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  1. #1
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Spags' Rams show more toughness

    Spags' Rams show more toughness
    Bryan Burwell
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/14/2009

    SEATTLE — The rowdy folks inside Qwest Field just wanted to party already. They had spent the better part of this flawless football Sunday turning their raucous stadium into a joyful and vulgar open-air madhouse — laughing and cursing and chanting and cheering all afternoon as their Seattle Seahawks dismantled the hated Rams in a 28-0 rout. And now all they wanted to do to was let the game clock tick down so they could dance in the aisles and spill out into the streets and party some more.

    Only Steve Spagnuolo wouldn't let them.

    There were less than two minutes left in his first regular-season game as Rams coach, and Spags kept calling timeouts as if it were the end of some skin-tight playoff game instead of the dying moments of garbage time in an ugly, one-sided shutout that had essentially been over since the third quarter.

    Spags was still pacing the Rams sidelines, and his body language told you he didn't care what the score was. As long as there was time on that clock, he was going to work it.

    The Seahawks ran a play.

    Spags called a timeout.

    Booooooooo!!!!

    The Seahawks ran another play.

    Spags looked at the ref and called another timeout.

    Booooooooo!!!!!

    Edgerrin James tried to barrel off-tackle, and he was swarmed by a pile of white Rams jerseys for a 1-yard loss, and now Spags was crouched near the 30-yard line, his head set tilted slightly, his hands cupped around his mouth.

    "KEEP ON MAKIN' PLAYS MEN, KEEP ON MAKIN' PLAYS!" he shouted in a voice that pierced the din of this angry and impatient partisan Qwest Field mob.

    And then he called another time out.

    Booooooooo!!!!!

    So maybe you're not looking for a pearl to cull out of this disastrous start to the 2009 regular season. Perhaps all you see is another rotten start to another season destined to be as horrible as the last two or three or four. Maybe all you see is the unsightly misadventure that seemed a whole lot like the last four trips to Seattle.

    But I'm going to try to squint a little bit for you. I'm going to try to block out the blinding glare of this mistake-riddled, self-destructive loss to the Seahawks and try to tell you why the Steve Spagnuolo Era is still headed in the right direction even after going scoreless in Seattle.

    It can all be summed up in the sight of Spags on the sidelines and in the voice of Spags after the game.

    When he walked into his postgame interview room, Spags didn't spend a great deal of time fretting over the countless self-destructive miscues that wrecked what started out to be a fairly competitive ballgame. And surprisingly, he did not throw his emotional roller-coaster and ticking-time-bomb Richie Incognito under the bus after the starting guard ruined several potential scoring opportunities in the first half with two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a false-start violation as well.

    While half of Rams Nation is probably forming angry mobs to run Incognito out of town, the coach surprisingly held Incognito up as an exemplar of the toughness and passion he is seeking from a team that for too long been thought of as one of the least intimidating football teams in the NFL.

    "I told him I still have confidence in him," said Spagnuolo. "I'm not going to lose confidence in him after one game. I think Richie is one of our most passionate guys. He plays his butt off. Sometimes he has to temper that, is all."

    I want you to sit down for this. Spagnuolo is actually ready to make Incognito the poster child for the new face of his football team. No more pansies. No more soft, finesse, nice, polite guys who get intimidated and punked down the moment the game gets a bit too chippy and overly violent.

    Spagnuolo has to know that if he's going to turn this bad football team around quickly, it better begin with harnessing that attitude Incognito brings to the table every week. On Sunday, Spags sounded just like every other coach who has been given a high maintenance player to deal with. He believes he can find a way to do what no other coach in Incognito's football life has been able to do so far: keep him consistently on the right side of that narrow line that separates the passionate warrior from the unstable madman.

    "We're going to try and figure that one out on the plane," Spags said with a wink and a smile. "I don't have the answer for that right now. But I will say this: I'd rather be trying to figure that out than having guys who didn't care. I really would. I'd rather have a bunch of passionate guys who we can help turn into productive passion anytime. Because the flip side is you don't care, you quit."

    Well, good luck with that, coach.

    But in the mean time, I will say this about the new guy. His tough-guy persona is rubbing off. From the very start of this game, the Seahawks tried to get in the Rams players' faces and intimidate them, and the Rams surprised them by pushing right back.

    It wasn't just Incognito. Marc Bulger bounced up off the ground after getting smashed by a couple of Seattle defenders and tried to take on three Seahawks when they got in his face and started woofin'. Yeah, that's right, the quarterback you love to hate, the QB you swear has all the emotion of a sun dial, the guy you all swear is too low-key, too emotionally detached, was ready to rumble. "If you get hit and somebody wants to get in your face, well, I take exception to that," Bulger said after the game. "I don't care if it was me or Josh Brown or Steven Jackson. You don't get in our face."

    A few steps away from Bulger after the game, Jackson was still fired up, too and defending Incognito, Bulger and anyone else on his team that was ready to fight. "It's football, it's not golf," said the big running back. "It's (bleepin') football. Would you rather us just get our tails kicked and run back? I think you saw some fight in this team. ... We lost the game, but it's a lot different around here. I've been around here for six years and this team is intense and I love it, I love it."

    So the good news is that Spags brought his new Rams to Seattle and they passed the tough test with flying colors. But the bad news is, they also flunked the poise test royally.

    But like the man said, he'll figure out how to solve that little problem on the fly.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    This is all great stuff to read...the passion and the fight that our team showed. The real challenge is on us the fans. Let's face it, getting SHUTOUT hurts BIGTIME. I for one am totally miffed at the final score of 28-0!!!!
    It's embarrassing to say the least.

    We the fans have a big challenge in front of us. The challenge is how long can we keep grinning and bearing it before we blow a gasket ot two? Obviously one game doesn't make a season but being SHUTOUT really hurts.

    I believe in SPAGS but losing hurts and we've been doing way to much of that in the last few years. Being SHUTOUT feels like we hit rock bottom to me.

    So it's onward and hopefully upward.... as hard as it is BE PATIENT!

    GO RAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    Great article i love it, the only thing i didnt like about cogs was standing still while the lb's ran past him to sack bulger. other then that i think he shut some up of the seahawk players on the field. although spags did have to pull him off before he replayed the opening scene of "the last boyscout"

  4. #4
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    I love this article. I wish I had ink in my printer cuz I'd print the part about the team fighting for each other.

    We learn from our mistakes. Everyone does. I expect the team to make a better effort next week. We beat Washington last year with turnovers. Lets do it AGAIN!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Devaney, if you care about this team... fire the offensive coordinator!!!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    I want you to sit down for this. Spagnuolo is actually ready to make Incognito the poster child for the new face of his football team.
    I really don't know what to think of this. I have always been a fan of Incognito, (except yesterday) and I know last year we really lacked passion, but we cannot abide such immature unprofessional behaviour.

    On the one hand, those penalties were crippling, on the other, we cannot be intimidated on the road. We obviously need some kind of balance here.

    Right now, I am confused, but if Spags can get this team's emotions focused, I know we will be more competative on Sundays. Cogs as a poster child? Hmmmm.
    A defeated look of consternation, dissappointment, or even pain. The name derives from the look one often gets when challenged by a large BM.

  6. #6
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    Quote Originally Posted by LARAM0 View Post
    This is all great stuff to read...the passion and the fight that our team showed. The real challenge is on us the fans. Let's face it, getting SHUTOUT hurts BIGTIME. I for one am totally miffed at the final score of 28-0!!!!

    It's embarrassing to say the least.

    We the fans have a big challenge in front of us. The challenge is how long can we keep grinning and bearing it before we blow a gasket ot two? Obviously one game doesn't make a season but being SHUTOUT really hurts.

    I believe in SPAGS but losing hurts and we've been doing way too much of that in the last few years. Being SHUTOUT feels like we hit rock bottom to me.

    So it's onward and hopefully upward.... as hard as it is BE PATIENT!

    GO RAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Right on LA! The challenge is enormous right now for both the Rams and us. Patience is going to be a TALL order but really, it's the least we can do for our newly restored team -- a team that will require tweaking as it goes through each week of the season.

    I agree with the article in that it does seem that the Rams are more confident and courageous ... granted that that sometimes is only a façade which results from being too new.

    That's okay though. As long as Coach Spags maintains strong leadership and tightens the nuts on everyone, we just might make something positivie & productive out of said toughness: WIN games and build for the future.

  7. #7
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    Geez I love this article. Spags is instilling exactly what this team needs, ATTITUDE. I wish Cogs wouldn't get stupid penalties, but its a hell of a lot better than putting your head down and taking a whoopin like we did when limpehan was our coach.

    I love calling the timeouts and having them play as hard as they can the whole time. Don't stop till the final whistle blows- that shows character. Everyone plays hard whne you are winning, its about hw you play when your chips are down.

    While I was very upset about the loss all of yesterday and most of today, I just realized this is exactly the thing I wanted to see, a team that showed passion and really cared about winning the game.

    And while I've always been a Richie fan, he has to get his head on straight or he can't be on our team.


    Quote Originally Posted by BM_Face View Post

    Right now, I am confused, but if Spags can get this team's emotions focused, I know we will be more competative on Sundays. Cogs as a poster child? Hmmmm.
    Mike Singeltary named Vernon Davis a captain, perhaps if you put a problem child in a position of responsibility you can hold them more accountable and perhaps they will feel required to conduct themselves better. I know we don't want to copy the ***** but it seems like a pretty good idea, of course you don't want your leaders being boneheads...
    Last edited by C-Mob 71; -09-14-2009 at 10:25 PM. Reason: more reader friendly

  8. #8
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    Toughness and non-stop effort are certainly two traits we all want to see in this team. But toughness without poise is meaningless, and the lack of discipline shown by the Rams in their 10 penalty, 28-0 waxing yesterday was discouraging and will only lead to more losing. While I believe in Spagnuolo and Devaney and like the tone of this article, one thing and ONLY one thing will make me happy: WINNING FOOTBALL.

  9. #9
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    [QUOTE"I told him I still have confidence in him," said Spagnuolo. "I'm not going to lose confidence in him after one game. I think Richie is one of our most passionate guys. He plays his butt off. Sometimes he has to temper that, is all."

    I want you to sit down for this. Spagnuolo is actually ready to make Incognito the poster child for the new face of his football team. No more pansies. No more soft, finesse, nice, polite guys who get intimidated and punked down the moment the game gets a bit too chippy and overly violent.

    Spagnuolo has to know that if he's going to turn this bad football team around quickly, it better begin with harnessing that attitude Incognito brings to the table every week. On Sunday, Spags sounded just like every other coach who has been given a high maintenance player to deal with. He believes he can find a way to do what no other coach in Incognito's football life has been able to do so far: keep him consistently on the right side of that narrow line that separates the passionate warrior from the unstable madman.

    "We're going to try and figure that one out on the plane," Spags said with a wink and a smile. "I don't have the answer for that right now. But I will say this: I'd rather be trying to figure that out than having guys who didn't care. I really would. I'd rather have a bunch of passionate guys who we can help turn into productive passion anytime. Because the flip side is you don't care, you quit."[/QUOTE]

    All of you guys that had your torches and pitch forks out yesterday after the game should chew on that for a while.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodude View Post
    [
    All of you guys that had your torches and pitch forks out yesterday after the game should chew on that for a while.
    What about those who had their pitchforks out long before yesterday concerning Richie Incognito?

    If Spags wants to lay it on the line for a mediocre guard in Incognito, that's his choice and we will see if he's the ONE head coach that can get through to Incognito because no one else ever has. That's also why the Rams now have a GM like Devaney to temper head coaches from hurting themselves and the team with pet projects that are failing.

  11. #11
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    I will say this, if he lays it out for Richie then the "4 pillars" means nothing. Which I don't have a problem with at all. I thought that was far fetched anyway.

    Wow, I do have patience with this team. There's a revelation for you HUb. lol I don't expect anything from this team but to play hard all year. That's all I want. Sunday's game proved that some were going to play hard. I just don't understand the Bell situation. Maybe it's the Curse of the Titans.

    Just show improvement every week, to heck with the record this year. With 28 million or so in dead money, we were screwed before the kickoff of week 1. However, that means we are cleaning house and that's fine with me.

  12. #12
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    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

    "It's football, it's not golf," said the big running back. "It's (bleepin') football. Would you rather us just get our tails kicked and run back? I think you saw some fight in this team. ... We lost the game, but it's a lot different around here. I've been around here for six years and this team is intense and I love it, I love it."

    I love it and I've never had a problem with Richie hopefully the whole team will catch fire and will become more like the Giants, they kick behind and don't take any crap from anyone & that is how we become a winner again.

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