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Burwell Says Rams are Heading in the Right Direction

Bryan Burwell writes today that with getting a Monday night game in 2011, it’s a sign of progress for the Rams that they are heading in the right direction.

On Monday, the NFL recognized that the Rams have escaped from the television irrelevance. For the first time since 2006, league schedule-makers put the Rams on the Monday Night Football schedule, not once but twice for the 2011 regular season. A Week 2 date in New York against the Giants will be on ESPN, and the Rams make another appearance in December at Seattle. That signifies that in the opinion of the NFL image makers, the Rams have upgraded significantly from laughing stock to the verge of appetizing.

This is one of the surest signs that the Rams have arrived at that wonderfully fascinating athletic purgatory, suspended somewhere between football heaven and hell. The rapid jump from the 1-15 nightmare of 2009 to the surprising 7-9 finish in 2010 shows that this franchise is well on its way to a potentially bright future.

Another sign of that progress?

General manager Billy Devaney isn’t holding onto all his selections in next week’s NFL Draft like they’re irreplaceable precious metals. In recent days, he has sent out smoke signals around the league that he is in the mood to trade up from his No.14 position in the first round if it means landing a difference-making player.

“You know how it was around here,” the GM said as he sat in an office looking out on the empty Rams Park practice fields. “In the past, we had so many needs to fill and had to find a way to put this foundation together. We couldn’t afford to trade away any of our picks because we had so many needs, so many holes. Then again, in years past, there also was no need to move up because unfortunately we were already at No. 1 or No. 2. But things are a little better now. I’m not saying now we’re just one player away from putting this thing together. But on the same token I feel good about our foundation. So if (a potential trade) was something reasonable — I’m not saying a high pick — I would feel more willing to do it than in years past.”

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