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Thread: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ,
    Friday, November 11, 2011 11:45 am

    * A day doesn't go by without tweets or e-mails aimed in my direction, asking me why the Rams haven't fired head coach Steve Spagnuolo. No. 1, I don't own the team. If you'd give me a few billion dollars I'd be happy to purchase the franchise from Stan Kroenke. He'll ultimately make the decisions on GM Billy Devaney and Spagnuolo. It's Kroenke's business. But he isn't going to fire Spagnuolo during the middle of the season, so I sincerely and politely suggest that we settle down a bit and just ride out the remaining games on the schedule. There's no use in getting lathered up about something, an in-season coaching change, that isn't going to happen

    * Can Spags save his job? I'm in the minority, but I think he can. Please understand that I'm not defending Spagnuolo or saying that he should be retained. Again, no decision will be made until the end of the season, so after eight more games we'll be able to have a more meaningful discussion about the pros and cons of keeping Spags. But I certainly don't rule out the possibility of Spagnuolo being retained. Spagnuolo has a year left on his contract. Kroenke probably doesn't want to be paying off one coach while hiring a new HC.

    * If the owner is inclined to give Spagnuolo the benefit of the doubt, he can come up with reasons. A disrupted offseason ... a remarkably harsh early-season schedule .... having to install a new and complex offense without much time ... horrible injuries that pretty much wiped out the team's supply of cornerbacks. If Kroenke wants to be kind, he can cite several factors to justify the poor season. He can cut Spagnuolo a break. Kroenke can even suggest that the organization's problems are above the coaching level. Kroenke could come to believe that the offense will improve dramatically in 2012 after QB Sam Bradford and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have a full year, a full offseason, of preparation. You should always keep this in mind: Kroenke wanted to hire Spagnuolo. He was on board with the decision. Again, I don't rule anything out here.

    * This much is certain: In their remaining eight games, Spagnuolo and the Rams have to give Kroenke reasons to stay the course in 2012. If the Rams continue to embarrass themselves, if the losses continue to pile up, if the coach continues to make questionable in-game decisions, then we'd have to assume the owner's urge to give Spags a break will fade. Kroenke won't be able to rehab the coach's image/credibility in a way that satisfies an angry fan base. In that scenario, retaining the HC would be awful for ticket sales for 2012. (As is, that will be a big challenge.)

    * Going into Sunday's game at Cleveland, Spagnuolo is 9-31 as the team's head coach. It's just a hideously bad record. That's all there is to it. We can, however, put it into a little more clearer context. It was easy to defend Spagnuolo's first season; in 2009 the guy took over something that may have been worse than an expansion team. Any coach would have gotten crushed as the boss of the 2009 Rams, having to go into games with such a terrible roster. In his second season, Spagnuolo went 7-9, which was a surprise. It earned him praise, locally and nationally. The Rams seemingly were on track to become a playoff team in 2011. But obviously things have taken a horrible turn. It started late last season. In early December, the Rams moved to a 6-6 record with a win at Arizona, then fell apart and lost three of their final four games. They seemed rattled and soft in a season-ending loss at Seattle, and the deterioration has continued.

    * The bottom line is this: the Rams have lost 10 of their last 12 regular-season games. They have been outscored 302-157 in those 12 games. They've been outgained 4,399 to 3,583. They have thrown five TD passes in the 12 games, and given up 21. And in a parity-filled NFL where close games are the norm, the Rams' 10 losses have been by an average of 16 points.

    * Over the last 12 games, the Rams have gone 1-9 with Bradford as the starter. (He missed two games with the high ankle sprain.) In the 10 games Bradford has 4 TD passes and 8 INTs. He's been sacked 35 times, and punished repeatedly behind a loose offensive line. Bradford's passer rating over his last 10 games is 68.7. On third-down passes, Bradford has completed 45 percent over this stretch. And this, more than anything, may hurt Spags' chances of keeping the job. By going 1-15 in 2009, the Rams received a gift, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft. That was Bradford. He had an impressive rookie season, but has been unable to take the team to the next level. But make no mistake about this: Bradford hasn't failed the Rams. The Rams are failing Bradford. And this simply cannot go on.

    * Almost as disturbing is the collapse of the Rams defense. Remember, this is Spags' specialty. This is why he got the head-coach gig. The Rams played very well on defense last season, better than people realized at the time. They were one of the best third-down units in the league. They had one of the most consistent pass rushes. They didn't give up a bunch of big plays in the passing game. But this season, the defense has really backed up. I won't bore you with a lot of numbers, but the Rams are near the bottom or at the bottom of virtually all key defensive rankings. To me, the disappearing defense has been the most surprising development of the season.

    * So Spagnuolo may be up against it; hard to imagine his team making sudden and dramatic improvement in so many areas in a short time. But the Rams have some winnable games on the schedule, starting with Sunday in Cleveland. The mission for Spagnuolo and the Rams: win a few games the rest of the way, and give Kroenke something to think about.

    Thanks for reading ...

    -Bernie


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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    I have no concrete numbers to back this up, but it seems like the first time the pupil coaches against the teacher, the teacher wins. Be it luck, be it a knowledge of the team, be it the pride factor, the guy who's in his maiden voyage as a head coach usually comes up on the short end of the battle. While some might view this as just another game on the schedule (and not a very good one at that), I feel the Cleveland game is HUGE. After the disaster in Arizona, if Spags loses to Mike Shurmur and allows the Rams to lose to a poor Cleveland team, he's all but orchestrated his own firing.

    Bernie is right: Spags needs to make a case for himself if he wants to save his job. he already failed one test last week. Time to cowboy up.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Bernie hit the nail on the head with this one, and this will be another one of the last nails in Spag's coffin if he loses this game.

    Bradford needs to step it up because he is not raising his level of play. Heck, this whole OL needs to pass block better!!!

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Sorry, Bernie, but Spags is going to have to win more than "a few games" down the stretch. I'm figuring that he needs to win 6 of the last 8 to finish at the same record as last year's 7 - 9 to have a viable chance at saving his job.

    Even with that said I would be shocked if some if not most of his staff of assistant coaches are not let go post haste should he return next year.

    Problem is that 4 of the 8 remaining games include potential playoff and Division leading teams like the Whiners 2X, the Steelers, and the Bengals. This makes this Sunsday game against the Browns and, heck, the rest of November against the Seasquawks and Cards absolutely crucial if Mr. Spagnuolo wants to remain the HC of the Rams.

    One other possibility that could move in Spags' favor is if the month of December the Rams play against teams that are already in the playoffs, and we catch them resting their starters or something akin to that. This could lead to some wins that we would not have ordinarily achieved. Having said that if we don't beat our fellow bottom-feeders now all of that becomes moot.

    If Steve Spagnuolo is going to have a chance to retain his job he MUST beat the Browns this weekend. Time is running out for him.....

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Spags has to win games to keep his job?

    Thanks for the newsflash
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    I certainly agree with this assessment:

    But make no mistake about this: Bradford hasn't failed the Rams. The Rams are failing Bradford. And this simply cannot go on.
    For anything to materlize into solutions for the Rams, the O-line has got to get a lot better. How many times have we seen defenders shoot the gap and drop Jackson behind the line? Of course, going three and out so much wears on the defense. A bad o-line hurts so much on a team.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ,
    Friday, November 11, 2011 11:45 am

    ** The bottom line is this: the Rams have lost 10 of their last 12 regular-season games. They have been outscored 302-157 in those 12 games. They've been outgained 4,399 to 3,583. They have thrown five TD passes in the 12 games, and given up 21. And in a parity-filled NFL where close games are the norm, the Rams' 10 losses have been by an average of 16 points.


    *-Bernie
    Giving Spags a hall pass for 2009 seems reasonable but the 2-10 record in last 12 games for me, seals the deal unless there is drastic turnaround. 5 TD paases to 21? Outscored by 816 points in last 12 games.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    At the moment, to me, its looking more and more like Spag's future, will rest on the arm, of Sam Bradford.? I believe Sam is the only player on the team, with the capability, of pulling him out of this mess.? Even if Sam does come alive, it still wouldn't mask, what a poor job Despags have done, with this roster.?

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    The biggest question I have is:

    Is Bradford who we thought he was?

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    The biggest question I have is:

    Is Bradford who we thought he was?
    Its killing me to be honest. I still think he will come good though,?

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Quote Originally Posted by macrammer View Post
    Giving Spags a hall pass for 2009 seems reasonable but the 2-10 record in last 12 games for me, seals the deal unless there is drastic turnaround. 5 TD paases to 21? Outscored by 816 points in last 12 games.
    Spags finally has the defense playing well despite some major adversity, but it's too little too late if the rest of the team doesn't improve and get some wins. He's a head coach, not a defensive coordinator and will be judged accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    The biggest question I have is:

    Is Bradford who we thought he was?
    If we thought Bradford would be a miracle worker who could single-handedly produce wins despite all odds, then no. If we thought he could be a difference maker who had the ability to progress into an elite performer with reasonable support, then yes. IMO, his rookie season proved he has "it". I've seen nothing to make me change my opinion that he is a special football player.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Spags is going to finish the season somewhere around 25 games under .500 as a head coach. He's boring and predictable. Of course he should be fired.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    I want to see the Oline this week.....maybe the changes will do something today..

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Spags has to win ..

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post

    If we thought Bradford would be a miracle worker who could single-handedly produce wins despite all odds, then no. If we thought he could be a difference maker who had the ability to progress into an elite performer with reasonable support, then yes. IMO, his rookie season proved he has "it". I've seen nothing to make me change my opinion that he is a special football player.

    I think the jury is still out. These games are as important to Bradford as they are to Spags.

    Bradford pretty much only threw short passes all of the 2010 season. The Rams had a chance the last game of the season to go to the post season and both Sags and Bradford came up short in my opinion. This season Bradford only has driven the team to FOUR touchdowns in SIX games. Most qbs would have lost their job already over that. Bradford being a first overall pick hasn't. Barring further injuries he has some WR options the rest of the season and a healthy running back. If Bradford can't throw down the field with some consistantcy and get the team in the end zone more than once a game then the Rams and Bradford are in trouble going forward.

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