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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams minicamp with a plan

    BY Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Apr. 02 2009
    For Steve Spagnuolo, it's never too early to look for leaders. His first
    minicamp as Rams head coach is as good a time to start as any.

    "We'll try to identify those leaders on our team, and hopefully, they'll step
    to the forefront in those tough times that you know you're going to have — no
    matter what team — in a 16-game season," Spagnuolo said. "I remember vividly
    going through it in Philadelphia. And I remember Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah
    Trotter, Donovan McNabb at a certain point in the season deciding that, 'Hey
    guys.' ... They did little things with the other players. Very unseen things,
    but it made a big difference."

    There certainly is a leadership void to be filled with the 2009 Rams. Veterans
    Torry Holt, Orlando Pace, Corey Chavous and Trent Green have been released.
    Other veterans, such as La'Roi Glover and Dane Looker, are free agents who have
    not been re-signed by the club. (The Rams may revisit signing Looker after the
    draft.)

    "I believe that the underlying leaders surface once there's no leadership in
    front of them," Spagnuolo said. "Hopefully, there's some undiscovered secret
    leaders on this roster right now."

    Perhaps it's newly re-signed cornerback Ron Bartell. New center Jason Brown. Or
    safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.

    But over the course of five minicamp practices over the next three days at Rams
    Park, Spagnuolo will be looking for leaders. (The Rams practice twice today,
    twice Friday, and once Saturday.)

    "You'll look to see which guys jump in front (of the lines), which guys are
    encouraging other people," Spagnuolo said. "When I'm sitting in the back of the
    meetings, I'm going to be looking for who's taking notes — actually sitting and
    writing notes. The best players that I've worked with are great note-takers."

    During his decade of coaching in the NFL, Spagnuolo has observed that the
    players who are meticulous in their preparation are the ones who last the
    longest in the league.

    "Because they've figured it out — that it's as much from the chin to the
    hairline as it is anything that they do with their body," Spagnuolo said.

    In trying to foster an atmosphere of togetherness and teamwork, Spagnuolo said
    leadership has to come from several sources.

    "No matter what, it's never going to be about one person," Spagnuolo said.
    "It's always going to be about the makeup of the whole team. Sometimes I think
    we all make mistakes when we focus on one position. We know the glory position
    and the one that's out in the forefront is the quarterback position, but it
    takes more than just that."

    So far during his tenure in St. Louis, Spagnuolo has been hesitant to look
    backward. But he cited his most recent NFL team, the New York Giants, as a good
    example of leadership and teamwork combining to do great things.

    "We had a great leader in Tom Coughlin; we had a team of people that were
    heading in the same direction," Spagnuolo said. "It's not one person that
    creates the losing; it's not one person that creates the winning. It's a team
    sport. I know it's a cliché, but it's true. I lived it. I believe in it."

    For Spagnuolo, that approach is part of his plan to change the culture at Rams
    Park, a losing culture that has experienced success only five times in the past
    32 games. The early results have been encouraging, with renewed enthusiasm
    among the rank and file in the building.

    "It's easy right now," Spagnuolo said. "It's a honeymoon period. It's new. The
    test will be really a year from now, depending on how the season goes. Will we
    still be able to feel that way?"

    Spagnuolo says he has a better sense of his roster now than he did 2½ months
    ago when he was hired. But he still has much to learn about the returning
    players and the newcomers and realizes he won't get complete answers overnight.

    "I don't know that I'll feel like we have it completely evaluated until we get
    through the preseason games and then into a quarter of the season," he said.
    "That's a ways down the road."

    But the process begins with this first minicamp. Spagnuolo and his coaching
    staff will begin installing the offensive and defensive playbooks.

    "There'll be a lot of fundamentals," Spagnuolo said. "It'll be very cut down,
    because what we really want to do is assess the talent."

    That makes this minicamp more important than most because what transpires could
    have an impact over what the club does in the draft April 25 and 26.

    "That's why we're doing it before the draft," Spagnuolo said. "We'd like to get
    a little bit of a feel for what we have going into the draft."


  2. #2
    UtterBlitz's Avatar
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    Re: Rams minicamp with a plan

    "You'll look to see which guys jump in front (of the lines), which guys are
    encouraging other people," Spagnuolo said. "When I'm sitting in the back of the
    meetings, I'm going to be looking for who's taking notes — actually sitting and
    writing notes. The best players that I've worked with are great note-takers."
    The best players are great note-takers.....interesting observation. I have never been in a players meeting before, but that would not be the first trait that I was looking for.

    I believe that the underlying leaders surface once there's no leadership in
    front of them," Spagnuolo said. "Hopefully, there's some undiscovered secret
    leaders on this roster right now."
    I wonder who those undiscovered secret leaders may be.....

    This makes me wonder who is leading and who is following. It might be hard to develop leaders with all the changes that we have had on this team in the last few years.

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