Steve Savards Field Notes

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A Good First Impression

by Steve Savard

KMOV.com

Posted on January 19, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 3:25 PM

Steve Savard talks with Rams GM Billy Devaney

Let's be honest here: I wouldn't say I came away UNIMPRESSED with Steve Spagnuolo after sitting down with him. I'd start this blog on some other note. But I wouldn't say I'm impressed if it wasn't the case. It's obvious to me that Spagnuolo and his wife, Maria, both want to be here. That's a good start.

My gut tells me that Spagnuolo isn't verbose but he is personable. He claims to be a people person and showed it by asking reporters to identify themselves by name before asking a question. It shows he's trying to put names with faces as quickly as he can.

From a football standpoint, he is straight up old school. I like that--a lot. He repeatedly talks about a "team first" approach. Clearly, he'll ask his players and his coaches to fully embrace the team concept. He strikes me as a guy who realizes how privileged he is to be in the game of football and will want players who believe that as well. Maria told me that her husband does not care about getting credit, he just wants to get the job done.

He opts not to make predictions or promises and instead talks in terms of the "process" of building a winning team. Clearly, he knows his roster is talent-deficient at the moment. I think his day after game press briefings will be missing a lot of the detailed analysis that Jim Haslett's offered. Spagnuolo strikes me as a guy who prefers to play it close to the vest. That's okay, too. Haz was a rare head coach--a guy who was honest and open most of the time.

Bottom line here: I was a big fan of Haslett's. I was disappointed but not surprised he didn't get the job. But, after meeting Spagnuolo I think this team is in good hands. I think it will compete week in and week out. He'll demand that it does. But, I hope you fans are patient. Just because the Falcons and Ravens and Dolphins turned things around under first year head coaches doesn't guarantee it will happen here. But if Ken Whisenhunt can get the Cardinals in the Super Bowl in two years anything is possible.

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