(St. Louis) The St. Louis Rams face a very complicated situation after the final whistle blows on the 2011 season, and it isn’t who to draft next spring. They have to decide what to do with their front office and coaching staff.
Many would say that the decision shouldn’t be hard. I’ve already gone into detail about the failures of the front office. The 12-49 record since Bill Devaney became General Manager speaks for itself. Have there been years the team has lacked talent? Of course, but the ability to build a team comes from successful drafting. Only 18 of the Rams 34 draft picks since 2007 are still on the roster, proving the front office doesn’t draft well and perhaps aren’t capable of developing talent. It’s reached the point that even the most faithful Rams fans wouldn’t have any qualms about making some changes in the front office.
As for the coach, Steve Spagnuolo has a 10-45 record as Rams coach. His team has the league’s lowest scoring offense and the worst run defense in the NFL, and nine double-digit losses this season. Those factors alone should be enough to make the decision to give Spagnuolo his pink slip at the end of the season.
Mediocrity and poor performances can’t be tolerated at this point. The records speak for themselves.
So what does Stan Kronke do at the end of the season?
Do you completely overhaul your coaching staff, forcing your quarterback to build a relationship with a third offensive coordinator in as many years? That wouldn’t be smart player development. But again maybe that’s an issue the organization has since they can’t seem to turn talent from the draft into NFL ready players.
Speaking of the draft, the Rams will likely have the 2nd pick in the draft, do they trade down?The Rams have several areas they need to address. Obviously there is a need to add depth at the wide receiver position and could use help in the secondary as well. Not to mention adding some quality talent in the offensive and defensive lines. Trading down, would give them a chance to add multiple pieces, but just because they get the pieces it doesn’t mean they will fit the puzzle and the Rams plans going forward. It comes down to what the franchise values. Do they want quality or quantity? that’s what they have to decide.
Is it time to part ways with Steven Jackson to stock up on draft picks and admit the team is in full rebuilding mode? Trading a proven commodity and creating another hole on a roster that already resembles Swiss cheese won’t solve any issues. Having SJ39 in the backfield just allows some of the pressure to be taken off of Bradford. Trading Jackson only creates another position for the front office to fill in the draft, which I’m not sure they are capable of doing.
Those three decisions will play a huge role in determining both the short and long term success of this franchise. Protecting Sam Bradford and putting him in an offense that has the tools to succeed is key. If they are unable to develop him into a franchise quarterback, it may set the team back for a decade.
As much as I hate to say it, Spagnuolo has to stay for now. Spags has led to the team to anything but consistency. Kronke needs to sit down and send his coaching staff a message going into 2012: no one is safe. Spags should have the first 6 games of next season to show that he can lead a healthy Rams team to the same results we saw in 2010. It also gives Bradford a chance to have an entire offseason to work in McDaniel’s system, something he didn’t get last year because of the lock out. At this point, the wins and losses aren’t what is important for the franchise, it’s seeing if Sam Bradford is really the quarterback of the future for this franchise.
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