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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    It's Early, But Spags Has Shown Potential

    It's early, but Spags has shown potential

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/06/2009

    Having learned a few embarrassing lessons along the way, I'm hesitant to hype rookie NFL head coaches. I don't get worked up over what happens in training camp. So I'll hold off on trying to nominate new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Let's see him in a real game. Let's see what happens when the injuries cut into an already thin roster, or when the squad is shaken by the inevitable losing streak. Let's see how the young coach responds if players question him or ignite a controversy. Let's see if he grows rabbit ears or develops overly sensitive skin when there's a feeding frenzy among frustrated fans or media.

    So what do we make of the Rams and Spagnuolo a week before the regular-season opener in Seattle?

    To state the obvious: The roster still has gaping holes, and only time and better judgment will fill them. Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney didn't create this roster; they inherited much of it. And they are turning it over as fast as they can.

    Quality, intelligent leadership eventually will take the Rams higher. So what about Spagnuolo as a leader?

    I haven't seen any signs of panic. Spagnuolo's stability is an attribute considering that three NFL head coaches (Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Buffalo) freaked out last week and fired their offensive coordinators.

    Spagnuolo is demanding but sincere and that earns respect. He's run a peaceful, orderly and businesslike camp. That may not have people rushing to the ticket windows, but this is a welcome change for an organization that was undermined by constant dysfunction. And compared to some other rookie coaches around the NFL who are yapping a lot or trying to project some tough-guy persona, Spagnuolo seems comfortable with who he is. He doesn't seem to feel a need to put on a show, or to draw attention to himself. I don't see Spagnuolo firing ego bullets in some misplaced display of authority.

    Here's the most important thing: Spagnuolo has gotten the players to embrace his approach. So far — and I repeat, more severe challenges are coming — Spagnuolo is receiving the necessary commitment from his players. That was a constant (and failed) struggle for Scott Linehan, the previous rookie head coach brought in by the old regime at Rams Park.

    Spagnuolo is connecting.

    "I think we've got a bunch of hungry guys," Spagnuolo said. "I think it's good to be hungry. It's a hungry football team that wants to be a team. We've talked a lot about it and I think the guys have embraced it. At least their actions and the attitudes and what comes out verbally says that to me. So if we can rally around that, that would be good."

    That's why Spagnuolo thanked the squad in the team meeting the evening before they faced Kansas City in the final preseason game. He asked a lot of them in a physical camp, and they gave him what he wanted. That's where leadership begins: getting players to play for you.

    "That means a great deal," Spagnuolo said. "I thanked them the other night. The night before the game for what they did. Back in offseason program, right through training camp, it was a new training camp. It was a different hotel and we're here. New staff, new this or that, and they didn't skip a beat. They really bought in to it."

    Friday at Rams Park, Spagnuolo took the time to express gratitude to his staff. They will be vital to his success, or failure.

    "It all starts with a good staff," he said. "I think it's a staff of character — that is how we built it and I think it is a cohesive staff. I think that is important. I think the players feel that. (If) we're all together on the same page, it permeates into the locker room."

    And yet Spagnuolo has the awareness to realize that this means little unless he can maintain that loyalty over the next 16 games.

    "I'm perfectly aware that all of this is a honeymoon period," Spagnuolo said. "That's not lost on me. The real challenge is upcoming. It will be here before you know it. No team goes through 16 games without some adversity."

    Miracle fixes?

    Bold promises?

    Not this coach.

    Spagnuolo is old-fashioned in a way. He's all about energy and enthusiasm and being earnest. In terms of personal style, think of a young Dick Vermeil. Spagnuolo knows it's going to take a lot of hard work to turn the Rams around. And that's what this coach is all about: rolling up his sleeves and getting to work, and convincing his players to join the effort. I don't know what's ahead, but this is a good place to start.


  2. #2
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    Re: It's Early, But Spags Has Shown Potential

    It seems that everything I see, read, or hear about Spags gives me confidence he can right this ship.

    It will be a process, to be sure, but I am tired of the prognosticators giving automatic wins to teams the Rams play any given week. I even read where one said the Rams are worse than the Lions. OUCH!

    So here's to guarded optimism and a return to Rams Glory!
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

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    Re: It's Early, But Spags Has Shown Potential

    Quote Originally Posted by ramsanddodgers View Post
    It seems that everything I see, read, or hear about Spags gives me confidence he can right this ship.

    It will be a process, to be sure, but I am tired of the prognosticators giving automatic wins to teams the Rams play any given week. I even read where one said the Rams are worse than the Lions. OUCH!

    So here's to guarded optimism and a return to Rams Glory!
    I'm too, "tired of the prognosticators" and I also have confidence that Spags can turn this ship in the right direct, sooner than later.

    I bet Spags will want to come out and PUNCH the SeaChickens in the mouth, right off the bat! I feel he's the type of Coach that'll send the message....NO MORE BS! Look for Spags to drastically change the Rams image. (NO MORE PUSHOVERS)

    CONGRATULATIONS ramsanddodgers on 1,900 POSTS! KEEP IT GOING!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: It's Early, But Spags Has Shown Potential

    I think the article is spot on. The early returns on Spagnuolo are promising, as he's run a tough, physical camp and has guys believing in a system and sharing his vision. Gone is some of the dead weight from last year and a lot of the malaise that infected Rams Park and the franchise in 2008. The old saying says that "A fish stinks from the head down", and no where was this better illustrated than in the Rams organization the past several seasons. Front office strife and ineffective leadership from the head coach were big reasons for the weekly circus we suffered through each Sunday.

    Like all head coaches, he will be judged on the record. But for now, it's about playing respectably, being competitive and building a winner. That starts by establishing expectations and accountability. The Rams have some obvious holes, but recent history tells us that this team doesn't have to be down for long.

    I've said it multiple times previously; I sincerely believe that Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo are the right guys to orchestrate this turnaround and return the Rams to glory.

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    Re: It's Early, But Spags Has Shown Potential

    I think its telling that a lot of the veterans on the roster that were bought in to help us "win now" by the Linehan regime have gone to be replaced by players with a lot of upside

    The Rams are now filled with young players with a lot of potential. This is clearly a build for the future. The lucky thing for Spags and Devaney is that they arent trying to rebuild things in a team that won 6 or 7 games last year. The Rams won only two games last year. If the Rams improve on that win total, then brilliant. If they dont, its not a huge deal because its a rebuilding year.

    I hope Rams fans understand that. Spags should not be put under pressure because the team is failing to win this upcoming season. He is doing his best to turn this team around, but its going to take more than one offseason.

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: It's Early, But Spags Has Shown Potential

    I think the Atogwe story says a lot about what Devaney,Spags, and Demoff have accomplished already.No holdouts,no scandals, no jawbreaking...

    Even as honeymoons go, it's been pretty exciting and yet trauma-free.

    Spags may well have the charisma of a young Vermeil but I have to say I think he's more prepared than DV was in Philly & perhaps even at the start here. Not so mercurial nor such a control freak.

    Bodes well for the tough times;he seems to have an even keel and the ability to share the load. Delegation is teamwork,right? All about trust and mutual responsibility.The man practices what he preaches. Gotta like that.

    And then there's the technical savvy. Nice to have the very real possibility that teams will be watching the Rams defense for the latest innovations over the next few years.

    I really thought Leslie Frazier was going to get the job & I still think he would have been good. But there's no one else among the available options except maybe Cowher-never a real option,anyway-that I think could have done as good a job so far.

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