One Saints player isn’t on board with Steve Spagnuolo


The Saints defense was a mess all season, continuing a trend that started in 2011 and showing very little improvement over the course of Steve Spagnuolo’s first season as coordinator.

There’s been pretty widespread support in New Orleans for Spagnuolo in the wake of the end of the season, but Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune spoke to one member of the Saints defense who was less enamored with the work Spagnuolo did this year. We don’t know the identity of the player, but he gave a “resounding” yes when asked if Spagnuolo should be relieved of his duties.

“To give up what we gave up can’t be all talent. Look at where his units (have) been ranked before. I think one top 10? 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.”

The Saints ranked last in total defense and were at or near the bottom in most metrics over the course of the season. The anonymous player went on to say that the problems went beyond on-field results with a coach who made it hard to put on a “supportive, everything’s-going-to-be-OK face.”

Trust me all the guys were being politically correct this season when answering questions. It’s bad,” the player said. “He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap. (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 doesn’t appear to be in danger of being fired at this point, although that’s certainly a scathing review of his work. The Saints had plenty of obstacles to overcome heading into the season, but the defense was bad enough that the season might have gone in a pretty similar direction without all the chaos related to the bounty suspensions. Spagnuolo will have to make serious improvements in Year Two if he’s going to make it to a third year.

45 responses to “One Saints player isn’t on board with Steve Spagnuolo

  1. It’ll probably take a couple of years for Spags to bring in players that fit his system. So what that “player” says is irrelevant. He’ll probably be replaced pretty soon anyways.

  2. Every coach in order to be successful has to win the players. He obviously didn’t do that. To be fair those players stunk and he probably knew it. If you knew that certain players stunk or was not on board with your. Defense you probably wouldn’t have any patience or listen to them either. I would still give him a pass!

  3. As a ram fan , this is 100% accurate about spate. Good guy appearance , but control freak and doesn’t treat others with the most respect. I’m sure there’s a janitor or sticker guy can fire for this out burst.

  4. It’s not his defensive schemes that’s making the saints bad. It’s the saints D having to play by the rules and not cheap shot opponents out of the game. Love that one. All seriousness, does anyone think because of he bounty maybe this defense didn’t have a chance to be as tough because of how they were perceived. If they hit hard questions may arise.

  5. Boo hoo! “My boss is mean and doesnt have a nice personality”” so now I suck at my job!”

    90% of Americans cant stand their direct boss. Get over it and do your job.

  6. One unnamed player out of what, 26 players on defense doesn’t like Spags? Unless there are other players on the defense who feel the same way as this coward who chose to remain anonymous, my guess is the problem is with the player and not Spags.

  7. As a Rams fan, I have to agree with the player and the previous Rams fan poster. This dude is living off one game against the Patriots. He’s one of the most overrated defensive minds in the NFL. He’s a little guy with a Napolean complex. Has he had the equipment manager fired yet?

  8. Wow! Imagine that; a control freak for a team rife with cheaters, enablers and deniers!

    Gotta question for you, Mr Anonymous Player, is there an asterisk are attached to his LXII Lombardi Trophy?

  9. Spats should cut the whole team and bring in a bunch of undrafted free agents. Can’t possible do worse than the bunch they have now. THE WORST DEFENSE, STATISTICALLY, IN THE HISTORY OF THE NFL!

  10. The problem with these comments being anonymous is that you can’t put them into any kind of context.

    Was it a player who was a starter and leader on the defense? Was it a fringe player who couldn’t get on the field? Was it a former starter who may feel he was unfairly demoted?

    Not that I think is appropriate for ANY player to make these kind of comments, but how much weight to give them sort of depends on who said them.

  11. Only one? It appears the entire defense isn’t on board with those pathetic defensive numbers they gave up this year.

    A failure of epic proportions…

    Who Dat?????????

  12. As a rams fan I agree with him, michael strahan kept saying on sundays it takes a couple weeks to grasp spags defense well he had a few years with the rams and they were terrible. I understand lack of talent but him and billy devany had the say in the draft. Devany is just as arrogant but doesn’t have the nice guy persona I wonder what hes up to these days. Laurinitis and Long arr beast and if you use lack of talent as an excuse look at how well fisher has done with one of the youngest trams in the nfl

  13. The saints have no incentive to play hard on defense. Maybe the coaches need to offer some money on the side for sacks and big hits or maybe even injuring the other teams players. Oh wait a minute… That never happens in the NFL. Hahaha!

  14. What was their excuse last year when they where just as bad? That the offense couldn’t outscore everyone this year was the only difference.

  15. Just think about how bad the Falcons (once) and Bucs (twice) must be for losing to this defense. A defense that couldn’t stop the Chiefs from coming back from a 2nd half 18 point defecit.

  16. At my job, my last boss was a friend of mine. We all loved him. He was replaced by a guy we can’t stand. We all hate working with him. After the change, morale was low and we lost a lot of good people. A year later, there are 2 things I can’t deny: Business is better. And I definitely make more money. Still friends with the old boss and we hang out when he’s in town. The point is: You don’t have to like your boss. Usually, it’s best if you don’t.

  17. No Mr. Unidentified Player, you guys are the problem. Your defense has never been good. It has feasted on turnovers but never been able to line up and bottle up an opponents pass or run game. Without turnovers, the Saints are a below average defense. They lack the ability to get the the QB, which is why Greg Williams blitzed so much during that Superbowl year. Spags defense relies on the front four getting pressure. You cannot do that. So, yes Spags, should have adjusted some but personnel is more of a problem.

  18. Uh oh.

    Where there’s smoke there’s fire. If one man is verbalizing this, best believe others on the squad agree with him.

    Couple this with the absence of HC Payton, (no one to facilitate/mediate the transition to Spags’ scheme) and no wonder we saw the worst D in the history of Pro Football.

    When will Goodell grant Coach Payton his freedom to return and fix this mess.

  19. I respect players who rip their coaches….NOT!
    What if the media reported that an anonymous coach on the Saints staff said that the players were lazy and stupid? OMG the players would be up in arms and would call the coach a coward and the NFLPA would take him to court for daring to criticize NFL players, especially any players who are black.

    The Saints are not worthy of any respect, they are cheaters and they feel they are entitled to glory and respect that they have not earned.

  20. Saints haters from non-SB winning teams are such jokes and bottom feeders…back to your mom’s basement and Walmart cashier jobs….

  21. I am pretty sure there are a dozen teams who would be more than happy to take him. And a control freak with no patience of personality….that sound like about 90% of the coaches in the NFL

  22. Another Rams fan. The saints player is correct about a lack of in-game adjustments. Spags never adjusted as a Rams coach and our record reflected that. Glad to see him continue his ways with the Saints….

  23. It will be pretty easy for the coaches to figure out who the unprofessional and malcontent cancers there are on the team. This player will soon be unemployed…. as will Spagnuolo.

  24. If you don’t believe there is something wrong with Spags coaching- take a look at the Rams. They are far better defensively and as a whole. It’s a night and day difference and it isn’t the rookie talent they brought in. They play hard, physical football right until the end and before they would have mailed it in after the half.

  25. Saints fan here. I was very excited when Spags arrived because (pre bounty revelations) Williams’ defense was on the decline as he was not changing the scheme and opposing teams were calling out the formations at the line. I heard on the network, mostly from former Giants players, that it was just going to take time to click and for the players to understand their assignments. Well, the line looked ok, but the backers and secondary are horrible! I realize that we don’t have much, if any, elite talent on the defense but we looked pathetic for most of the season. I’m anticipating wholesale changes in the secondary and linebackers. So for 2013 we at least will get Vitt back to coaching the linebackers and Peyton to look at more of the big picture and coaching the whole team.

  26. Doesn’t matter what kind of “scheme” Spags runs the answer is simple. When the football is in the air “GO GET IT”, it doesn’t curve like a baseball, or a whiffle ball, “MAKE A DAMN PLAY ON IT!” Also, world class athletes (which you all claim to be) should be able to “BACK-PEDAL” inside of the Red Zone, and not be so out of position when the QB throws the fade. You have the sideline, as well as the back of the End Zone as extra defenders. The ball is coming to YOU!

  27. A Saints player not taking some accountabilty for its failures ?Let me guess , It’s Roger’s fault ?

  28. Says a lot about how great the Saints offense is when despite having the WORST defense in the NFL they still win 7 games and could have easily won 2-3 more games if it were not for a play or two.

  29. If Spags gets them to anywhere near the middle of the pack in D, the Saints will destroy most of the league. If near the top ten, they win the SB. Perhaps the player, if he is actually worthy of staying, should look at getting on board with the system and seeing if they could improve. ‘This complaint is much too early and not credible as far as I am conserned.

  30. Spags was an absolute disaster in St. Louis due to the very reasons mentioned in this article. If the Saints are keeping this control freak around, they will have trouble signing top defensive free agents, as this guy’s act is well known throughout the league.

  31. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be wise of Saints players to stop talking about how much they liked Williams.

  32. Well, we know that there is at least one coward on that team. Be man and put your name on it, or you can just shut up. This, along with the classless organization and fan base erases any good will they earned after Katrina. They are public enemy #1, as far as I am concerned.

  33. I bet it IS hard having Spagnuolo after Williams. The cut in pay alone is enough to drive anyone to the poor house! What’s the point of playing hard when there’s no incentive? Spags needs to throw out his morals and decency and open up his checkbook.

  34. As Jonathan Vilma said to Larry Holder through twitter Call Name, I strongly believe at the end of the day their is no player only someone wanting to meet their deadline.

  35. I agree with anyone stating the demise of Spag. He def shouldnt have a job after displaying the worst defense ever. At least we have the record for most yards ever. Offense and defense.

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