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In 2009, the Saints went to Super Bowl in Gregg Williams' first year as the defensive coordinator. His impact was unexpectedly amazing. The turnaround of that defense from a stagnant, struggling unit who made few plays to one constantly causing the offense headaches was the most impressive aspect of an amazingly magical season.
Of course the next two seasons, the turnovers didn't come. And as a result the defense slipped to an all-time low two weekends ago when it gave up two leads in the final five minutes of the football game against San Francisco.
A lot has already been made about the impact Steve Spagnuolo promises to have on this Saints unit in 2012. Many are going to jump to conclusions that his defense will be better in 2012 than Williams' was in 2009.
I want to eliminate such high expectations off the bat. Spagnuolo's defense will not create turnovers in quite the same manner that Williams' defense did in 2009.
That said, Spagnuolo is the master of creating pressure on the quarterback using a variety of different schemes, including blitzes and zone blitzes. Like Williams his defenses are aggressive and will take chances.
But his defenses are also less foolproof, meaning the safeties will likely play more coverage on the back end, giving the Saints' underrated group of corners more help.
It should be a much more solid defense that doesn't give up as many big plays. That in itself ought to lend well to an overall improvement on the defensive side of the ball.