Chat with Executive VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ETVP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff
Rams Executive VP of Football Operations and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff will join us to answer your questions in a live chat on Friday, November 9 at 11:00 am CST. Submit a question below.
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comGood morning, it's great to be back in the chat room with Rams fans. I always view this week as a good time to get caught up since we are at the halfway point in the season. First, though, I want to thank our fans for the tremendous energy at the Edward Jones Dome this year. We've begun to reclaim the homefield advantage at the EJD and that's great news for our organization. Now off to the questions!
12:07 PM ETHow far along is this team compared to your expectations from the beginning of the year?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comJacob, I'm excited that our team is improved and competitive. It's great to be the youngest team in football and be in every game (save NE). My expectations for this season is that we would develop an identity as a tough football team and that our young team would grow throughout the year. I think we're well on our way to accomplishing that goal. The funny part about predictions is I think if you told most people that we would be 3-5 in the first 8 games missing Saffold, Wells and Amendola they would be "satisfied" by that, but if you told them we would start 3-2 and lose three in a row, nobody would be "satisfied". That's the nature of the NFL, expectations change on a weekly basis. This team should be able to compete with anybody, and with the exception of NE, we have. We lost on the final play against DET & MIA and were within one score late in the game against GB and CHI. There have been positives in nearly every loss, especially against Miami, where we became the first team in 4 years to lose while outgaining our opponent by 270 yards. I love the direction this team is headed in and have high hopes for the second half of the season. We get a great test this weekend against SF, a chance to go to 3-0 in the NFC West. The quickest way to the playoffs is by winning your division and this would be a great step.
Andrew, Dumpster behind Rams Park
12:15 PM ETWhen would you say was the last time that you were bored?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comI was hired on February 1st, 2009, so probably January 31st, 2009. I'm fortunate to have one of the best jobs in the world -- a chance to help be part of a group that can help a historic NFL franchise get back on top and to the Super Bowl. I get to come to work everyday with Jeff Fisher, Les Snead, great caoches, scouts and operations people. We have a building of 125 staff members dedicated to making the Rams winners on and off the field in St. Louis. I get to ride motor coolers tailgating with fans. We are leading the way in civic and charitable initiatives in St. Louis. I get to chat with fans on email (email@example.com), twitter and chats like this. I'm fortunate to work for a great owner who is committed to building a model NFL franchise. What's not to love?
12:21 PM ETMr. Demoff, any talks about signing Amendola to another contract?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comThere are talks in regards to trying to extend Danny, those talks have been ongoing since August and I hope they will continue this month. We were fortunate to be able to come to agreement with 55 and 91 before the season started and I'm hopeful that 16 is in the fold by the end of the year. It's been atop my wish list for most of the year. Danny is a great example of what a Ram should be on and off the field and it would be great to have him in horns for years to come.
Sean P, New York
12:26 PM ETAs one of the few hardore rams fan in New york I would like to know are we going to pursue a free agent wide receiver such as mike wallace or dwayne bowe or even try to acquire a player like dez bryant and if not why not
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comOur pro scouts are looking at next year's free agents right now and since we can't comment on any specific players (which would be tampering) certainly we will be looking at ways to improve the offensive output. I will say in regards to the wide receiver position though, truly elite #1 WR's come through the draft, they rarely come through free agency. If you look at the dominant star receivers in the NFL, you'd be hard pressed to name a free agent signing that over the long-term has been an impact star for that club. The list of misses at wide receiver in free agency are far greater than the successes. I'm sure Les and his group will do a great job figuring out our free agent plan for next year, but one thing to always remember in free agency is that free agents are free for a reason. Their previous club chose not to sign them and not to franchise them. That always should be a caution flag for the acquriring team.
Steve R, Phoenix AZ
12:30 PM ETExcited and long time Rams fan from Los Angeles days. When can we expect to see B.Quick as a full time starter?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comBrian continues to progress and is well on track to being a good player for us. The coaches continue to phase him in and feed him more, and with that will come some highlight plays and some learning curve plays. I know during the bye week the coaches spent time trying to figure out how to get him more involved in the second half of the season as he's shown the ability to make plays. The adjustment for WR's in the NFL is hard, especially for those coming from an FCS school. We selected Brian for his potential and he continues to flash that on a daily basis. I think we are all counting on big strides from him over the next 8 weeks.
Doug, Carlotta, CA
12:34 PM ETHi Kevin, Looking at next year's draft, do you anticpiate tarding down one of our two #1 picks...it seems we picked up quite a bit of young talent with that strategy last year
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comDoug, I think much of this depends on where our picks wind up being and who the players are that are available when we pick. I think you could make a good argument that our strategy last year to move down and acquire extra picks would be great to emulate again in 2013 if we could get 5 picks in the top 65 players again, but I could just as easily envision adding two top caliber talents to make our team better. Jeff and Les did a terrific job of moving up and down the board last year to find players in every round. I think we also need to see how our young team progresses in the last 8 games so we can assess what our real needs are going into next season. What might seem like a strength now could be a weakness in January and vice versa.
Paul Clarke, Oxford, UK
12:37 PM ETHi Mr Demoff, great seeing the team in London despite the game itself. I've heard quite a few teams are projected to be over the cap next year, how are the Rams looking cap wise?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comAs it stands today, once you factor in all of our projected draft picks, tenders and contracts, we will be about $7-$10m under the cap heading into next season. When we did the extensions for Laurinaitis and Long, we did not pro-rate their bonuses, we put them all into 2013. The same with Finnegan, we planned on taking a large hit in 2013. We could convert those roster bonuses to signing bonuses to free up more room, but I'm not sure that is the best approach given the youth of this team. The goal is to make sure that we have some room in 2013 and 2014 to make moves but that we also leave plenty of room in 2015 and beyond to keep all of the players we are drafting. It's great to be building our foundation but we need to plan for the next generation of contracts and leave plenty of room to do that.
Josh, Iowa City
12:41 PM ETWhen is the next window of time to expect contract extentions. (if any more are coming)
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comJosh, the rest of the season is a window to do contract extensions, but thankfully we don't have too many players whose contracts expire either after this season or next season. That's one of the benefits of building through the draft that the core of our team is under contract for the next few seasons. As mentioned, Danny Amendola is one player we'd like to try and strike a deal with before free agency next year.
Kevan Patel, New Jersey
12:43 PM ETWithin the past two NFL drafts, the rams have missed out on 3 big name wide receivers, being Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Justin Blackmon. Are the Rams planning on drafting or bringing in a wide out with deep threat capabilities within the next couple of seasons? LETSGORAMS!!!
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comKevan, I think we all want to find that dominant wide receiver for the future, but we do have a wideout with deep threat capabilities. Chris Givens has done a fantastic job in being a home run threat, and has a chance to set an NFL record this weekend with his 6th straight game with a 50+ yard catch. No NFL player in the past 56 years has gone 5 straight games with a 50+ yard catch like Givens has, a pretty impressive feat. That being said, I think we all want to find a great receiver to pare with Sam, somebody that is a threat on every play. That would be a great help to our struggles in the red zone as well. Maybe that player is on the roster, maybe that player is in the draft, maybe that player is in free agency, but we need to keep searching until we get that player.
12:47 PM ETI hope you are feeling better and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I'll get right to it: What is Steven Jackson's future here in St Louis?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comWe spent the past offseason talking with Steven about different concepts for contracts beyond this season. As some of you may know, Steven had a clause in his contract that allowed him to void the 2012 and 2013 seasons if he gained 4800 rushing yards and 1600 receiving yards between 2008-2011. He fell about 150 yards short of the receiving total. In talking with Steven this offseason, he expressed his excitement about the progress of the team under Coach Fisher but also his apprehension about going through yet another regime change. We both agreed that a good solution would be to allow him the opportunity to void the final year of his deal (2013) if he didn't like the direction of the team or wanted to play somewhere else. I think he has enjoyed the team's improved play this year and he remains a great leader and ambassador for the Rams. He has been a great mentor for our younger RB's and is a great teammate. I hope we can find a solution after this season that works for all parties as he deserves to win a Lombardi trophy in St. Louis.
Devin, Wentzville, MO
12:51 PM ETAny chance the Rams go back to the old school blue and white uniforms on occasion?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comAs I say, it wouldn't be a chat without the uniform questions. We have decided not to pursue any uniform changes for the 2013 season, so our third uniform will remain as the blue and yellow worn in the 70's through the 90's and for the Super Bowl. We will continue to discuss the blue and whites moving forward as both a possible third jersey or even our primary jersey. How's that for fueling the jersey conversation for weeks to come?
julie johnson, st louis
12:53 PM ETWhich other teams are the Rams especially learning from this season?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comPretty safe to say we learned a great deal the last three weeks :)
steven sutton, brooklyn new york
12:56 PM EThi i am flying to st louis for the rams game vs the jets week 11 is it possible for you to come to come to my seats and say hi
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comSure, email your seat number at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to make it by. If were losing, not likely :)
Brad Redfern , Galesburg IL
12:57 PM ETI read on STL Today that arbitration begins in January regarding the status of the dome. How certain are you that a deal can be done, and if one can't be reached have you guys talked about building a new stadium somewhere else in the St. Louis region?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comBrad, I'm excited that the arbitration process will finally get going in January and help bring some clarity to the First Tier Process. In February, the CVC set out their vision for what would make the EJD first tier and in May we set out our vision for what would make the EJD first tier. Unfortunately, we don't have the same vision for the buidling, but that is what the arbitration clause was designed for. It will be helpful to have three neutral arbitrators look at the two plans and give an unbiased opinion as to what is needed to improve the Edward Jones Dome and make it a first tier stadium. That should provide a good starting point for us move forward and come up with a solution that works not only for the Rams but makes the EJD a destination for Super Bowls, Final Fours, Mizzou football, bowl games, SEC championships, concerts, international soccer games, etc. That has to be the goal of this process, to have a building that not only serves the CVC's purposes for conventions but also is a great draw for events to come to the city of St. Louis.
Justin, St. Louis
1:02 PM ETKevin, thanks for doing these chats and keeping transparency with the fans. Much appreciated. Regarding the lease situation. Many fans believe the team will leave St. Louis once their lease is up. You have addressed this and calmed some nerves, yet there are many fans, who are antsy because of the past history with the football Cardinals, that believe it's all PR talk and the team still has a solid chance of leaving. What would you tell these fans? Thanks as always.
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comJustin, I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to fan sentiment regarding the lease situation. In most cities, fans assume that a deal will ultimately get done at the end because that is what happens in the majority of stadium discussions. Unfortunately, St. Louis has been one of the few cities that has lost a team and therefore I think our fans have greater fear regarding this team leaving than most fans do in other cities. The thing I would tell our fans is to judge us by actions, not by words. In January we went out and hired the most sought after head coach on the market to help improve the team. We spent $100m on the first weekend of free agency to improve the team. For the first time since the team arrived we hired a new head coach and GM in the same year to drastically change our football operation. We have spent the past three years building up our regional pre season television network to broadcast our games in 12 markets and 9 states surrounding St. Louis. We now have weekly shows on every major network in St. Louis, a project we started from scratch in 2010. Every home game since 2010 has been televised, including the preseason. Last year we spent nearly 5,000 hours in the community between players, coaches, staff and cheerleaders and we were named Philanthropic Organization of the Year in St. Louis in 2010, the first sports team to win that award in the 35 year history of the award. Does that sound like a team that isn't focused on getting in right in St. Louis for the long-term?
Logan, Norman. OK.
1:10 PM ETMr. Demoff: What are your plans to improve this team even further in the offseason and months to come? Other than players staying healthy, what do you think are the short term limitations this team has?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comLogan, I think the most exciting thing for this club is we are going to have a "normal" offseason for the first time in years. Over the past few years, the offseasons have looked like this 2008 -- Off. Coordinator change 2009 -- HC change/coordinator change 2010 -- Ownership change 2011 -- NFL Lockout (coordinator change) 2012 -- HC/GM Change (Coordinator change) I think our short term limitation is the fact that we are the youngest team in the NFL and that these players need to keep getting experience. But I'm optimistic that we will have a full offseason without any major changes for the first time in over 5 years. That will allow our young players a chance to develop within the same system and bring some continuity to our organization. We will get another draft with high picks to infuse talent and have the ability to add some players in free agency. We have stability at ownership, head coach, coordinator and general manager. That's what excites me the most, the chance to develop the youngest team in football. We have a really good coaching staff that will do wonders with these young players given a "normal" offseason.
Russ, in Phoenix
1:15 PM ETHello, Mr. Demoff I have seen some teams (mostly collegiate) with helmets that are matte instead of glossy. Matte blue with glossy golden horns.... think that would look awesome! Your thoughts?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comRuss, if I didn't know better I would think this question is a plant because there is a member of our front office who is a BIG believer in matte helmets and always wonders when they are going to make it to the NFL. Maybe we can be the first team to do it? If this is Tony, get back to work.
Tom, Huntington Beach, CA
1:18 PM ETHi Kevin. I have been a Rams fan since the mid-60's. How is the relationship working out so far between you, Les, Fish and Stan?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comThe working relationship to date has been great and I think the results of that shows in the progress we are making on the field. I think you need four things to have a great organization -- an owner, a head coach, a general manager and a QB. The rest of the pieces fall into place if you have that recipe. Fortunately for Rams fans, we have all of those pieces in place and I expect great things moving forward. Mr. Kroenke's vision for what the Rams can become is what brought Jeff to St. Louis and an opportunity to work with Jeff and Mr. Kroenke is what excited Les about the job. The fact that they all share a vision about building a great St. Louis team unites them and they are also three of the most competitive people I know.
1:22 PM ETKevin, Can I email you with a couple of thoughts and ideas concerning fans complaints about long entry times getting into the dome.
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comJohn, my email (email@example.com) is always available for all kind of fan comments. I understand our fans complaints about the ingress/egress problems at the Edward Jones Dome, and it is ridiculous that the line was up to 30 minutes long to get in to our Packers game. We will continue to try to come up with new ways to move people in and out of the building, but to be honest, much of the problem has to do with the stadium design. In fact, one of the great things about having an open dialogue with our fans is that I know the time it takes to get into the building is one of the most frequent complaints we get, so we gave that issue to our architects when we developed our first tier plan in May. That was the primary driver between creating two grand entrances on either side of the building -- to get people in faster.
Mike R., Jackson, MO
1:26 PM ETThanks for taking our questions. It is always good to hear your remarks and I really appreciate your enthusiasm for your job. Many of us on these chat boards are concerned about thr future and about having an NFL team in St. Louis. Is there anything anyone can do to reassure Rams fams that the long-term goal is to stay in St. Louis.
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comMike, there isn't a single day that the 125 members of this organization aren't focused on two things -- winning football games and giving our fans a better gameday experience in St. Louis. That is our driving passion and what makes all of us excited to come to work. We have great fans and we owe our fans a winner and a team you can be proud of both on and off the field, a team that is fan-friendly, community-oriented and accessible. If we do our job right, I have no doubt that the Edward Jones Dome will be 66,000 loud and strong and there will be no doubts about St. Louis as a great NFL market. We haven't done our job right over the past few years and I promise you we will get it right.
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VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comI swear, if we get one more question about adding a receiver...
Jerry, University City or Section 428
1:33 PM ETI'm a patient and proud fan, I think anyone that made it through the Tony Banks years is allowed to say that. Having you and coach Fisher makes me excited for our future. No question, just thanks for the progress!
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comJerry, I take it you won't be voting for Tony Banks during as the starting quarterback for our 75th anniversary team. We are excited about our progress and look forward to a great future, Rams fans deserve it for what you have put up with over the past few years. Speaking of the 75th anniversary team, I hope all our fans are excited about the upcoming December 2nd game against the 49ers when we honor our the all-time Rams 75th anniversary team. Fans now have the chance to vote on who should be on that team, there will be a party on Friday night to join the Rams legends coming back for the game and we are launching new apps in the upcoming weeks as part of the celebration. It should be a great weekend.
mike, west springfield
1:36 PM ETIs next year offically the year the rams make it to the playoffs
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comI don't think anybody has given up hope that we can make it this year. Four divisional games left and a 2-0 start in the division give us hope.
1:37 PM ETHi Kevin, I've been impressed with the season so far and the Rams have made many strides. What would be a success to you record-wise for the season? Have the Rams exceeded that?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comRobert, our season will be a success if we can look back and say that our young players improved and that we got better from the start of the season to the end of the season. There is no record that assures us of a good season, but right now every pundit and fan thinks the arrow is pointing up for the future. We need to continue to build on that momentum and develop our younger players. The 2012 draft class needs to keep making plays and contributing in new ways, including players who haven't been on the field as much in the first half of the season. The 2011 draft class needs to keep improving. Our team needs to keep getting better and prove that we can be considered a good team, not just a competitive team.
Justin, Jefferson City
1:41 PM ETI read it somewhere before, but I can't remember the answer. How did you get into the job that you currently have?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comMonster.com
Aaron Ross, Cadet, MO
1:43 PM ETI've always loved the rams since they came to St louis, but, I think I'm speaking the mind of most fans. When can we expect some news on the lease situation and some confirmation that you will be in ST louis for many years to come? Because I miss the days of just worrying about football on Sunday's...
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comAaron, unfortunately I think the lease situation may take some time to unfold, but that's not a bad thing. The goal of this process has to be getting a first tier facility that takes the question where the Rams will be in the future off the table once and for all. Then we can make sure all of the focus is on what binds us all, our passion for the Rams and the games on Sunday.
1:45 PM ETHey, Mr. Demoff. Thanks for chatting with us. Are you around the team much on the practice field and in the locker room? If so, what's the attitude like going into this weekend's game?
VP of Football Operations and COO Kevin Demoff, Stlouisrams.comDavid, this is a great question to finish on. As I type, this I'm looking outside at the practice field and our players are going through one of their most spirited practices of the year. The team was very disappointed in its performance against the Patriots and the mood in the locker room was one of downright anger. They have had a great week of practice and put on the pads and hit hard yesterday. They are excited about playing a division rival and a chance to stay perfect in the NFC West. Traveling to SF provides this team with a great opportunity to show the progress we've made this season. We all can't wait for Sunday and then to come back home in front of our fans against the Jets next weekend. Thanks for all of the questions! Kevin