Steve Spagnulo, by all accounts, is a very nice guy. I'm sure he knows a lot about football. He even has a Super Bowl ring from his time with the New York Giants. All of these reasons led to "Spags" getting the head coaching job in St. Louis.
None of that matters now. Spags is on the hot seat.
The St. Louis Rams are not only one of the worst teams in the NFL, they are also the most poorly coached team in the NFL. And let's face it, this is Spags' first head coaching job. He has nothing on his resume—forget all of his accomplishments as an assistant—that will help buffer him from the criticism that is mounting.
Spags is in trouble. His career record is now 8-28. Granted, the Rams went 1-15 during his first season, when the team had no talent. Granted, they are still in a "rebuilding mode" after years and years of poor drafting. Granted, the NFL lockout hurt young, inexperienced teams a lot more than it hurt a veteran team like the New England Patriots or Green Bay Packers. The Rams are inexperienced, and the lockout hurt them as much as any team in the NFL.
Again, none of that matters. Some say the NFL stands for "Not For Long." Spags is about to find that out the hard way.
The Rams have been penalized more than any team in the NFL except the Oakland Raiders. Every time I watch the Rams play, it seems like their penalties come in crucial situations: A pass interference call when the Rams' D is trying to stop a team on third down, a holding call that takes the Rams' O out of goal range or my favorite, the Rams have a third-and-four, FALSE START, now it's third-and-nine.
When a team is this undisciplined, week after week, that is the coaches' fault.
According to the broadcasters on FOX Today, the Rams also lead the NFL in dropped passes. They dropped at least six passes in the game, with a couple of those being dropped touchdowns! This isn't completely the coaches' fault. The Rams have made some horrible decisions in drafting wide receivers in the past couple seasons.
They drafted Donnie Avery with the first pick of the second-round back in 2008. The Rams then drafted Marty Gilyard in 2010 with a fourth-round pick. Then in last April's draft, the Rams selected Austin Pettis in the third-round, and followed that pick by selecting Greg Salas in the fourth-round.
The Rams also drafted three tight ends in the last two drafts. In 2010, they selected Mike Hoomanawanui out of the University of Illinois with their fifth-round pick. They later selected Fendi Onobun, a college basketball player turned tight end, with their 2010 sixth-round pick. Then in 2011, they selected Lance Kendricks in the second-round out of the University of Wisconsin, a pick that was considered a major reach by several draft experts at the time.
That is seven draft picks used on receiving targets. Avery was cut prior to the start of this season. Gilyard lasted one season before he was cut. Onobun hasn't been able to help in games, spending most of his time on the practice squad. Illinois Mike has been frequently injured and has never been able to be a factor in the receiving game. So far the three rookies, Kendricks, Salas and Pettis, haven't shown a talent for anything except dropping passes.
Sure, the organization might have made a mistake or two, but seven? How can you spend seven picks on targets for Sam Bradford, only to have every one of them not live up to expectations? Isn't it up to Spags and company to "coach these guys up?"
Chris Myers also said on the FOX broadcast that Rams' QB Sam Bradford has been hit, sacked and pressured more than any QB in the NFL this season. On over 30 percent of his passing attempts, Bradford has been harassed.
So the Rams' best player, Bradford, is getting killed because the line can't block.
The Rams have made a huge investment in the offensive line. RT Jason Smith was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. LT Roger Saffold was the first pick in the second-round in 2011. Harvey Dahl, the starting RG, was a major free agent pickup during this past offseason. Center Jason Brown and LG Jacob Bell were also big money, free agent pickups by the Rams.
Once again, the Rams have invested premium picks and a lot of money, only to get poor results. The Rams' O Line is clearly the Achilles' heel of this team. How can this many players underachieve? It has to be that they aren't being held accountable. It has to be coaching.
The Rams' D has also taken a step back, but I'll cut the coaches some slack there. The secondary was decimated by injuries in the preseason, leaving the Rams unable to cover opposing WRs. The front seven hasn't played terrible, but if they just keep picking on Justin King, what is the rest of the D supposed to do?
Bottom line, the Rams are really bad. All those penalties, all those dropped passes and all the hits that Bradford is taking—that is just poor coaching.
And it's going to cost Steve Spagnulo his job.
The Rams are 0-4. Their next three games are at Green Bay, at Dallas and then at home against the Saints. They are going to be 0-7 before they start to play against any of the weak sisters of the NFC West. Right now, I see the Rams finishing 4-12 at best, 2-14 at worst.
They say nice guys finish last. Everybody you talk to says Steve Spagulo is a really nice guy. It's a shame that these Rams players won't take a good, hard look in the mirror. Because right now they are embarrassing their head coach.