The New Orleans Saints announced earlier today that they have named former St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator for next season. The end of the football season is not even over and the Saints have already made a big move that I think is going to take them from the 13-3 team that lost in the divisional round of the NFC Playoffs to a team that can win the Super Bowl.
The New Orleans Saints had arguably the best offense in the NFL this year. Led by Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees, running back Darren Sproles, a wide range of good wide receivers (Colston, Moore, Meachum) and tight end Jimmy Graham, the Saints ended up being one of the best teams in all offensive categories.
The Saints led the league in yards per game with 467.1 and were second in the league with 34.2 points per game. They also led the league in passing yards per game with 334.2 (with Drew Brees passing Dan Marino for the most passing yards ever by a quarterback in a year) and were sixth in the league in rushing with 132.9 yards per game.
On defense, however, it was a much different story. The Saints were one of the worst defenses in the league in nearly every category this year.
The Saints defense was 13th in the league in passing yards allowed per game with 259.8 and 24th in total yards with 368.4. They were a more respectable 13th in points given up per game with 21.2 and 12th in rushing yards per game with 108.6, but teams don't really have to rush on you a whole lot if you give up as many passing yards as the Saints do.
In the regular season, the Saints horrid defense did not show up as much of a problem because their offense gave them enough points per game to outscore their opponents. However, when they entered the playoffs and had to face teams with good defenses (like the San Francisco 49ers who eliminated them last week), their ability to outscore their opponent went away, and exposed how bad their defense really was.
Bringing in a man like Steve Spagnuolo will bolster the Saints defense and put them in a better position to win the Super Bowl. With Spagnuolo at the helm, he will work with the Saints to draft the defensive help that they need on the line and in the secondary, as well as work with the current defense (which is really the only thing that kept them from being able to make it to the Super Bowl this year).
Spagnuolo is a defensive genius. Although he did not have great success as the Rams head coach, he also didn't have a lot of great players to work with. On the Saints he has a much more talented defense, and if you give Spagnuolo the talent and the players, he will put together a fantastic defense.
Everyone remembers the New York Giants crushing the New England Patriots' perfect season to win the Super Bowl. That Giants team won for two reasons: because of their spectacular ground game, and their defense.
The defensive coordinator of the Giants during their Super Bowl season was none other than Steve Spagnuolo. He was the man behind the defense that carried the Giants to upset after upset in the playoffs which eventually led to a championship.
Steve Spagnuolo was a smart pickup by the Saints. A proven defensive coordinator is just what the Saints needed to fix one of the only problems on their team. With him as defensive coordinator and their already impressive offense, the New Orleans Saints will be an even tougher team to beat next season.