Should The Rams Fire Steve Spagnuolo Now?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 04: Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams walks the sidelines during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

If you're still trying to find a reason, or reasons, as to why the St. Louis Rams lost their tenth game of the season yesterday, just stop. Save yourself the hassle. Dissecting the offensive line, the route tree, the defensive gap struggles, it doesn't matter. Trying to pinpoint the team's on-field shortcomings would be as futile as those four games they'll play to finish out the season. With such a systemic failure, I wonder if it might be time to go ahead and fire head coach Steve Spagnuolo.

Obviously, it's over for the Rams. Yesterday's effort may have been their most pathetic yet. A solid performance from the defense in the first half was forgotten once they collapsed under the weight of the big plays they gave up. Throw in the continued futility of the offense, that failed to score any points for the first time since Week 4 of the 2009 season.

It appears unlikely that owner Stan Kroenke is going to make any changes at this point in time, but Burwell's column does make it clear that change is coming to Rams Park. My question is, why wait?

Firing NFL head coaches in the middle of the season is usually a desperate measure. It happens because the team has quit on their leader (see Linehan, Scott) or if the front office wants to trial run of their underlings. There really is no one on the Rams current coaching staff with head coaching credentials. Josh McDaniels' offense flamed out this season, keeping him out of the running for a promotion any time soon. Ken Flajole's defense has moments of brilliance, but the inconsistency of the group is hardly something you put on a resume.

For Kroenke and the Rams, firing Spagnuolo now, rather than delay the inevitable, would send the signal to fans that failure will no longer be tolerated by this team. Spagnuolo has had considerable leeway in remaking this team, perhaps even more so that General Manager Billy Devaney. Spags has the final say over the team's final roster, a tremendous amount of power for a coach, and his staff's failure to develop prospects hit home again yesterday when Larry Grant turned in the kind of game the Rams were never able to get from him.

Spagnuolo had a wide berth to remake the St. Louis Rams according to his Four Pillars philosophy. He failed in that task, and the franchise has no choice but to move forward with its future, another version of that future anyway. With four games left to play, might as well get a head start.

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