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Jonathan Vilma rips anonymous Saints player for calling out Steve Spagnuolo: ‘We’re not the Jets’

Steve-Spagnuolo-SaintsThe New Orleans Saints had one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season, which of course reflects poorly on defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. It was a hectic year in New Orleans between the bounty scandal and the suspension of head coach Sean Payton, so it’s tough to judge anyone based on the past 10 months.

At least one Saints player feels as though Spagnuolo is to blame for a disappointing 2012 season. In speaking with the The Times-Picayune on Tuesday, the anonymous player reportedly gave an emphatic “yes” when asked if Spagnuolo deserved to be fired after a season in which the Saints set an NFL record for yards allowed.

“Players have no say in anything,” the player said. “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.”

On Wednesday, linebacker Jonathan Vilma ripped the player for making such a bold statement but being too much of a coward to attach his name to it. He also took issue with the paper for running the story.

“No. I’m bothered you reported it,” he told The Times-Picayune. “We’re not the Jets who run to the media for everything.”

Vilma said his issue was with the player remaining anonymous, not with the opinion he shared.

“That’s not the question or the point,” he said. “If he’s man enough to tell you, he should be man enough to put his name on it. And you should do the same.”

Fellow linebacker Curtis Lofton defended Spagnuolo’s system on Wednesday but acknowledged that it is more complicated that the one Gregg Williams had in place before him. He also blasted the anonymous player for acting like a “coward.”

“You definitely should put your name on it, especially with those type of comments,” Lofton said. “Whoever said it is a coward. … I don’t agree with those comments. I feel like if something like that needs to be said, go directly to the coach and talk that out instead or airing in-house business through the media.”

Via The Star-Ledger

Steve Spagnuolo Says Giants Held Back in 2007 Regular Season Finale vs Patriots

Current Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo recently told the New York Daily News the New York Giants intentionally pulled back their defensive playcalling against the Patriots during the final game of the regular season in 2007. Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator for that Giants team. However, Spagnuolo said the fact that the defensive scheme was scaled back does not mean the team did not play hard or want to win:

“You know, as much as we wanted to win that game – all of us did – and we played it to win it, we made a decision defensively we weren’t going to jeopardize trying to win the Tampa Bay game by throwing out our whole game plan in the 16th game of the season. So there was a little bit of a pullback there.”

The Patriots won that game, with the Giants — who led the NFL sacks that year with 53 — only sacking Tom Brady once and giving up 356 yards passing. Despite the loss, the game seemed to serve as a catalyst for New York’s playoff and eventual Super Bowl run. Now it appears that maybe the contrast in defensive play calling between that game and the Super Bowl was what allowed the Giants to sack Brady five times in their Super Bowl victory. Though quarterback Eli Manning was named MVP of the game, anyone who watched knows the defensive line should have won the award collectively. And it looks like the sly behavior of the Giants coaches paid off.

Steve Spagnuolo Pissed at Jeff Fisher for Running up the Score

Seems like we come across a “running up the score” issue each week when it comes to football. In week 14, it was the Titans and Rams that had a problem. St. Louis was getting smashed by Tennessee the entire game. The Rams had zero offense (which is to be expected when you’re starting Keith Null at quarterback) and they were lucky to be trailing just 23-0 at halftime. Midway through the fourth quarter, Tennessee was up 33-7 and they had the ball at the one-yard line in a 4th and goal situation. Rather than “run up the score,” you figure the Titans would just take the field goal and keep from further embarrassing the helpless Rams. At least that’s what Steve Spagnuolo thought. Titans coach Jeff Fisher had a different idea:

We settled for (field goals) early and we needed to learn to score touchdowns, and if they were unhappy with it — they faked a punt when they were down by 30. I wasn’t doing anything from a personal standpoint. I was trying to score points and coach a football team.”

Fisher’s point about the Rams running the fake punt is valid. If the Rams are doing everything possible to keep competing, why should Tennessee show mercy? To whom do they have that obligation? Maybe I was upset at the time of the call because I have Rob Bironas as my fantasy kicker and I was hoping he could pad his stats, but looking at it, Spagnuolo should not have been offended by Fisher’s decision. If he had his team better prepared, they wouldn’t be in that situation anyway. Once Marc Bulger went down, the Rams began challenging for the worst team in the NFL title.