Steve Spagnuolo Shuns Stats for Displays of Heart, and More NFC South News

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterOctober 23, 2012

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 21: Vincent Jackson #83 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers goes out of bounds defended by Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints during a game  at Raymond James Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo isn't a stat guy, according to the Times-Picayune.

That means Spagnuolo doesn't put much emphasis in the fact that the Saints have given up 2,793 yards to opposing offenses, a staggering and league-worst 465.5 yards per game. It means Spagnuolo doesn't think too much about being one of only four NFL teams that allow opponents more than 30 points per game.

"Stats don't measure heart," he said. "That's an awesome statement and I wish I would've thought of it.Trust me, I'm not a stat guy, I never have been, both ways."

Spagnuolo stated that the defense has shown signs of improvement over the last two weeks and used Malcolm Jenkins' amazing chase down of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson as an example.

After spotting Jackson more than a 30-yard head start, Jenkins raced down the field and stopped Jackson on the 1-yard line. This sparked a goal-line stand of epic proportions where the Saints stopped LeGarrette Blount three times and kept Freeman from scrambling in for a score on fourth down.

"There are still some kinks to work out, but we're going into the seventh game of the season. Nobody's in there saying, 'We have to learn the system.' The system is in place," he said. "We've been doing the same thing for seven months or however long it's been.

"Some of the things that creep up could happen if you've been in a system for three years. The game's not perfect. The guys aren't perfect. Somewhere along the way, the guys just have to make plays."

Jenkins made that play, and the rest of the Saints defense responded.


Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution lists five things the team learned over its bye week.

Mike Smith thinks there will be some unscouted looks given by new Philadelphia Eagle defensive coordinator Todd Bowels, but not many mass changes. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]


Carolina Panthers

According to the Charlotte Observer, ex-general manager Marty Hurney was asked two questions by team owner Jerry Richardson Sunday after Carolina's loss to Dallas. The next day Hurney was fired.

Many of the players took general manager Marty Hurney's firing hard. [Charlotte Observer]


New Orleans Saints

Interim head coach Joe Vitt met the team in Tampa and flew back to New Orleans with them catching up with the team. Now the coach has to catch up at the team facility after serving a six-game suspension. [Times-Picayune]

The growing feeling in the New Orleans locker room is that the playoffs are still a distinct possibility. [WWL-TV]


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Josh Freeman is quite happy with the way the last two games have gone for him personally and is focused on making sure the momentum keeps going. [Pewter Report]

The 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are improved from last season, but there's little solace in the 2-4 record that hangs over Tampa. [Tampa Bay Times]