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"Red Dawn" For The Rams

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  • "Red Dawn" For The Rams

    09.14.2009 5:30 am
    “Red Dawn” for the Rams
    By Andy Dapron

    Two years ago this week, the New York Giants took the field for an opening day matchup on the road against the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants’ defense was led by new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. On that day, the Giants defense gave up 45 points and 478 total yards, as New York fell to Dallas 45-35.

    A week later, at home against Green Bay, Spagnuolo’s defense was burned for 35 points and 368 total yards. Final score: Packers - 35, Giants - 13.

    Add it up, and through two games, Spagnuolo’s Giants defense had yielded 80 points and 846 total yards. Giants fans were up in arms over the state of their team’s defense, and the primary target of their ire was Spagnuolo.

    Fast forward to February 3, 2008, and that same Giants defense was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy over its heads, having held the previously unbeaten New England Patriots to 14 points and 274 total yards in a stunning 17-14 victory in Superbowl XLII. Spagnuolo was the toast of the town, and had become one of the NFL’s hottest coaching commodities.

    Now we come to the present day. Spagnuolo is the Rams new head coach, and is left to sort through the wreckage of today’s 28-0 beatdown at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. In my blog Sunday morning, I wrote that the Rams stood at the dawn of a new era. As it turns out, it was a red dawn, a bloody massacre to open Spagnuolo’s tenure in St. Louis.

    But, if the tale of the Giants’ 2007 season tells us anything, it’s that Rams fans can still have hope. Spagnuolo has been here before. He has been in a situation where he began with less than desirable results, but he stuck to his plan, and managed to mold his unit into something great.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not painting the Rams as potential Super Bowl winners, or even playoff contenders. In fact, after what turned out to be a very hotly contested *****-Cardinals game today, a game in which the ***** managed to score an upset road victory over the Cardinals, the Rams find themselves again looking like bottom-dwellers in the NFC West. Today’s game revealed that the Rams still have some work to do to climb out of that cellar.

    The penalties have to stop. Ten penalties for 85 yards is ridiculous, especially when you consider that disciplined play is supposed to be one of the hallmarks of Spagnuolo’s coaching.

    I will be waiting to see how Spagnuolo deals with guard Richie Incognito, who continues to nullify his physical play with personal fouls that thwart Rams drives. I love that Incognito wants to play with a nasty streak, but he needs to control it. Can Spagnuolo help him with this?

    Marc Bulger looked like a man who had missed three weeks of time assimilating himself into a new offense. Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur have to find a way to get him into some sort of rhythm.

    And, for pete’s sake, somebody cover the tight end!

    These are just a few of the issues Spaqgnuolo will have to deal with in the weeks ahead.

    However, I would encourage all the dispirited Rams fans out there not to jump the gun in labeling this team “the same old Rams.” There are signs of hope.

    The defense forced 3 turnovers today. If they are able to continue stealing the ball, the Rams will score some points. The kick coverage units are actually covering. As for the offense, let’s see if Bulger can improve with more practice time in the system.

    In 2007, Spagnuolo got his downtrodden group turned around after a rough start. Now, he will have to get the Rams back on track. No, the Rams may not be ready to make a playoff push, but when they walk off the field after the season finale against San Francisco, I expect them to be a heck of a lot better than they were today. Otherwise, they will just be the same old Rams.

  • #2
    Re: "Red Dawn" For The Rams

    Like I said before, if Spags cannot get these players to perform well over time, then I must say something that I really hate to have to say because it shouldnt be this way: