“‘No excuses, no explanations.”-Tony Dungy
Those were the words uttered by the longtime coach of the Buccaneers and Colts when he first met his Tampa Bay team, and every day he met his teams afterward. It’s a great way not only to run a football team, but to live life. If you own it, do your best. If it doesn’t work, no excuses, no explanations.
The reason the phrase resonates in St. Louis right now is that the Rams have a number-one running back in Steven Jackson who had back surgery three weeks ago, and don’t have a backup that fans feel confident about. In fact, the Rams haven’t had a decent backup running back since Jackson himself spelled Marshall Faulk in 2004.
But we as fans need to take a leap of faith. That may be difficult for some, but lets lend some perspective here. Last season’s Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints, were led in rushing by Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell, two undrafted free agents.
The previous year, the Steelers were led in rushing by undrafted free agent Willie Parker. Following Parker was free agent pickup Mewelde Moore, who had been a 4th round choice of Minnesota and never cracked the starting lineup there.
In 2007, the Giants were led by 4th round pick Brandon Jacobs, but Earth, Wind and Fire also consisted of seventh rounders Derrick Ward (chosen by the Jets, taken off the street by the Giants) and Ahmad Bradshaw.
I’ve put faith in Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo that they’ll find the right guy to spell Jackson, and replace him for a few games if necessary. They’re smart, and they know what they have in Chris Ogbonnaya and Kenneth Darby. And, they have an idea as to what’s going to be available later in the summer.
If Jackson goes down and there’s no backup, we know who’s in charge now. It used to be that fans could place blame on John Shaw, Jay Zygmunt, Charley Armey, Mike Martz or Scott Linehan.
Now, it’s Devaney and Spagnuolo. If it doesn’t work out for the Rams…we want no excuses, no explanations. And we won’t get any, either.