Over a tough season for the St. Louis Rams, no question has been asked more than “What is Steve Spagnuola’s job security?” After taking over the Rams head coaching position, Steve Spagnuola has only won ten games and has lost over thirty. Under any normal circumstance a new coach is in order. But the Rams are not by any means a normal circumstance. In fact, getting rid of Steve Spagnuola is the wrong move.
Typically a head coach gets about three years to prove what he’s got and then he’s out. This is a system that many teams seem to use, but it’s a problem when you have a good coach. Taking over a team in a rebuilding process sets a team back by about three years. You need new coaches, new players, new schemes. Usually you do it to get rid of a bad coach, not a good one. Spagnuolo has already proven his system works when last year he brought a 1-15 team to 7-9 and second in the division. His conservative game in which he plays for field position is something Ram fans haven’t seen in a long time and aren’t use to it.
Scott Linehan took over the St. Louis Rams for the 2006 season. The team was before under Mike Martz and was starting to go downhill. Scott Linehan had a chance to take a decent team and bring them back to winning, but after an 8-8 season, he brought them to 3-13. Scott Linehan was one of the, if not the worst coach the Rams franchise has ever had dating back to their years in Cleveland. The team was destroyed. Steve Spagnuola took over that team, but the rebuilding process for a team with so little talent and who barely have any draft picks remain, takes years.
The rebuilding was starting to pay off though as the Rams seemingly became a playoff contender. But did everyone forget about the lockout? The Rams who are one of the youngest teams got no time to practice. Many of their key players are in their first three years (Sam Bradford, Roger Saffold, James Laurinaitis, Robert Quinn, Lance Kendricks).
The Rams also have a new offensive coordinator who they did not get to practice with. Josh McDaniels took over after Pat Shurmur took a head coaching job in Cleveland. Though they have only two games with a score of more than sixteen points and the offense has looked sluggish, there are those times where you can see that it will gel together. And they never got to practice. Sam Bradford needs time to learn the offense and if Spagnuola goes, that most likely means McDaniels will go. That can ruin Bradford giving him three offensive coordinators and two head coaches in three years.
Injuries have also piled up on the Rams due to lack of conditioning. Spagnuolo’s defense has some games where they let the big plays go. But the Rams have ten defensive players on injured reserve. The defense you have now doesn’t show a good example of a real Spagnuolo defense like he had in New York. The Rams also lost some players on offense, especially in the receiving core (Danny Amendola, Mark Clayton, Greg Salas). All in all Spagnuolo has key players out for multiple games at a time (Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Danny Amedola, Roger Saffold, Jason Smith).
The Rams want to win badly. The players play for him and they love him. Any person can see he is a good coach. When asked about Steve Spagnuolo, Jimmy Johnson said “Football is a game of winning…but it’s not always the coaches.” Tim Ryan even went on to say when announcing a Rams game that Stan Kreonke should keep Spagnuolo.
No matter what happens, it will be a mistake to fire Steve Spagnuolo after the season. He should be given one more year on the hot seat.