Since moving from Los Angeles, the St. Louis Rams have been marred by inconsistency having only posted just four winning seasons over the last fifteen years. So what do you do to turn this franchise around? You hire Steve Spagnuolo, the former defensive coordinator of the New York Giants that led them to a Super Bowl XLII victory against the New England Patriots. His aggressive defensive philosophy was instrumental to his success in New York and the Rams hope that he can do the same in St. Louis. Based upon their 1-15 record last season, Spagnuolo has a lot of work to do before they become competitive again, but there is hope. Since 2008, the Rams have selected number one and two and have been able to stockpile some talent selecting Chris Long, Jason Smith and Sam Bradford. For that, there is reason to be optimistic about the Rams future. If Spagnuolo and his staff can continue to develop their plethora of young talent, this team should be able to win a few more games than they have become accustomed to over the last three seasons.
Steve Spagnuolo joined ESPN 101 in St. Louis to talk about what it means that AJ Feeley is the starting quarterback, whether he has a depth chart in mind today or whether the season is so far out that he doesn’t worry about that quite yet, and whether he is kind of nervous about their running back situation.
What it means that AJ Feeley is the starting quarterback:
“I think the question the other day that I got was ‘Who is going to be my starting quarterback?’ and my statement was, if we play tomorrow it would be AJ Feeley. Now say tomorrow if I make the next statement and say, if we play tomorrow, Saturday, I would say Keith Null. Would that throw everybody off? Certainly I know that it is an important topic where I think that we are very fortunate to have some quality players there. When you look at it, Keith Null has had some NFL experience. You know he was forced into it last year? AJ is an experienced guy who knows the system. We all know about Sam coming in here and the expectations with him. Let’s not forget about Thad Lewis. I don’t know if you guys have seen him throw the ball. He can throw the ball and he is a quality player too. So we are good there. If we had to lineup here today, because AJ has a better control of the system and what we are doing then AJ would be the guy. Now that is not a knock on any other quarterback. That is probably a compliment and credit to AJ.”
Whether he has a depth chart in mind today or whether the season is so far out that he doesn’t worry about that quite yet:
“Well I am going to be honest with you Bob (Ramsey). I am sitting here at the offense and I do have a depth chart that I am looking at right now because we have to have a starting point and a beginning point. We have got to line up guys and when wee call the first group, the second group, the third group, guys got to know where they have to go. But I agree with your last statement there. It is way too early. I have said this with a lot of the free agents that we brought in, every rookie in here, anybody that is brought into this program. It is still a land of opportunity here. Now we know that there are certain spots on this football roster that are kind of sewn up, the obvious ones. There is a lot of opportunity here. We want that. We would like to create a lot of competition here in all of the positions. DeMarco (Farr) will tell you that you get a harder working football team when everybody thinks their jobs are in jeopardy. It is not a scare tactic it is just part of competition, part of football. So nothing is carved in stone right now but, yeah, we line them up a certain way so we can go out there and organize a practice.”
Whether he is kind of nervous about their running back situation:
“I am not and I am going to give you…The number one reason is obviously number thirty-nine because we have a lot of confidence in him and he is a workhorse. Of course I understand the issue with the injury, but I am very confident that we have gone about it the right way and that Steve is going to be healthy. I have got a lot of respect for Ken Darby. I am really impressed with, it has only been two OTA’s now, but Chris Ogbonnaya has done a lot of good things. Now I am talking about some mental things, some cuts that he made yesterday but I think you need, I am not going to sit here and say that we are not going to look for another running back because we will. Again, I will go back to the statement I just made, we are trying to create competition and if we can bring someone in here that can compete with those guys, especially Ken and Chris, and we feel like we can upgrade the running back spot, we will do that. If that doesn’t happen we will go to war with what we got and we will find ways to move the football down the field.”
Tags: aggressive defensive strategy, beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, former New York Giants defensive coordinator, Sam Bradford, Spags, St. Louis Rams Head Coach, Steve Spagnuolo, stockpiling first round picks, trying to turn things around in St. Louis, won Super Bowl XLII