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Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

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  • Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

    By Jim Thomas

    It's the season for Christmas cards and holiday greetings, but Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is getting more than that in his mailbag these days.

    "I get some great letters and some great comments" from fans, Spagnuolo said. "It makes me feel good. I'm human. And I hope they still feel that way. If they can just remain faithful, that will be appreciated."

    Of course, not all of the cards and letters are complimentary, and Spagnuolo gets more than a few suggestions as well.

    "I like the ones that I get with the designed plays on them," Spagnuolo said, laughing. "Oh, I get a lot of designed plays … (on) small little index cards. We've had a few in there — all the good ones we've run."

    Anything for a victory, right? With just two games to play in his rookie season as an NFL head coach, it's no secret what's on Spagnuolo's wish list.

    "Two wins," he said. "Two wins. And it's two NFC West opponents, which I think is important going forward — how you play against the people in your division."

    If the Rams are going to improve, there's no better place to start than their own division. Since the conclusion of the 2004 season — the Rams' last playoff campaign — they are 4-24 against the NFC West, which breaks down to 0-10 against Seattle and 2-7 against both Arizona and San Francisco.

    The Rams play their final road game of the season Sunday at Arizona and then close out with a Jan. 3 home game against San Francisco.

    Given the Rams' depleted roster, the team's troubles in the NFC West probably will spill over into next season. On Monday, tight end Daniel Fells became the 12th Rams player to go on the injured reserve list, with a fractured thigh bone. Three other Rams basically are out for the season, although they haven't been put on IR yet: quarterback Marc Bulger (shin bone), offensive tackle Jason Smith (concussion) and cornerback Quincy Butler (knee and ankle).

    The injuries to Fells and Butler took place in Sunday's 16-13 loss to Houston, which dropped the Rams' record to 1-13.

    The team's depth and talent are questionable, and Spagnuolo is running out of players.

    "Yeah, slowly but surely. Anybody have any eligibility left?" he asked reporters Monday. "We're pretty banged up. The list is long. But it just gives another guy an opportunity. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it does. It gave some guys an opportunity (against Houston). And that'll happen again this Sunday."

    At least it looks like the worst of last week's illnesses and swine flu is behind the Rams.

    "I believe so," Spagnuolo said. "... There's some normal cold and flu going around."

    They don't give medals for trying in the NFL. But given everything the team has gone through this year, Spagnuolo appreciates the fact that the squad hasn't given in to the circumstances, or the won-loss record.

    "That's what I expressed to them in the locker room (after Sunday's game)," Spagnuolo said. "I did again today. It means a great deal to me and to the staff. I know it's not easy. Especially with vets. It's not an easy thing to go through. Not for any of us.

    "They're able to dust themselves off and come back to work on Wednesday and get ready to play a game. … But again, we're not here for effort. We're here to try to win a football game. So we're not going to be satisfied with that, knowing that the only way to win is to have that (effort)."

    Spagnuolo said a hustle play by rookie defensive tackle Darell Scott against the Texans exemplified that attitude.

    "The fumble he recovered, you talk about an effort play," Spagnuolo said. "From a guy that I don't know if he ate anything the three days before (the game). That was a pretty good indicator right there of what those guys have inside."

    Scott was one of four Rams players who did not practice Friday because of illness. Scott recorded three solo tackles, including one tackle for loss against the Texans. His recovery of a fumble by Arian Foster in the first quarter came 24 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage.

    "I'm hopeful that people will see what the guys, what the players are still giving, knowing that going forward that eventually will pay off," Spagnuolo said. "It's hard now, when you got guys so banged up, to turn that into a lot of success. But we'll go play Arizona; we're going down to win a game."

  • #2
    Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

    Please lose BOTH games. Thanks! Much appreciated!


    • #3
      Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

      But again, we're not here for effort. We're here to try to win a football game. So we're not going to be satisfied with that, knowing that the only way to win is to have that (effort)." Spags

      Regardless of what it does to our position in the draft, winning IS all it's cracked up to be.

      GO RAMS!!


      • #4
        Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

        Can we please beat the niners. please.


        • #5
          Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

          If winning two more meaningless (we're not going to the playoffs) games might have the effect of hurting our chances of getting a player we desperately need to strengthen a MAJOR weakness (pick one), I'll take the losses. I'm very happy with the effort I've seen from this team during the season. What we lack, more than anything else is TALENT.

          Winning the last two games of the season won't do much for the team next season if they haven't improved their talent pool. While I hate it when my team loses, I think we really need to keep our eyes on what is ultimately best for the team's future success.
          That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!


          • #6
            Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

            I can appreciate the coach saying he wants to win...and he should. However, secretly he's got to be hoping they extend a good effort but just come up a little short. There is a reason why there is a sliding scale from top to bottom....the best talent is at the top and let's face it.....Suh is a beast.


            • #7
              Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

              Instead of focusing on losing, I say we all focus on the Rams and the Bucs winning!


              • #8
                Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

                Originally posted by poejoe8 View Post
                Instead of focusing on losing, I say we all focus on the Rams and the Bucs winning!
                However, what if the Rams and Bucs win both and the Lions lose both?

                No, the Rams at least have been consistent all year. Play hard but just come up a little short. Stay consistent should be the mantra for the next two games.


                • #9
                  Re: Spagnuolo's wish: 2 more wins

                  Add the Lions to the list of those we also hope to win...problem solved.


                  Related Topics


                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Rams Keep Effort Up
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    Rams Keep Effort Up
                    Monday, December 21, 2009

                    By Nick Wagoner
                    Senior Writer

                    As the ball came shooting out of the hands of Houston running back Arian Foster following a 13-yard catch and run, the eyes of rookie Rams defensive tackle Darell Scott immediately got large.

                    It was as though Scott was about to sit down to a big meal, which, coincidentally, was something he’d been physically unable to do even had he wanted to in the days leading up to Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Texans.

                    Scott reacted immediately and hauled all of his 6’3, 312 pound frame as fast as it could go from near the line of scrimmage the 20 or so yards required to pounce on the ball.

                    Ultimately, Scott fell on it at the Rams’ 8 but the fact that Scott was well enough to chase it down at all was nothing short of a testament to the effort these Rams are still putting in despite the 1-13 record attached to their name.

                    “You talk about an effort play from a game that I don’t know if he even ate anything the three days before it,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “That was a pretty good indicator of what those guys have inside of them.”

                    Effort doesn’t amount to a whole heck of a lot in the NFL. In fact, it’s probably the minimum requirement for what it takes to win an NFL game. Most teams that find themselves playing into January start with effort as the baseline and build from there.

                    As with most things in life, when something goes wrong, the easy thing to do is give up, regardless of how well compensated you are or whatever prestige might go with a particular endeavor.

                    For the Rams, that opportunity to call it a day has presented itself time and again this season. Yet, for many reasons, they have refused to pack it in and go quietly into the offseason.

                    “That’s what I expressed to them in the locker room,” Spagnuolo said. “That means a great deal to me, the staff. I know it’s not easy especially for the vets. It’s not an easy thing to go through, not for any of us and yet they are able to dust themselves off, come back to work on Wednesday and get ready to play a game.”

                    While that hard work and effort has amounted to just one win and a whole lot of respect from Spagnuolo for the players, those efforts aren’t going completely unnoticed around the world of football.

                    To wit:

                    CBS analyst and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher on the Rams: “The Rams are playing hard every week, and that is a reflection of their coach. I've been watching film on them and they are playing hard. As coaches, we are judged on wins and losses, but at this time of year, you're tired and beat up, and if a team is still putting out a good effort it's a tribute to their coach.”

                    Or this excerpt from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column on “I love...
                    -12-22-2009, 06:23 PM
                  • RockinRam
                    Spagnuolo, Rams Expect More Than Just Average
                    by RockinRam
                    By Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

                    Oct. 23--Every Wednesday when the Rams' practice week begins, coach Steve Spagnuolo strikes up a theme during the morning team meeting. This Wednesday, following the day's practice, Spagnuolo dropped it on the media almost casually.
                    "I told the guys this morning we're 3-3, which means we're an average football team," Spagnuolo told reporters. "We're trying to get better -- 3-3 says average. Let me help you out with the injuries here ..."
                    That's it? Your team registers a big victory, defeating four-time defending AFC West champion San Diego. And you tell them they're average?
                    "I don't know what point he was trying to get across to the team by saying that we're average," running back Steven Jackson said. "But I do take this from the speech: We've put together two wins in a row before and we came out and laid an egg. Don't go and look at Tampa Bay as a gimme game. Go about it with the same approach that you prepared for the Chargers and other teams that you've played."

                    Slowly but surely, Spagnuolo is trying to change how this team views itself and change its expectations. To wit, he didn't say a lot to the team in the locker room after that 20-17 victory over the Chargers. He didn't glow and gush about their effort, their progress, and that afternoon's achievement. It was more along the lines of: We expected to win, now on to Tampa Bay.
                    "I think that just shows that the expectations around here have been set high," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "Obviously there have been some struggles in the past but there's no reason why this team can't have high expectations. He's right, 3-3 is an average team. We had a chance to win those first two games but we didn't, so we've got to continually get better and continue to set the bar high for ourselves."
                    "We do not want to be average," center Jason Brown said. "Even though they're a few people out there that even if we finished out the season 8-8 would say, 'Oh yeah, they're rebuilding.' And give us a pat on the back for doing that."
                    Actually, 8-8 would be quite an achievement considering the team's 1-15 mark a year ago and 6-42 ledger over the past three seasons. But Spagnuolo is pushing this team. He doesn't want it to settle; he doesn't want it to feel satisfied. Not in late October.
                    "What he's trying to say is that regardless of how many games we've won (or lost) in the past, we're 3-3 right now," wide receiver Danny Amendola said. "And that's average. We didn't strive to be average. We're striving to be better than average. We're striving to be a great football team. And in order to get that we're going to have to win more games."
                    The Rams were in a similar situation two weeks ago heading into Detroit. They had posted a couple of...
                    -10-23-2010, 10:05 AM
                  • MauiRam
                    Wins change the atmosphere around Rams ..
                    by MauiRam
                    BY JIM THOMAS • Wednesday, October 6, 2010 12:15 am

                    Forget the old "24-hour rule." Flush with another impressive Rams victory, offensive guard Adam Goldberg sounded like he needed only 24 minutes before moving onto the next game.

                    "I am ready for next Sunday," Goldberg said, just minutes after a 20-3 victory over Seattle. "This winning's addictive and you want to get to the next one."

                    That fever is spreading throughout the locker room.

                    "To have two wins in a row, it feels really good," running back Steven Jackson said. "I think you can see the confidence around here starting to brew. We're starting to believe in what's going on. The philosophy Coach has been talking about over the last two years, guys are really buying in."

                    And why is that belief there?

                    "Why shouldn't it be?" safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said. "We put a lot of work in, and you've got to have faith in the work that you put in. You're working with a purpose and for a reason. It's coming to pass now."

                    Amazing what a couple of wins can do for a team's psyche, not to mention its position in the standings. Coach Steve Spagnuolo repeatedly tells his players to go out on Sunday expecting to win. And at least for the past two Sundays, that's what has happened.

                    "I think it's changed from Week 1 to now," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "You guys (reporters) have been in the locker room, I don't know if you guys see it. It's totally different.

                    "Coach Spags talks to us each week about going out there and expecting to win. I think we went into the past two weeks expecting to win, which is huge. Any time a team can take the field expecting — not hoping to win — I think it changes the entire way that you play a football game."

                    There was a lot of negative energy at Rams Park when Spagnuolo was hired nearly 21 months ago. A culture of losing. Perhaps the exorcism has taken place, and Spagnuolo has removed those demons.

                    "I don't think of it that way," he said. "I'm kind of focused on this week. This is just me. It's one-quarter of a season. I've been in it long enough to know, you know — everybody feels good today, but things change really quick."

                    So Spagnuolo is all about Detroit, this week's opponent at Ford Field. Be that as it may, the Rams are 2-2 and tied for the NFC West lead.

                    "The NFC West is wide open," wide receiver Brandon Gibson said. "So our biggest thing is coming out and expecting to win each and every game ... and try to get on top of this division."

                    Can the Rams, only two victories removed from a staggering 6-44 free-fall, realistically compete for the division title?

                    "I think so," Bradford said. "We're going to...
                    -10-06-2010, 09:41 AM
                  • r8rh8rmike
                    Spagnuolo On 4-6 Rams: 'We're Still In It'
                    by r8rh8rmike
                    Spagnuolo on 4-6 Rams: `We’re still in it’

                    By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
                    Nov 23, 6:35 am EST

                    ST. LOUIS (AP)—Getting whipped by the Atlanta Falcons and facing a tough stretch has not diminished coach Steve Spagnuolo’s optimistic outlook. Being a member of the weakest division in the NFL can have that effect.

                    At 4-6, the St. Louis Rams are only a game out of first place, and everyone else in the NFC West also lost on Sunday. So even though their four-game home winning streak is history and they’re 0-3 on the road and set to be the visiting team the next three weeks, nothing changes.

                    “We’re still in the thick of it, and that’s the way we’re going to look at it,” Spagnuolo said Monday. “We’re going to focus on the prize we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year, the NFC West.”

                    Spagnuolo believes the Rams, who won only one game last season, are close to being able to play with any team. Though they lost 34-17 on Sunday, the Rams had the Falcons sweating before a botched shovel pass from the Atlanta 2 with 3:24 to go snuffed a drive that could have made it a two-point game.

                    The loss aggravated Spagnuolo to the point he didn’t care to watch the Eagles-Giants game, his two NFL coaching stops before St. Louis.

                    “I’ll normally throw on whatever the Sunday night game is,” Spagnuolo said. “I was done.”

                    Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui(notes) lined up in the backfield and was the intended receiver on the shovel pass, but bumped into guard Adam Goldberg(notes), who had gotten pushed back by the Falcons’ rush. The ball went straight to safety William Moore(notes) and the Falcons pulled away, increasing their NFC-best record to 8-2.

                    “It’s two points, the dome would have been going nuts, the guys would have been energized. Who knows?” Spagnuolo said. “That’s the NFL.”

                    Watching from the sideline, Spagnuolo was certain it was a good call and the Falcons would concentrate on stopping Steven Jackson, enabling Hoomanawanui to waltz into the end zone. Instead, the play ended Sam Bradford’s(notes) NFL rookie-record run of 169 consecutive passes without an interception.

                    “I’m standing there saying, ‘We’ve got a touchdown here,”’ the coach said. “It’s unfortunate the way that happened.”

                    Even after the interception, Spagnuolo hadn’t given up hope. The Rams got the ball back with 2:59 left at their own 40 and with one timeout, but after a 5-yard completion on first down Bradford threw three straight incompletions.

                    Two plays later, Michael Turner(notes) ended any suspense with a 39-yard touchdown run.

                    The loss also could have been much more lopsided, too, given Atlanta had the ball for nearly 36 minutes, if the defense hadn’t finally stiffened and forced three chip-shot field goals.

                    The Falcons ran 70 plays, the Rams only 54, which...
                    -11-23-2010, 07:46 PM
                  • MauiRam
                    Rams try self-analysis to stem their troubles ..
                    by MauiRam
                    By Jim Thomas Tuesday, October 4, 2011

                    As the Rams' bye week begins, coach Steve Spagnuolo and his staff are in the midst of self-scouting. During a normal game week the focus almost entirely is on that week's opponent. But this week, the staff will look at its team from within.

                    "I can tell you the things I know we're going to look at," Spagnuolo said Monday. "Certainly protections. Certainly third down on both sides. Certainly the run fronts on offense. These are the things that just stick out. You guys (in the media) can probably list another five or six of them."

                    Sure can. Red zone offense, red zone defense, dropped passes, run defense, first-down offense, kickoff returns, false starts, slow starts all come to mind. If the Rams really wanted to self-scout all of their problems, they might need three bye weeks to work through everything.

                    "I've learned this over the years," Spagnuolo said. "You can't go searching for things that are not there. And you can't knee-jerk react to things that you find. Because in a lot of instances, it just comes back to fundamentals. I know that's not the glorious answer that you want, but a lot of times that's what it comes down to."

                    If true, the Rams must be about as fundamentally flawed as you can get, because they are at or near the bottom of the league in many categories. They are tied for second to last in points scored (46) and in points allowed (113). They're last in rushing defense, last in average yards gained on first down, and in the bottom quartile (or last eight teams) in red-zone offense, kickoff returns, total offense and total defense.

                    So the Rams' 0-4 record isn't a fluke. But those expecting Spagnuolo and staff to reinvent the pigskin between now and the Green Bay game Oct. 16 will be disappointed. They aren't going to come out in a 3-4 defense, or switch to a run-and-shoot offense against the Packers. You simply can't make major scheme changes in a week or two.

                    "I'll reiterate this," Spagnuolo said. "Both schemes — all three (counting special teams) — have been proven in this league at various places. So we believe in that. I know the players believe. What I do think we need to do is do it better. That's as simple as I can state it. And I believe in that.

                    "Will we find a couple of wrinkles? Yeah. But you do that all the time. If we were 4-0, we'd find a couple of scheme wrinkles. But at the core, we're not going to abandon what we do. We're just going to do it better."

                    Nonetheless, the staff already has talked about tweaking things. Spagnuolo, for example, said they have discussed rolling out quarterback Sam Bradford more to help the pass protection.

                    "We could do that," Spagnuolo said. "Because Sam does throw the ball well on the run."

                    And they've talked...
                    -10-04-2011, 12:42 AM