 of 96 pro starts due to injury — or over two full season’s worth of games in six years.

With all that said, however, I can’t help but wonder whether a delay of another 24 hours might have left Daniel with an almost ideal opportunity with the Denver Broncos after the Super Bowl winning franchise lost Peyton Manning to retirement and free agent Brock Osweiler to the Houston Texans.

Had Daniel remained on the market, you have to wonder if John Elway and company might have took a hard look at Daniel few relatively few appealing options available on the free agent market.

With the QB spot wide open in Denver, an exceptional D in place, a more-than-capable stable of running backs in the fold and some very good pass catchers under contract, a chance to lead the offense in the Mile High City would present a great opportunity for a quarterback this fall.

Considering how everything has played out, I can’t help but wonder if Daniel could have at least ended up being in the mix and with a chance to earn a starting gig had he signed on in Denver.

-Folks can spin it however they want to, but the Rams loss of cornerback Janoris Jenkins to the New York Giants is a significant one. At 27, Jenkins was entering his prime and coming off what was clearly his best all-around season to date.

Sure, there is a shot that former Mizzou Tigers corner E.J. Gaines can get back to full strength following a season ending injury last year and build upon a very stout 2014 rookie campaign, but there is no guarantee this will occur.

Gaines indeed had a very impressive rookie season, but even if he proves to be as good in 2016 as Jenkins was a year ago, the Rams lost high-quality depth at a position that absolutely demands depth and lots of in today’s pass-proficient NFL.

So, even if Gaines proves to be an adequate replacement for Jenkins opposite of franchise-tagged Trumaine Johnson, Los Angeles lost quality depth that will likely be much harder to replace than most wish to admit.

Beyond Jenkins, the Rams also lost starting free safety Rodney McLeod, who had grown into a solid player in Gregg Williams’ defense. With Williams running something of a unique, hybird D, replacing a solid veteran like McLeod may be easier said than done.

In total, a good-to-great 2015 Rams defense is now minus half of its starting secondary from a season ago. People can act as if that isn’t a big deal, but it is.

Beyond that, the Rams are now down nearly 50 percent of last season’s first string defense when counting the cuts of defensive end Chris Long and middle linebacker James Laurinaitis.

Yes, Long’s production had dropped off and Laurinaitis had his flaws. And yes, both are replaceable — especially on the field — and even upgradeable.

On the other hand, Laurinaitis ran and quarterbacked the St. Louis D for seven seasons and both J.L. and Long both served as key leaders in the Rams locker room.

The stat sheet is one thing, but the intangibles are another — and both Long and Laurinaitis brought a great deal of desirable intangibles to the franchise that aren’t always easy to replace.

Can the Rams defense be as good as it was a year ago?

Yes, it can, as they will have defensive end Robert Quinn back in top form, a deep, talented defensive line that includes defensive tackle Aaron Donald and re-signed defensive end William Hayes and potential improvement in the middle, where former outside ‘backer Alec Ogletree is expected to take over — something he has experience doing from his SEC days at the University of Georgia.

The Rams also return one of the game’s best strong safeties — T.J. McDonald — and re-signed small but highly-productive outside linebacker Mark Barron. If he can hold up at 210 pounds — which is a legitimate if — then the Rams could be formidable at linebacker.

With all of that considered, the departures of Jenkins and McLeod in free agency — and particularly Jenkins — wasn’t a small thing. This pair was productive and likely will not be easily replaced.

There’s a reason that most top-tier defenses lock up their in-prime defenders. The Rams are gambling that they can plug-and-play others and be fine. But for me, they will have to prove they can do it before I believe it.

-On the other side of the ball, I think the Rams made smart moves in bringing back center Tim Barnes (yet another former Missouri Tiger stalwart finding his way into this article) and 6’4″ wide receiver Brian Quick — who was on his way to a breakout campaign in 2014 before suffering a season ending injury midway through the year.

With a full offseason without a major surgery to recover from ahead of him, can Quick get it going in 2016? In my mind, he can. And if I’m right, it will give a big boost to a Rams offense that needs the passing game to get a lot better this fall than it has been in recent seasons.

-Speaking of wide receivers, former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson hung up the cleats early at age 30 and walked away from a whole lot of paper in retiring during the past week.

At 6’5″ and with great speed to go with it — especially a little earlier in his career — Johnson was pretty much unstoppable when at his best. Johnson was not only a great player, but, from all indications, a good man as well.

It is amazing that one organization — the Lions — have now watched two all-time greats retire while at or near their prime, after seeing running back Barry Sanders walk away at the top of his game in 1998. How unlucky is Detroit, anyhow?

In that farewell year, Sanders compiled 1,491 rushing yards, 37 catches and four touchdowns.

— Thanks for reading….

Ten For Tuesday: March 1 Edition

10_black_logo_on_white_background

(St. Louis, MO)

Shane Gray (@RealShaneGray)

Welcome to my new weekly column entitled “Ten for Tuesday”. I hope you all will enjoy the debut edition, which touches on yesterday’s Rams feature, the St.Louis Cardinals, why I’m not necessarily hyped about the prospects of MLS to STL, what Mizzou Football must do to regain elite their elite status, the good and bad of the NFL Combine, the mystery of NBA Pre-Draft Measurements, the wonder that is Stephen Curry and much more.

With that said, I hope you will enjoy week one of “Ten for Tuesday”.

Let’s get to it:

1- For those who missed it, I penned a feature yesterday named “Monday’s Missile: Los Angeles Rams Not Worthy of St. Louis’ Support”. It has proven to very controversial and his elicited very strong, passionate responses from folks all over the nation. If you haven’t yet taken a look at the rather brief read, I’d love for you to take a moment to do so. Whether you love it or hate it, I’d enjoy hearing your take on the feature. Hit me up on twitter via @RealShaneGray and let me know how you feel.

While on the topic of the aforementioned feature, I’d like to make a couple things clear that I didn’t touch on yesterday:

One, I wish no ill will whatsoever towards the Rams players. Obviously, they had nothing to do with the move. I interviewed several of them on different occasions over the last few years, and think the world of guys like Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn, free agent wide receiver Brian Quick and former Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis, all of whom were great people, great interviews and wonderful assets in the community.

Two, I wish to congratulate any and all CLASSY fans from L.A. who will get to watch the Rams return to Cali. I don’t blame them for being excited. Not at all. As for those who want to bash St.Louis and the fans here, however, well… that’s another story altogether.

2- With the Rams moving on, I plan to turn more attention back to the St. Louis Cardinals. I will be honest and admit that much of my focus turned away from the Redbirds after the Rams came to St. Louis. As a child, though, I was an absolute die-hard, live-and-die Cardinals fan. They were my first true love in regards to a sports team. Somewhere along the way, though, I lost my passion for the game even after playing it in college.

As probably everyone is aware by now, the Redbirds are in the thick of Spring Training in preparation for the 2016 Major League Baseball campaign. Can they hold off the rival Cubs? Will the Pirates again make major noise in the division? That discussion will come on another day and I look forward to diving into some Cardinals coverage this year.

3- Switching gears, a group of prominent, local investors — including Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt and former #STLNFL Task Force co-head Dave Peacock, among others — recently united to form #MLS2STL and are exploring the possibility of bringing an expansion MLS franchise to St. Louis. (In case you missed it, here’s the full story.)

While I have nothing against MLS and am all for anything that would be a positive for the region, I do have one significant reservation about bringing an MLS team to the city.

Why am I so lukewarm on the MLS2STL? Here’s why:

I don’t believe St. Louis is currently viewed by many as a four team region. If true — and I have reason to believe that is indeed the case — I’d prefer our third professional club to be something other than an MLS franchise.

With the MLB and NHL deeply rooted in the Gateway City, that realistically only leaves room for one other major pro sports league/team, and I’d personally hate to reduce or remove any future hopes for an NFL expansion team with truly committed local ownership and a 30 year plus iron-clad lease, or even a chance at an NBA franchise at some point down the road in exchange for MLS. I could be wrong, but I think the presence of MLS would greatly reduce any chances of eventually making a run at having a team from either of those two more prestigious leagues,and if that is indeed true, that bothers me.

As for the NBA, keep in mind that Stan Kroenke relative Bill Laurie nearly locked up an expansion team even WITH the NFL and three other pro teams in town. With that considered, IF a legitimate effort were made at a time when there are but two major pro teams in town rather than three, I think it could certainly get done.

4- Speaking of the Association, Stephen Curry continues to amaze me. To me, he’s the best player in the League right now. He’s the best scorer and best shooter, he’s money in crunch time, he’s a willing and effective passer and he can D up when the chips are on the line.

In short, if there’s one guy in pro basketball that I’m paying to watch play right now, it’s Curry… and nobody else is a close second at the moment.

5- Last year, the Missouri Tigers football program fell off and fell off hard, going 5-7 in a year filled with off-field controversy, on-field struggles and the eventual resignation of Head Coach Gary Pinkel, who ran the show at Mizzou for 15 years, leading the Tigers to ten winning seasons, 10 bowl games, six bowl wins and a combination of five Big 12 North/SEC East Division championships.

After a down year, what does Mizzou need to do to get back on track?

To me, the most glaring hole on the Tigers roster a year ago — and something that was always a strong point during Missouri’s best years within the Pinkel era — was a deep, productive receiving corps.

Last season, the Tigers lack of depth and overall talent at receiver was undeniable, and the offense struggled to produce points and generate big plays largely because of it.

If Mizzou is going to get back to its winning ways and again become a power in the SEC, they need to get their wideout talent back to something close to the level it had been prior to the 2015 debacle.

6- I have always enjoyed the annual NFL Combine, and watched it extremely closely when covering the Rams and preparing for draft-related articles from 2011 through 2015.

That said, the Combine can be either a blessing or a curse for NFL talent evaluators and NFL teams — depending on how it is utilized.

When game tape is kept as the priority, the combine is a fine tool to further evaluate prospects. When the combine is used strictly as a complimentary tool to hone in on what a player has done on the field and fine tune evaluations, it is great.

But when scouts and teams take the bait and move someone up or down a draft board based more upon the combine than what a player or players actually did on the gridiron, teams are asking for major problems.

The combine is fine to help refine grades on a given player, but when the grades become based more upon the combine stats than the football stats, teams are begging to end up drafting busts.

7- Speaking of the combine, the NBA Combine has always been fascinating to me in regard to the measurements, and — more specifically — the height measurements.

At the NFL Combine, players are measured only once, and in their bare feet. But at the NBA Combine, prospects are measured early in the morning (when players are 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch taller than they would be late in the day), and are measured both in their bare feet and in their shoes.

As many of you are probably aware, in-shoe heights are commonly used on rosters in college or pro basketball. One can argue about whether that makes sense or not, but its been a common practice in recent decades to either list players in roughly their shoe heights or add anywhere from a half-inch to over two inches to a player’s barefoot measurement.

For example, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love was measured at 6’7″3/4 without shoes at the 2008 pre-draft camp, but has been listed at 6’10” throughout his pro and college career.

Former Cavs guard and rumored lover of Lebron James’ mom Delonte West was measured at 6’1″1/2 barefoot, 6’2″3/4 with shoes while being listed at 6’4″ for portions of his pro career.

John Starks, who starred for the New York Knicks during the Patrick Ewing era, admitted to a 6’2″height while playing with a 6’5″listing.

Finally, former Oklahoma State standout Byron Houston — from way back in the Big 8 days — measured just 6’4″ barefoot while being listed at 6’7″ both in college and the NBA.

On the other hand, there are always a few players who use their barefoot heights and are even taller without shoes than their listed heights. Longtime legend Kevin Garnett is one of those players, listed at 6’11” while being been measured at 7’1″ in shoes. Another future Hall-of-Famer, Kevin Durant, is listed at 6’9 but stands close to 7 foot on the hardwood in shoes.

In general, when you see a player’s height on a roster, you can bet it is either an in-shoe listing or roughly an inch to an inch and a half above their barefoot height, but it’s always interesting — to me at least — to see the extremes of the over-inflated listings or the few who utilize their barefoot measurement.

8- With the concussion issue coming to the forefront in the NFL, particularly after Will Smith’s blockbuster “Concussion” movie, has it changed how you feel about your son, brother, nephew or cousin playing the game?  I’d love to hear your take on the topic. Hit me up on Twitter (@RealShaneGray) and let me know how you feel about your loved ones playing football.

9- Speaking of movies, let’s play make believe for a quick second and pretend that YOU are going to star in a sports-related feature film. If you were the star and had your pick of women to play the role of your wife or girlfriend, tweet me her name and why you chose her using #NTheZone and #MyLeadingLady. It will be interesting to see what women y’all have been scoping out.

10- Finally, on next week’s N The Zone Podcast with Palmer Alexander (@thelegendkil) of the St. Louis American and Arlington Lane (@TheATrainSTL), we will be introducing a new segment entitled “Ask Shane/Get at Gray”. For those following me on twitter, DM me your question/questions, and I will answer a few of them over the air next Sunday. For those whose answers are chosen, we will let you know by tagging your twitter handle when tweeting out the segment. I look forward to the inquiries.

Thanks for reading…

 

Monday’s Missile: Los Angles Rams Not Worthy of St. Louis’ Support

DemoffRams(St. Louis, MO)

@RealShaneGray

The Los Angeles Rams organization is not worthy of any support from former Rams fans from St. Louis. Sorry, but they’re not.

On the way out of town — in case you forgot or missed it — the Rams ripped the region and ran roughshod over the city’s fans in their official relocation application.

In presenting their case to move to the nation’s second largest market, Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Chief Operating Offender Kevin Demoff painted a portrait of St. Louis that might make one believe the Gateway City had fallen into complete ruin and was akin to a looted and abandoned metro within a third world nation.

Not only did the Rams rip the region in their relocation proposal, but the franchise had the audacity and shamelessness to trash, smear and curb stomp a fan base that more than adequately supported a club that produced just four winning seasons in 21 years, no winning records since 2003, the worst five year record in NFL history and zero playoff appearances since 2004. To add insult to injury, the owner couldn’t bother communicating with his customer/corporate base as he plotted and planned to abandon the city and the franchise’s faithful.

In addition, the timeline detailed in the above-linked relocation application made it crystal clear that the organization lied for several years about having a desire to stay in St. Louis, as did a call from Kroenke to Demoff about Inglewood that occurred in the summer of 2013. It was in 2014, after all, that Demoff told 101ESPN’s Randy Karraker that “I promise you Stan is looking at lots of pieces of land around the world right now and none of them are for football stadiums” and how he expected the Rams future to be “…right here in St. Louis. I don’t see any reason that that can’t be so.”

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m not big on backing people you talk $&*# on my family or my friends. I’m not much on continuing to buy gifts for a girl who left me and lied on me on the way out. How about you? By the same token, I’m not much on repping a Rams franchise who intentionally and systematically beat the brakes off of a region full of people who I care about. I guess that’s part of the problem one has when they aren’t a pushover and have some pride in their their city, their fellow citizens and their self.

That said, apparently some folks are cool with getting kicked around and lied on. These are the people in the region who are still drooling over a franchise that talked ish on them and beat on them like their name was Ronda Rousey. Some of these people remind me of the dogs who get beat by their owner but continue to wag their tails with loyalty nonetheless.

In the end, however, it is obviously not up to me to decide whether anyone else does or does not continue to support the Rams. I know I won’t. I know I can’t. I know it’s not an option for me. On the other hand, we are all distinct, unique human beings, and thus, we all see things from different perspectives and come to different conclusions on different issues. So, I understand that there are those who are handling this differently than I am. I certainly won’t pretend to understand it, just as they may not understand or relate to some of my thoughts shared above.

In closing, let me make one thing clear for those who think they can somehow support the Rams without supporting Kroenke:

IF you support the Rams going forward, you are– intentionally or not — absolutely supporting Kroenke by default. If you support his product, you are supporting him. There is absolutely no way around this, regardless of how one wants to attempt to justify or twist it in their mind.

If I say I don’t support Wal-Mart and hate what it stands for, for example, but I own Wal-Mart stock and want Wal-Mart stock to perform well, then I’m supporting Wal-Mart and I clearly don’t really hate the worldwide conglomerate. If I say I hate Wal-Mart, but I still buy products there, then I support Wal-Mart. Period.

In short, one can say they dislike Kroenke all they want and talk tough about how they don’t support Kroenke, but if you continue to cheer for his team and/or buy his team’s jerseys, for example, you are — like it or not — cheering for and supporting him.

There is no middle ground. If you want to support the Rams, then support the Rams. But in doing so, YOU ARE undeniably supporting the Rams owner, too, and there is absolutely no way around that fact.

The choice is yours.

Thanks for reading…

(Follow me on twitter via @RealShaneGray)