It’s been just four days since the Philadelphia Eagles have parted ways with the longest tenured head coach in franchise history, Andy Reid. There have been interviews confirmed with Mike Nolan and Keith Armstrong of the Atlanta Falcons while scheduled meetings with Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Denver Broncos Mike McCoy have too been confirmed.
Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is said to be near the top of possible candidates and rumors have come afloat saying that Philadelphia is the only team he would leave PSU for to return to the coaching realm of the NFL.
That is a very short list of potential candidates to fill the void left by Reid’s firing. The rumor mill has been heavy with names. Other popular names are ESPN’s MNF analyst Jon Gruden as well as his son Jay Gruden who is currently with the Cincinnati Bengals. Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone has been mentioned. Niners DC Vic Fangio has also been a relatively popular option for Eagles fans wanting a defensive mind as the next HC.
The list goes on and on. And while the next defensive coordinator will be named by the new head coach hired by team owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman, it never hurts to start looking at some possibilities.
Today I look at one individual who could certainly change the Eagles defensive fortunes around.
Before we move forward there are a few things I want to recognize. First, yes I completely understand that his New Orleans Saints defense allowed the most yards in 2012. And yes, as of this moment right now he is not available to hire as he is still part of the Saints organization. But, according to one unnamed defensive player, the Saints are not fond of Mr. Spagnuolo in the least.
Per a report on Sporting News NFL, this unidentified player had some harsh things to say in regards to Spagnuolo’s coaching philosophy.
“Trust me all the guys were being politically correct this season when answering questions,” the anonymous player, presumably one who played defense, told the website. ” … Players have no say in anything. It was (a) complete opposite from before where it was a simple D that players had lot of control and say. We couldn’t suggest (expletive) … Nothing ever changed. It was his way only.
“Don’t even get me started on lack (of) ability to adjust during games. Bad, bad, bad.”
From what this player is saying, none of the Saints defensive players would be melancholy to see Spagnuolo go. And furthermore, it’s clear that Spags isn’t a perfect individual. However, from 2007-08 Spags was the architect of one of the most aggressive defenses in the NFL while with the New York Giants.
If the players buy in to what Spagnuolo is trying to sell, he has proven that his theory works. But there is more to it than just the fact that Spagnuolo has proven his system can work in the NFL.
Since the death of former defensive coordinator Jim Johnson on July 28, 2009 the Philadelphia Eagles have failed to find a suitable replacement — and fans have clamored for an individual who can bring that fierce mentality back to the Eagles defense.
Spagnuolo began his NFL coaching career with the Eagles organization in 1999, serving as linebackers and defensive backs coach. He remained there for eight years, learning Jim Johnson‘s defensive philosophy. He has a profound understanding of Jeffrey Lurie as well as what type of mentality Eagles fans have and how passionate they are year in and year out. He knows that Eagles fans expect success in the City of Brotherly Love after enjoying a tremendous run from early 2000′s right up to 2004 when Philadelphia made it to the Super Bowl, yet failed by a margin of three points to the New England Patriots.
Spagnuolo understands that this city expects greatness.
So while Spags has yet to be fired, and nobody ever does simply because a player admits to not liking the philosophy, the fact that nobody bought in to his system could prove worthy of being let go from New Orleans. If he is indeed released, it would be wise to at least bring him in to interview with the Eagles to replace Todd Bowles as the defensive coordinator.
After all, Spagnuolo would appear to be the next best thing to Jim Johnson — may he rest in peace!