Last year, under the Gregg Williams "blitz 'til they bleed" defensive scheme, the Who Dat Nation watched in horror as their defensive coordinator refused to run a prevent defense in the fourth quarter against the 49ers in the playoffs. Instead he chose to showcase the different blitz schemes he could come up with knowing that he wouldn't be with the Saints the following season. With all the "bounty" scandal bullstuff circling overhead, the team's defense is now trying to move on under the tutelage of Steve Spanuolo.
Steve Spagnuolo did not have a very good run as a head coach in St. Louis, but he's always been respected as a defensive coordinator. I was extremely happy when I heard that he had joined the Saints coaching staff, and couldn't wait to see how much better his defensive scheme would be in comparison to someone who was coaching with one foot out the door. In light of a recent interview, I don't know if he'll be any different than Gregg "Kill the Head" Williams, and I'm not so certain that he has bought into the Who Dat Nation way of life.
Now I'm not saying this makes him a bad person because he's kind of new to the place. And I realize that he's an NFL level coach and opportunities are few and far between. I'm just saying that some of the answers in the interview are not making me feel very comfortable. According to this he's already looking for another opportunity to come knocking.
"Yeah, there’s a burn there, I’m not going to lie to you,’’ said Spagnuolo, whose mother lives in Yarmouth. "I think the professional thing to do in this situation is you concentrate all your efforts and all your focus on the job that you have right now.
"I feel lucky I have this job. In this business, you fight every day to keep the job that you have. Now, should the good Lord put another opportunity in front of me to be a head coach, I’m jumping at it, I’m going to run with it. I know that I’ll be better having gone through it.
"I think I'm a better football coach. I know if given the opportunity again, which I hope happens, I will be a 10-times-better head coach because sometimes you learn more from your failures than you do from your success.''
So is he using the Saints as his proverbial stepping stone? Wouldn't it be wonderful for him if the Saints' defense performs so well they help move the team into the Superbowl in the Superdome and win it all? It would be the perfect way for us to rise like a black and gold phoenix from the ashes of "Bountygate."
It would seem that both the Saints' and Spagnuolo's redemption go hand in hand. He regains the spotlight for a head coaching opportunity, and the team gets to regain their reputation for being an elite team with or without bounties.
So how long can we expect Spagnuolo to stick around? How long is his contract (no, really I can't find it anywhere)? If he helps rally our defense how much attention will he get for head coaching jobs and will he leave us if the right position comes along? Do you care?
All these questions swirling around and I've got no answers. I'd love my fellow Who Dats to come to my aid, help convince me that this is not another 49ers scenario where our defensive coordinator is about to go rogue and use all of our primetime exposure to advance his career. Tell me Spags will eventually apply for his Who Dat Nation citizenship card. Ease the burden of a tumultuous offseason, a lack of a head coach and a MIA QB. Spags, I know you say you'll focus on the job at hand, but are you able to multitask between coaching a defense and updating your careerbuilder.com resume? Or do you even watch Oprah?!?