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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/13/2009

    Sometimes, the biggest trouble with watching a really bad team labor through a season is figuring out where to train your eyes. Call it visual over-stimulation —the impossible task of zeroing in on one compelling character of stability when chaos is swirling around and scattering conflict, controversy and confusion like a Kansas twister.

    The woebegone Oakland Raiders are definitely that sort of bad team, with an in-way-over-his-head young quarterback who can't complete a pass, an embattled head coach who could be facing criminal assault charges any day now and a formerly great owner who apparently hasn't flipped his own personal football calendar since the late 1970s.

    The slapstick Washington Redskins are that sort of unsightly bad team, with an eccentric young owner who hired a head coach with no visible qualifications to do the job, then spent the past few years doing everything to undermine him, and now can't quite figure out why his expensive NFL toy never works like it should.

    When it comes to distracting swirls of chaotic activity, the one thing you can say about the 0-5 Rams is that despite the NFL's longest current losing streak — 15 and counting — they can at least cling to the belief that they are past the worst of it.

    If you listen to the smart voices around Rams Park, there is a real sense that the eye of the storm has already blown past this place. The players who have been around here long enough to have survived the madness of Mike Martz, the incompetence of Scott Linehan and Jay Zygmunt and the Rome-is-burning fiddling of John Shaw continue to preach that the storm is over and they are knee deep in post-disaster relief.

    And when they tell you this, they all point to one guy as the central figure in their stubborn belief that the worst is over and that the best isn't that far away:

    Steve Spagnuolo.

    These players all believe that Spagnuolo is the guy who keeps the chaos away. This is not delusional happy talk, either. In many instances, the comments come from the voices of veteran players who already have been to the puppet show and seen the strings. They're not easily impressed or often fooled.

    In public and private, they see Spagnuolo setting the tone for an organization fighting to prove to the football world that the Rams don't belong in the same conversation with all those other miserable franchises anymore, even as they keep piling on one more ugly loss to the carnage left behind by the ousted regime.

    Like a metronome — or depending on your level of cynicism, a scratched record — Spagnuolo keeps repeating the same positive message every single day. On Monday, when someone asked him if he ever imagined 10 months ago when he took the job that this monumental task would turn out to be this difficult, he rejected the negative description in typical Spagnuolo fashion.

    "Well, first of all, don't assume that I felt that way, that it was monumental," he said. "I felt really good about coming here because of the people here, the players ... I mentioned this way back that when I would watch film at the end of the season, this team was still playing hard. I think there's something to be said to that and they're doing that now and we'll hang our hat on that. ... You are probably tired of me saying that, but I won't stop saying it and when we win five in a row, it will be the same thing. I just think that's how you do it in the league."

    Based on the current evidence, you might think the man's delusional. He probably would argue that he's a stubborn visionary. But he would do it quietly. Firmly, but without much fanfare. It's not Spagnuolo's style to handle his business in a demonstrative public fashion. He gets after guys, but he doesn't necessarily need a news conference to deliver his message, or any elaborate public confirmation, either.

    When he benched offensive tackle Alex Barron a during the ***** game last week, Spagnuolo barely made a peep about it. But based on how Barron responded Sunday, it clearly lit some sort of spark under the chronically listless lineman. Going against perhaps the best defensive player in the league in Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, Barron played lights out and without any of the miscues that have been typical of his game day experiences.

    And on Monday, Spagnuolo quietly made it quite clear to the team and to second-year wide receiver Donnie Avery that his little "stinky leg" touchdown dance in the fourth quarter with the Rams trailing by 21 points was not going to cut it either. He didn't rant, but the message was delivered clearly enough for everyone in that team meeting room to understand that this is not the way the Rams will do business.

    Too many unsuccessful people in the public eye are paralyzed by the capricious whims of the public. Spagnuolo's not that guy. I still don't know how successful he will be here in St. Louis, but here's what I love about him. His success or failure will be as a result of sticking to his methods, not putting his fingers into the air to see which direction the wind is blowing.

    To be blunt, I don't think Spagnuolo expends an ounce of energy worrying about whether or not the general public can see his vision right now.

    It would be nice, but not essential.

    He's not asking anyone to be prescient, merely patient enough to allow him the time to prove that his methods will work.


  2. #2
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    I like the article I do believe that Spags can right the ship with time.
    :ramlogo:

  3. #3
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    best article i have read on spags

  4. #4
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    In DeSpags I trust. We definitely have the right coach and the right GM in place. Spags will get the turnovers and the penalties under control in due time. Once that happens, we will be on our way back up in the rankings.

    Aside from the turnovers, so many good things were happening for us in the Vikings game that you could just feel that something has "clicked" with this team. They are displaying a quiet confidence and it is starting to show up in their play. It was the difference betwen night and day. In particular, with the offensive line, run blocking and play calling. Boller looked sharper than the last game. When he went down, my confidence with Bulger coming in was much higher than it had been at any time in the last two years. Because I just felt that with the protection the Oline was giving, that with Bulger's accuracy he would have time to move this team even better than Boller did.

    I think next week we will have a breakout game. And I know I'm not the only one around here who feels that way.

    GO RAMS!!!
    Last edited by viper; -10-13-2009 at 04:35 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    Spags is certainly keeping his cool through a very rough start to the season. It's obvious that he has confidence in his plan and isn't going to waver or panic, despite all the madness right now. What he's done with the defense is nothing short of amazing and his influence on Barron looks to be spreading through the offense. My guess is we see a completely different team against the Jags.

  6. #6
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    If Spags can just get the penalties (Our offense has the 3rd most in the NFL to date) under control and get our defense to start creating the turnovers we need so badly the wins will come. (Our offense has also lost the most fumbles in the league to date) After the GSOT years I never thought I would say this but..."Our offense is killing us!"

    I have faith in Spags.

    GO RAMS!!!

  7. #7
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    Good read. It is ironic that Coach Spags is indeed considered the Rams savior when he currently is the martyr.

    I too believe he will change this team for the better. Thus the importance / critical need that we keep faith.

  8. #8
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    Yes a calming leadership style and a knowledge of the game--two important traits the Rams need. Just as incouraging is FO giving him the room to manover and support to help and not hinder the progress of getting this team back to being respectable

  9. #9
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    Just having everyone pullling in the same direction is a HUGE improvement over the former regime. No finger pointing, no snide backhanded comments by players, front office, or coaching staff. Hats off to Chip for what he has quietly done so far. We may not have a win yet, but even the pundits who seeminly love to hate the Rams are not dissing Billy D. or Spags. I like our winless team much better than last year's version. Spags is setting the tone, and the team is buying in. When bad stuff happens and a group looks to its leader, calm always prevails over panic. I haven't seen any panic emanating from Spagnolo .. none at all. Don't know when we'll get our first win, but it will come. Until then I'll have to be satisfied with our team showing improvement each game ..

  10. #10
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    I like our winless team much better than last year's version.
    I wholeheartedly concur with that. This year's losses aren't hurting (me at least) as much as last years, because I see things slowly changing and problems being addressed. A quick fix would be great in the short term, but I'd rather long term foundations be laid and on that score, in Spags I trust.

  11. #11
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    Re: Spagnuolo seen as Rams' savior

    I agree with all the posts in this thread. Steve Spagnuola is the best to happen to our team in a very long time, at least since Dick Vermiel. I agree with the posts that say we will play our way out of this. Further, I feel we have a FO that knows how to evaluate talent and will find players in the draft to fit our schemes. Good things eventually happen to teams like ours and the NFL is full off stories like this. Hang in there fellow Clanner's, "this too shall pass". I hope we get a nice win the Jax this weekend.

    Go Rams!

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