Another interesting tweak is that Spagnuolo has moved his defensive ends around on third downs, bringing them more towards the interior of the line. Certainly, he’s not afraid to add his own personal flair to things. To me, the mark of success is not repeating what someone has done prior, but making improvements based on what you see. Certainly, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but, it looks as though Spags is taking what works and merely fine tuning it to make it better.
It certainly makes for a lot to learn on the part of the New Orleans Saints players, but working them hard has already paid dividends. The local Louisiana media has been quick to report the struggles of the Saints offense over the last few practices. Certainly, one could say that Drew Brees is slightly rusty from having missed OTAs, but I beg to differ.
I think the case is really that the defense has stepped up that much. Interceptions have been more frequent, batted balls more the norm, and the wideouts have looked shaky at times. Sure, some of the blame belongs to the offense, but the defense also deserves tremendous credit.
Steve Spagnuolo is slightly off the norm, and I love it. Cameron Jordan came to the defense of his newest coach, saying, “When a coordinator and their player have two different dreams, they don’t always collide very well…but it’s so great for me because I see myself as a versatile player and he sees me as playing so many different roles. And so we come together and this is great for me. I think anything he allows me to do, I can do. I’m all for it.”
That statement may come off as cocky, but again, the incredible confidence he has instilled in the players under his tutelage is absolutely fantastic. It makes me, as a lifelong New Orleans Saints fan, incredibly optimistic. Maximizing talent in such a way that makes players more confident is sometimes difficult, especially after facing adversity and uphill climbs. Spagnuolo has found a way!