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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
    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!!!!!!!!!!!!
    sigpic :ram::helmet:

    Comment


    • #3
      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"

      Comment


      • #4
        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!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.


              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, 07:25 PM. Reason: more reader friendly

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Spags' Rams show more toughness

                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.

                        Comment

                        Related Topics

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                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Burwell: Spags Takes Note Of Rams' Progress
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Spags takes note of Rams' progress

                          Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          08/30/2009

                          The man is a stickler to details. Steve Spagnuolo carries around a little notepad with him everywhere, and he stops constantly to scribble down observations during practices and games. If it is important enough to catch his attention, it is important enough to jot down and look for a solution, note it as something worth repeating or investigate it more thoroughly on film.

                          Hopefully when all is said and done, it will be the extensive blueprint of the early days of a brilliant career ... or the critical chronicle that carefully traces all that went wrong.

                          Either way, as the neophyte coach goes through the early stages of his first NFL head-coaching gig, he is documenting everything. What some less- structured folks might call an obsession with minutiae, more sharp-eyed observers will tell you that it may prove to be the secret to Spags' eventual success if he is able to transform the Rams from rag-tag losers into regimented winners.

                          The NFL preseason is one of the more curious places to go looking for meaningful clues into the regular season. A year ago, the Detroit Lions "roared" through the summer undefeated (4-0) before staggering through the regular season 0-16. Super Bowl winners regularly offer a mixed bag of results in the preseason. And with the exception of the (tongue placed firmly in cheek) glorious Governor's Cup at stake in Thursday night's exhibition finale against the cross-state Kansas City Chiefs, they don't hand out any worthwhile championship hardware in August in the NFL.
                          But you can glean a few things from these games. You can pick out habits and attitudes. You can detect styles and trends. If a team can't run the ball or get it into the end zone on a regular basis in the preseason, it's rare that a switch flips after Game 1 in the regular season. If a team shows no toughness in the summer dress rehearsals, don't count on a physical or emotional transplant as soon as the live bullets start flying.

                          So that's why it's so insightful to observe some of the things that Spags has been jotting down in that little notepad, or having his assistants record in their own tablets.

                          He's looking to see if his team is developing into the "focused, disciplined and tough" squad, and he believes that personality is already forming.

                          "There were some pieces in there with the first groups now that kind of looked like we envisioned it," Spags said Friday afternoon after an extensive review of game films from Thursday night's 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. "(We were) running the football effectively, moving the offense down the field and scoring a touchdown. The defense coming out and stopping people."

                          After three preseason games, you might have...
                          -08-30-2009, 11:18 PM
                        • VegasRam
                          On Second Thought...
                          by VegasRam
                          Some time within the last year I wrote a post basically suggesting Jim Thomas get a life and get off Spags for firing the Equipment Manager.

                          I was wrong, as the more I think about Spags firing Hewitt while directing that garbage on the field, the more pissed I get. What also drove me crazy was his allusion to having a loving wife and faith in his God during one of his recent pressers after yet another pos loss. I'm happy for you Steve, but really do not give a **** about your personal beliefs. And while I'm on the subject, it's time to relax a bit on the 4 pillars crap, ( suspect in the first place), as the locker room can handle itself just fine at this point.

                          But it got me thinking. It appears to me that the St Louis sportswriters have always been a bit lukewarm towards Spags, (and not Devaney), and everyone, including me, just wrote it off to Spags' style (ala Belichek), since we were still ecstatic at finally having a real front office and coach in place. I'm thinking that when Spags is let go, as I hope, certain stories will surface that we don't hear about now because the writers know they still have to deal with him.

                          But back to Hewitt - he probably pissed Spags off, and that was it. Doesn't anyone else wonder why he gave up so quickly on what we all thought were promising rookies, like Selvie, Hines and Williams? I'm convinced now that he's somewhat of a tyrant, (as are a lot of the vertically challeged), and way too much of a micromanager, (documented), to be a head coach.

                          And, while it won't happen, (the above rant notwithstanding) I would love to have him as the D coordinator, where he could narrow his focus a bit, and free up the Offense.

                          Cheers all - maybe Brandstater can surprise Seattle next week. Keep the Faith.
                          -12-06-2011, 10:33 AM
                        • AvengerRam_old
                          Let's get this out of the way: Spags v. Line#&%
                          by AvengerRam_old
                          I'll start with the obvious.

                          I condemned Scott Line#&% early in his tenure with the Rams (perhaps unfairly, but ultimately rightly, so).

                          I fully support Steve Spagnuolo.

                          Why the difference?

                          Well, it just does not come down to wins and losses.

                          Line#&% took over a team that was a bit down, but still had a core of players (Bulger, Jackson, Bruce, Holt, Curtis, Pace, Little, etc.) who been to the playoffs. His job was to sustain the remaining pieces of the GSOT, refresh the roster, stabilize the organization, and return to the playoffs.

                          When Spagnuolo took over, that core was gone (Bruce, Curtis), on the way out (Holt, Pace) or worn down by three injury-plagued seasons (Bulger, Little). The only true known commodity was Steven Jackson. Spags' job was to REBUILD.

                          So... given the difference in the HCs' respective "missions," there should be no surprise that there have been different initial results.

                          Line#&% failed accross the board. His inability to manage playcalling duties with HC duties hindered the effectiveness of the veteran offense. His player personnel decisions were poor. His style caused division, rather than unity. And, of course, the team suffered on the field.

                          Spagnuolo's success or failure simply can't be evaluated at this point. Anyone who thought that the Rams could remove the (arguably over-priced and under-performing) base of veterans, elevate a bunch of players with 0-3 years experience, and start winning immediately (and I include myself in this category) was kidding him or herself.

                          This is not a new scenario. Teams often, following a successful run, have to bottom out entirely before returning to success. Look at the Cowboys during the transition from Tom Landry to Jimmy Johnson. First you have to break ties with the past (regardless of the short-term consequences), then you have to make good personnel decisions, and then... and only then, can a new era begin.

                          The error of the Line#&% regime is that it wrongly tried to sustain an era that, in reality, was already gone.

                          This is the first year in which the Rams organization has truly accepted that the GSOT years are over, and that a new chapter needs to written.

                          I'm still banking on Spagnuolo being the man to help write the next story.
                          -12-01-2009, 07:51 PM
                        • laram0
                          Spags
                          by laram0
                          Ok so we are 0-2 but could have or maybe should have won both games. At least our teams looks better than last year.

                          Obviously if we win this Sunday alot of the heat aimed at SPAGS from the fans will cool off big time.

                          However if we lose another close one how will the fans react?

                          What if we get blown out? What will the fans reaction be concerning Spags?

                          GO RAMS!!!
                          -09-22-2010, 01:01 PM
                        • dgr828
                          SPAGS may be in over his head
                          by dgr828
                          There are millions of excuses for the Rams woes, but the head coach must be held accountable. Even Jim Zorn has the Redskins playing inspired ball!
                          Spagnuolo has done nothing to show that this team is responding to him. More often than not his Rams tend to quit on him before the end of ballgames.

                          Has Spags lost this team already?

                          Could the Rams have made a better choice for HC?

                          Spags must be thinking "What have I gotten myself into!"

                          Should Spags be placed offically on the HOTSEAT?

                          It might be TIME!
                          -11-29-2009, 01:26 PM
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