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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    5 Impressions on Spags

    By Bernie Miklasz

    Many of you saw or heard Steve Spanuoloís first news conference as the Ramsí new head coach.

    I also just had my first one-on-one interview with Spagnuolo and here are my initial impressions of the man on a personal level:

    1. HE IS ABOVE ALL ELSE, SINCERE: I donít sense a lot of fluff with this guy. He is naturally personable and down to earth. But heís real. He isnít trying to charm or schmooze anyone to try to create an image to play to the public. He seems very natural, and comfortable in his own skin. I usually can spot the phonies, but Spagnuolo is anchored. He knows who he is, and knows who he isnít. I donít think heís going to be putting on any shows to score quick points with the fans and the media. Looking at what players have said about him in Philadelphia and New York, this seems to be one of his strongest points. He was a straight-up coach, and the players knew that they could believe what he told them. That credibility in the locker room is important.

    2. HE HAS PRESENCE: Heís a confident guy. He doesnít brag on himself, but you can tell that he believes in what he does, and that he believes in his own ability to do a good job as a head coach, and that he wonít be meek or shaky around his players. Theyíll spot that weakness right away; itís why Scott Linehan never won the locker room. Spagnuolo has that understated confidence going for him. Heís a secure man. You wonít see this guy stroking his own ego, but heís pleased to be Steve Spagnuolo. He has a lot of faith in Steve Spagnuolo. He believes that heís the right man for this job, so letís get to work. This side to his personality comes through when you talk to him. But on the other hand, heís quick to make a joke about himself at his own expense, so thereís a touch of self-deprecating humor that works well. You get the feeling: this guy knows who he is, and what heís doing. Iíve been around a bunch of coaches, and I can usually (not always) tell when a guy is a lightweight. I donít get that impression with the new coach. Spagnuolo also has a good stare, a good glare. Heíll put that to effective use.

    3. FAITH IS IMPORTANT TO HIM: I know some folks donít care for that. And hey, thatís up to you. I donít think Spagnuolo is going to be running around preaching to people. I donít think heís going to turn the Rams into a God Squad ó and by that, I mean that he wonít be imposing his religious beliefs on players, and that he wonít be favoring players who describe themselves as Christians. He made that clear to me. But itís obvious that Spagnuolo is a proud Christian. When he signs an autograph, he notes his favorite verse of scripture: Hebrews 11:1. And he relies on his faith to get him through the tough times. He draws strength from it. It doesnít matter what I think, but to me, thatís a plus. Because Ö

    4. THOUGH INTENSE AND FEISTY, SPAGNUOLO HAS A LOT OF INNER CALM: When you see him on the sidelines, heís intense. Heís animated. You can tell by his body language that heís completely locked into the game, and his energy level is soaring. But Rams fans who want a yeller or screamer will be disappointed. Spagnuolo said that in his past NFL coaching stops (Philly, NY) he won the players over by remaining calm and consistent during crises. He was a first-time defensive coordinator in 2007, and in the first two games the Giants defense gave up 80 points. The NY papers were going crazy; fans and media already were questioning whether the Giants had erred in hiring him. But instead of freaking out, or throwing players under the bus, Spagnuolo maintained his poise. He reminded the players that his defensive system was a proven one, and all they had to do was continue doing what he told them to do (strategically), and stick together, and not point fingers, and not lose their heads, and everything would soon begin to click. And he was right. A few months later, that same Giants defense held the mighty Patriots to 14 points and 274 yards in the Giantsí Super Bowl upset. So donít expect Spagnuolo to be ripping players to the media, or to throw a good tantrum for the TV cameras. Thatís not his style. And his style ó of being steady and keeping the focus on the team sticking together ó is appealing to players.

    5. SPAGNUOLO AND HIS WIFE WILL BE INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: No, heís never heard of toasted ravioli, and he hasnít eaten any. But he canít wait to visit The Hill. But itís obvious to me that Spagnuolo will do all that he can to be part of the community. He wants to get involved in worthy projects. He wants to reach out to fans. He wants to be visible. Of course, coaching consumes a lot of hours, and the coach canít be running around all of the time, doing non-football stuff. But youíll see him out there. And when Spagnuolo is cranked up, full blast, on football Ö he has an outstanding partner in his wife, Maria. She told me that in Philadelphia and New York, they were involved in helping out group homes for youths. They do not have any children, so the Spagnuolos decided they could do their share to help other children by donating their time and helping to raise money for the homes that assist troubled kids who have been abandoned or neglected. Maria said she looks forward to getting started here.

    Those are my personal impressions. The football stuff can wait; plenty of time to talk schemes and strategy. On the first day, I was more curious about the man.

    Thanks for readingÖ


  2. #2
    bigredman Guest

    Re: 5 Impressions on Spags

    Interesting observation. You often can't get much from a press conference, but I found Spag's to be revealing, and Bernie's interview pretty much echoes my impression of the man. I too often cringe when someone mentions faith right out of the box. Those that point to the sky after scoring a touchdown, or begin every interview thanking a Deity for getting them a win frankly pisses me off. However, faith can be a powerful tool for self reflection and examination, and such meditation is a positive whether inspired spiritually or intellectually. It tells me there substance to this man. I can't wait to see how he goes about making the Rams his own.

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