The New Orleans Saints announced that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and secondary coach Ken Flajole have been “relieved of their duties” and the Saints defense will now be heading in a new direction.
Saints head coach Sean Payton announced the news on Thursday and also added that the defense will be switching to a 3-4 defense.
“I personally want to thank Steve and Ken for their contributions during what was an unprecedented 2012 season,” said Payton in a statement on the team’s official website. “Philosophically we are changing our defense to a 3-4 alignment and right now is the best time to accomplish this transition.”
When team’s make the switch to a 3-4 scheme, there can be some difficulties and a transition period that involves finding personnel that is better suited to play in a 30 front. One of the Saints defensive lineman who played on their previous 40 front, Will Smith, said that the transition may not be as difficult as it seems.
“We were primarily a 3-4 in certain situations last year, and the past two years with Gregg [Williams] we were a form of 3-4,” Smith said, per the New Orleans Time Picayune. “So I mean [Sean Payton] probably thinks it would probably be the best defense to help the team. That’s his take on it. I haven’t had a chance to speak to him on it or anybody. He’s the head coach and he makes the final call.”
The New Orleans defense struggled last season, so they are hoping a change is just what the doctor ordered. It will take time to see if the team can successfully convert to the 3-4 scheme, but it has been done in the past and there is no reason to believe the Saints can’t be the latest to make the switch.