While the Carolina Panthers are making adjustments to their coaching staff, so too the New Orleans Saints made sweeping changes yesterday -- firing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo following a terrible 2012 season with the Saints. With a need for a linebacker coach, opting to bring in Spags to work under former pupil Sean McDermott could be a wise move for the organization.
Known better as a defensive back coach, Steve Spagnuolo has coaching history at almost every defensive position. During his NFL career, Spagnuolo has three years of experience coaching linebackers with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2004-06. During this time period Sean McDermott was a position assistant with the Eagles, beginning the road to take over from Spagnulo when he left for New York.
This is the coaching tree to watch. While Ron Rivera and Steve Spagnuolo haven't crossed paths, his tutelage from the Jim Johnson tree makes him a prime candidate. Under Warren Belin the Panthers' linebackers were effective, but we didn't see the attacking blitz schemes that are a hallmark of the defense. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis were fantastic, but if they're able to take the next step to become pass rushing threats too -- then the Panthers are on to something.
The second aspect to this link is Dave Gettleman. While he wasn't general manager for the Giants when they hired Spags to be their defensive coordinator in 2007, he did see the huge role he played in player development -- particularly as he molded the Giants' pass rush into a Superbowl winning unit.
While his career has been off the rails since leaving New York, Steve Spagnuolo is still an immensely talented defensive mind with many ties to the Carolina Panthers' organization. Furthermore, his head coaching experience would add another much-needed head at the table, something that Ron Rivera needs. While it's far from a slam dunk, this is one of those moves that makes a lot of sense for all involved -- provided he can handle a lack of stability in the coaching staff.