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  • Spags Is Losing Credibility

    Spags Is Losing Credibility
    By Bernie Miklasz
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    Hope you had a good weekend.

    1. Incognito is Hurting Spagnuolo’s Cred: I like Steve Spagnuolo. I want to see him succeed as the Rams head coach. Rookie coaches aren’t going to be finished products and I understand that. I also have to remind myself (and others) that Spagnuolo walked into the worst situation in the NFL. He walked into the ruins of the previous regime. Again, I factor all of this in. I try to be fair. But Spagnuolo loses me on this Richie Incognito business.

    Yes, Spags did bench Incognito yesterday after the hothead RG drew a second 15-yard penalty for head-butting a Titans player. And that’s good. He also barked at #68 on the sideline. That’s good. But it isn’t enough. And how many chances will Spagnuolo give Incognito? Here’s the deal: Spagnuolo stood by Incognito early this season when Incognito pulled the same kind of stuff at Seattle. Spagnuolo took the hit from fans and media by giving Incognito another chance and by, in so many words, defending him. And how did Incognito repay Spags for that? Well, he basically head-butted Spagnuolo in Nashville. Incognito not only disrespected the game and embarrassed the franchise, he not only put a rookie quarterback in a bad position (with the penalties), but he disrespected a coach who had sided with him, a coach who faithfully stood by him earlier when the town was in an uproar.

    If Incognito can’t show more loyalty to Spagnuolo than that, then what does this say about his character? Why would Spagnuolo (and GM Billy Devaney) believe they can win with with this guy? And doesn’t the coach have a responsibility to the other players? Incognito’s penalties have a negative impact on the offense — and that’s especially true of Sunday’s game, when the Rams had a rookie QB at the helm.

    Because of Incognito, Spagnuolo comes across as a weak guy who can be taken advantage of by players. Spagnuolo wouldn’t even address the situation after the game yesterday. He refused to explain himself on Incognito. It’s as if the coach didn’t want to hurt Richie’s feelings or embarrass him. Spagnuolo also said — twice — that he wanted to talk about the team instead of Incognito. Yo, coach! Incognito is part of the team. He’s a starting player. A benching is team business. It’s a public move. It isn’t a secret. It isn’t an internal affair. So I think the fans deserve some sort of explanation. I know Spagnuolo is a players’ coach. But at some point he needs to let the customers know that certain conduct is unacceptable. And there is nothing wrong with coming out after a game and stating that publicly: “What Incognito did today was unacceptable, and we will not tolerate it. Period.” That’s all the coach had to say. Instead, he mumbled something about wanting to help Incognito. This damages the coach’s credibility.

    Whatever happened to the coach’s ”Four Pillars,” anyway?

    I guess Richie head-butted them and knocked ‘em down.

    2. Jeff Fisher Revisited: I teased the Titans coach in my Monday column for running up the score on the Rams. I don’t get too worked up about this stuff; if you don’t want a team to run it up, then make a play and keep them out of the end zone. That said, I thought Fisher’s actions were tacky and that’s why I mentioned it. But I thought about this some more while making the 300-mile drive home from Nashville late Sunday night. And I could be off base about this, but here goes: maybe Fisher had seen enough of the Rams’ lack of class. He watched Incognito execute his usual cheap-shot nonsense by head-butting two of his players. Fisher saw a Rams defensive tackle, Clifton Ryan, shove Titans star RB Chris Johnson to the ground when Johnson was well out of bounds. (No flag on the play, but still — think about that from Fisher’s perspective.) Then he saw Ryan jawjacking and getting into the face of Tennessee players on the bench. Wouldn’t you get fed up a little? Wouldn’t you get peeved by Spagnuolo and the Rams’ coaches failing to control their players? I can imagine Fisher thinking something like this: “look, if these guys come in here and act like punks, then to heck with it. If they want to play rough, let’s score another seven points on them.” I don’t know if Fisher believed that, but I could see why he’d come to that opinion.

    3. Don’t Be Too Hard on Keith Null: The kid was put into a near impossible situation. He wasn’t ready to be an NFL starter. Before last week, he had taken maybe a dozen snaps with the first-team offense. Having played his entire high school and college career in a spread offense (and shotgun formation), Null still has problems taking the ball under center, and in executing handoffs. He’s a project. In terms of the bottom line, it didn’t go well for him at Tennessee. In fact, according to Elias Sports Bureau, only one other player in NFL history was picked off at least five times in his debut: Tom O’Malley of Green Bay was intercepted six times in his first and last NFL game, a 45–7 loss to the Detroit in the 1950 season opener. But I thought Null handled things well from a composure standpoint. Despite all of the negativity in that game, despite his five interceptions, I never got the feeling that Null was scared or coming apart emotionally. He maintained a steady presence. He didn’t act goofy. He seemed mature. And about the five INTs: it happens. Jay Cutler (Chicago) has had games of 5 and 4 INTs this season, and he’s a veteran. Three first-round picks in the 2009 NFL Draft have thrown five INTs in a game this season. In his last four starts, Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay) has thrown 11 picks, including games of 5 and 3 INTs. Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick (Detroit), has had games of 5 and 4 INTs. Mark Sanchez (NY Jets) has had games of 5 and 4 INTs. Combined, Stafford, Sanchez and Freeman have thrown 50 interceptions this season. If the bonus babies can throw 5 INTs in a game, it should hardly come as a surprise to see Null get picked off five times by a tough Titans defense on the road.

    Stafford, Sanchez and Freeman didn’t play at West Texas A & M, a Division 2 program. They weren’t sixth-round draft picks. No one said “who?” when their names were called out on draft day. They were much more prepared to jump into the NFL. Null’s climb is much more difficult. Null has such a long way to go. In the grand scheme of things, him throwing five INTs is no big deal. Let’s have some perspective.

    3. The Status of Steven Jackson: I was surprised to see Jackson still in there late in Sunday’s game, still getting slammed around in a lost cause. He has an aching back, and he’s taking a beating. Is it time for some common sense to come into play here? As Bill Coats reported in Monday’s Post-Dispatch, Jackson has a herniated disc. I don’t think this is a minor condition. Jackson is on a pace for 350 carries this season. That’s a lot. I did some quick research, and since the start of the 2000 season an NFL back has reached 350 carries in a season only 20 times. And some of the guys on that 350 list broke down or burned out earlier than expected in their careers — including Shaun Alexander, Rudi Johnson, Ahman Green, Stephen Davis, Deuce McAllister, Edgerrin James, Eddie George. Some fine running backs there. But they all seemingly lost it in a hurry. The latest example is Larry Johnson, who had 336 rushing attempts in 2005 and 416 rushes in 2006 for the KC Chiefs. He’s never been the same and hasn’t come close to gaining 1,000 yards in a season after being used so much. The question is this: especially considering that Jackson is injured, does it make sense to keep pushing him in such vigorous fashion? We all wanted Jackson to be a workhorse. We all wanted him to be the centerpiece of the Rams offense. And he is. SJ39 has earned a lot of respect this season for playing hard, playing hurt, and never letting up even though the Rams are 1-12 and hopeless. But what about 2010 and beyond? It would be a shame to have Jackson come out of this season in bad shape for the future. I hope the Rams know what they’re doing.

    4. I Liked the Fake Punt and Ken Darby’s 51-yard run, but … the score was 33-0. Was it a waste to use it in that situation? Well, I guess we should be grateful for any offense from the Rams. Even when the game already has been lost. The Rams are averaging 11.2 points per game this season, last in the 32-team NFL. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, that scoring rate puts them among the worst offenses in league history. Of the 1,157 offenses ranked from top to bottom in scoring average, the Rams are No. 1,145.

    5. About David Freese: Not sure what to say about the Cardinals’ young 3B. I had a DWI in the early 1990s, and so I am always reluctant to throw stones at others who do something as dumb as I did. But from a baseball standpoint, the offseason has been a problem for Freese for two years in a row now. Not good. He has a lot on the line with the Cardinals. He can’t continue to waste opportunities. He’s got to be extra careful and use better judgment. And that judgment applies to his decision-making away from baseball. And calling for a cab or a ride when it’s the responsible thing to do.

    Bonus Bernie Bytes: As a Navy football fan, I’ll say this about the Mids’ uncharacteristically lethargic performance on offense in Saturday’s 17-3 win over rival Army: at least it may help make Mizzou overconfident going into the Texas Bowl … WR Randy Moss, dogging it for the New England Patriots? Just shocking. Or maybe not… my friend Peter King at Sports Illustrated also thinks there’s a distinct possibility of the Rams making a run at QB Michael Vick after the season. In his latest Monday Morning Quarterback, King reports that the Rams and Tampa Bay — top contenders for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft — have Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh rated on top of their draft boards. After talking to scouts, King opines that Suh is the best defensive player to come into the draft this decade.

    Thanks for reading this …

    -Bernie
    :ramlogo:

  • #2
    Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

    Im noticing the same thing in Spags you are. He is weaker than I thought he was and seems to be not practicing what he preache's, Im not sure the players truly respect him, which surprise's me. Spags is struggling to find the right balance between being the good cop, bad cop.
    I think he has over estimated his abilities to be a coach and is now starting to realise that this 4 pillars business, is not to be the sum of all the parts?
    I also dislike his post game interview, too much respect given to the opposing coaching staff for my liking, same old banging of the drum.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

      I agree with Bernie's article. I understand that in year one, it is about a head coach building up player trust in. Spags has done that. But sooner or later you must start sending pointed messages at guys who aren't listening or getting it done, and if that hurts feelings, too bad. There is no better place to start than with Incognito.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

        Shouldn't that have read "Spags is losing credibility with me"?

        There is nothing in the article that suggests that THE TEAM has lost confidence in Spags. I really could not care less whether Bernie has.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

          Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
          Shouldn't that have read "Spags is losing credibility with me"?

          There is nothing in the article that suggests that THE TEAM has lost confidence in Spags. I really could not care less whether Bernie has.
          Thank you.
          Steve

          What you see is what you get, but what you see depends on where you stand.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

            Still don't think that he was shoved out of bounds...and if he would, clearly the flag would have stuck. This is a Rams penalty we're talking about here! They'll go far out of the way to stick it to us!

            And as far as Ryan 'jawjacking' to Titans players, did anyone see the Titans/Texans game earlier this season, when they beat down some Texans player that ran out of bounds on their sideline?! Jason Jones got ejected for throwing a punch, and a few others should have to. I don't think that Ryan was the one stirring the pot over there. Titans are thugs, and Incognito was doing his job.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

              Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
              Shouldn't that have read "Spags is losing credibility with me"?

              There is nothing in the article that suggests that THE TEAM has lost confidence in Spags. I really could not care less whether Bernie has.

              agreed, I think Cogs will be gone in the off-season and maybe Barron too.

              Spags will earn respect in the off-season, signing players and getting people to play.

              Cogs and Barron's lack of mental focus cannot be tolerated for next years team.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

                Wow. Trying to stir things up Bernie? I don't think Spags has lost credibility ... at all. Maybe with all the injuries and such, he can't let anybody go yet. I too think Barron and Cogs will be gone this offseason.
                If a team won their division seven straight times, that would be a NFL record. Now add on that team did it with seven different QB's in seven straight years,that record is unbeatable. To do that feat, you must of had a great Defense. Jack Youngblood was the captain of that defense.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

                  Losing credibility articles at this point in the season when you are staring at 1-15 is a way to get readers excited. Bernie does these a few times per week during the season. I swear he has a calendar of article that need to be written. August 14th? Is TLR losing control of the clubhouse? December 1st - Should the Blues trade all their players for one veteran? February 15th, The Rams should take (fill in the name of an idiot nobody wants) in the draft.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

                    Originally posted by eldfan View Post
                    Fisher saw a Rams defensive tackle, Clifton Ryan, shove Titans star RB Chris Johnson to the ground when Johnson was well out of bounds. (No flag on the play, but still — think about that from Fisher’s perspective.) Then he saw Ryan jawjacking and getting into the face of Tennessee players on the bench. Wouldn’t you get fed up a little? Wouldn’t you get peeved by Spagnuolo and the Rams’ coaches failing to control their players? I can imagine Fisher thinking something like this: “look, if these guys come in here and act like punks, then to heck with it. If they want to play rough, let’s score another seven points on them.” I don’t know if Fisher believed that, but I could see why he’d come to that opinion.
                    Johnson tripped on the chains. Ryan wasnt "jawjacking" anyone the tennessee bench jumped on him on their sideline. Christ Bernie...

                    If Fisher is looking for some "punks" to make an example of i suggest he looks at his own team.

                    I lost a lot of respect for Fisher after last years "terrible towl" incident against the Steeler's. I lost the rest sunday.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

                      Johnson getting shoved out of bounds? That is not how I saw it. It looked like he laid off to me and johnson slipped.

                      As far as the jaw jacking. What is he supposed to do when a player runs over to shove Ryan?

                      Bernie is such a blowhard and the Titans (Jeff Fischer too) are a bunch of punks. I really despise that team now.
                      The Rams... Where dreams go to die.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Spags Is Losing Credibility

                        Let me add that i hope we play them again next year... and the year after that... and the year after that...

                        Comment

                        Related Topics

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                        • eldfan
                          Have the Rams bottomed out?
                          by eldfan
                          Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
                          [More columns]By Bernie Miklasz
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          12/14/2009

                          NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In terms of the depth of their futility and their absolute inability to win, the Rams are ranking right down there with some of history's more recognized losers.

                          We're talking about the 1962 expansion New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs since 1908, the old St. Louis Browns, the Jamaican bobsled team, Gen. Custer at Little Big Horn, George McGovern in 1972, the patsy Washington Generals hooping against the Harlem Globetrotters.

                          After being demolished 47-7 by the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at LP Field, the Rams slid deeper into the sinkhole of professional sports. They're 1-12 on the season, 1-22 in their last 23 games, 3-26 since the beginning of 2008, and 6-39 over the past three seasons.

                          And at this point, what's the use in kicking them when they're as broken, bleeding and demoralized as any pro team in St. Louis sports history? Besides, that's a job for Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher. Ten years later, Fisher is still trying to get that extra yard he needed in Super Bowl XXXIV.

                          With undeveloped Rams rookie quarterback Keth Null starting and appearing in a regular-season NFL game for the first time, the Titans ripped into the Rams faster than it takes baseball agent Scott Boras to reject a home-team discount for Matt Holliday. Titans running back Chris Johnson made a couple of video-game moves, and even before Alex Barron could draw his first false start penalty the Rams were down 14-0.

                          With starting quarterback Kyle Boller (thigh) unable to go, Null did about as well as he could under the circumstances. He was intercepted five times, with one theft returned for a pick six. Whoa, Nullie, you aren't at West Texas A&M anymore.

                          This was a concussion waiting to happen. Null was the raw red meat tossed into the lion's den. But at least Null managed to walk off the field with his brain and body intact. And actually the rookie remained quite composed over the three-hour lesson. Null made plenty of mistakes, but not because he lost his cool. Null was surprisingly calm and under control.

                          Which is saying something, because the beating that took place in Nashville was fierce, ugly and cruel. Fisher ran up the score by ordering a fourth-down pass (for a touchdown) with under eight minutes remaining and his team up 33-7. The TD made it 40-7, and by then the Rams were pretty much down to their last layer of dignity.

                          After the smackdown, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo spoke in quiet, barely audible tones. Frankly, I'd never seen him so down, so bummed.

                          "It's hard. It's hard. It's hard," Spagnuolo said. "But I'll bounce back. And I don't worry about that question because I know the guys in the locker room will do the same."

                          Bounce back from...
                          -12-14-2009, 06:05 AM
                        • RamFan_Til_I_Die
                          Spags' Rams show more toughness
                          by RamFan_Til_I_Die
                          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...
                          -09-14-2009, 09:34 AM
                        • eldfan
                          Can't help but like how hard Rams play
                          by eldfan
                          Can't help but like how hard Rams play

                          Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
                          [More columns]By Bernie Miklasz
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          12/21/2009

                          All in all, it was a pretty good week for Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, who had to deal with the usual business at Rams Park, the NFL house of horrors located on the road to nowhere out in scorched-Earth City.

                          Spagnuolo's squad was hit with an outbreak of the swine flu, forcing the cancellation of Thursday's practice. The rookie coach cut his incorrigible goon guard, Richie Incognito. Another starting guard, Jacob Bell, became the 11th Ram to go on injured reserve. And that casualty count doesn't include the No. 2 overall draft pick, offensive tackle Jason Smith, who can't shake the effects of a serious concussion.

                          The offensive line had to be rearranged again. Defensive end Leonard Little was scratched from Sunday's game with a knee injury. And with the Rams' supply of quarterbacks turning as thin as a Christmas tree parking lot, rookie QB Keith Null was shoved into the starting lineup for the second consecutive week.

                          Whatever can go wrong for the Rams already has in this season of unnecessary roughness.

                          On Sunday at the half-empty Edward Jones Dome, the Rams did a lot of things right, only to have the day go wrong, and they fell 16-13 to the Houston Texans.

                          If you want to update your misery index, the Rams are 1-13 on the season, 1-23 in their last 24 games, 3-27 over the last two seasons, and 6-40 over the last three seasons.

                          That's a lot of poison to ingest, but for some reason the players stubbornly continue to fight. They limp out of the game and then limp back in. They endure humiliation and frustration and volunteer to take on more.

                          On Sunday we saw Steven Jackson — he of the herniated disc, 1,352 yards rushing and at least that many bruises — get the helmet ripped from his head by Texans safety Bernard Pollard.

                          Pollard threw a forearm across Jackson's chin for good measure. With the blood filling Jackson's mouth and covering his lips, SJ39 went Pacquiao and threw a right-hand cross. Then he grabbed hold of Pollard and wrestled him to the ground.

                          That scene may have been a keeper from an otherwise hideous 2009 season: the bloodied Jackson, refusing to back down, skirmishing for a lost cause.

                          "I love this group," Spagnuolo said.

                          The talented Texans obviously walked into The Ed thinking that the doggy-dog Rams would shake the fleas off and obediently curl into a lazy winter nap. The visitors were in for more of a tussle than they imagined.

                          The Texans won for two simple reasons: (1) they have wide receiver Andre Johnson; (2) the Rams do not have wide receiver Andre Johnson.

                          "We came out here and played hard," Rams defensive end Chris Long...
                          -12-21-2009, 07:25 AM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Rams Finally Earn High Praise From Fans
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Rams finally earn high praise from fans
                          By Jeff Gordon
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          12/15/2009

                          The Rams finally did something to earn high praise from their long-suffering fans.

                          No, they didn’t score a bunch of touchdowns or win a game in entertaining fashion. That will probably have to wait for another season.

                          The team did cut ties with mercurial guard Richie Incognito Tuesday afternoon, turning the page on another unfortunate Rams Park plot line.

                          Fans had been calling for Incognito’s ouster since midway through Sunday’s 47-7 loss at Tennessee. His demise came less than 48 hours after he earned two personal foul penalties in Nashville.

                          After officials flagged Incognito for throwing a head butt – in a truly immature act – Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo benched him.

                          Spagnuolo put him back into the game, giving him another chance. Officials flagged him a second time, making a seemingly marginal call for a post-whistle tiff.

                          This time Spags yanked him from the game for good. Richie pled his case on the sideline, to no avail. Spagnuolo didn’t want to hear it Richie’s claims of innocence.

                          As a repeat offender, Incognito was a marked man with game officials. His cumulative bad behavior led to that second call.

                          Richie had exhausted whatever slack he once had with the NFL crews. He had also exhausted whatever slack he once had with the Rams organization.

                          After reflecting on Incognito’s situation, the Rams brain trust decided to release him and move on with their other guards.

                          The Rams have sent many veterans packing for many reasons. This time the team cashiered a guy to make an example of him to the rest of the organization.

                          This decision to jettison Richie came after the team learned that guard Jacob Bell would miss the rest of the season with a torn hamstring muscle. So Mark Setterstrom and John Greco figure to start now, with Roger Allen III likely to back them up.

                          All three players should get a chance to advance their case for 2010 employment here. Incognito will move along, a good bet to latch on a job with another injury-riddled team.

                          Knowing the Rams’ luck, Incognito will flourish elsewhere. But that is not the Rams’ concern. Richie had to be punished.

                          I would have buried him for a couple of games to see how he reacted, but Rams management had seen enough. There would be no more second, third or fourth chances for him here.

                          Richie a fiercely competitive man, but his penalties tend to be of the selfish variety – occurring after the play when an opponent got under his skin. Try as me might, Incognito could not learn how to calm down after the whistle.

                          The Rams knew Richie was a hot head when the team drafted him 81st overall in 2005. His college career was marked by violent incidents....
                          -12-15-2009, 08:06 PM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Round Two: Should The Rams Have Cut Incognito Earlier?
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          12.16.2009 11:46 am
                          Should Rams have cut Incognito earlier?
                          By Roger Hensley


                          THE WATERCOOLER

                          QUESTION: Was Richie Incognito’s level of play worth keeping him on the roster for as long as the Rams did, or should they have cut him loose earlier?

                          JIM THOMAS
                          Coach Steve Spagnuolo gave Incognito two chances. He was benched for a handful of plays after a couple of hot-headed penalties in the season opener against Seattle and had a sit-down with Spags. When Incognito had a similar meltdown in Game 13 against Tennessee, Spags had enough. So it’s hard to argue with the head coach’s approach. Keep in mind, Incognito’s contract would’ve been up after this season, and maybe the team was hesitant to commit big bucks to retain him anyway.

                          BRYAN BURWELL
                          Incognito had talent, that’s why he stayed as long as he did. You put up with problem children in sports for only one reason — ability. That’s why a good player with problems is an eccentric and a bad player with the same issues is unemployed.

                          JEFF GORDON
                          Richie played hard. The Rams were trying to rebuild this team with physical play on both lines. In many ways, Richie embodied what Spagnuolo wanted to do with the Rams. But the new coach was also stressing a team-first mentality and ultimately these personal fouls are selfish penalties. When Richie tried to plead innocence on his latest beef, that was the last straw. His remarks to Jim Thomas further proved his lack of self-accountability.

                          BILL COATS
                          Incognito is a solid offensive lineman, so it made sense for the Rams to give him some slack. They’d invested a third-round draft pick and a fair amount of money in him. After his problems in Seattle in the opener this year, he’d behaved himself until last Sunday’s blowup. So, I’d day the timing was right — particularly conisdering the Rams probably weren’t going to re-sign Incognito after this season.

                          KEVIN WHEELER (Host of “Sports Open Line” on KMOX)
                          They should have cut him loose sooner because he clearly wasn’t doing anything to help the team win more games. Richie is okay as a player but not good enough to make it worth putting up with his ridiculous lack of self-control, and it’s not like this guy doesn’t have a history of behaving badly.

                          A poll of 296 NFL players conducted by Sports Illustrated said he’s one of the dirtiest players in the league, he’s had four games in the last two years where he received multiple personal fouls (two of them this season) and he had a history in college as well. This guy was the first freshman ever to start the season on the offensive line for Nebraska, he was All-Big 12 as a sophomore and despite being one of the best players on the team he was still kicked out of the program for his behavior. That behavior included multiple suspensions for violation of team rules, three assault charges being filed against...
                          -12-16-2009, 07:20 PM
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