I have been reading some fan posts to get caught up on the latest Rams news and came across a few questions and opinions that I would like to weigh in on. The first interesting nugget was a comment about how Spags may have been holding Shurmer back and choking our offense in the process. I think this one may have been answered by Mike Holmgren and Shurmer himself when he took the head coaching job in Cleveland. We may never know what happened behind the scenes but Holmgren obviously noticed something that a lot of others have not. As I have mentioned in multiple posts defending Shurmer, you can only do what your players will allow you to do and I will add what your head coach allows you to do. After watching a few former players talk about defensive minded head coaches on NFL Network, I wouldn't doubt that Spags is a bit of a control freak. They all said that ex defensive coordinator now head coaches approach everything from players to their staff with the intensity and drive of a defensive coordinator. They also explained that offensive coaches and players are cut from a different cloth than their counterparts and that they need to approached differently. This carried a lot of weight with me and also gave me reason to believe that this may be the case. So yeah in my opinion, he probably was meddling in the offense a little too much.
The second issue I would like to address is our front office. Have Devaney or Kroenke really done all that much to help this team? They gave us a few respectable players along with a few cast offs and Sam Bradford. Now, I give credit to Spags, his staff and being in an awful division with the softest schedule in pro football for the 7 wins more than anything. Our front office has given us a few core players via the draft but, has failed to do anything via free agency or trade. A prime example would be when Santana Holmes went for a fifth rounder? Oh I know, I know he sucks, he isn't a "Four Pillars Choir Boy". Holmes is just one of 3-4 solid WR's that we know of that could have been had for a reasonable price. I want to make this clear, we only know about these trades because they happened, who knows how many more were up for trade that we never even heard about. I am sure that there were many more that could have been on the table (holding the number one pick in every round) but were just not acted upon. Now, if I could see that WR was our biggest offensive weakness at the start of the season, how did our front office and coaches not see it?! Also, here is some food for thought. Can you imagine what would have happened if Donnie Avery had not been hurt? He would have been our number one!? That would have been horror movie scary and Clayton wouldn't have given us our first look at what the new Rams passing game should look like. That’s right, Mark Clayton, the WR that may have been dropped from Baltimore’s roster because he was deemed a bust by their standards became our number one in 5 days. That should give you some understanding of how bad our receiving corps is without him. This is where Spags gets an A+ from me for chemistry and player development. Our front office did not help much at all (Bradford or Suh were no brainers.)
The third and final subject I would like to explore is game management and whether or not Spags could be on the hot seat during the 2011 season. Lets face it, Spags has not been all that he can be if the game management category. If I am yelling "take the time out" or "throw the F-ing challenge flag" then an NFL coach should be privy to the idea long before I am screaming at my TV. Especially when the announcers see the replay and have a two minute conversation about how a time out should have been called or a challenge flag should have been thrown because it was a catch or a first down. This is inexcusable in my opinion and could have changed the momentum in at least 3 games. My opinion of Spags is that he is a good player manager/motivator and obviously a solid defensive goo-ruu but, I think he lacks instinct for game management, personnel decisions (at one point we only had 3 healthy receivers on the roster and Moss was availible for pennies) and the ability to take chances. The NFL has become a take chances big risk big reward league and I am not sure a conservative approach keeps his job. When most coaches are getting 1-3 years to get the job done, 2011 could be a rough year for Spags and the Rams. We face a lot more adversity in 2011 than we did in 2010. A harder schedule, an improved division, lower draft picks, another unorthodox off-season and a new owner who didn't hire Spags or his staff. In my opinion Devaney and crew will have to address many personnel holes (1st being a good WR) Spags will have to give a great coaching performance and the players will have to leave their hearts on the field to make the playoffs and keep Spags and Co. employed through the 2012 season.