Steve Spagnuolo Hired as Chiefs DC After Bob Sutton's Firing

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2019

New York Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo speaks to reporters after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Eagles won 34-29. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

The Kansas City Chiefs announced their new defensive coordinator by hiring Steve Spagnuolo on Thursday.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo first reported the hire.

The Chiefs began looking for a new coach to lead their defense after Bob Sutton was fired on Jan. 22. The three-time defending AFC West champions struggled on that side of the ball in 2018, finishing 24th in points allowed (26.3 per game) and 31st in yards allowed (405.5). 

One common criticism levied at Sutton is he routinely failed to make adjustments during games, opting to stick to his formula even when opponents were able to move the ball with ease. 

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Spagnuolo emerged as a favorite for the job in part of his relationship with Andy ReidHe worked as an assistant with the defense in several capacities for eight seasons under the Chiefs head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 through 2006. 

After the 2011 season, Reid told reporters he tried to bring Spagnuolo back to the Eagles in an unspecified role. 

Spagnuolo was coming off a three-season run as head coach of the St. Louis Rams in which he went 10-38. He wound up taking over as defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints in 2012.

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He followed that up by working as a defensive coach for the Baltimore Ravens (2013-14) and defensive coordinator for the New York Giants (2015-17).

The hiring of Spagnuolo will likely force the Chiefs to alter their defensive roster. He primarily utilizes a 4-3 base, compared to the 3-4 scheme used by Sutton. 

After taking 2018 off, Spagnuolo returns to the NFL with one of the best situations possible. Kansas City proved last season it can be successful with a suspect defense—it went to overtime in the AFC Championship Game before losing to the New England Patriots

As long as Spagnuolo puts together a scheme that maximizes the talent he has and adjusts his plan during games if opponents seem to have them figured out, the Chiefs will be in much better position to have a defense that contains teams long enough to let Reid's high-powered offense light up the scoreboard.