Behind Enemy Lines: Chiefs vs. Rams I

Part One: Gridiron Gateway Publisher Nate Latsch goes behind enemy lines with Warpaint Illustrated Publisher Nick Athan.

Warpaint Illustrated: Like the Chiefs Todd Haley, the St. Louis Rams have a second year head coach. Steve Spagnoulo came from the New York Giants as a tough hard-nosed assistant coach. How would you assess his performance this season in guiding the Rams to first place in the NFC West?

Gridiron Gateway: In his second year as a head coach, at any level, Spagnuolo has the Rams at six wins with three games remaining this season. In the previous three years, the Rams won a total of six games.

The Rams have improved in every area, with both the offensive and defensive units both performing at a higher level than Spagnuolo's debut season. The defense has talked throughout the season about being able to play better in the second year of the system

Another aspect of Spagnuolo's impact has been the former New York Giants players who have signed with St. Louis because they want to play for him. Guys like defensive tackle Fred Robbins and safeties Craig Dahl and James Butler have been important in the Rams' turnaround."

Warpaint Illustrated: We touched a lot on quarterback Sam Bradford and his quick development this season on our Out of Bounds Podcast. But if you could name one player outside of the rookie QB, which other young ascending player has made equal or greater leaps this season?

GridIron Gateway: With the first pick of the second round this spring, the Rams had plenty of options and even more holes to fill on their roster. St. Louis also had time to think about their choice because the second round was pushed back to the second day of the draft.

When the Rams selected offensive tackle Rodger Saffold from Indiana University, many fans had no idea who he was. They just knew he wasn't one of the bigger names still available.

But Saffold, who started training camp at left tackle because second-year tackle Jason Smith was dealing with a foot injury, has been almost as big of a success as Bradford so far. He's allowed just two sacks and looks like he will solidify the left tackle spot for the Rams for a long time."

Warpaint Illustrated: If you had a crystal ball, what would it say and why to the following question? The Rams will or will not win the NFC West at this season?

Gridiron Gateway: It would say that football in St. Louis is relevant again because of Sam Bradford and even though the Rams are still in need of several more playmakers on both sides of the ball, the team's favorable schedule will allow them to win two of their final three games and win the NFC West title."

WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
What do you think of Nate Latsch's comments about the Rams fortunes this season.

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