I hope Spags is with the times

I’ve been a big defender and proponent of Steve Spagnuolo’s approach with the Rams. I still think it’s too early to determine whether or not he’ll be a great NFL head coach, and I believe his approach in changing the culture of the Rams is a good one. Even though he won’t say it, he doesn’t have enough talent to win big…although there are now some games in the last four weeks where you wonder whether the Rams could have won with a different philosophy.

Spags is a proponent of running the ball and stopping the run. Nothing wrong with that. You do have to run the ball and stop the run. As we’ve seen, if you can’t stop the run…the other team goes up and down the field and scores. Same thing happens if you can’t stop the pass. NFL teams will find and exploit your defensive weakness in a blink.

Here’s my big concern. I hope that Spagnuolo and his staff don’t exhibit neanderthal NFL thinking when approaching offense. Just a cursory look at the stats gives us these passing offense rankings heading into tonight’s Green Bay-Baltimore game…

1) Indianapolis

2) New England

3) New Orleans

4) Houston

5) Arizona

6) San Diego

7) Dallas

8) Green Bay

9) Minnesota

Notice a trend? Of the nine top passing teams in the league, seven are leading their divisions and one other would make the playoffs if they started today. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia round out the top eleven, by the way. Cincinnati is the only division leader out of the top nine, ranking 21st in passing.

I was stunned to read in Bernie Miklasz column today at Spagnuolo’s idea that the best way to attack a run defense is to continue to run at it. NO…you play action and throw. Mike Martz thought the best way to attack a three man front in the Super Bowl was to throw into it, and that thought process was what eventually led to his firing.

Running the ball and stopping the run is great. It did win Super Bowls in the 1970’s. But this is 2009. To win the big one now in the NFL…as the rankings would tell us…you better have a passing game.