IRVINE — On Dec. 12, as Kevin Demoff called a news conference to explain the Rams’ reasons for firing Jeff Fisher, Les Snead continued on with his duties as general manager, coordinating the Rams draft meetings, crafting the draft board, envisioning a future for a team that wasn’t sure it wanted a future with him.
That day, as questions turned to his general manager, Demoff was frank. Everyone would be under the microscope. Snead, included.
“I think it would be a mistake right now to say we’re satisfied with where we’re at on a personnel side and to ensure that Les would be back,” said Demoff, the Rams’ executive vice president of football operations.
But there he was on Thursday, back for the start of his sixth training camp with the Rams, exalting the Rams’ new coach, praising new players, ushering in a new era with his familiar Southern drawl. Seven months after his future was in doubt, Snead was on the field in Irvine looking forward, the turmoil of last winter firmly in the rear-view.
The mood around the Rams has been particularly sunny these last six months, as enthusiasm abounds for Fisher’s 31-year-old replacement and the all-star staff he assembled. Snead and Sean McVay have been downright bromantic at times during that stretch, their relationship so far a far cry from the flagrant passive aggression of last season.
“I want to be able to do this with them for a long time,” McVay said in March.
If football games were won by positive vibes, the Rams would be well on their way to an NFC West title. But the reality is that while the new coach and his new system have inspired confidence, three key starters are no longer on the roster, and outside of left tackle, no position is obviously improved over last season. Overall, this year’s roster isn’t substantially better — if it’s better at all — than last year’s inferior outfit. And while the disappointment of 2016 is currently on ice, losses have a way of turning the heat up…