Should the Philadelphia Eagles Pursue Steve Spagnuolo as Defensive Coordinator?

Bryn SwartzSenior Writer IIIJanuary 24, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 09:  Steve Spagnuolo, offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints looks up during their game against New York Giants  at MetLife Stadium on December 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints have fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (via following a disastrous 2012 season in which the Saints ranked 31st in points allowed (454).

The Saints ranked last in the NFL in total yards allowed (the highest single-season total in NFL history), first downs, rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt. They ranked 31st in passing yards and near the bottom in both passing and rushing touchdowns allowed and sacks.

In Spagnulo's defense, the Saints did go into the season knowing that their head coach, Sean Payton, would be suspended for the entire season following the bountygate scandal that also resulted in the suspension of Spagnulo's predecessor, Gregg Williams.

Still, last season's results were very disappointing for Spagnuolo, who was regarded as one of the top defensive minds in the game after he produced a game plan that contained Tom Brady and the New England Patriots' record-setting offense in Super Bowl XLII.

So, knowing Spagnuolo's recent disappointments, should the Philadelphia Eagles pursue him to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy?

Personally, San Francisco defensive backs coach Ed Donatell would be my top choice. He's done tremendous work with safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner, both Pro Bowl selections this year. He also turned Carlos Rogers into a Pro Bowler (in 2011) after six disappointing seasons with the Washington Redskins.

But even if the Eagles don't obtain Donatell, I would be fine with Spags, who I think is still one of the game's better defensive minds.

His previous experience in Philly, where he worked as a defensive assistant (1999-2000), defensive backs coach (2001-2004) and linebackers coach (2005-2006), is very impressive. Remember, the Eagles secondary featured Pro Bowlers such as Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis and Brian Dawkins.

Would he be interested in keeping veteran Nnamdi Asomugha, who is scheduled to make more than $15 million in 2013 and has suffered through two very disappointing seasons? It's possible. Any number of coaches would enter this situation believing they could revive the career of a once-great player.

But he'd also be able to work on grooming young players, such as 2012 draft picks Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin.

New head coach Chip Kelly has stated that he is looking for a defensive coordinator with significant experience. Don't be surprised if the Eagles make a serious run at their former assistant coach.