Spagnuolo strikes realistic tone for openers

January, 19, 2009
1/19/09
6:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

TEMPE, Ariz. -- While Kurt Warner prepares to start another Super Bowl, his former team is preparing to start over.

The Rams introduced Steve Spagnuolo as their head coach Monday. Spagnuolo replaces Jim Haslett, who replaced Scott Linehan, who recently turned down San Francisco's offer to become offensive coordinator, a position vacated when the 49ers fired Mike Martz, who preceded Linehan as the Rams' head coach.

Stable profession, NFL coaching. Spagnuolo knows he'll be judged by results, not words, and that came through loudly in his comments. A sampling:

Opening statement: "As a head coach, I will be committed to doing everything possible to bring success to this franchise. I'm not about predictions, I'm not about bold statements, but we hope that we're going to be about faith, character, core values and team first. Those will be the four pillars that we will hang our hat on."

On his philosophy: "Quite simply stated, team first. It will always be about [the] team, it's not about egos. The teams that function the best I believe in any industry are those where nobody cares who gets the credit, everybody just cares about the team."

On when the Rams will be competitive: "I'm not going to go there. I'm a believer in, this is a beginning. One of the things I've learned from one of the best coaches I've worked for, ever, Andy Reid, is that it's a process. We're going to have to start at the beginning here, take it one step at a time and build on it."

On reasonable expectations for fans: "They will have a group that will be team-first, that will be team-oriented and will center around, that will build a foundation that will help us be successful and sustain success. I think that's what it's all about."

The emphasis on team reflects Spagnuolo's experience as the Giants' defensive coordinator. The Giants were resilient enough to win with and without talented players, from Tiki Barber to Jeremy Shockey to Michael Strahan to Osi Umenyiora. The Rams fell apart after losing Orlando Pace in 2007 and Steven Jackson for stretches of 2008.

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