Steve Spagnuolo’s reputation was built on relentless pressure and dominating defense, especially after leading the 2007 Giants to a Super Bowl title over the heavily favored Patriots.
The men in blue turned Tom Brady black and blue all day, stifling a record breaking passing game through defensive line depth and a savvy rotation orchestrated by Spags.
That game defined his potential as a head coach and is exactly why St. Louis should explore the New York pipeline first and foremost to find new front four talent as soon as labor peace begins.
The Rams’ defensive line was deceptively good last season, writes Kerry Byrne in SI, improving light years from a near bottom feeder showing in 2009.
St. Louis had the second rated third down defense in 2010 along with forcing 14 interceptions and 43 sacks. Chris Long had a breakout year as a run defender and produced 8.5 sacks while James Hall found the fountain of youth and brought down the quarterback 10.5 times.
However, the Rams can’t expect to sustain that type of success without reinforcements this offseason.
Robert Quinn will be a nice addition but sat out all of last season following NCAA infractions and between Hall and “seasoned” defensive tackle Fred Robbins, St. Louis could use an infusion of talent and depth.
Enter Barry Cofield and Osi Umenyiora. Both played under Spagnuolo and both would flourish with a change of scenery in St. Louis.
Cofield is in the prime of his career and will most likely be a free agent under the new league agreement. He had 54 tackles last season along with four sacks and would create a great run-stopping tandem with Robbins.
Umenyiora has reportedly become disenchanted with the Giants after a contract dispute and had 13 sacks under Spagnuolo in 2007. He also had 11.5 sacks and 48 tackles last season despite dealing with a few nagging injuries.
Imagine fielding a lineup of Long, Cofield, Robbins and Umenyiora with Quinn and Hall coming off the bench.
It would be a dream come true for Rams fans and a nightmare for the marshmallow-soft offensive lines in the NFC West.
Hopefully the Rams can bring these guys to St. Louis for a “Giant” reunion.