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  • Spags On Draft

    09.10.2009 3:39 pm
    Spags on Draft: “It’s a tough business in a lot of ways.”
    By Jim Thomas
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo knew the topic of the day was linebacker Chris Draft, who was released Thursday in a surprise move. So before the first question came from the media after Thursday’s practice, Spagnuolo addressed Draft’s departure.

    “None of these moves are easy,” Spagnuolo said. “It’s a tough business in a lot of ways. We’ve got a lot of respect and appreciation for Chris Draft and what he did both on and off the field here. Every decision that is made here is a team decision. So we’re going forward, but we do wish Chris a lot of luck.”

    So how much of the decision was business; and how much was football related?

    “I’m not going there,” Spagnuolo said, tersely. ”We made the decision. Again, I’ll repeat: We love Chris and wish him a lot of luck. But we made a decision which we thought was in the best interests of the team.”

    Spagnuolo didn’t exactly throw out a lifeline, either, for Draft when asked about the possibility of re-signing him next week.

    “We’re just worried about Seattle right now,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re focused on this week. We’ll worry about next week, next week.”

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  • r8rh8rmike
    It's Early, But Spags Has Shown Potential
    by r8rh8rmike
    It's early, but Spags has shown potential

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz

    Having learned a few embarrassing lessons along the way, I'm hesitant to hype rookie NFL head coaches. I don't get worked up over what happens in training camp. So I'll hold off on trying to nominate new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Let's see him in a real game. Let's see what happens when the injuries cut into an already thin roster, or when the squad is shaken by the inevitable losing streak. Let's see how the young coach responds if players question him or ignite a controversy. Let's see if he grows rabbit ears or develops overly sensitive skin when there's a feeding frenzy among frustrated fans or media.

    So what do we make of the Rams and Spagnuolo a week before the regular-season opener in Seattle?

    To state the obvious: The roster still has gaping holes, and only time and better judgment will fill them. Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney didn't create this roster; they inherited much of it. And they are turning it over as fast as they can.

    Quality, intelligent leadership eventually will take the Rams higher. So what about Spagnuolo as a leader?

    I haven't seen any signs of panic. Spagnuolo's stability is an attribute considering that three NFL head coaches (Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Buffalo) freaked out last week and fired their offensive coordinators.

    Spagnuolo is demanding but sincere and that earns respect. He's run a peaceful, orderly and businesslike camp. That may not have people rushing to the ticket windows, but this is a welcome change for an organization that was undermined by constant dysfunction. And compared to some other rookie coaches around the NFL who are yapping a lot or trying to project some tough-guy persona, Spagnuolo seems comfortable with who he is. He doesn't seem to feel a need to put on a show, or to draw attention to himself. I don't see Spagnuolo firing ego bullets in some misplaced display of authority.

    Here's the most important thing: Spagnuolo has gotten the players to embrace his approach. So far — and I repeat, more severe challenges are coming — Spagnuolo is receiving the necessary commitment from his players. That was a constant (and failed) struggle for Scott Linehan, the previous rookie head coach brought in by the old regime at Rams Park.

    Spagnuolo is connecting.

    "I think we've got a bunch of hungry guys," Spagnuolo said. "I think it's good to be hungry. It's a hungry football team that wants to be a team. We've talked a lot about it and I think the guys have embraced it. At least their actions and the attitudes and what comes out verbally says that to me. So if we can rally around that, that would be good."

    That's why Spagnuolo thanked the squad...
    -09-06-2009, 09:47 AM
  • MauiRam
    "'You've got to tell me everything now,'" .. Said Flajole to Spags ..
    by MauiRam
    Stull's staff at Mizzou went places

    BY Jim Thomas

    When the Rams hired Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator, no one outside of the Flajole family was happier about it than Bob Stull. "I've known him forever," Stull said. "My wife talks to his wife every Monday and gabs. He's a real hard-working guy, a really detailed guy. He's done a nice job wherever he's been."

    Nearly 20 years ago, when Stull was struggling along with a 15-38-2 record as head coach at the University of Missouri, who knew that his staff would become a cradle of NFL coaches? Flajole becomes the fourth member of Stull's Mizzou staff (1989-93) currently working in the NFL as a coordinator, joining Marty Mornhinweg (Philadelphia), Dirk Koetter (Jacksonville), and Dave Toub (Chicago). Mornhinweg and Koetter are offensive coordinators; Toub is special teams coordinator with the Bears.

    Mornhinweg also had a two-year stint as head coach of the Detroit Lions. Of course, the most famous alumnus of Stull's Missouri staff is Andy Reid, a two-time NFL coach of the year with a 107-68-1 record over 10 seasons for Philadelphia.

    "It was a great group," Stull said. "I think when we first arrived there, people questioned who are these young guys? Where'd they come from?"

    Now look at what they've become. So it's a nice story to be sure. But in a recent interview with the Post-Dispatch, Stull added a fascinating new twist to the tale.

    Guess who was a frequent visitor to the Mizzou campus during Stull's five-season tenure as Tigers coach?

    None other than current Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo.

    "I'll tell you the history of Spags," Stull said.

    Here it is:

    One of Spagnuolo's very good friends in the coaching business was Steve Telander; they had coached together at Massachusetts in the early 1980s. When Telander subsequently joined Stull's staff at Texas-El Paso, Spagnuolo made frequent trips to UTEP for coaching clinics, spring football, etc. When Stull took his entire UTEP staff with him to Mizzou in 1989, Spagnuolo continued such treks to Columbia.

    "That's where he met Andy Reid and Flajole and Dirk and all those guys," said Stull, now the athletic director at UTEP. "He'd spend three or four days 'clinic-ing' with all those guys. He used to come down all the time to visit with us."

    As an ambitious young coach trying to work his way up the ladder, Spagnuolo figured the more knowledge he could soak up the better.

    "There were a number of times I'd go out there when I was coaching at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and then I was at the University of Connecticut," Spagnuolo said. "And you go to the UTEPs and the Missouris just to get football knowledge. That was really...
    -04-12-2009, 01:41 AM
  • BM_Face
    Spagnuolo hopes Rams leaders will step up
    by BM_Face
    Posted by Mike Florio on October 4, 2011, 8:17 PM EDT

    The Rams finished the 2010 season winning one of four games. They’ve started the 2011 season winning none of four games. And after their Week Five bye, the Rams face the Packers, Cowboys, and Saints.

    Hello, 0-7.

    But coach Steve Spagnuolo believes he has the right men on the team to turn things around. “Absolutely,” Spagnuolo said Monday in comments distributed by the team. “I know we’ve been hurt with injuries. But I’m sure, you guys probably know better, is there a team in the league that hasn’t had some kind of injury? We’ve had some key ones, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse.

    “Somebody’s got to step up and play and just like what you were talking about, you get your core veterans leading and get your so-called elite players making plays and make sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot. We talked a lot this morning about missed opportunities in all three phases. I put them up on the film. There wasn’t really anything that our opponent did. It was we didn’t exercise certain skills, basic skills.”

    Spagnuolo will keep his efforts to improve the team’s performance internal. “I don’t do it in the media, I do it in the meeting room,” Spagnuolo said. “Just like if my wife and I had a fight and I was upset at her I wouldn’t come out and tell the rest of the world. I just think that’s how you do it. I respect these guys. Now, they know that I demand a certain level of effort and excellence. And I think every player understands that, but that’s just the way I choose to do it.”

    Though he’s using the right approach, the bottom line is that the Rams are getting the wrong result. They lost only by seven to the Redskins on Sunday, but the Rams trailed 17-0 before waking up.

    In all, the Rams have been outscored by 67 points, 113-46. Meanwhile, the ***** are 3-1, and the Rams won’t get their first crack at closing the gap directly against San Francisco until December.

    By then, it could be too late.

    I highlighted the sentence that I think matters here. Sooooo many people are complaining that Spags is a big teddy bear that believes all problems are solved with hugs and ataboys. Just let him coach.
    -10-05-2011, 07:06 AM
  • Bralidore(RAMMODE)
    Spagnuolo Sees Different Senior Bowl
    by Bralidore(RAMMODE)
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer
    MOBILE, Ala. – Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has been coaching in the NFL for 11 years. Of the many things that profession entails for the majority of coaches, one is an annual trip here for Senior Bowl week.
    That trip can only be skipped by a select few, those fortunate enough to have helped lead their teams to the final weekend or two of the NFL playoffs. Those are the coaches playing for championships and they gladly miss out on the opportunity to come to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to try to find the guys who could help them someday skip said event.
    Before traveling down here this week, Spagnuolo reflected on this very idea and came to the conclusion that he has been quite blessed in his coaching career.
    “I have been very, very lucky in this league,” Spagnuolo said. “This is year 11 for me and this is only I want to say like the fourth time I have been here because I have been lucky enough to be on teams that were in the playoffs.”
    Obviously, Spagnuolo and the Rams weren’t so fortunate this season but that doesn’t mean he’s upset about coming to Mobile to get acquainted with some of the players in this year’s draft class.
    Last week, Spagnuolo hit the one-year mark of his tenure as the head coach of the Rams. A lot has changed in that time.
    At last year’s Senior Bowl, Spagnuolo was holed up in a room at the Renaissance Battle House Hotel interviewing candidates for various spots on his coaching staff. He attended no practices and got no feel for any of the players in attendance at last year’s game.
    This year, Spagnuolo has had to, in some ways, re-learn the Senior Bowl process.
    In the early days of the week, Spagnuolo sat anonymously with the NFL masses in the stands next to General Manager Billy Devaney. There, Spagnuolo picked Devaney’s brain about the players on the field in an effort to get to know some of them.
    After a couple of days of that, Spagnuolo spent Wednesday morning standing on the sideline with Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin and his trusty pencil and notebook in hand.
    “I was picking his brain a little bit about his first couple of years and time as a defensive coordinator so we shared some thoughts there but we both stood there and said ‘You do realize we keep moving with the defensive guys,’” Spagnuolo said, laughing. “We do have our eyes on everyone, though.”
    Although the Spagnuolo and his staff were offered the opportunity to be one of the coaching staffs here this week, the invitation was declined. Detroit is coaching the North team while Miami is coaching the South squad.
    Spagnuolo said he put a lot of thought into the decision but ultimately didn’t feel like the time was right for his staff to take on the task.
    “I just felt like this year it was more advantageous for...
    -01-27-2010, 06:44 PM
  • RamWraith
    Spagnuolo's system
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    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...
    -03-26-2009, 04:18 AM