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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Spagnuolo's system

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Mar. 26 2009

    DANA POINT, CALIF. Steve Spagnuolo's expertise, obviously, is defense.
    According to longtime team official John Shaw, Spagnuolo is the Rams' first
    defensive-oriented head coach since Ray Malavasi 30 years ago. So there's a
    level of expectation that Spagnuolo, as a "defensive whiz" with the New York
    Giants, will at least be able to straighten out that side of the ball.

    "Don't fall for that," Spagnuolo joked Wednesday at the NFC coaches breakfast.
    "We had good players in Philadelphia and New York, and we'll have some good
    players here in St. Louis. You believe in a system, and believe in what you've
    done defensively.

    "You have good people installing it, good players executing it we hope to do
    that. But we're not going to make any bold predictions, or look into a crystal
    ball here."

    As he looked at Rams game film from last season, Spagnuolo didn't cover his
    eyes and wonder: "What have I gotten myself into?"

    Believe it or not, Spagnuolo was pleasantly surprised with some of what he saw.

    "When you watch like the last four, five games of the season I never saw a team
    especially defensively that quit," Spagnuolo said. "I thought those guys
    were playing right till the end. That's a tremendous credit to what they were
    doing here a year ago. And I think we can build on that."

    So even from the ashes of that 2-14 disaster, there's a starting point.

    Apparently, Spagnuolo's ego isn't so large that the defense is going to be his
    way or else. Make no mistake, he will have plenty of input on that side of the
    ball. But it looks like defensive coordinator Ken Flajole will do the
    play-calling on game day.

    "Oh, yeah," Spagnuolo said. "I've got a lot of confidence in the defensive
    coaches and the staff."

    At the NFL owners' meetings here, and even before this gathering, Spagnuolo has
    picked the brains of several head coaches who have defensive backgrounds:
    Carolina's John Fox, Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis and Atlanta's Mike Smith to name
    a few.

    "All of us feel that as the head coach, you've got to concern yourself more
    with managing the game," Spagnuolo said. "It's kind of hard to call defenses on
    game day and still be able to worry about the clock. It's a little easier to do
    when you're an offensive coordinator because you have the ball, so you kind of
    control the game a little bit."

    Even though the draft is fast approaching, Spagnuolo has been to very few pro
    days to watch prospects work out at their college campuses. Instead, he has
    been busy overseeing the installation of the offensive and defensive schemes.
    The team's first minicamp starts a week from today, and he wants the basics in
    place for those workouts April 2-4.

    Installing the defense hasn't been a case of simply throwing out his old Giants
    playbook and declaring: "Here it is."

    "I don't feel like we had all the answers in New York," Spagnuolo said. "We
    played good defense and had a bunch of (good) games, but I always had a lot of
    respect for John Fox and what they do in Carolina defensively. ... So we've
    used a lot of his ideas."

    Flajole, of course, came to Spagnuolo's staff after several seasons coaching
    linebackers on Carolina's defense.

    "We've got two coaches on the defensive staff from the Minnesota Vikings, who
    also have played good defense," said Spagnuolo, referring to defensive line
    coach Brendan Daly and linebackers coach Paul Ferraro. "Not to use those guys
    and those resources would be crazy."

    So the Rams' defensive playbook "started with the model of the Giants, but then
    we keep throwing things in from the other teams," Spagnuolo said.

    Of course, it's one thing to have a creative scheme. It helps to have players
    who give good effort, as Spagnuolo noticed on tape from late last season. But
    there's no substitute for good players.

    And so far, the only new player added on defense among the starters is strong
    safety James Butler.

    "James is one of those guys that kind of runs the show back there," Spagnuolo
    said. "He's real smart, and you can depend on him. I think that the other
    players around him will use him as a sounding board."

    Spagnuolo confirmed Wednesday that Will Witherspoon will open next week's
    minicamp at outside linebacker with Chris Draft at middle linebacker. At
    defensive end, he likes the experience that Leonard Little brings to the table
    and the high-energy approach of Chris Long.

    But does he have enough defensive linemen to make the defense work?

    "You never have enough defensive linemen," Spagnuolo said. "We certainly
    probably could use some defensive linemen."

    And a whole lot of everything else.


  2. #2
    AtlantaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    The more I read about Spags, the bigger my man-crush gets. Even if it takes a season or 2 to get the Rams back on track, I think they got one of the best duo's to rebuilt a team

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    Rookie is offline Awaiting Email Conformation
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    "Man Crusch". I am speachless.I thought you tickled me because I giggled?

  4. #4
    Aussie Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    i really like the sound of our new defensive scheme with phi, nyg, car and min influences.
    but as said above there's no substitute for good players and i hope our guys excel under spags.

  5. #5
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    Spagnuolo confirmed Wednesday that Will Witherspoon will open next week's
    minicamp at outside linebacker with Chris Draft at middle linebacker. At
    defensive end, he likes the experience that Leonard Little brings to the table
    and the high-energy approach of Chris Long.

    But does he have enough defensive linemen to make the defense work?

    "You never have enough defensive linemen," Spagnuolo said. "We certainly
    probably could use some defensive linemen."

    And a whole lot of everything else.

    I think this will look like an Andy Reid draft who is one of his mentors

  6. #6
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Mar. 26 2009


    Of course, it's one thing to have a creative scheme. It helps to have players
    who give good effort, as Spagnuolo noticed on tape from late last season. But
    there's no substitute for good players.
    I think we are in some real dirt if these players don't excel under spags because then what you have is a good system with good coaches but poor underachieving players who cannot execute and you are right back to square one.

  7. #7
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    Quote Originally Posted by rNemesis View Post
    I think we are in some real dirt if these players don't excel under spags because then what you have is a good system with good coaches but poor underachieving players who cannot execute and you are right back to square one.
    That's why it's exciting to be a Rams fan. We have a lot of young players who can emerge as leaders and shine in a well-made defense. Only time will tell, but I'm sure we have a few gems and that's discluding the guys we pick up in this year's draft.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  8. #8
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    Spags is the man with the plan. All we can do is fasten our seat belts and go along for the ride.

  9. #9
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Mar. 26 2009

    DANA POINT, CALIF.
    And so far, the only new player added on defense among the starters is strong
    safety James Butler.

    .
    I thought we would have done more on the D side of the ball in FA with the cut of Holt and pace.
    :ramlogo:

  10. #10
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Spagnuolo's system

    Well, big resigning of Bartell don't forget that.

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