Required Reading: Hope for the New Year

If you haven’t already bookmarked Cameron Hollway’s “On the Rams” column at the St Louis Beacon, I suggest you do it. His latest column, written before kickoff but just as relevant now, explores the reasons for Rams hope in 2010.

I am not suggesting that the Rams tanked the season. They won’t say so, but it is clear to me that they had a plan – to develop and take a look at a lot of young players, and to clear the books of a lot of dead money – to position themselves as securely as possible for 2010 and beyond. They stuck to that plan, and as a result learned a lot about what they have, who they are, and where they are headed.

— “Rams Have Reason to Expect a Happy New Year

I know what you’re thinking, Rams fan: where have I head this before? But it will be a long and painful offseason if you can’t bury some of the game-to-game pain and start taking the high road.

AP/Tom Gannam

Of course it would help if Null had established himself as the surprise “QB of the Future” in his audition, or if you didn’t have nagging feelings of doubt putting so much faith in one boy named Suh to turn this whole thing around.

But you have to admit, one of the small but enduring victories that Coach Spagnuolo has earned this season is the full faith of his team. He has stood up with the team and taken the punishment just as they have. He hasn’t shied away from the injuries, the bad bounces, the bad play, and the near misses. He hasn’t changed his positive attitude, his desire to teach and coach and carry this team forward. It’s an attitude that is worthy of adopting for our own as a fan base.

Consider, by comparison, the attitudes in Denver toward their rookie head coach, the hotshit McD whose brash temperament immediately drove a wedge between the franchise and its franchise quarterback, and then just as shockingly led his team to a 6-0 start on the season without said quarterback. Now they are 8-8, and Bryan, our FanBall correspondent at the Broncos Stable is questioning everything.

Josh is putting all of [the positive progress of the Broncos] in jeopardy with a decision to reverse fields… in every way, shape, and form he is reversing fields.

And one in-game tweet in particular stood out to me:

BroncosStable Starting to wonder if Josh underestimates the power of the negative tone set. #NFL #Denver #Broncos

And other football observers are openly saying the same things: that the Broncos quit, that they might be worse off under McDaniels, and that he should be on the hot seat, deserving “as much more scrutiny” as Spagnuolo and the coaches of the NFL’s other downtrodden teams.

Take heart in the fact that there is not the same swirl of negativity around the Rams, despite their sorry record. Take heart in the fact that there are no Shanahan or Cowher rumors in St Louis. It’s not that the Rams don’t want to win, it’s that they already have the leadership in place to do so.

“To be honest with you, Billy Devaney and that coach (Steve Spagnuolo), I know it’s hard to believe but I promise you, they are not far away.”

— Colts president Bill Polian, as quoted by Jim Thomas.

Now it’s just a matter of restocking the talent.