Following a 34-27 loss to San Francisco today in their final game of the season, the Rams organization have decided to fire head coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney after the team finished the 2011-12 NFL season with a 2-14 record, including a 0-6 record in the NFC West.
Devaney started off with the organization back in 2008 when he served as vice president of pro personnel and was promoted to general manager late in the year. He would make the decision to hire Steve Spagnuolo as head coach, bringing him over from the New York Giants, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2007-08. Spagnuolo decided to take the job with the Rams after having time to consider offers from the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Detroit Lions.
This was only the beginning of the changes coming to the Rams front office during Devaney’s time there, which includes the controversial decision of hiring former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator, who was formerly served in that position for the New England Patriots. He would also hire Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator.
Spagnuolo’s first season as head coach during the 2009-2010 season would not be a successful one, finishing the season 1-15. The team didn’t perform well, as the team was in rebuilding and there were several players out with injuries, including running back Steven Jackson and defensive end Chris Long. This would give the Rams the very first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, in which they drafted quarterback Sam Bradford from the University of Oklahoma.
After some wise playmaking from Spagnuolo and staff, the Rams would be in the race to win the NFC West divisional berth with only seven wins, but would fall short of the 2010-11 NFL postseason after losing to the Seattle Seahawks, who also finished the regular season at 7-9. Bradford would become Offensive Rookie Of The Year for the season, finishing with a 60% completion percentage, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
The 2011-12 season would not turn out well, as Bradford was out with hand and ankle injuries for most of the season, as Kellen Clemens and A.J. Feeley swapped QB duties for the majority of the season. Bradford would only complete 191 passes for 2,164 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. With an offensive that appears confused and Jackson carrying most of the offensive load with some assistance from Danario Alexander and Cadillac Williams and a defense standing flat in their tracks like a deer in the headlights, the Rams couldn’t win a single game in the NFC West.
Spagnuolo will leave the Rams with a 10-38 record, while the rumors swirl around on what further fallout will come forth, whether or not McDaniels and other staff will be fired and who will be head coach for the 2012-13 season and where they sit at on their draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Perhaps this is a changing of the guard that could turn the organization around and once again become a playoff contender? Only time can tell.
UPDATE 10:24 AM 1/2/2012: The Rams have released their press release confirming the firings of Spagnuolo and Devaney. The search for a new head coach and general manager are underway, while the Rams have the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
UPDATE 4:49 PM 1/2/2012: There was a press conference held by the Rams at 3:30 PM CST, with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff addressing the firings of Spagnuolo and Devaney to the press. Former coach Dick Vermeil and former running back Marshall Faulk have been brought in as consultants in the search for a new head coach, one of which includes former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. Demoff stated that all coaching personnel, except offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, will have their contracts honored until February.
Raiders’ Antonio Brown Settles Lawsuit
New Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was acquired via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this offseason, has struck a settlement with a man, Ophir Sternberg, that claimed that he nearly killed a toddle by throwing furniture off of a Miami apartment building balcony, according to TMZ.
In the lawsuit, Sternberg claims his 22-month-old son was walking around the pool at the high-end apartment complex back in April 2018 when suddenly “large objects started to fall from the building many floors above them.”
Sternberg claimed that Brown tossed everything from vases, an ottoman, and other pieces of furniture from the balcony and they landed within feet of the toddler.
Brown had denied throwing the items, claiming that it was another person who had access to his apartment on that day.
Police responded to the scene and reported that Brown was “very agitated” and yelling when they arrived, noting that people have been trying to calm Brown down.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).
Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.
According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.
Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.
Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.
Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.
“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.
The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”
Mike Tannenbaum Joins ESPN
Following his run as Executive Vice President of Football Operations with the Miami Dolphins, and long-overdue dismissal following a disaster 2018 season, Mike Tannenbaum is joining ESPN, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
Tannenbaum will end up being ESPN’s replacement for Bill Polian, who retired from broadcasting to become a co-founder of the Alliance of American Football, which officially ended all operations last week.
Tannenbaum will make appearances on SportsCenter, NFL Live, and other ESPN productions in the build up to the NFL Draft and will also be a part of ESPN’s draft coverage during the 2019 NFL Draft.
At the end of the 2018 season, Tannenbaum was “reassigned” within the Dolphins organization, although no details were provided at the time and no information regarding his re-assignment have been made public since.
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