They've earned the No. 32 spot. It's well-deserved. The Rams are more worried about firing their trainer and their equipment manager than they are worried about the coaches responsible for their play on the field. That says a lot. When the first offseason move you make is to fire your trainer? Perfect. Maybe the draft will help. But at no point last season did I see anything that made me think they were turning the corner. It's painful to watch.
You could quibble with the 32nd place ranking, but precedent and a 1-15 team make it tough to do so. Ruffling my feathers is Faulk's, um, constructive criticism. Nothing made Faulk believe that the Rams were turning a corner? Wrong. The offensive line started working well as a unit, before Jason Smith was injured. Though the defense was still horrible, there was one very notable improvement in MLB James Laurinaitis, who along with SS James Butler and FS Oshiomogho Atogwe gave the Rams the beginnings of a solid middle to their defense. And then of course there was Steven Jackson, who surpassed Faulk and Eric Dickerson to become the franchise's all-time leading rusher.
Faulk seems to really be harboring a grudge about the team firing long-time trainer Jim Anderson, who worked with the Rams for 26 years. I have no doubt Anderson knew what the heck he was doing, but the move hardly seemed conspiratorial. It's not Anderson's fault the Rams have been plagued with injuries for so many seasons. However, things had to change on that front. The turf got replaced too, where is Faulk's complaint about that; after all, he played just fine on the old turf?
Finally, on the coaches, I think there's a pretty broad consensus here at TST that coaching decisions were sometimes frustrating and often times hard to explain. For the most part though, this was a group of rookies, in their first season at three most important coaching jobs: offensive and defensive coordinator and head coach. Here's why I'm not too hasty to judge the coaches harshly at this point: they managed to coach up some scrap heap players. The fact is that we saw some seventh round and undrafted youngsters play above their ability this season. Look at what the Rams managed to get out of guys like David Vobora, LaJuan Ramsey, Danny Amendola, Daniel Fells, Craig Dahl, etc. Now, having a roster full of seventh rounders and undrafted free agents is still the fastest way to 1-15, but you can't deny some of the performances Spagnuolo and his group of coaches managed to get out of players that would have otherwise spent the season on someone's practice squad...or in the UFL.
I have all the respect in the world for Marshall Faulk, and he'll always be one of my favorite players, the kind of guy you tell your kid about no matter how disinterested your progeny is in the subject. But Faulk has it wrong here. This sounds more like an ex-employee who thinks he can do things better, sort of like a guy who wanted a front office or coaching gig and didn't get offered the one he was looking for.