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Thread: Spagnuolo Prepares For What May Be His Finale

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    Spagnuolo Prepares For What May Be His Finale

    Spagnuolo prepares for what may be his finale

    BY JIM THOMAS
    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    This could be the final week of Steve Spagnuolo's tenure in St. Louis, but the Rams coach said Monday he has had no conversations with owner Stan Kroenke on the topic.

    "No," Spagnuolo said. "Those conversations wouldn't happen anyway (at this time), so it's not anything out of the ordinary. That's nothing different."

    Spagnuolo takes a three-year record of 10-37 as Rams head coach into Sunday's season finale against visiting San Francisco. This season began with the Rams considered a favorite by many to win the NFC West. But injuries, historically bad offense and run defense, plus one of the league's toughest schedules have resulted in a 2-13 disaster.

    Spagnuolo, considered one of the hottest coordinators in the game when hired in January 2009, has one year left on his contract. In late November, league sources told the Post-Dispatch that Kroenke almost certainly hadn't made up his mind about what to do with both Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney, who also has one year left on his contract.

    After the Rams' shutout loss in San Francisco on Dec. 4, Kroenke was asked about the job status of Spagnuolo and Devaney but said he neither discusses such matters nor makes decisions on them during the season.

    According to the sources, the final six games of the season were important in helping Kroenke reach a decision. Although a couple of victories — or more — obviously would help, it also was important to see the team keep playing hard, not quit on their coach and show improvement down the stretch.

    But the Rams have lost five of those closing six games, with only the ***** game remaining. Included in those five games were shutout losses to Pittsburgh (27-0) and San Francisco (26-0), plus a 17-point defeat in Seattle (30-13). The team has continued to play hard, but it would be hard to say it has shown improvement down the stretch.

    Instead, the Rams have been in a rut week after week: The defense keeps the game close for about three quarters but doesn't play well enough to win a game on its own. The offense, which has gone through three starting quarterbacks in the past four games, struggles to get first downs, let alone points. On special teams, there's a big breakdown of some sort on almost a weekly basis, be it a punt return for a touchdown, a blocked punt for a TD, missed field goals or a failed fake punt.

    Defensively, unless Frank Gore and the *****' running game is held to fewer than 158 yards Sunday, the Rams will finish as the worst run defense in franchise history in terms of yards allowed.

    Offensively, unless the Rams score at least 10 points Sunday against San Francisco, which ranks first in the NFL in scoring defense, they will finish with their lowest point total in a season since World War II (the 1944 season, which had only 11 games).

    "I know it's hard to (score) against the defenses we've been going against," Spagnuolo said. "They're hard to come by mainly because of the people we're playing and because of the nature of this game."

    Entering the Pittsburgh game, the Rams were in the midst of a grueling closing stretch in which they were playing six top 10 defenses in their final seven games. Following the weekend play, Cleveland has slipped to No. 11 in total defense, so it's currently five top 10 defenses in the final seven contests.

    So what does Spagnuolo want to get out of the season finale against the NFC West champion ***** (12-3)?

    "Besides more points than San Francisco?" Spagnuolo said. "I think somebody mentioned this or asked last week, but there is something to winning the last game in my opinion. ... It would be nice to go into the offseason with a win. I think it does carry you. I think the guys will come out and play for that."

    No matter what happens Sunday, Spagnuolo said he will learn "a ton" of lessons from this season.

    "I've got a notebook upstairs — I've been writing them down," he said. "There will be some great examples of how to handle things or do things a certain way, and I think in a lot of ways you learn more in times like this than you do when it's going good."

    But only Kroenke knows if Spagnuolo will have the opportunity to use what's in that notebook next season in St. Louis.


  2. #2
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    Re: Spagnuolo Prepares For What May Be His Finale

    Let me be the first to bid adeu to both Mr. Spagnuolo and Mr. Devaney no matter what happens Sunday.
    THOLTFAN81 likes this.

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    Re: Spagnuolo Prepares For What May Be His Finale

    Let me be the first to tell Spags and Devaney this "DONT LET THE DOOR HIT YA ON THE WAY OUT YOU SPINELESS GUTLESS COWARDS"......glad i got that out lol.

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    Re: Spagnuolo Prepares For What May Be His Finale

    To sum up that last part in a more friendly way,no risk=no reward.Spags and Devaney lived by that whether they said it or not,they took no chances and played there entire tenure with the rams as safe as possible and look where it got them/us.Goodluck to them both but ill be happy when they are both gone.

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    Re: Spagnuolo Prepares For What May Be His Finale

    theres been some questionable drafting and roster decisions plus the coaching calls we're all aware of but i still like spags and billy d and really wish things had of worked out better, but the bottom line is winning and its just not happening.

    its frustrating for us that we're back where we started but i still wish them success in the future with other 'uncursed' franchises.

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