The NFC West's Newest Hotshot Head Coach

I sensed a lot of dread from Seahawks fans when Saint Louis signed Steve Spagnuolo. Just two seasons after attaining his first major coaching position, defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, Spags spun a brilliant Super Bowl scheme into a head coaching position. The NFL is overrun with hotshot coordinators. Each season elevates at least one. It wasn't long ago Mike Nolan and Romeo Crennel were do-no-wrong second bananas with bright futures.

Spagnuolo coached two straight top ten defenses, but is inexperienced identifying talent: coaching talent and player talent. His time in Philadelphia as linebackers coach was marked by mediocre defenses and forgettable linebacker play. He was still with the Eagles when New York drafted Justin Tuck. The benefit of finding a top five defensive end talent in the third round cannot be understated. Spagnuolo inherited a still dominant Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora in his prime, an entering his prime Mathias Kiwanuka and an emerging Tuck. His genius was finding a package that fit them all. With apologies and admiration for the simplicity and effectiveness of Spagnuolo's package, that's not genius at all.

It's impossible to say if Spags will or will not become a great head coach, but I hardly see a reason for dread. The Rams need a team's worth of talent and are as far from contention as any team in the NFL. Spagnuolo could be a genius and still fail.

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