The Saints don’t seem to have the defensive personnel on the field to generate the pass rush combined with down field coverage. Also the run defense is blatantly inferior to what it should be. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles said yesterday after their win they knew they could run on the Saints defense.
Usually a new coordinator retools the unit to their liking. Spagnuolo did gain some high quality free agents like linebacker Curtis Lofton, but with a long-term deal being worked out for quarterback Drew Brees for most of the offseason, they were unable to shore up some high quality defensive linemen or secondary players on the market.
While everyone may be stuck on his 2007 pass rush defense he engineered for the New York Giants, Spagnuolo doesn’t have the same talent on the front seven like he did then. Lofton along with defensive ends Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan are the only bright spots.
Rookie defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is quickly picking up the defense and actually taking snaps away from veteran defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley who was supposed to be a huge upgrade to the leaky line.
Spagnuolo appears to have to be shuffling players each week to find the best combination to generate what he’s looking for and what the fans were promised when he came onboard.
The unfortunate and excruciating reality is that the defensive scheme for the current players is brand new and still a learning process. This means that fans could have to cross their fingers that things turn around eventually and possibly start fresh next season with Spagnuolo’s defense.