Until they take the field again, the Rams will be forced to live with a bit of an identity crisis. Everywhere, there are changes.
The Rams will enter next season with a staff of new faces on the sidelines — led by head coach Steve Spagnuolo and coordinators Pat Shurmur and Ken Flajole — and without several key faces off it — including longtime veterans Orlando Pace and Torry Holt. Veteran QB Marc Bulger will be working with his fifth QB coach and his sixth play-caller or offensive coordinator next season. Fellow veteran DE Leonard Little is the last remaining holdover from the 1999 and 2001 Super Bowl teams.
“I’m so used to having Torry out there and Orlando in the huddle, but with salary cap issues and a coaching change you know those things are going to happen,” Bulger said Tuesday. “The team’s turned over completely in the last eight or nine years, so it’s one of the parts of the business that you don’t like, but that’s the reality.”
The release of Pace cleared $6 million in cap space. Parting ways with Holt cleared an additional $8 million. Rams executive vice president Billy Devaney acknowledged many factors played into their release.
“When you make a move like that to release two players who really have Hall of Fame credentials, and are just really, really good people and true professionals, there’s always more than one reason,” Devaney told the NFL Network. “There were a lot of reasons that went into it. We just thought at the end of the day, where we are as an organization right now, we thought it was best that we part ways right now and let some of these younger guys establish themselves on and off the field. There’s been a lot of changes taking place.”
So what type of identity can Rams fans expect under Spagnuolo?
“There isn’t any secret — our best player on the team is Steven Jackson,” Devaney said. “We’re going to build our offense around Steven Jackson. There isn’t any secret about that. … First and foremost, we’re going to try to run the ball and try to establish ourselves as a strong running team.”