Fazende: Payton wastes no time in firing Spagnuolo - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Fazende: Payton wastes no time in firing Spagnuolo

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© Steve Spagnuolo's one and only year in New Orleans was historically bad (File/AP Photo) © Steve Spagnuolo's one and only year in New Orleans was historically bad (File/AP Photo)
Sean Payton (File/AP) Sean Payton (File/AP)

Well, that didn't take long.

Officially two days back on the job, Sean Payton came out swinging with a bold move and fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

It's hard to argue with Payton's decision. He's used to breaking records, just not records like Spagnuolo's defense broke in 2012.

They weren't just bad. They were historically bad. And while they did show some signs of improvement midway through the season, Payton had seen enough.

Thinking back to his press conference Wednesday, Payton gave subtle hints he might make this call. He brought up defensive deficiencies several times, even when he wasn't directly asked about it. Plus, Spagnuolo was nowhere to be found when Payton arrived after he'd been there Monday and Tuesday.

As for the move to a 3-4, it's the right one and best fits this personnel.

Junior Galette and Martez Wilson should thrive as stand-up edge pass rushers. Cam Jordan is versatile enough to slide inside to defensive end. In fact, that may utilize his talents even more with his run-stuffing ability and generating a pass rush from the interior. Akiem Hicks showed potential and, if he can build on that, can be a force in the middle.

I think this philosophy switch officially ends Will Smith's days as a Saint and possibly Jonathan Vilma's too.

I'm also curious to see who they bring in to lead it.

A source tells me Payton would not have made this move without a plan already in place. So the wheels are clearly in motion and probably have been in motion for a long time.

Romeo Crennell was the first name that came to my mind, given his solid reputation, 3-4 philosophy and Bill Parcells coaching connection. The Patriots have not won Super Bowl since he left back in 2004.

The last 3-4 Saints defense was their most dominant in team history. The Dome Patrol dominated offenses in the late 80's and early 90's.

This current defense has a long way to go to get back to that level of play. But judging by his decision on Thursday, Payton clearly is looking to head in that direction.

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