New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
Friday, July 27, 2012
Let's talk about the emphasis on your defensive line play in your system.
"It is a four-three scheme just like a lot of four-three places and it's four down lineman. It really comes down to in the course of the game, are you taking one of those guys out and playing with three and more linebackers than defensive backs or are you keeping four in there. The history that I've been around and what we have been used to is I firmly believe you win with big guys offensively and defensively. So you try to keep as many out there as you can. We could put 11 out there but those guys wouldn't be able to cover the wide receivers. But we do believe in winning the game up front."
How is Curtis Lofton on the defensive side of the ball?
"He has come in here. He has impressed me. We threw a lot at all of them in the spring. I told him at the end of these spring practices, I had been through four of these in this system where we have put it in for the first time. Fourteen years in the system. Four times I've installed it for the first time. I think this group, Curtis Lofton included, has embraced more volume and more in a shorter period of time that anybody else. To do that the Mike linebacker has to be to be doing something right."
You haven't seen a lot of Drew Brees but let's talk about the competition. How that is going to make this defense better?
"I've seen enough of him. He's already done it because I feel like, and the coaches feel like, you put a scheme in and you're looking for certain things. You want to find your own weaknesses so you can correct them and he finds them. Our quarterback here finds them. When he finds them, then we can figure it out before we have to go to the real game. So it's real valuable when you have an offense that functions the way that this one does. Even the little drill that we did at the end, where he does a hurry up offensive play, he operates it so well. It forces us to get good."
How competitive do you get?
"I'm trying not to because it's not us against them but we are all human. We've got a lot of pride. You get there to the end and the head coach blows it up and it's a down and distance situation to compete, we're going to be competitive and I think that Drew Brees likes that."
Who has been your mentor or influenced you the most?
"It began mostly with Jim Johnson back in Philadelphia. We were doing a little bit in NFL Europe when I was coaching the team in Frankfurt, Germany. It really expanded and all the things that Jim was creative with. That's kind of where it began. It was that foundation in Philly for eight years. Jim was terrific with it God rest his soul. He had done it a long time."
You're worried about the defense now but this team needs a head coach?
"I'll tell you what I'm doing, your first comment was exactly on. I'm worried about the defense and that is all. That is what I've been hired to do here. I will say this, I will do anything the organization needs me to do to help us win. And that is the way I approach it."
What have you seen out of Jose Gumbs so far?
"He's been an impressive young rookie at a position that takes a lot of mental capacity. He's been able to pick it up pretty good. He's a guy that played small college football and he is from the northeast so he gets an extra plus there. He's been impressive but we've got a long way to go. We haven't put the pads on and all that but to this point he's done pretty good."
Jose Gumbs mentioned the playbook being massive. Do you think that is one of his biggest obstacles?
"I don't know how you describe massive. I guess if a book is thick, it's massive. We try to keep it limited. We don't want to give them more than they can handle but when you're a rookie and you have to keep up with veterans that have played for six, seven or eight years, it is probably going to feel massive."