Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo talked about how similar St. Louis is at quarterback compared to the Falcons three years ago during his conference call with the Atlanta media Wednesday
On keys to success:
"I think we have a bunch of guys in the locker room that are full of character and I don't think you win in this league without that. I think it begins there. We kind of built it that way. I think our guys take pride in that. I think they enjoy playing together. To me, that's been one of the keys. These guys enjoy working together, practicing together, playing together and when you do that I think your chances of winning games and being successful goes up."
On developing young quarterbacks:
"I guess if you saw prior to, in years past, if you didn't see young quarterbacks play early it would seem like a shift. We basically, in our situation, kind of went through the same growth process that you guys did in Atlanta three years ago. It worked out pretty good for you guys and I hope we can be half as successful. I have a world of respect for Matt Ryan. I think with Sam (Bradford), it was evident when he was here early that there were some things he needed to work at and grow at. He did that. It was evident somewhere there in preseason where the team was responding very well to that. We felt we should go with the quarterback that gave us the best potential win and that's what we did in game one."
On utilizing more film study and OTAs to develop players better:
"I think so. As long as I've been in the league, it's year 12, we've always had that time in OTAs and that was way back in '99 with Donovan McNabb. I wasn't coaching him, but I'm sure it helped him then. I know it's helped several young quarterbacks to get that foundation in the spring time, right into June, and certainly into training camp. I do think it helps, especially at that particular position. I also think it helps, going back to NFL Europe that helped young quarterbacks. They were able to play in the league and get some snaps at high level football."
On Rams' culture change:
"We've got a high percentage of the guys that were where a year ago, but we did add some, I think, high quality guys and young guys through the draft, etc. Team chemistry is huge in any sport, especially this sport when you have so many guys on a team. It's not five like a basketball team or baseball, so there's a lot of people involved. Team chemistry is really important. I think these guys have it. Going back to what I said to open up the press conference, that they enjoy playing together. I think that when you do that in any business, you tend work harder and when you work harder you tend to do a little bit better. They have a confidence level about them. They come to work expecting to win everyday. I think you need to do that in this league."
On the amount of playoff teams that will not make the postseason this year:
"There is parity throughout the league. There are some elite teams, and we know who they are. We're getting ready to play one right now. For the most part, week in and week out, any team can beat anybody so I think that's what makes this team exciting."
On Matt Ryan:
"When I look at Matt (Ryan), I see poise and a very clutch performer. I don't know Matt that well, but my guess is that he is a tremendous performer, because that's what shows up on film. He kind of wills his team to win. I haven't seen every game he's played in his three years, but my guess is he's done that a number of times. He's a quality player in this league; he's the key to what they do. He looks like a very intelligent quarterback and I know from talking to Ted and other people in Atlanta, that he's a quality guy with good character. That helps any football team and I know it's a challenge for our defense to go against this particular offense. They have a lot weapons. I think it begins, like any good offense with the front line. I think their offensive line is terrific."
On pass rushers:
"I don't think we're any different than anybody else. In order to play good defense in this league, with the nature of where offenses go eventually, which is to win games of total football, they mix it up with run and pass. To me the best way to defend a … team is with the guys up front. You can talk about different coverages and different blitzes and what not, and that's part of the pass rush, but you need the four guys up front continuously putting some kind of heat. Whether it results in a sack, or hurry or rush or hit, the more of those you can get in the course of the game overall, the better your defense is going to be."
On pass rush improvement:
"I think so. The faces are pretty much the same. A couple of young guys we got in the draft and a key addition was Freddie Robbins. Freddie is a better athlete than people think. He's a big man so you wouldn't think he would be that athletic, but he is. On third down he's in there, I think he pushes the pocket, which I think opens up things for the guys around him. Chis Long is having a good year. James Hall has been a great football player for a long time. Both he and Freddie have seen the in's and out's of football. That experience is kind of helping us there up front."
On winning on the road:
"If I had an answer to that I'd be a rich man and probably retire from coaching. I'd probably give someone the formula and away they go, but they come in bunches. When they're there and they have the opportunities we need to make them. That's the first thing, because there will be a few each game. When you don't take advantage of them, that's when you get in trouble."
On Steven Jackson:
"Steve is a real key to what we do. I think that goes without saying. He's been doing it for a long time. He carries this team in a lot ways. When he goes good, we usually tend to go pretty good because he has that mentality and that mindset. The guys rally around him. The team has grown to respect him and how he works and who he is. When he steps in that huddle I think everybody feels a little bit better."
"We were kind of mix and matching there. We got a bunch of injuries, but the guys that have stayed in there like Danario (Alexander), Laurent (Robinson), Brandon Gibson has had some play quality for us, Mardy Gilyard and a lot of guys. Again, we had some guys get injured, but it takes a little while for the quarterback and the receivers to get in tune. We're kind of hitting a little bit of a groove there, but we've got a long way to go. These guys know there are still things they need to work on, but it's been very helpful that Sam (Bradford) has been able to spread the football around."
On communication on defense:
"Huge. We know what kind of pressures their offense can put on a defense with mix and matches of personnel, no-huddles, etc. We'll be prepared for it. We know it's a challenge. I think they do a really good job of it in Atlanta."
On James Laurinaitis:
"He's doing great. He's the key in the middle. He's like the quarterback on defense. He's a very intelligent guy. Again, I'd say the same thing about him that I say about Sam (Bradford) and Steven Jackson, the other ten guys in the huddle have tremendous confidence in him, that he's going to get them in the right defense and make the right calls. When you feel that way as a defensive player, that your middle linebacker is doing that, you can just worry about playing football."
On winning certain parts of a game:
"In this league, you never know how it's going to go. It's never going to go all your way, all the time, all four quarters. It doesn't work that way. You have to make sure you don't get too down when it's going wrong, and don't get too high when it's going good. I know one thing. Whether Atlanta has won them before, later, or in the middle, they've got seven wins. I'm sure Coach Smith doesn't really care how they got them. The fact is they got seven of them. They are one of the premier teams in the NFC. To me, it's all about having one more point at the end of the game than the team you're playing and you get a 'W.' "
On Paul Boudreau and Glenn Pires:
"It's nice to have that clan from the state of Massachusetts sprinkled around the league. I know Glenn and Boudreau quite well. Glenn and I played ball together and I just have a lot of respect for both of those guys."