The wait is just about over. After a three-plus month lockout and over a month of training camp and preseason action, the start of the 2011 NFL regular season is just around the corner. The St. Louis Rams kick off the new year at home on Sunday against the big, bad Philadelphia Eagles. Only thing though is Philadelphia has looked very pedestrian during the preseason. Steve Spagnuolo, entering his third season as head coach of the Rams, doesn't want to hear about the Eagles likely needing time to round into form. He's expecting Andy Reid's team to play well out of the gate beginning this Sunday in the Rams' dome. On Tuesday, Spags talked to WIP in Philadelphia about the season opener, his roster, and what his thoughts are on the trajectory of the organization after successfully leading it out of the cellar in his first two years at the helm.
Do you feel it’s better to catch the Philadelphia Eagles week one because of all the new faces and the short workout?
"I don’t think anybody is thinking it’s good to catch them anytime. This is a…I talked to the team yesterday. This is an elite football team that we are playing. It’s an elite organization from the top down with elite coaches and elite players. We see it that way. We know it’s a terrific challenge. I think what they did in the off-season was terrific. It’s consistent with how they have done things since Andy Reid has gotten there. They are always finding ways to improve the football team and they always give their football team a chance to win the championship. They’ve done it again this year and we happen to be the first team that has to go against them, so our team is excited and we are embracing the challenge yet we know it is a pretty steep challenge."
Our hunch is that you are going to hand the ball to Steven Jackson quite a bit against the Eagles on Sunday?
"Well we would do that anyway because he is a pretty good player, but we have a certain way that we’ll approach things. Philadelphia does the same. Every team in this league does. I know one thing and especially the first game of the season a lot of the opening day games go back to how you adjust in the games. Lets face it none of us really show our true colors in the preseason games and there’s some things you have to do because you have to get ready. I’m sure there is a lot of things we haven’t seen that Philadelphia has been working on. We just have to find a way during the game to adjust to it and find a way to stop it or find a way to attack it."
In year three as a head coach the organization has made tremendous strides. Are you at where you expected to be in year three?