Eventually the Rams will win, but it won’t come easy

It don’t come easy,
You know it don’t come easy.

It don’t come easy,
You know it don’t come easy.

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don’t come easy.
You don’t have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.

Forget about the past and all your sorrows,
The future won’t last,
It will soon be over tomorrow.

-Ringo Starr

OK, you and I both know the Rams just aren’t very good in 2009. They have less talent than pretty much every team they’ll face, and the techniques being taught by the new coaching staff are still sinking in.

We haven’t dealt with this situation in some time in St. Louis. When the Cardinals surged in the early 70’s, they went 4-9-1 in Don Coryell’s first season, then zoomed to 10-4 the following season. Of course, the great Rams team was built by Dick Vermeil, but had to struggle through 5-11 and 4-12 years in 1997 and 1998.

There is a template for what Steve Spagnuolo is doing. The 1999 Eagles…the team Spagnuolo started his pro career with…started off 0-4, and was 2-7 and 3-11 before finishing 5-11. The Eagles used that finish…capped by a win over the soon-to-be Super Bowl Champion Rams…as a starting point for an 11-5 season in 2000. They’ve been good pretty much ever since, except for the season they were poisoned by Terrell Owens.

There are other examples. Jimmy Johnson took over an old, outclassed 3-13 Cowboy team in 1989 and immediately went 1-15. After going 7-9 in 1990, the Cowboys went 11-5 in ’91 and launched a run of three Super Bowl wins in four seasons.

When Tony Dungy took over a hapless Tampa Bay organization in 1996, they started 0-5. They fell to 1-8 before rallying to finish with a 6-10 mark. In 1997 Tampa Bay went 10-6 and won their division…starting a run toward a Super Bowl XXVII Championship.

Don’t be alarmed by Spagnuolo’s slow start. Watch for slow but steady progress this year. One of the Four Pillars is faith, and I still have faith that he’s going to get it done here. In fact, I’m so convinced that he and his staff are right for the job that it’ll take a pretty large amount of bad losses to convince me otherwise. There has to be a first step to a long journey…and this first step is going to be the most difficult.