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Monday, January 2, 2012
Around the NFC West: Waiting for Rams

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The St. Louis Rams made no announcements Sunday night following Chris Mortensen's report that coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney would lose their jobs.

That is typical in these situations. The what becomes more reliable than the when, but for the most part, teams wait at least one day before acting.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says ownership is the problem if the Rams stay the course following a 2-14 season. Miklasz: "I remember 'Mad' Mike Martz going 51-29 as the Rams' head coach from 2000 through 2004. He had an offense that averaged nearly 27 points a game. But people in this town went berserk in their opposition to Martz and couldn't wait to push him out. And now we've come to this: The 10-38 head coach is all but offering to take his players to Dairy Queen for a postseason treat to cheer 'em up. What's next, trophies for participation?" Noted: This offseason provides Rams owner Stan Kroenke with the first real opportunity to remake the franchise since he became majority owner. He's had plenty of time to line up contingency plans. I would expect the Rams to move decisively. There was nothing more to learn from the last couple weeks of the season.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Kroenke needs to quickly and clearly enunciate his plan for the future of the team. Burwell: "Whether Kroenke intends to re-tool his football operation or blow the entire thing up, the best move is to hop to the front of the hiring line as quickly as possible if you're going to shop for new front-office personnel or new assistant coaches. Today a lot of teams are going to be firing coaches and sweeping out their football operations. A lot of very competent coaches are going to be out of a job by the end of Black Monday, and many of them could be considered upgrades on some of the folks who are currently employed at Rams Park."

Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis expects change at Rams Park, but he also says the team's injury situation played a leading role in its struggles. Balzer: "There are many that don’t want to hear any of the reasons that led to what happened this season. And yes, coaching issues contributed to it. But to ignore the obvious facts of the extent that this team was decimated by injuries is simply being close-minded. Yes, all teams have injuries, but to varying degrees. And not to the level where the Rams started five players on offense Sunday that weren’t in training camp, with three being on the offensive line and one at quarterback."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates Kellen Clemens' injury situation. X-rays were negative.

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams players expressed support for Spagnuolo.