Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo first formed a working relationship with Vikings coach Brad Childress in 1999, when they both arrived in Philadelphia as assistants with the Eagles.
Back then, Spagnuolo was the defensive assistant/quality control under the late Jim Johnson. Childress was the quarterbacks coach before becoming their offensive coordinator in 2002. Spagnuolo became defensive backs coach in 2001 and then linebackers coach in 2004 before becoming the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 2007.
Childress was hired as head coach by the Vikings in 2006; Spagnuolo is in his first year as head coach of the Rams. He has been seeking advice from Childress and other coaches for years now.
"Brad's been great. Two things come to mind … from Brad specifically: Stick to what you believe in and that's what he's done there and look how it's turned out. I'm happy for him. I'm elated that things have been going well for him," Spagnuolo said. "The other thing, and he's right on this – enjoy it. Make sure you enjoy it, because it is tough. It's tough on families, tough on assistant coaches, tough on players. This league is tough. We all know that getting in. Nobody wants to run from it. We love the challenge. But when Brad said stick with what you believe in and try to enjoy it, I thought that was very truthful, very revealing."
Because of their mutual respect, Spagnuolo was believed to be under consideration for the Vikings' defensive coordinator position when Childress was hired in 2006, but Childress said at the time that Andy Reid told Childress to get his own guys. Conveniently, Spagnuolo said he couldn't remember if he was considered for the job and steered the conversation back to the Rams.
Spagnuolo's resolve has been tested early this year, as his Rams have gotten off to an 0-4 start, but he is sticking to the program he believes in.
"These systems that we have in all three phases are proven. We didn't just make them up. We didn't create them. We didn't just pull them out of the sky. They came from somewhere," he said.
As Vikings fans have learned, the processes with a new coach can take time. The Rams certainly haven't experienced quick success. They are 30th in the NFL on offense (13th rushing, and 30th passing) and 19th in defense (24th against the run and 19th against the pass).
With Wednesdays and Thursdays being the heavy installation days in the NFL, Spagnuolo and Childress haven't talked yet this week, but Spagnuolo figures that will be coming soon.
"We'll get a phone call in here somewhere. We're too busy right now," he said. "You know what Wednesdays are like. I always enjoy talking to Brad; he's always got something enlightening to say. It does mean a lot. It's a big help."
Spagnuolo appreciates Childress' advice
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