With the St. Louis Rams sitting at 2-13 and lacking any sense of direction heading into Week 17 of the NFL season, the questions surrounding the future of Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo. Now it appears as if Jon Gruden could be in the mix for becoming the next head coach of the Rams. According to Brad Biggs of the National Football Post, Gruden would become the next head coach if Rams owner Stan Kroenke decided to fire current GM Bill Devaney and replace him with current Chargers GM A.J. Smith. If both are fired, as expected by many NFL experts, Smith is apparently interested in teaming up with Jon Gruden wherever he lands next.
As a defensive-minded coach, Spanuolo has done nothing to stabilize the performance of the defensive unit, perhaps outside of Chris Long's great season, so he hasn't given many good reasons to justify his return next year. Although the team has dealt with a rash of injuries, especially in the defensive secondary, GM Bill Devaney has also come under fire for leaving the team without the talent needed to compete. The Devaney-Spanuolo combo just hasn't worked well enough.
A.J. Smith has been under fire in San Diego for years, as his very talented teams have routinely underachieved. This season Philip Rivers seemed to take a step back, while the team was recently eliminated from an otherwise wide-open AFC West division title race. Despite the failings of Chargers teams over the few years, it is hard to deny the talent A.J. Smith has acquired and assembled out on the west coast.
As the Rams prepare for the 2012 NFL Draft with a premium pick, all that remains to be seen is whether team owner Stan Kroenke will make a fundamental change that has the potential to move the team in a new direction.
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