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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Itís Football 24/7 for Ramsí New Head Coach

    By Howard Balzer
    Friday, February 13, 2009


    Completing his first month on the job as the Rams' head coach, Steve Spagnuolo's plate has been quite full even if his wife, Maria, hasn't been able to cook as much as usual in these hectic days.


    Back in January, when told of the many great Italian restaurants in St. Louis, Spagnuolo said Maria cooks such outstanding Italian food that when they go out to eat, itís rarely to an Italian restaurant.


    Unfortunately, with so much to do, and Maria doing the house-hunting, there havenít been too many hearty meals in recent days. When Spagnuolo introduced his new coordinators to the media Thursday, he looked noticeably thinner than when he met with the media back on Jan. 19.


    When that was mentioned, Spagnuolo said, ďYeah, she (Maria) keeps saying I'm losing weight. She calls every day to make sure I'm eating."


    But work canít wait. Not with the scouting combine next week and free agency beginning in two weeks.


    So, what has the first month been like?


    "Challenging and exciting and wonderful all at the same time," he said.


    With his staff hired, Spagnuolo can now tackle the next items on the agenda, most of which involve the start of free agency on Feb. 27. Not only must the Rams put a game plan together concerning who they want to pursue, but they also have to make major decisions regarding players on the roster. Especially those with large salaries.


    The Rams are currently about $14 million under the cap, but that doesn't include potential tenders to restricted and exclusive rights free agents.


    Staring them in the face are cap charges of $10.2 million for wide receiver Torry Holt and $9 million for left tackle Orlando Pace. If both were released or traded, $14 million would be added to the team's cap, and the club would save that much in 2009 actual compensation. Of that $14 million, Holt is owed $8 million and Pace $6 million.


    However, with numerous needs on the team, the team has to decide whether letting them go is prudent because it would create even more holes on the roster. And if truth be told, the Rams probably wonít go overboard in free agency because general manager Billy Devaney believes in building through the draft and being smart in free agency.


    With questions about Drew Bennett returning from injury, Holt is the only veteran presence on the roster at receiver. At tackle, Alex Barron is entering the final year of his contract, and there are doubts he would be re-signed in 2010.


    There is the potential of restructuring the contracts of Pace and/or Holt and pushing salary into future seasons. In the end, the determination will be whether Devaney is confident the team can at least be competitive next season without Holt and/or Pace, while also building for the future with younger players.


    Spagnuolo acknowledged he has had little time to watch tape, and when asked about making decisions on players, he said, ďI think weíre going to have to rely heavily on Billy; heís been here. And the (three assistant) coaches that we retained, who have a feel. Because you can only see so much on film. But weíll use any and all of the resources that we have to get a bead on who we think can help us going forward.Ē


    From this perspective, the Rams should keep Pace and do a simple extension with Holt. Guarantee him the $8 million he is scheduled to receive this year (he likely wonít get that much guaranteed if he becomes a free agent), and spread it out over two or three years.


    One idea is to reduce his salary to $3 million this year, meaning he would count $5.2 million against the cap for a savings of $5 million. Then, guarantee him $3 million in 2010 and $2 million in 2011. Extra unguaranteed dollars could be added, so he will be paid if he continues to produce, but wonít cost that much if the team cuts its ties after this year.


    SIMPLY NOTING
    *The team's offseason program will begin March 16. As a new coach, Steve Spagnuolo can hold two mandatory veteran minicamps. No dates have been set, but one will be before the draft, which is April 25-26, and one after.


    *With the coaching staff complete, Spagnuolo outlined the specific duties for those coaches that had been designated as offensive or defensive staff.


    Paul Ferraro, who had been named to the defensive staff, will coach the linebackers, while Andre Curtis will coach the safeties. Frank Leonard, who had been named to the offensive staff, will coach the tight ends.


    Filling in the empty spaces, here is Spagnuoloís staff:

    ASSISTANT TO THE HEAD COACH/FOOTBALL OPERATIONS: Bruce Warwick
    OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Pat Shurmur
    QUARTERBACKS: Dick Curl (assistant head coach)
    OFFENSIVE LINE: Steve Loney
    ASSISTANT OFFENSIVE LINE: Art Valero
    RECEIVERS: Charlie Baggett
    RUNNING BACKS: Sylvester Croom
    TIGHT ENDS: Frank Leonard
    QUALITY CONTROL/OFFENSE: Andy Sugarman
    DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Ken Flajole
    DEFENSIVE LINE: Brendan Daly
    LINEBACKERS: Paul Ferraro
    SECONDARY/SAFETIES: Andre Curtis
    SECONDARY/CORNERBACKS: Clayton Lopez
    QUALITY CONTROL/DEFENSE: Matt House
    SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR: Tom McMahon
    QUALITY CONTROL/SPECIAL TEAMS: Derius Swinton
    STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING: Rock Gullickson
    ASSISTANT STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING: Chuck Faucette


    *Five members of the Rams' cheerleading squad are leaving on a military goodwill tour of the Middle East. The group will depart St. Louis today and visit bases in Iraq and Kuwait before returning to St. Louis on February 23.


    As part of the tour, the cheerleaders will visit three military bases each day and meet with members of the military. The cheerleaders making the trip are Danielle Hogan, Lauren Moore, Christa Marx, Shannon Ward and Tiffany Crocker.


    "We're very proud of the cheerleaders' commitment to make this important trip and honor our service men and women for their sacrifices and the tremendous service they provide our country on a daily basis," said Lucia Rodriguez, the team's owner/partner and chair of community outreach. "The Rams have a long history of honoring our nation's military, and continuing to demonstrate our support of the troops is a priority for the organization."


  2. #2
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Itís Football 24/7 for Ramsí New Head Coach

    Wow, I love how committed he has been, looks like he is dead serious about building a winning franchise here.
    So far, I give the Rams an A+ on Spags.

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    Re: Itís Football 24/7 for Ramsí New Head Coach

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Howard Balzer
    Friday, February 13, 2009





    However, with numerous needs on the team, the team has to decide whether letting them go is prudent because it would create even more holes on the roster. And if truth be told, the Rams probably wonít go overboard in free agency because general manager Billy Devaney believes in building through the draft and being smart in free agency.
    "
    I think that is smart in the way to build through the draft our luck in FA has not gone well.
    :ramlogo:

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    NY RAMFAN's Avatar
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    Re: Itís Football 24/7 for Ramsí New Head Coach

    Quote Originally Posted by eldfan View Post
    our luck in FA has not gone well.
    Neither was our luck in the Draft . . . althought the draft is no luck, is more "football common sense" that we lacked for quite some time.

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    Re: Itís Football 24/7 for Ramsí New Head Coach

    Great post Wraith,
    I have to agree with what you are saying but I also think that we can all see the writing on the wall that:

    A. They will have to cut if not both than at least one Holt and Pace that is.

    B. They will keep both and have Holt restructure.

    or

    C. They will cut both and bring is some other veteran receiver they feel will bring in the same production for a cheaper price. I don't know what they would do or get for L.T but I know that Aamani Toomer already knows Spags would come at a cheaper price and probably put up similar numbers as Holt.

    I hate to say this as I like both players but seeing that we only have $14 million dollars and I am convinced they will keep both Bartell and Atogwe they will eat up that whole $14 million if not all, than most of it. They have said they want to bring in some people through free agency and want to rebuild with a little lesser known players but with great upside and youth. Well Atogwe and Bartell are on the upswing of their carears so we all know that they will be resigned.

    I also strongly believe that they will adress the need for a centre, strong safety, and full back trough free agency maybe the rest through the draft. This meening we need to get rid of some dead weight such as maybe Trent Green, but what if he gets injured..... anyhow poing beeing I am convinced until convinced otherwise to has to be some shaking up. They will bring in some younger players with smaller salaries that can contribute just as much as our vets. Spags will instill his system and winning attitude.

    I also have a saying however do not throw out the water with the baby in it. Their's still alot of talent on this roster so I am not expecting spring cleaning.

    What do you guys think?

    I can't wait to see what happens leading up to February 27th and then the draft....

    Go Rams 09

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    socaljint is offline Registered User
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    Re: Itís Football 24/7 for Ramsí New Head Coach

    Hi guys, Giants fan here. I can tell you without any hesitation that you will love Spags. It was a big big loss for Big Blue but it was only a matter of time. We will miss him and we wish him the best.

    Give him some time but I believe that in 2 years you won't recognize your team, and I mean in a good way. He is great with the players and is brilliant with defensive schemes.

    Good luck this year.

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    Re: Itís Football 24/7 for Ramsí New Head Coach

    Thank you for such a classy post. Many Giant fans have come here to tell us the same thing. I'm sorry he will be missed, but excited that we got him and now the Rams have a new team to look forward too.

    OH! And thanks for kickings the Patts where they needed to go last year.
    Quote Originally Posted by socaljint View Post
    Hi guys, Giants fan here. I can tell you without any hesitation that you will love Spags. It was a big big loss for Big Blue but it was only a matter of time. We will miss him and we wish him the best.

    Give him some time but I believe that in 2 years you won't recognize your team, and I mean in a good way. He is great with the players and is brilliant with defensive schemes.

    Good luck this year.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Visit myspace.com/polejox

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