I'm really glad that whole "no more nasty, anonymous quotes" movement didn't take off, because come on, they're so much fun. Two days after one one of the NFL's worst defenses in history finishes its season, we have an unnamed Saints player going to town on defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Larry Holder in the Times-Picayune finds one player who says Spagnuolo should be fired after just one season in New Orleans. And it's not just performance. (OK, a lot of it is performance. The Saints broke the single-season record for yards allowed, were 32nd in run defense, 31st in pass defense, 31st in points allowed and 29th in sacks.) But it sounds like they're not big fans of Spagnuolo as a person.
"Trust me all the guys were being politically correct this season when answering questions," the player said. "It's bad."
"Players have no say in anything," the player said. "It was (a) complete opposite from before where it was a simple D that players had lot of control and say. We couldn't suggest (expletive)...Nothing ever changed. It was his way only.
"Don't even get me started on lack (of) ability to adjust during games. Bad, bad, bad."
"He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap," the player said. (Spagnuolo has) no patience and zero personality. (He) has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. (I) think it's even harder after having (former defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams), who guys enjoyed."
Spagnuolo was brought in to replace Gregg Williams, who departed for St. Louis before the bounty scandal broke. But players used to Williams's aggressive sets didn't take well to Spagnuolo's style that rarely calls for blitzing. It's a matter of schemes and personnel—Spagnuolo gained his reputation as a defensive mastermind on a Giants team that was able to create pressure from just its front four, and while he couldn't win in three years with the Rams, they're emerging as one of the league's better defenses, largely with players he brought in. These Saints, with a secondary that needs linebacker help in pass coverage, and a front line that needs linebacker help to create pressure, probably weren't going to stop anyone no matter who was drawing up the plays.
That said, you don't post the worst defensive season in NFL history and expect everyone to keep their jobs—especially when players are openly bitching about the DC's personality.
New Orleans Saints player: Steve Spagnuolo should be fired as defensive coordinator [New Orleans Times-Picayune]