- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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There was a very unique development in New Orleans on Monday.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who usually speaks to the media later in the week, called an audible. After consulting with the team’s director of public relations, Spagnuolo decided to speak to the media Monday.
I salute Spagnuolo for being a stand-up guy. He realizes that, in the eyes of a lot of fans and media, he is the scapegoat for the team’s 0-2 start. There might be some validity to that because the defense has been terrible in the first two games.
“I would say it first that I thought our defensive players played their butt off," Spagnuolo said. “There’s no quit in these guys, none. There was no finger pointing. All there was was resolve. They all realize we’re going through some growing pains here, but I think the growing pains will pay off in the end."
That was part of a lengthy opening statement from Spagnuolo. Before he even took the first question, he went on at length.
“I will also say that I strongly believe in two things,’’ Spagnuolo said. “I believe in our players and our coaches and I believe in the scheme and unless something out of the sky falls, I’m not going to change in that regard. I do strongly believe in that. Having said that, we all realize that we’re not happy or content with the performance of where we are at right now. That’s obvious and when you get into a situation like this and firmly believe and we talked about it this morning, that you look in the mirror first. I’m going to look in the mirror with you and I’m going to tell you what I came up with when I looked in the mirror myself."
Again, I respect Spagnuolo for standing up and facing the music. But I’m not so sure it was best for him to break from routine and speak early. Although interim head coach Aaron Kromer also spoke to the media and defended the defense, putting Spagnuolo out there like that might be sending the wrong message.
It all depends on how you look at it, but I can see how this at least could give the impression of some division on a team that doesn’t need any turmoil right now. This team needs unity.
Maybe Spagnuolo simply was throwing himself under the bus. But you could also walk away with the perception that he’s getting pushed.