Tuesday, August 3, 2010
New Rams striking balance with history
By Mike Sando
News of the St. Louis Rams bringing in former coach Dick Vermeil to watch practice and meet with the team stands as the latest example of the new regime opening its arms to significant figures from its past.
This was a touchy subject last season and even earlier this offseason. The Rams have tried to establish a new program with coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney. That means making a clean break from how things were done previously. It doesn't have to mean running away from the past, however, and it's good to see the Rams finding a balance.
Spagnuolo recently decorated the team's facility with banners celebrating various championships won by the team. The team also brought back former Pro Bowl safety Nolan Cromwell to coach their receivers, although that move had more to do with the right fit -- Cromwell has extensive NFL experience in a similar offense -- than paying tribute to the past.
Embracing Vermeil showed Spagnuolo was secure enough with himself -- despite the team's struggles -- to welcome a figure beloved in St. Louis.
"We had a real special team meeting last night," Spagnuolo told reporters at training camp Tuesday. "God bless coach Vermeil. He came in, he watched practice all day yesterday, and he hung around here, talked to people and he addressed the team at the team meeting, which was outstanding. He loved it. I think the players loved it. I loved it, so it worked out really good."