(Non-Boston Post) Rams, NFL Network Draft Setup A Bit Fishy

I apologize for the non-Boston sports media related post here, but I found this whole thing below interesting and I haven’t seen anyone else weigh in on it.

Over the three days of the NFL draft, the NFL Network had top reporter Mike Silver “embedded” with the St. Louis Rams during the process, allowing him complete access to what was happening in their ‘war room.’

That it was the Rams that were chosen for this didn’t seem like an accident. GM Les Snead seems to enjoy the spotlight, and is married to former NFL Network reporter Kara Henderson. Jeff Fisher is adored by the national press, a fact seems somewhat curious given that while he has had a few very good teams, including one that went to a Super Bowl, he’s also had some very bad teams. His lifetime winning percentage as a head coach is .532 – pretty good, but not great.

He knows how to work and media and get them on his side. He likes to put on a show for them, and he’s got this whole “legend of The ‘Stache” thing going on.

An incident in the Silver article seems to show how this charisma he has can influence the coverage he gets as opposed to other coaches. (You probably know the one I’m thinking of.)

When the Rams selected cornerback Lamarcus Joyner in the second round, Silver tells of the circumstances around the pick.

It was the arrival of Joyner — and the way the Rams finessed it — that brought the most pleasure to Fisher and those close to him. Intent on drafting the former Florida State star with the 44th overall pick, Fisher and others in the Rams’ war room became convinced that the Titans were preparing to snag Joyner two picks earlier. Rams general manager Les Snead began working the phones, agreeing to a trade with the Bills, who held the selection before Tennessee’s, that saw St. Louis give up a fifth-round selection to move up three spots.

When the deal was consummated, and the Rams turned in the card for Joyner, Fisher burst into a huge grin, and there were hoots and hollers of excitement. A few minutes later, when the Titans traded out of the 42nd selection — a move viewed in the Rams’ war room as confirmation that Tennessee had targeted Joyner, only to come up empty — there was another surge of congratulatory cheers.

“I don’t know how we did it,” Fisher said afterward, concealing a twinkle in his eye. “I just had a feeling.”

“Twinkle in his eye….just had a feeling.” Was it just a feeling?

A “mole?” So the suggestion is that Fisher has someone in the Titans inner circle – the franchise he coached for 17 years, who is still loyal to him, and gave up this information to the detriment of his own team?

Can you imagine if a former Belichick employee was giving out secrets of his team back to his former boss like this? Where would the outrage meter land? But here, it’s written in an admiring fashion. Silver, has been one in the past to hold no punches when it comes to this stuff, but for “The ‘Stache” its awesome.

Then there was the Michael Sam pick.

Troubled receiver Kenny Britt had found himself in yet another situation over the weekend. The Rams were in the process of dealing with it. Then Silver writes:

On Day 3 of the draft, this ranked as a legitimate headline, and headache. Little did he know — hell, little did anyone at Rams Park know — that Fisher was about to render him (Britt) a mere footnote to history.

So Fisher has decided to draft Sam.

At 5:48 p.m., the Rams officially selected Sam, and the war room scene turned surreal. The ‘Stache soaked it all in, thoroughly enjoying the experience. He got excited when informed by Artis Twyman, the team’s senior director of communications, that the Rams were the franchise which 68 years earlier signed the first African-American player of the NFL’s modern era, UCLA product Kenny Washington.

There’s no doubt that this was a historic, significant moment. The Rams made the pick. They made history. Fisher made history.

OK. Is it at all coincidental that the franchise who drafted Michael Sam just happened to have an NFL Network reporter embedded with them for the entire draft, and who got to see first-hand the entire process play out?

To me, it seems that one of two things happened. Either the plan all along was to draft Michael Sam at the end of the draft if he was still available and have that moment recorded, or Fisher, seized the moment, knowing that there was a reporter there to record it all, made the pick to further the legend of “The ‘Stache.”

Silver concludes his piece:

It’s not what anyone at Rams Park other than the head coach had in mind until about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, but now it’s happening, and the momentum behind it is unmistakable.

Perhaps, in retrospect, we should have seen this coming — for it’s very simple, and it can be summed up in three words: Trust The ‘Stache.

Maybe someone did see this coming, and that’s why Mike Silver was there in the first place.

  • bsmfan

    On the sam stuff, Adam Schefter, on D&C, admitted the NFL would not let Sam go undrafted:

    http://audio.weei.com/a/91526792/adam-schefter-on-the-pre-draft-rumors-5-6-14.htm

    I was shocked that he said this, but more so and that it didn’t get more press from the folks who had pre-penned the “NFL: HOMOPHOBIC?” masthead.

    From May 6th:

    @DandCShow @AdamSchefter tells the show he thinks some NFL people will call teams to encourage them to draft Michael Sam in the later rounds.

    https://twitter.com/DandCShow/status/463661811817275392

  • http://www.papaginos.com/ Jerald Rose

    Who cares, at best this is a strech. The problem with your whole “theroy” is that it only works if all of the other teams are in on it. With or without an NFL Network reporter there, they don’t control who gets selected before them. Seems to me you are running with a ill-conveiced theroy.
    File this under – the draft story non story.

    • Trip McNeely

      I think you missed the bigger point to the story, which was Fisher possibly had a mole in another teams war room, and nobody seems to care due to the fact that Fisher plays nice with the media. Bruce’s point is that no way this gets swept under the rug if it was BB due to his cantankerous relationship with the media.
      The stuff about Sam is after the fact.

      • http://www.papaginos.com/ Jerald Rose

        What your saying makes even less sense. To suggest Fisher has someone working for him within a different organization is ludacris.
        Now that is not to say that he still doesn’t have ties to the organization and it can become a you scratch my back I scratch yours type of thing, but thats nothing new nor is it anything “illegal”.
        I didn’t hear anyone crying wolf when BB traded Matt Cassel to Romeo Cronell, and Scott Pioli in KC. Coaches build relationships like this all the time. Every coach in the league is hired by another coach and then the process repeats itself.

        • Meter Gerbill

          Jeff Fisher, 19 years a head coach, 5 times he finished .500 or better. #FearTheStache? I’m not so sure about that.

        • agramante

          Though it’s pure speculation, beginning with Rosenthal, and I doubt there will ever be a shred of confirmation.

        • HighWireNickEsasky

          I love Ludacris too! Real dual threat actor-rapper.

        • Trip McNeely

          How does it make less sense? The article says, “I don’t know how we did it,” Fisher said afterward, concealing a twinkle in his eye. “I just had a feeling.” The author, Silver, seems to be implying that Fisher knew the Titans were going to take Joyner so he moved in front of them to take him. The whole twinkle in his eye thing is what raises eyebrows. If Fisher knew that’s who the Titans were targeting through backdoor channels and then used that information to move ahead of them and take the player, well some would say that’s unethical. Hey if he’s getting info from his former contacts that may still be employed by the Titans good for him. He used that info to better his own team. I don’t begrudge him of that. Again the larger issue was that had BB been linked to anything like that it would have been a big story on ESPN.
          The Cassel comparison is poor because Pioli worked in the organization so he knew what Cassel had and wanted him. Joyner has never played a down in the NFL, and had multiple teams vying for his services.

        • http://www.papaginos.com/ Jerald Rose

          “He had a twinkle in his eye”
          What the hell does that even mean. As if a “twinkle” is representative of inside knowledge. Someone’s perception of a twinkle is equivalent to a baby smiling and it being gas.
          Not to mention if you don’t think that one organization to the next has an inkling (not a twinkle) about who another team is selecting then you need to get out more.

        • Trip McNeely

          Wow, you’re just not getting this. Perhaps you need to get out more. What the hell it means is that Silver is implying, without specifically saying mind you, that Fisher KNEW the Titans were going to take Joyner. Not a hunch, not thought, KNEW. If a writer implied that BB knew another teams pick and did something about it he would catch hell for it. That is the basic premise here. Bruce pointed out that Silver implied that Fisher had inside information and nobody cares. Whereas if the same thing was written about BB it would be the lead story on Yahoo with 15,000 comments calling him a cheater. If you fail to believe Silver, fine. But I read it that way, and so did Bruce so it’s not a stretch. Silver wrote it for a reason, and not to add color, but to give the reader some context without flat out calling Fisher out.

        • http://www.papaginos.com/ Jerald Rose

          I guess the point that you are missing is that just because someone “implies” something doesn’t mean it is factual. Silver could have implied anything, and that doesn’t make it more or less of a fact.
          Until Silver goes from implying to PROVING then its like pissing in the wind. And if he isn’t willing to call out Fisher directly, then why make a wild allegation?

        • Trip McNeely

          Nobody is saying that’s factual or not and to be honest I don’t care if it is or isn’t. The larger point, for the final time, was how BB would have been treated by the media had something been insinuated about him. Why is this so hard to grasp? You keep wanting to make it about Fisher, it’s not. It’s about what Silver wrote and how that might have applied to BB. Again this is all abstract because it wasn’t about BB. But Bruce’s point was not lost on me that had it been BB rather than Fisher who had a twinkle in his eye, holy hell would have been raised. That’s it I’m done. If you can’t see the point he was trying to make by now, you never will and it seems like we are simply destined to disagree on the topic.

        • http://www.papaginos.com/ Jerald Rose

          Stop making assumptions about how something will play or won’t play. My point…for the final time is that regardless of this being a BB issue or not, it doesn’t apply to BB so we don’t know how it would have played.
          It isn’t being played at all about Fisher because its a non-issue.
          That’s it I’m done. If you can’t see the point I am trying to make by now, you never will and it seems like we are simply destined to disagee on the topic.

  • Matt McKnight

    It’s also worth noting that the Rams had 2 of the last 8 picks and as John Clayton wrote in his column Sunday morning “The Rams’ backup line of William Hayes, Eugene Sims, Kendall Langford and Alex Carrington is better than the Dallas Cowboys starting defensive line.” This makes them the team best protected against critics if/when they cut Sam.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2014/story/_/id/10912125/2014-nfl-draft-five-things-learned-day-2