Spagnuolo began coaching in the NFL as a defensive assistant under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. After two seasons in that role, Spagnuolo became the defensive backs coach with the team and eventually the linebackers coach.
After time spent with Reid, Spagnuolo would receive his first job as a defensive coordinator. This was a stint with the New York Giants in 2007-2008. In that first season, Spagnuolo was part of the Super Bowl XLII-winning Giants team who beat the undefeated Patriots.
Spagnuolo decided to accept his first NFL head coaching job after two successful seasons with the Giants. As head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2009-2011 things went south for him. The Rams were a combined 10-38 in the three years with Spagnuolo at the helm. He was then fired after the 2011 season, which saw the Rams finish 2-14.
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In 2012, Spagnuolo was back to being a defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints. This was a season to forget for the Saints overall. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended due to the Bountygate scandal. New Orleans had two different interim head coaches serve that season. Defensively, the Saints allowed the most yards for a season of any defense in NFL history. As a result, they missed the postseason with a 7-9 record. After a one year stint in the Big Easy, Spagnuolo was fired.
Next, Spagnuolo would join the Baltimore Ravens as a defensive assistant/position coach from 2013-2014.
Finally, Spagnuolo would head back to the New York Giants for a second stint. He was the Giants defensive coordinator from 2015-2017. After the Giants fired Ben McAdoo as head coach in early December 2017, Spagnuolo would take over as the interim head coach for the final four games where the Giants went 1-3.
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Now after a season away from the NFL scene, Spagnuolo is back again to rejoin Reid in Kansas City. It seemed from the moment Sutton was fired on Tuesday, that it was Spagnuolo’s job to lose. Reid and he have great respect for each other and have a chance to make this team a whole lot better and take a step closer to reaching the Super Bowl.
What Does Spagnuolo Bring To the Chiefs?
If the Chiefs wanted to hire someone with the completely opposite defensive style as Sutton, then Spagnuolo fits that bill. First, Spagnuolo runs a 4-3 defense, opposite of the 3-4 defense that Sutton ran. Spagnuolo emphasizes on running an aggressive multiple blitz package system, which includes safety and cornerback blitzes. What lots of Chiefs fans are happy about is how switching to the 4-3 defense will impact some players. For example, Breeland Speaks was a little out of position this season as an outside linebacker who was standing up pre-snap. If he can move to a defensive end who’s down in pre-snap, like he was at Ole Miss, that may suit him better. There are others like Anthony Hitchens, Dorian O’Daniel and maybe and possibly Reggie Ragland who could benefit from the switch to 4-3 as well.
If you look at the DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), which measures a defense’s total efficiency, the rankings for defenses under which Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator may seem concerning. During his first stint with the Giants, their defense ranked 13th and 8th in DVOA respectively. In his lone season with Saints, the defense ranked 32nd or last. But keep in mind, the Bountygate lost season for the Saints, New Orleans did not even run his defense. With the Giants during his second stint in New York, they ranked 30th, 2nd and 24th. His defensive players improved from 2015 to 2016, before ultimately looking like they were quitting on McAdoo before he was fired as head coach in 2017.
If you look at those results and see some of the talent that the Chiefs defense has, just becoming a middle of the pack defense from a bottom five defense would be a huge step for the Chiefs. This upcoming draft season is looking to be defensive heavy, so Spagnuolo will have a big chance to add what he needs to what is already there defensively in Kansas City. It’s too early to tell if this hire will work or not, but due to how anti-Sutton Spagnuolo is, things look fine with this hire.
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