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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    St. Louis Rams players give thumbs up to new coach

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/18/2009

    Other than interims Jim Haslett for 12 games this season and Joe Vitt for 11 games in 2005, the Rams hadn't had a defense-oriented head coach since Ray Malavasi in the early 1980s.

    Until Saturday, that is, when Steve Spagnuolo hopped aboard to run a team that won just five of 32 games over the last two seasons.

    Spagnuolo, 49, was a wide receiver at Springfield (Mass.) College. But he has spent his quarter-century coaching career on the other side of the ball, including the last two years as the New York Giants' defensive coordinator.

    The Giants ranked seventh in the NFL in total defense in 2007 en route to the Super Bowl championship, then moved up to No. 5 this season, when they went 12-4 and won the NFC East title but lost to Philadelphia in the playoffs.


    Having a defensive-minded man in charge will be a plus "just for the mentality and attitude he'll bring to the table," defensive end James Hall said. "As a defensive player, I'm used to that."

    Said linebacker Will Witherspoon: "Being a defensive guy, you like to have a defensive guy in charge. They tend to be guys who want to get the job done regardless ... guys who really want to put the pressure on no matter what. They want to make every game close, and they want every situation to be a win-win situation."

    They often come brimming with confidence, a quality the downtrodden Rams lack, he added.

    "Having a guy that's got some swagger makes a big difference, a guy who can really get guys motivated," Witherspoon said. "That's going to be a big key."

    Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan said he became intrigued with Spagnuolo's defensive approach while watching Giants games on television during his senior year at Michigan State.

    "I was impressed with him," Ryan said. "He comes with a defense that really likes to get after it. That's a bonus for young guys like me. Hopefully he'll bring the same thing to the table here as the head coach. ... And he has a Super Bowl ring; that speaks for itself."

    Spagnuolo "will make us a little bit tougher," linebacker Chris Draft said. "I think he's definitely going to be good for us. He's somebody that's been around winning."

    Added Hall: "He seems to be a guy that expects a lot out of his defensive front. He lets his defensive linemen get after it, which is exciting for a guy like me. And he knows what it takes to win."

    Spagnuolo's background will have an impact on the offense, too, wide receiver Dane Looker predicted.

    "When you have a defensive guy, that usually means you're going to run the ball, because they know that's the toughest thing to go against, a real good running game," Looker said. "They don't usually like to spread it out and throw the ball around a lot."

    Haslett was the overwhelming favorite for the job among the players. Some 57 of 61 members of the active roster and the practice squad signed a petition supporting Haslett and sent it to owner Chip Rosenbloom.

    Still, Spagnuolo seemed to be an agreeable choice.

    "Hopefully he's a guy that will stand up and be the face of the team that we need right now," Draft said.

    "I think it's going to be a good hire," Witherspoon said. "I don't think it's a situation where anybody's going to be upset by it. The head coach is just the start, and I think putting together a good staff thereafter will be what really puts the icing on the cake."


  2. #2
    UtterBlitz's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams players give thumbs up to new coach

    57 out of 61 players supported Haslett. They must have really liked him.

    I'll bet that Spagnuolo will win them over soon enough.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    moloch41's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams players give thumbs up to new coach

    Quote Originally Posted by UtterBlitz View Post
    57 out of 61 players supported Haslett. They must have really liked him.
    Actions speak louder than words. Losing 10 games in a row wasn't a good way to show how much they adored him. Now, I'm not blaming it all on them- I don't think Haslett is a very good coach or DC, but that petition meant absolutely nothing to me. Hopefully, Spags is more into holding people accountable than Haslett or Linehan were.

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    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: St. Louis Rams players give thumbs up to new coach

    Quote Originally Posted by moloch41 View Post
    That petition meant absolutely nothing to me. Hopefully, Spags is more into holding people accountable than Haslett or Linehan were.
    Exactly. The petition almost had the opposite effect on me, if they want some guy that they're comfortable around that won't hold people accountable and shake up the roster when needed that is something they will *not* get with Spagnuolo. Until they show they can win I'm not inclined to listen to who they want as coach.

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    HornIt's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis Rams players give thumbs up to new coach

    Two things about the petition.

    1. It is not an accurate gauge of actual sentiment for keeping Haslett. It is only an accurate gauge of compulsion. This is why secret ballot if far better method than open ballot voting.

    2. Even if 57 out of 61 players really wanted Haslett to remain as the Rams HC, it doesn't equate to being a good thing. This is why no organizations worth their salt allow employees to vote on who their bosses should be. Sometimes bosses who are not particularly well liked end up getting the best results. I remember the stories coming out of NY early in the 07' season about the locker room and Coughlin. The guy wouldn't have won any popularity contests apparently. Of course now he's the toast of the town and his DC just got a job as a Head Coach because of their success.

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