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  1. #1
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    Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    Spagnuolo denies exercising caution

    BY JIM THOMAS
    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Ineffective? Sure. Conservative? Not so. At least that's how coach Steve Spagnuolo viewed the Rams' offensive approach to start the second half Sunday against San Diego.

    "I know what you want me to do, you want me to dissect the play-calling," Spagnuolo said Monday. "I think we mixed it up fairly well. The only one that Pat (Shurmur) and I talked about that we might have wanted back was the third-and-2."

    That was a reference to the Rams' second possession of the second half. On third-and-2 from the St. Louis 28, running back Steven Jackson was limited to a 1-yard gain and the Rams had to punt.

    "But other than that, we're always going to try to establish the run and get Steven going," Spagnuolo said. "Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't. There were a couple third downs we would've liked to have converted. But we didn't.

    "What we were hoping for coming out of the locker room was to do something with that first drive. We had an incompletion on the first down. So now you're second-and-10, we just never recovered from that. But fortunately for the football team, the defense kept us in the game while the offense kind of got on track, and then the offense did what they did in the fourth quarter."

    Other than his obvious people skills and leadership traits, Spagnuolo is a head coach in large part because of his defensive acumen, particularly in two seasons as the New York Giants' defensive coordinator. He's much more hands-on when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. But that doesn't mean he doesn't make a suggestion now and then for Shurmur — the Rams' offensive coordinator — or convey an overall offensive philosophy that he wants carried out on that side of the ball.

    But at his Monday media session, Spagnuolo said he did not instruct Shurmur to throttle it down on offense during the halftime intermission.

    "No," Spagnuolo said. "That conversation did not occur. We were staying aggressive, and the game was the game. It was 17-3, correct? It was a two-score game. So the game was not out of hand by any means. What you really want to do is get it to three scores, and then I think things change in the second half."

    As far as any offensive input he might have had as the third quarter unfolded, Spagnuolo indicated that he was heavily involved with the defense at that time. What was he doing with the defense?

    "Just hanging out," Spagnuolo joked. "Talking about summer jobs and stuff. I don't even remember but I know I was over there. I was probably yapping about something."

    In terms of run-pass ratio, the Rams have been tilted decidedly toward the pass this season, with 61 percent of their offensive plays called pass plays. That ratio was reversed to start the second half Sunday, with six of the first nine plays handoffs to Jackson.

    But whether it's running plays or pass plays, general ineffectiveness has been an issue with the offense coming out of the locker room for the third quarter. Only 17 of the 103 points scored this season by the Rams have come in the third quarter — making it their least productive quarter through six games.

    Sunday's third quarter play-calling might have been a bigger issue had San Diego's Nate Kaeding not missed on a 49-yard field goal attempt midway through the fourth quarter. Kaeding slipped on his follow through with Rams defensive end James Hall getting his right hand up to block the low trajectory. Had that kick gone through, the game could very well have gone into overtime tied 20-all.

    But that didn't happen, so it's onward — and the Rams hope — upward for a 3-3 team that hasn't been .500 or better this late into a season since 2006. For the first time since probably that '06 season, Rams football is relevant once again. But if there's any buzz about the team developing around town, or even around the league, Spagnuolo is doing his best to remain oblivious.

    "I don't feel it," he said. "When I say that, that doesn't mean that I'm not excited about it. (But) I don't put myself in those situations. I don't read it or listen to it when it's bad. I'm certainly not going to start reading it or listening to it when you say it's good — only because I'm trying to focus on the next one. I know you think that's just coach-speak "

    Friday night is usually "date night" for Spagnuolo, the only night of the week when he detaches himself from football for a few hours to have dinner with his wife Maria. Spagnuolo says he does get some compliments from fans when he's at a restaurant.

    "And the compliments are great to hear," Spagnuolo said. "I certainly don't shun that or stay away from that. I'm happy that we're doing what we're doing right now."

    But he said he's hesitant to get carried away with a few victories, "because I know how far we have to go. I've been through this before. And quickly it can turn the other way, so I'm going to start worrying about Tampa Bay."


  2. #2
    AtlantaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    Wow. I'm a HUGE Spags supporter, but it doesn't sound like he learned anything about going conservative from Sunday. Heck, he won't even acknowledge they were conservative. And the only play you'd want back is the 3rd and 2? What about passing 2x in a row after having first and goal from the 1?? But other than that, there were what 4 or 5 passes the whole second half? Sorry, but I really disagree with him here. Yes, they did go conservative. Yes, it was a bad decision IMO

  3. #3
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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    Agreed IMO. I dont know who he thinks he is fooling. They WERE to conservative and I did NOT like how it got close in the third and fourth qtr.

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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    I think we need to ask who actually calls the shots on offense again. Might Shurmur have gone conservative without Spagnuolo's prompting?

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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoriaRam View Post
    I think we need to ask who actually calls the shots on offense again. Might Shurmur have gone conservative without Spagnuolo's prompting?
    I think that's exactly what happened since Spags said he was working exclusively with the defense and left the offense to Shurmur. But I'm quite sure he's see the film by now, and Hellen Keller could have seen the offense went into a shell in the second half. So to say otherwise seems...naive at best.

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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    I LOVE spags. As far as im concerned, hes watching the all 22 film over and over again he knows that they were to concervative. All that matters to me is that he realizes it and he knows. He doesnt need to acknowledge it publicly to me.

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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    An NFL head coach isn't going to let a reporter tell him what he did, and did not do correctly. non Issue to me

  8. #8
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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    What's he supposed to say? "That one is on me"? I had enough of that with Martz and Linehan.

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Spagnuolo Denies Exercising Caution

    Basic working procedure as I understand it is that the coach hires a coordinator to run that unit of the football team. The head coach, as a matter of principle does not make it a habit of sticking his nose in and usurping the coordinator's power. While Spags is the head coach and is ultimately responsible for the product on the field, Ken Flajole and Pat Shurmur run the show. If you have a beef, it is with them as much as if not more than it is with Spags.

    It always amuses me when a reporter asks a question in an attempt to get a coach to either bad mouth a subordinate or admit major fault. It's pointless and counterproductive- not to mention the fact that it rarely, if ever works. Spags is going to back Shurmur publicly every time- even if Shurmur is completely wrong.

    I respect Spags' suggestion that the Rams stagnant offensive was due to simple ineffectiveness rather than being conservative. From my viewpoint, it was a combination of both. I'm a big believer in keeping your foot on the gas- not by being wild and crazy (Martz was the exact opposite) but by mixing it up and being a bit unpredictable. You can't always run Steven Jackson just because "he's a very good back and it's short yardage". Run something your opponent doesn't expect in a given situation and many times it will catch them off guard.

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