New Orleans (NFL/Newsfeed) — The 2012 season shapes up as a crucible for the New Orleans Saints defense. Between the stigma of the league’s “bounty” findings and the loss of linebacker Jonathan Vilma (suspened for the whole season) and defensive end Will Smith (suspended for the 1st 4 ganes), perhaps no NFL defense has ever gone into a season with far more of a chip on its collective shoulder.
The man charged with rallying the troops is Steve Spagnuolo, the former St. Louis Rams coach and New York Giants coordinator who led Large Blue’s defense to a Super Bowl victory in 2007.
That resume, and Spagnuolo’s air of confidence, seem to be winning over the Saints’ veteran players, according to The Occasions-Picayune.
“He speaks with so significantly confidence, you have absolutely nothing to do but believe in this guy and know he’s going to be wonderful for us,” safety Roman Harper stated. “He’s been a head coach in this league, had a lot of good results as a defensive coordinator, and you’ve got to respect this guy. I’m searching forward to operating with him much more and a lot more.”
The man the players contact “Spags” has a tough act to adhere to: His predecessor in the job, Gregg Williams, could have suffered incalculable damage to his reputation — along with an indefinite suspension from the league — for his role in the “bounty” saga, but Williams nonetheless enjoys the fierce loyalty of his former players.
“You know, Gregg lit a fire that a lot of us aren’t going to let burn out. A sense of intensity,” Harper mentioned. “And now we understand what it takes to win. Before I don’t feel we understood it, and we didn’t have that total feeling. But now we’ve been to the leading of the mountain. We know what it takes to get there. And that’s what we’re attempting to do now.
“It’s either Super Bowl or bust. And we won’t take anything less this year, no matter what our circumstances are.”
Spagnuolo has a various tactical method than Williams, who was popular for his indulgence in blitzes. And he brings a different leadership style as nicely.
“It’s a lot quieter,” safety Malcolm Jenkins mentioned. “And there’s a lot more teaching and other stuff going on. But Spags nonetheless has a way … there’s not a lot of cursing or anything like that, but he has a way of letting you know when he’s severe and when he’s disappointed. It gets across.”
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