There is no question that the biggest change in the Rams playbook for the 2009 season is going to come for the defense, and the pressure schemes employed by the new head coach, Steve Spagnuolo. And quite frankly, I could not be more excited to see what this guy comes up with.
Spagnuolo made a name for himself as a defensive coach for the heavy blitz-oriented Philadelphia Eagles, taught the complex defensive scheme by still-active, though on cancer leave at the moment, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
Spags was then, in 2007, hired as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. He brought the same system he learned in Philly to New York, and in his first season, SHOCKER, the Giants win the Superbowl.
Last year, he coached the Giants defense, and was again among the most feared in the NFL. There can be no doubt that he will bring that very same success to the Rams.
This could not be more evident through draft choices of defensive studs Alphonso Smith and James Laurinaitis: fast, agile, big hitters, who can cover and bring pressure.
Let’s not forget that he’s already got Chris Long at DE in his second year, and more defensive line help in the draft.
You will see an entirely new defensive scheme, in my opinion, whereas on offense, no matter what “changes” are made to the playbook, you are still going to see a lot of Steven Jackson running around, and Bulger throwing to Avery and McMichael.