INDIANAPOLIS – The St. Louis Rams did not advance to the NFL playoffs in their second season under coach Steve Spagnuolo, thanks to the Seahawks’ victory over their NFC West rival in the regular-season finale at Qwest Field.
But Spagnuolo has chalked up the Rams’ final two games as “playoff experience” because the matchups with the San Francisco 49ers and Seahawks were win-or-else affairs.
“Well, I think the confidence grew,” Spagnuolo said. “Certainly, expectations are going to be higher, and what I’m real excited about is there’s a tremendous hunger there. You get a taste of it a little bit.
“I said this to the team in the last meeting, it felt — and you can spin it any way you want — like we played in two playoff games this year. The San Francisco 49ers, in Game 15, was a must-win, and certainly Seattle was a must-win. And we won one of them and we lost one. There’s some experience there, and there’s a lot of hunger.”
The Rams’ late-season split left them and Seahawks with 7-9 records. But the Seahawks captured the NFC West title because of a better division record and went on to upset the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs.
While coaches from around the league are here to watch and meet with the players who will be selected in the April draft, the uncertainty created by the possible March 4 expiration of the CBA between the owners and NFL Players Association on everyone’s mind.
“That seems to be the biggest concern,” Spagnuolo said. “We don’t have any worries about that. We’re doing things as a normal offseason and we’re all hopeful and thinking optimistically that things will be cleared up, we’ll have a normal offseason and we’ll go to work.
“If that doesn’t happen we’ll deal with the situation, however it is.”