Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
This week's 'Five Questions' segment is with '3k' from the Turf Show Times, SB Nation's spectacular St. Louis Rams website. Be sure to stop over at 'Turf Show' and read my responses to his questions. And, as always, play nice with the enemy.
Big Blue View: Steve Spagnuolo is in his third season as Rams coach. Assess the job he has done and whether or not you think the Rams would like him to stay long term?
Turf Show Times: It's such a tough assessment, because his first head coaching job has come while the front office was in the midst of remaking (along with the Lions) the worst team in the league from a couple of years ago. I think many of Spags' strengths as a coach (obviously on the defensive side, but I would also say in terms of the offenses he's directed) lend themselves to good teams. Some schemes make bad teams good. Some make good teams even better. The systems Spags has implemented certainly look like the latter even though you'd have a hard time finding someone who would say the Rams are a "good" team.
That being said, I think his tenure here has been a bit of the old cart before the horse. It's left fans clamoring for more risk, more deep passing plays, despite the fact that we don't have a receiver on the roster who can threaten deep on skills alone. So in terms of the job he's done, I guess I'd say adequate, but the defense could have been a very good defense if we had everyone healthy (sound familiar?). As for staying long term, I think that's largely dependent on the progress of the team this year and what you mean by long term. If the Rams finish with at least 6 wins, I expect him to be back. But the more talent the FO brings in, the higher the expectations will rise. And if you can't win the NFC West with a decent team, you honestly don't deserve a head coaching job.
Big Blue View: There are four former Giants on the Rams roster -- James Butler, Craig Dahl, Fred Robbins and Bryan Kehl. Can you give me thoughts on each, and an idea how much we will see each guy on the field Monday night?
Turf Show Times: Butler was serviceable, but teams figured out how to pass around him quickly. To compensate, the Rams plugged in Dahl as a run-stopper and asked more of their corners. It worked well last year, when both Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher were healthy. Bartell's now gone for the year and Fletcher picked up a toe injury, so the Rams are going to have to find someone to cover for Dahl in pass D quickly, or he'll have too much negative tape to be here much longer. Robbins was great last year, especially in run defense. The Rams have tried for years to fill the nose role, with La'Roi Glover, Hollis Thomas and finally Robbins. We drafted Darell Scott to play that part a couple of years ago, but he hasn't been able to combine his brute strength with the on-field awareness needed for the position. And Kehl's been relatively steady. He's certainly not an All-Pro, but he's been a strong tackler and provides a good knowledge of the system in both running and passing situations.
Big Blue View: The Rams have a brutal schedule the first half of the season. The Giants did not look good Sunday against Washington. Looking at the first half schedule, how does this one rank in terms of degree of difficulty?
Turf Show Times: How does the Giants game look as a Rams fan? I mean, this is an untested team. The Rams just aren't ever on the national stage. The one time we have been in the last half decade was week 17 last year in the 17-3 debacle that saw Seattle into the playoffs. So going into MetLife on Monday Night Football sitting 0-1 with Baltimore the week after...let's just say I'll hold on to any optimism I have for after the bye.
Big Blue View: You already have a bunch of former Giants. If, however, you could take one guy off the current Giants' roster and put him in the Rams' lineup who would it be? Why?
Big Blue View: What concerns you most about the Giants? What weakness(es) do you think the Rams can exploit?
Turf Show Times: Most concerning is that defensive line. Our offensive line was pretty poor in pass blocking this week, which was relatively unexpected. They've got to be better this week. On weaknesses the Rams can exploit, I have to feel our blitz packages are going to make Eli go all Eli. He's one wacky arm, no?