ST. LOUIS (AP) -- New St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is trying mightily to separate his team from the ones that went a sorry 5-27 the last two years, even though the debut this past weekend might have looked like more of the same.
Spagnuolo told players Monday, a day after getting shut out 28-0 in Seattle, that they should be upset. But he doesn't want them carrying the weight from past failures, so he also said he's not concerned about franchise history.
The way they lost to the Seahawks was reminiscent of the previous two seasons, with mistakes and ineffectiveness dragging them down.
St. Louis committed 85 yards in penalties, including two personal fouls on excitable offensive guard Richie Incognito, and gave up 446 yards on defense. The offense mustered just 247 yards. Kicker Josh Brown missed a chip shot. A blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown was negated because lineman C.J. Ah You, who made the block, was also the 12th man on the field.
"The 2009 Rams stand on their own," Spagnuolo said. "They have nothing to do with teams coming forward or any teams going backward.
"It's all just about the 2009 Rams and we lost a football game, we lost one football game."
Spagnuolo insisted it wasn't a conscious effort to distance the new regime from the old, but stressed worrying about this year was plenty.
"No thought process there," he said. "That's the only way I know how to do it. It's what I've been from, it's what I believe you have to do. You put things behind you and you move on."
Quarterback Marc Bulger is eager to move on after going 17 for 36 for 191 yards. Playing catchup the entire second half took Steven Jackson pretty much out of the game, and Jackson finished with 67 yards on 16 carries.
"We'd drive the ball and then shoot ourselves in the foot," Bulger said. "We have to find a way to get past that 30 and start handing the ball to Jack. He's too good of a player to not be able to use, and that's on all of us."
Spagnuolo yanked Incognito for a few plays after the second personal foul in the third quarter, and said he talked to him about losing control. Just like the team as a whole, Spagnuolo said he'd judge Incognito on his conduct this year.
"I trust Richie, I like his passion," Spagnuolo said. "I said this yesterday, that I'd rather have that problem than trying to motivate guys to love the game of football. Yesterday's over and we move on to the next game."
Spagnuolo believed Incognito had put his excitable streak behind him in training camp. He left unsaid how much tolerance he'd have going into this week's game at Washington against the Redskins.
"We'll deal with that as we go," Spagnuolo said. "Sometimes I can be real patient and sometimes I can be real impatient."
Rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who started his first NFL game, had a slight knee problem, but Spagnuolo said Laurinaitis ran and lifted weights.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)