• July 7, 2022

Steve Spagnuolo To New Orleans Means A Missed Opportunity For Birds

Many of us thought he was coming back to Philadelphia. Many of us thought it was all about to fall into place. A perfect scenario took shape for Andy Reid and the Eagles when the Rams fired Steve Spagnuolo as their head coach at the end of the season. It was too good to be true.

The Eagles, fresh off a season where they missed the playoffs and underachieved in a major way on defense under first year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo finally caught a break and they didn’t even have to get on the field. The man who learned under the legendary Jim Johnson and led the Giants defense to an improbable Superbowl title in ’07 against the Patriots became available.

It was a scenario that was too good to be true for Eagle fans. Spagnuolo knows how to maximize talent on defense when he has it available to him. Just ask the team playing Sunday that resides just up the Jersey turnpike. It was a perfect storm happening right in front of our very eyes. Spagnuolo would come home to the Linc and take these underachievers and show everyone just how great this defense can be when they have a leader in place that knows a little something about defense.

They would bounce back from a horrendous 2011 campaign and be a major reason why the Eagles would go on a deep playoff run possibly all the way to the Superbowl against some powerhouse AFC team like the Patriots. Dare I say Spagnuolo would even pull off the miraculous and repeat his magic of 07 by capturing another Superbowl title as a defensive coordinator?

But let’s face it in Philadelphia we live in football hell and the football gods wouldn’t let us dare have such a scenario come true for us. Spagnuolo instead of making a triumphant return home instead chose to sign on as defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints and why shouldn’t he.

The Saints are a team with a win now mentality. They just won a Superbowl two seasons ago and appear to be poised to win another sometime in the next few seasons. They have Drew Brees who is without a doubt a top three quarterback in the NFL. They have a solid defense already in place and a head coach that has solidified himself as one of the best offensive minds in the game today which would allow Spags to have total control on defense. In today’s NFL world that’s a scenario few would be able to pass up.

So what’s the significance of this move to the Eagles? For starters it means clearly the Eagles are not a destination of choice for top tiered coordinators around the NFL. Somewhere along the way the Eagles have become an unattractive place for the best minds in the coaching business to end up at. When you see a head coach coaching the same team for 14 seasons it should signal stability and success to others around the league. It should signal longevity and the possibility of a stable lifestyle for yourself and your family.

The only problem is currently the Eagles don’t signify any of that to coaches. In fact I’ll go as far as saying the way the Eagles and their coaching staff performed in 2011 it’s the last place any coach wants to end up at right now. In my opinion to coaches around the league the Eagles resemble that pretty girl you see at the club when you’re out on the town. Everything looks good from across the room when the lights are off but as soon as you get closer and the lights come on at the end of the night you can’t believe what you’re seeing. You’re shocked and disgusted by what you see in front of your eyes.

The Eagles right now show no stability. For the first time ever Andy Reid is clearly on the hot seat. The team itself is a unit made up of high priced egos that have trouble coming together as a team when the pressure is on. Why would any of the top coaches around the league want to walk into such a scenario when other, more stable options exist with greater chances to win now.

In this scenario Andy Reid is to blame for Spagnuolo not coming back to the Eagles. Whether or not he even reached out to Spags about the defensive coordinator position is a different story but the fact is he hasn’t spoken to the media or addressed the 2011 season at all since it ended. Instead he bolted for vacation and is nowhere to be found.

I’m not sure about everyone else but before I step away for a long vacation I usually update my clients, customers, and superiors about the status of where I’m at on things and what our action items are for when I return. The fact that Reid has bolted town and hasn’t said a thing to anyone leaves me scratching my head because it clearly cost us any chance of making a major upgrade on defense.

It seems as if every January Andy Reid has the ability to do something really stupid. Last year he chose to hire an offensive line coach as the defensive coordinator and this year he managed to find a way to disappear after a dreadful 2011 campaign. Its one thing to come off a disappointing season but it’s another to show no initiative for improvement.

The Eagles have had a month head start on the other elite teams around the league because they’re still playing ball but instead time is passing with no effort to improve. Reid should have been knocking on Spagnuolo’s door begging him to come back to town like his job depends on it. Wait his job does depend on it if Jeff Lurie’s words hold true and Reid comes up small again in 2012.

This all leads me again back to scratching my head because Reid clearly must know his job is on the line going into 2012 right? You’d think knowing that if job security is an issue he’d be rounding up the best possible coaching staff for 2012. Lurie himself even said the last month of the season was fools gold. I know the defense improved the last month of the season but let’s be serious if you’re job is on the line you need to bring in the best to make sure you keep your job at the end of the day.

The question now becomes is Reid out there planning an exit strategy for the end of the 2012 season? No one knows for sure because he hasn’t spoken to anyone yet. The time has come for Andy to speak and explain why he let such a golden opportunity pass by.

As far as Steve Spagnuolo goes he’ll be successful in New Orleans. The Eagles have the Saints on their schedule at some point next season in New Orleans and most likely we’ll be seeing Spags defense dominate our offense all day. The problem is that defense could have been on the other side of the field working with our offense instead of dominating us if only Andy didn’t let another opportunity pass by.

John Stratis

A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan always looking to share his opinion about the greatest sports town in the world. Follow me on twitter @JohnStratis

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30 Comments

  • I am not sure why everyone keeps on saying it was a lsot opportunity in hiring Spags.. I stated numerous times, that Spags was not interested in coming to Philly unless he was able to run the entire defensive scheme and that he would not work with DL Coach Washburn with his “Wide-9 Scheme”.. The Eagles would have had to let Washburn go first (which would have pissed Cole,Babin and Jenkins off big time for they love the Wide-9 Scheme) Coach AR has his job and reputation on the line for the 2012 Season and he is not about to change his Defensive Schemes again for we all know he does not that that kind of time to implement all these changes for a 2nd year in a row
    Castillo will be the DC and Washburn will be the DL coach, the emphasis right now to me, is who are the going to hire to be the Secondary Coach
    for 2012 and I am hoping it will be Kevin Ross from the Raiders

  • Spags was never coming here! AR is not going to change the scheme AGAIN. We will continue to use the wide 9 – only hopefully with better LBs and DB play.Andy is going to live or die with Juan

  • did this guy really call philadelphia ” football hell” ?
    c-mon man this is the gold standard of football

  • Spags not coming to philly was obvious from the start. Castilo would have been fired shortly after the season ended if he was gone. What annoys me is that jeff lurie doesnt assume the power that he can. He saw just like all of us did how horrible juan did all year long, and dont give me that the last 4 games they improved, yes they won the games but there were still plays where teams beat the coverage and the eagles had break downs whether in the run or the pass. Can they improve next year under castilo? Yes. Am i going into next year confident that they can? No. I would prefer them go out and get a veteran DC…

    I mean I say all that to say they may very well be waiting for the 49ers Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio to become available because look what he has done with the 49ers defense. Though Fangio runs a 3-4 defense with the 9ers he has experience with both 3-4 and 4-3. I would move castilo to look after the LBs and coach them up, and bring in Vic Fangio to coach up this defense and bring in some monsters in the draft, specifically at Line Backer, the only 2 in my opinion that showed real promise are casey matthews and brian rolle.. Get me one stud middle LB and we ll be okay there (Vontaze Burflict) .. but i say bring in Vic Fangio from the 49ers and they will not regret it, hes an excellent coach.. but thats if he would leave the 49ers to come to philly…

  • Look at what the texans and 49ers among other teams with new defensive schemes have done in one year?Theyve been very successful. Coaches have to put there teams in positions to succeed. You see that the wide 9 isnt working then make adjustments. If castilo is struggling move him to a different position to look over or let him move on and bring a new D coach in.

    The birds cant change for the worst can they? Making a change at DC to a more experienced one that has proven himself or that may be new but has a scheme that makes sense and fits (fangio) then take a shot at it.. This defense cant look the same next year

  • all this talk about the defensive coordinator is pure stupidity, irrational thought process, Andy Reid just changed coordinators, made a bold, some would say idiotic decision to promote Castillo, to replace him would be an admission that the naysayers are correct, Juan will be back, and as paulman has repeatedly stated, why would a guy who has just been fired come to this mess, lame duck coach, defensive line coach who apparently dictated schemes, and finally, the problem was not the defense, take the blinders off, it was the failed play of the quarterback that the eagles are not in playoffs

  • This article is long on guesses and self-pity, very short on facts. Crybaby.

  • To JH,
    Besides the great Coaching that the 49ers and Texans received by their Coaches, look at all the high draft picks they have used on the Defensive side of the ball…
    49ers in recent Drafts have added DE Aldon SMith, LB Navarro Bowman and of course MLB P WIllis, but then added solid veterans in CB Rodgers and Safety Whitner to help solidfy their Secondary …If some of you recall, I wanted the Eagles to puruse both these players last year as they were Free-Agents..
    Now the Texans have really loaded up with high Drafts on their Defensive side of the ball with DE JJ Watts, OLB Brooks Reed CB K Jackson to go with players they drafted in early rounds in previous years like Mario WIlliams, LB Cushing and Ryans and again went out in Free-Agency and added a proven CB in Jonathon Joseph…
    The bigger point is that these Teams GM and Coaches went out with a solid philosophy and strategy to aquire talent that fits their needs and schemes while the Eagles the last few off-seasons have had questionable Drafts with reaches for players (Graham,Jarrett,Teo,Watkins) etc,etc and then bring in a bunch of High Priced Free-Agents even though half of them were not neccessarily good fits for the Schemes that the Eagles run… This get’s back to my biggest issue with the Eagles right now, and that’s not having a Football Mind in the GM Postion.. Roster management and building a Roster is crucial to be a consistent Super Bowl Competitor and it appears the Teams that do well and have a legitimate shot every Season are Teams with Good GM”s who know Football and know Talent and how players fit their schemes and in this area with GM Roseman, the Eagles are lacking big time and I do not think that a NFL GM is a postion where you can learn on the job..

  • John,
    The “Look at what Houston and SF did with new coaches did!!” arguement doesn’t stand up.

    They changed coaches, yes, but they didn’t also change 7 players (Jenkins, 2 LBS, 2 safties, 2 CBs). of 11. This, much more than the coaching, was the catalyst for the Eagles’ early defensive struggles.

    The Houston Texans went into the season with their D intact. The players knew each other. They were able to implement a new scheme due to that comfort level. Do you also realize that that 8 of their last 9 first round picks have gone to defensive players?

    And during year after year after year of drafting D players 1st they were continually ranked at the bottom of the league. They finally hit a “critical mass” (I suppose you could call it that) and these players, along with coaching, have moulded themselves into a good D.

    The way I read comments on here, I could only imagine if the Eagles took defensive players with their first pick for 8 of 9 years with no improvement until the 10th year.

  • Vinnie, I hate to correct you, but you know I am a stickler for being accurate

    Texans had 4 1st Year New Starters on this 2011 Season
    2 Rookies in DE JJ Watt, OLB Brooks Reed (who were their 1st 2 Draft Selections in 2011)
    CB Jonathon Joseph was signed as a Free Agent
    Safety Daniel Manning was signed as a Free-Agent since they lost their own Safety M Pollard in Free-Agency
    You also have to take in account that there Top DE switched positions from an All Pro DE to an OLB in their new 3-4 Scheme so if this isn’t about Good Coaching,Planning and Roster Management then what is…
    In reality, the Texans had 5 players out of 11 which were new to the Defense or playing a new postion so to say their Defense came back “intact” is not an accurate statemeny or arguement…

  • Jake, although Vick sucked mostly, when he did play, the DF blew 6 games, couldn’t hold a lead in 5 of them, & its DC was a clueless, bumbling, buffoon. Don’t let your dislike for Vick, & the meaningless 4 game win streak at the end, put blinders on you. You know better than that.
    Vinnie, your argument is wrong! Look at SF, they had an entire new staff, entirely new OF & DF schemes, & replaced 21 players. 21 players! So your argument is wrong! Everyone needs to stop with the excuses. That’s why no changes are never made, because fools like you buy in to the BS!

  • Vinnie, intact?? You must misremember all the players they added and the new defensive scheme that houston implemented when wade phillips came to town.. There are plenty of similarities, also with the 49ers, actually they honestly had a tougher situation with a totally revamped coaching staff and new players they signed in free agency.. we had a team in place and added a few players in free agency but because of our lack of talent we acquired thru the draft were struggling and were behind the 8 ball..teams like houston and san fran are way ahead of us right now, all they do is bring in players that fit there scheme and that can play not just talent. We have noone in the front office with any type of championship pedigree or with a football backround, just numbers crunchers. Another team that will be better than us most likely will be the denver broncos because they have a GM that knows what it takes to win, look what they did in his first year? They bring von miller in and a different culture and attitude and like make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs.. We can only hope the eagles will bring in Vic Fangio to take over this defense. Id get rid of washburn too, seriously… it ll be a full off season with a new scheme.. and i just dont believe in the wide9 like that. Look at the lions they too use it and didnt go anywhere.. i think the 49ers use it but they have a terrific defense with an outstanding coach in Vic Fangio, so id scrap the wide9 along with the old man washburn… Im seriously ready to bring in a new face with a new scheme that can be practiced this whole off season…

  • Paul were on the same page on this topic..

  • DDCar is talking with some sense on here too..

  • Why would the Defensive Coordinator for the Niners make a lateral move to be the D-Coordinator for the Eagles?…At this time aren’t the Niners more successful?…The GM has stated before that Eric MANGINI was the answer at D-Coordinator all along..The Eagles will not be any better with Andy Reid…Its time we look forward to his departure. What makes any of think that he’s going to do the right thing by drafting the way he should; People fall back on what they know, and Andy is no different. He’s not going to draft a future for the Eagles knowing in his heart he doesn’t have what it takes to get them over the hump, and let the next coach come in here and do all the things he should have, and win the Super Bowl. Andy is stubborn, and really doesn’t get it….He deserves what he gets either in the middle of the season, or after next year….Paulman, and the GM agree, the QB Coach from Green Bay could be a savior; mainly because he brings in a more logical philosophy.

  • Coaches that get it make adjustments to their philosophy. After Belichek failed in Cleveland he made adjustments in his philosophy, and his evaluation of talent. Do you really think Andy Reid will do that? He needs to be an Offensive Coordinator somewhere, because he really is not ready to be a head coach, let alone the VP of Football Operations…..Get him out of here!!!!!

  • I think 2012 IS AR final Season and then after sitting out all of 2013 to collect his large paycheck from Lurie to and to get recharged. He will then become the next HC of BYU for the 2014 Season and move back up to Potato Country.. He would make a very good College Coach and be able to recruit QB’s,Wr’s and have a exciting brand of Offense for the College game..

  • NFL News
    Colts Owner flys down to Tamp to interveiw Jim Tressel a 2nd Time to be HC of the Colts… Owner Irsay says he would like to have his HC in place by the end of Next Week , my Marty Mohrnewig moving to Indy may not happen now..
    If you remeber, the Colts Hired Tressel as a Game Day Consultant to HC Caldwell after he had to sit out the first part of the Season on a sel-imposed penalty by the Colts and th NFL as a penally for his NCAA infractions while at Ohio State..

  • GM, you are stark raving insane. Please speak no more. The man has won more games as a head coach than anyone in Eagles, history, been to ! Super Bowl, 5 NFC Championships and makes the playoffs 2 years of 3, on average. Suggesting he is not qualified to be an NFL head coach shows you are no longer able to view the situation with any perspective. It may indeed be time for him to take over a different team, but for you to say he is not going to do his best for this team is simply not accurate and without merit, proof or backed by one single fact.

  • Joe Friday get a clue….He won during an era when the NFC was significantly weak. No other coach in eagles history has had such a cake walk. If you can’t see beyond your love for him do me a favor and don’t speak anymore because you don’t know what you are talking about..I can show you better than I can tell you…….Just watch when the season starts and ends, if you are able to defend him. What is the definition of insanity? To keep doing the same thing over, and over again RIGHT!!? So, Lets see Mr Joe Friday aka the Joker, if he, as a qualified head coach, can see that what he believes in will work towards the eagles benefit, and ultimately his by winning a Superbowl. They got to those championships mainly because of the caliber athletes he had on the field ( TO, Westbrook, Dawkins, McNabb in his prime) not because of coaching from Andy Reid. He still trying to figure out how to put his team in a position to make plays, although he has no clue how to do it during the game. He made it to the Superbowl going against the grain of his STUPID PHILOSOPHY!!! He is directly responsible for losing 4 of the 5 NFC Championships (no WR’s, No LB’s, undersized DT’s) which could have been won, and lack of a killer instinct to put our foot on the Patriots throat when we had them on the ropes, and his horrific clock management……..I guess you’ll be saying the same thing about the new head coach after 13yrs later too huh …………good because his season starts when Reid is fired; guaranteed that Lurie will see it like the GM does.
    You don’t need to speak. Leave the intelligent points of view to myself and Paulman chump.

  • Actually, the definition of insanity is completely different that what you have stated it is. If you have not yet realized that about half of what Pman says is tongue-in-cheek, and you are taking it as gospel then the joke’s on you. But I would guess you are used to that. Refute one single FACT I stated, and try to do so without opinions and hyperbole. There is a word for you to go look up toolbag.

  • Youre battin 1000 gmcliff! keep knockin em outta da park. You’re exactly correct, and I’ve been saying it all along, that it was Reids Athletes that got us to those NFC Championships and SB. not reids coaching. He wasted the talents of great players and he’s on track to do it again with the current players unless he’s let go immediately.

  • We had some success despite Reid!

  • @ Dcar and my man Rocko — Amen Brothers….Joe Friday, all I”ll say is this, It is amazing what you can see when you open your eyes. I refuted your stated facts. Both Rocko, and D-Car read what I wrote. Your facts, in my opinion, are what really make my point; in that both you, and Andy Reid think he’s better than he really is. He should have won at least 4 Superbowls, and won 6 NFC Championships, if he were a better coach and evaluator of talent. Yes, he’s been there(again thanks to the rebuilding of the other teams in the conference) but ask yourself WHY didn’t he win it? Just because he’s won those games doesn’t mean there aren’t circumstances that had something to do with it. In Luries words” Its Fools Gold”. I just want you to dispute, why none of what your saying, is going to matter when he’s fired this year.

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The New Orleans Saints, and the rest of the NFC East all have Superbowl rings!! We lost an NFC Championship Game, on national TV to the Carolina Panthers!!! at Home!!! Aren’t you tired of being just good enough to compete? Well, we will always be that as long as Andy Reid is VP of Football operations. Paulman, get Charlie Casserley, Mike Mayock, and Bill Parcells on the phone please. The eagles need some advice. The GM, will give them HIS, the first move..FIRE ANDY!!! CLAP , CLAP, CLAPCLAP CLAP!!!!!!!!HE’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!

  • BTW, I don’t take what Paulman says as gospel..I respect the fact that he’s not biased to what others say; he does his research, and he has some semblance of football knowledge. He, and I don’t always see eye to eye, but we respect each others opinion….Just like I RESPECT everyone that has one on here….Including Joe Friday:) , ALTHOUGH HE NEEDS TO WAKE UP, AND SEE ANDY FOR WHAT HE IS…A COLLEGE COACH

  • Jon Hart, the eagles have NO CHANCE of bringing in Vic Fangio. coordinators can’t make lateral moves without there current teams permission unless they are no longer under contract. furthermore, he coached on Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford, and why in the hell would he want to move to the east coast to coach a less talented and older defense than the one he’s already coaching? either way, it can’t happen, the niners would never give him permission to interview for a job unless it was a HC position.

  • Not to change the subject, my focus on the 49ers & Giants Games is to check out for the following Free-Agents whjo are playing today that the Eagles coupld possibly check into over the Off-Season
    For the 49ers — LB’s Ahamad Brooks & Larry Grant, Safety Dashon Goldson,
    Giants have Safety Deon Grant & DL Tollefson & WR Mario Manningham

  • The patriots are going to the Super Bowl… Again… Man poor flacco… he played good so well down the stretch.. thats why you never leave a game in the hands of a kicker…

  • LOL JH he didn’t leave it to the kicker…Lee Evans did. I bet you that kicker just jumped on the bus for home instead of having to go into that locker room with Ray lewis, Ngata, Suggs, and Reed looking to kill him.

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