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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    02/02/2009

    As Rams fans watched Mike Tomlin and Ken Whisenhunt coach in the Super Bowl on Sunday, they wondered if Steve Spagnuolo could work the same magic with their downtrodden team.

    Young head coaches are all the rage in the NFL these days. Tomlin and Whisenhunt advanced the cause of top assistant coaches across pro football.


    Their success this season with the Steelers and Cardinals inspired owners and general managers to zero in on emerging leaders instead of the old pros. Spagnuolo got the Rams job and Raheem Morris, Jim Schwartz, Josh McDaniels and Rex Ryan filled other openings in the league.

    (One more young coach could get the call. Fiery Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley could fill the Chiefs vacancy.)

    Morris and McDaniels will be younger than some players they coach. Like Spagnuolo, they were hired to energize their organizations.

    “We’re certainly in a cycle where the new coach -– as opposed to somebody like myself, or maybe a college coach that comes up -– (is popular),” former Ravens coach Brian Billick said in Tampa last week. “This is probably the youngest this league has ever been in terms in coaches. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.”

    With accomplished veterans like Bill Cowher, Marty Schottenheimer, Jim Fassel and Billick out of the game -– and coaching stars Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden. Tony Dungy, Herm Edwards and Mike Holmgren exiting jobs during the offseason -– there has been quite a brain drain in the NFL.

    The movement to younger coaches hasn’t been a total success. Scott Linehan flopped miserably when he got his chance here.

    So did Cam Cameron in Miami. Mike Nolan got nothing done in San Francisco and young Lane Kiffin became overwhelmed in Oakland. Being younger didn’t help them relate to the players any better.

    “It’s in vogue right now to talk about the youth of coaches and being able to relate to today’s athlete,” Tomlin said last Monday at a news conference. “I don’t know if I buy into the concept that today’s athlete is different than they were 20, 30 or 40 years ago.

    “I think that people who have a way with people and communicate with people, teach people and can convey messages to people, they can do it at 35, 45, 55 or even 71 as in the case with (Steelers defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau.”

    Still, owners and GMs marvel at what Tomlin accomplished with the storied Steelers franchise and how Whisenhunt transformed the also-ran Cardinals into NFC champions. Tony Sparano (Miami), Mike Smith (Atlanta) and John Harbaugh (Baltimore) were also big success stories last season.

    The Rams braintrust believes Spagnuolo, the former Giants defensive coordinator, can have the same impact here. His hiring drew rave reviews from industry insiders and experts.

    “Steve Spagnuolo, his abilities are very apparent,” Billick said. “Excellent coach.

    “It really is about developing a partnership. The fact he and Bill (Devaney) know one another and can develop that partnership and kind of rebuild that team going forward, I think it’s going to be a good marriage.

    “Even though it’s all the NFL, each job requires a different skill set based on team, based on ownership, based on management, based on the fans. Some guys are better suited than others. It’s not like one size fits all.”

    Increasingly, though, owners believe that one age group fits all. Like Billick said, it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.


  2. #2
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    I don't know why people are giving Tomlin so much credit. He won with a team that had won just 3 years ago. He's not like Whisenhunt, Mike Smith, Sparano or John Harbaugh who turned around losing teams. He is just winning with the team that Cower made.

    I just hope that people don't expect too much from Spagnuolo because of all of these fast turnarounds. People might start to doubt him if the Rams don't make the playoffs but it usually takes time to turn a franchise around so people should be patient with Spags.

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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    I am not expecting a full turn around. Hell, we'd be lucky if we got 8-8.

    However, as fans, we saw a few coaches turn their teams around in one season, and we want that for our team. I'm more than sure that Miami fans didn't think they would do that. Neither Atlanta. We just have to wait and see how this plays out.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmk321 View Post
    I don't know why people are giving Tomlin so much credit. He won with a team that had won just 3 years ago. He's not like Whisenhunt, Mike Smith, Sparano or John Harbaugh who turned around losing teams. He is just winning with the team that Cower made.

    I just hope that people don't expect too much from Spagnuolo because of all of these fast turnarounds. People might start to doubt him if the Rams don't make the playoffs but it usually takes time to turn a franchise around so people should be patient with Spags.
    Yep, another big difference is the Steeler's organization. That thing is a machine and they just replace a part here and there when it leaves, they don't make changes to systems and philosophies or any of that and they really haven't since Chuck Noll was hired.

    Tomlin is a plug and play Head Coach there. He didn't pick his coordinators or assistants, he doesn't select players or get involved in the scouting. When Cowher retired and Whisenhunt left for the Cardinals, they promoted Bruce Arians to OC and Dick LeBeau remained as the DC. When Mularkey left to coach the Bills, they promoted Whisenhunt from within as well to take hsi place as the OC. That team has been running the same systems and emphasizing the same philosophies on both offense and defense forever. This all happens through the front office. They plugged Tomlin into a situation where everything was already there waiting for him. All he's had to do was be the HC.

    Don't get me wrong, Tomlin has done a good job in the role, but it's hardly comparable to what Spags is doing and has to do.

  5. #5
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Why not? We finally have an actual GM with football acumen, along with a head coach who shares his vision, and a director of pro personnel .. AND .. NO MORE SHAW OR ZIGMUNT !!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    i dont want a quick fix...i want something that is more sustainable..something we had the peices in place for when D.V. was at the helm...only hopefully this time we wont self-destruct.

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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    Why not? We finally have an actual GM with football acumen, along with a head coach who shares his vision, and a director of pro personnel .. AND .. NO MORE SHAW OR ZIGMUNT !!!!!!!!!
    These are all the reasons I have for being excited about this season. There is a massive difference between building a franchise and plugging holes with guys you've heard of or the announcer loved on TV. The Rams have routinely filled positions with guys who were great on other teams but didn't fill the need on this team. Recipe for disaster. Hopefully those years are over.

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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Pardon me. Honestly, I've become so cynical I see any attempt at positivity as just more hype. Maybe it was the superbowl with days and days of blah, blah, blah. Or maybe it has been years and years of desparately spun new beginnings and their blah, blah, blah.

    Count me as the first to say I'm weary. I'm sorry, but I've about had it. I don't need one more Moses coming down from the mountain.

    What I need is something concrete right now. I need words. But I need real words; as in factual. Words like "Today a suprise press conference was held at RAMS park to announce the trade for _________ ".
    Kiss my ass, football gods

  9. #9
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    True, I aggree todays Steelers are leftovers from Cowher era...and Even Switzer won a SB with Jimmy Johnsons left overs. So coaches are lucky to take over teams that already have the tools in place.

    Personally going 7-9 will be an accomplishment in 2009 for the Rams, especially if in the loss column the Rams put up a good fight. Seriously, there are just too many weakness to be address on both sides of the ball for the Rams to fix in one season.

    Its likely assuming Spag makes really good player choices and gets the Rams to forum an identity as a team 2010 can be a very interesting year

  10. #10
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    I think I'll wait and see what happens after free agency and the draft, then I will make my predictions. As of now, it's not certain whether the Rams can make that complete turnaround, but I do like our chances with the new coach and GM. Go Rams!

  11. #11
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Can this team make the turn and start heading up stream? Yes, I am optimistic but I will not predict any wins or losses. What I want out of this team & new staff is to see significant improvement on both sides of the ball. Such as protecting our QB, keeping him upright & giving him time to go thru his reads. Our O-line blowing open holes that a mack truck could drive thru, a defensive line that can actually put pressure on opposing QB's, a defense that can stop the run with consistency and most important of all a defense that can laydown a punishing hit, knocking the snot out of the opponent & make him think twice about coming back to your side of the field. O and lets not forget lets see who wants to stand up and lead this team on the field.
    When all the above happens the wins will come & then we can have the respect that we so desire as Rams fans.

  12. #12
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    yeah that 1 word... respect.

    thats the thing i want most out of next season.

  13. #13
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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Yes I believe he can it may not happen over night he has to get rid of the dead weight on the team and the team has to find some new talent. I don’t know the time table but I think it will get done.
    :ramlogo:

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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    True, I aggree todays Steelers are leftovers from Cowher era...and Even Switzer won a SB with Jimmy Johnsons left overs. So coaches are lucky to take over teams that already have the tools in place.
    Right, and even Martz did it with Vermeil's leftovers.

    Oh wait......

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    Re: Can it happen here with Spagnuolo?

    Quote Originally Posted by HornIt View Post
    Right, and even Martz did it with Vermeil's leftovers.

    Oh wait......
    I agree with that. But then again I was missing Mad Mike the last couple of seasons, he made it more interesting when we were losing than old lineham.

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