Speculation about coach Steve Spagnuolo’s job is flying high in all local media outlets (print, websites, television and radio). It was the main topic as I purchased some items from Lowes, at the checkout counter among employees, and I’m sure it is the same conversation at the local barber shops as well.
As a former NFL executive, I break down the NFL season (16 games) into four quarters. If a team can win two games within each quarter, giving them an 8-8 record and possibly stealing one within a quarter, the chances of becoming a playoff team are pretty good, especially in the NFC West division.
While the Rams are 0-3 with the last game of the first quarter coming Sunday against the Washington Redskins, this is not the time to panic. However, urgency should be and is very high. Making drastic decisions by the organization is not the answer to winning games. They have to remain focused on both their short-term goals and objectives. Pressure from ownership is welcome and is the norm. Coaches and general managers know that when they take the job. Always remember, motivation comes from within.
This is the time when the chief executive officer, general manager and head coach come closer together and work their way through these hard times and stay focused as they change the trajectory, helping steer the franchise to the next level and in the direction it should be.
The three areas of concern are the cap space available to acquire players; the personnel department’s ability to continually find good football players to build the back end of the roster and replace players lost to injured reserve); and the pro department’s ability to aid the coaches in better advance scouting information for opponent preparation. When it comes to coaching, make the necessary changes in schemes, strategic planning and adjustments in game-time situations. Shocking the monkey, shaking up the starting lineup, and not making radical changes but doing so where competition is high and in situations where the backups are displaying and earning more playtime, and should be given an opportunity.
Only those folks that have worked inside an NFL franchise have an idea of what happens on a daily basis, and how a team works together during these critical times when a team is fighting for its first win of the season and what is needed to turn the corner and put a notch in the win column.
This is America, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it is a little early to hang the coach by his thumbs, fire the general manager and cut every player and start over. I think people in general would look at things a lot differently before making comments if their mortgage was on the line, each and every year. Building continuity, executing the plan and developing players to fit your scheme still remains the focal point of a NFL team throughout the season.
I said and will continue to say that the worst thing that happened to the Rams was going 4-0 during the preseason for two reasons. One, it gave the fan base a false sense of hope, that the season would continue with great success. Two, the players never tasted losing. A loss is a loss even in the preseason; the only difference is they don’t count.
Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney have been and are tied at the hip like Siamese twins and make all the decisions when it comes to personnel and building the roster. After going 1-15 with the Carolina Panthers, two seasons later we were playing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. This was achieved by not allowing the outside pressures of the media and fan base to dividing the house. It just is not an option. If they do, it will be the quickest way to lose what little job security there is in those two positions. Rams fans; this is the time to unite, get behind your team and cheer them on.