Saints News

Spagnuolo out as defensive coordinator


November 25, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo prior to a game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers defeated the Saints 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is back in the Saints facility and he took the first step to re-vamping the worst defense in the league.

Payton fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after a dismal first season with the defense. Also going out the door is secondary coach Ken Flajole.

Lauded at the beginning of the season as the start of a better defense built more towards coverage than blitzing, Spagnuolo’s defense was routinely pummeled over in the running game allowing a league worst 147.6 yards per game.

Payton clearly communicated that he was not happy about the performance of the defense in his absence saying that problems with the defense and other parts of the team “kept him up at night”.

Payton announced that the team would be transitioning to a 3-4 style defense which may allow for Martez Wilson and Cam Jordan’s abilities as rushers to blossom.

The Saints defense also allowed a league worst 440.1 total yards per game and were routinely victimized in the air, making the firing of secondary coach Ken Flajole all but certain.

The firing of Spagnuolo does put to rest any controversy over the anonymous Saints player who let the media know how frustrating it was to work with him during the season.

It also shows that Sean Payton is clearly back and running the show again.