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    Steve Spagnuolo Q&A: Rams' Jackson a 'premier' NFL running back

    By Dennis Dillon

    After establishing his credentials as an assistant with the Eagles (1999-2006) and the defensive coordinator of the Giants (2007-08), Steve Spagnuolo is now the head coach in St. Louis. One of seven men who will make their head-coaching debuts in 2008, Spagnuolo sat down with Sporting News' Dennis Dillon and answered a baker's dozen questions before departing on a pre-training camp vacation.

    Q: What's the one thing that has surprised you most about being an NFL head coach?
    A: The thing you have to learn quickly is that you're not on your own schedule any more. You're on everybody else's schedule. You have to drop everything for someone on your staff -- anybody who needs anything -- because they come first. The head coach is last on his own list of who to take care of.

    Q: Best piece of advice you've received since becoming the Rams' coach?
    A: When I was down in Florida at spring training with the Cardinals, Tony La Russa told me, "Stick to what you believe in, and don't let anyone or anything detract from that, because whatever got you here is going to help you succeed here."

    Q: What's the one thing you accomplished in the offseason that you feel best about?
    A: I like the way the coaches and players came together. I like the fact I see total unity on both sides of the ball. There's no offense vs. defense, or the special teams being considered second-rate. None of that. I think that's a credit to the assistant coaches.

    Q: What's the most difficult decision you've had to make?
    A: The hardest thing I had to do was interview the previous St. Louis staff of coaches -- a lot of whom I knew and had a lot of respect for -- and I wasn't able to keep some of them.

    Q: Which position do you feel most comfortable about?
    A: The running back (Steven Jackson). I think he's one of the premier backs in the league. A lot of guys showed tremendous commitment and leadership during the offseason workouts, but he stuck out.

    Q: Which position are you most concerned about?
    A: We've got a lot of work to do, so I'm not going to pick one out. We know we have to do it one step at a time, and we have a long ways to go.

    Q: Which position has the best competition?
    A: I see a lot of competition at the wideout position and linebacker. Really, throughout the roster. But those would be the two.

    Q: Can this team win a championship with Marc Bulger as the quarterback?
    A: I have no reason to think it can't. I'm not putting a stamp of approval on saying it's going to happen, but there's no reason to think it won't.

    Q: The Rams have one of the NFL's youngest, least experienced wide receiver corps. Would you be comfortable going into the season if nothing changed there?
    A: Yes. It's never going to be about one group or one person; it's a whole unit. They'll grow right along with the rest of the guys.

    Q: Who is emerging as the leader or leaders among the players?
    A: Can I answer that at a later date? I don't know if your leaders completely surface until you hit some adversity. So we'll stay tuned on that one.

    Q: From the beginning, you said this team would be built around four pillars: Faith, character, core values and team first. What's an example of one of those pillars coming into play thus far?
    A: The "team first" is always going to be important to us, and we've talked a lot about that as a group -- both players and coaches. (P.R. director) Ted Crews keeps me abreast of the things players are talking about, and I think, from the words being said, that they are putting the team first. I have no reason to believe they're not thinking that way.

    Q: What are three specific things you need to accomplish in training camp?
    A: We need to establish the physicality of this team, and you can only do that with pads. We need to lay a foundation for the latter part of the season, when you need to win games in late November and December. And we need to come out as a unified team.

    Q: What will you do on vacation?
    A: I'm going back to Philly for a little while. I'm going to Cape Cod to see my family; my mother is retired there. And we'll have one vacation where we're with nobody -- just my wife and me. It will be some island somewhere.

    Dennis Dillon is a writer for The Sporting News.


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    Ramer's Avatar
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    Re: Steve Spagnuolo Q&A: Rams' Jackson a 'premier' NFL running back

    Great interview. I'm pumped for this season, can't wait for it to start.

  3. #3
    supachump is offline Registered User
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    Re: Steve Spagnuolo Q&A: Rams' Jackson a 'premier' NFL running back

    I like what Steve is doing. Building it around a really focused team centric effort.

    At first I was bothered about there being no veteran star wideouts. But the more I think about it and the more I read from Steve, the less I'm concerned and the more I like it this way. We are rebuilding and it will take some years to turn things around. I'm happy with the young guys growing into those veterans when the team starts to hit its stride in a year or two or three.

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    Re: Steve Spagnuolo Q&A: Rams' Jackson a 'premier' NFL running back

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    By Dennis Dillon

    Here's how he really answered this question.

    Q: Best piece of advice you've received since becoming the Rams' coach?
    A: Don't accept any incoming calls from Scott Linehan, Jim Haslett or Al Saunders!

    Dennis Dillon is a writer for The Sporting News.
    Sad but true!!!

  5. #5
    BEER's Avatar
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    Re: Steve Spagnuolo Q&A: Rams' Jackson a 'premier' NFL running back

    Its been a good 5 years since i have felt this good about the Rams and
    there direction. It feels good that I cant wait for football season again.

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