Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
April 1, 2016
Q: Within the first hour of free agency you get some toys in the toy box?
A: Yeah, it was nice. It was like Christmas. Jerry (Reese) and his staff, Ken Sternfeld, they did a great job of identifying the guys, then being real aggressive and getting what we think are some pretty good football players. Itís exciting.
Q: Is it any more difficult for you having new members of the defensive staff?
A: I donít know if difficult is the wordóitís a challenge. Hereís the way I always look at it, though: I think thereís a positive spin on that. Iíve always felt this way, when you bring in new ideas and opinions, I think itís two-fold: You can gather new ideas about what other people have been doing, and I think weíve got some great guys here. And, I think this is really important, for 17 years Iíve been basically running this defensive system. Itís always good when somebody new comes in and says, ĎWhy are you calling it thatí or ĎWhy are you doing this?í Sometimes you go, ĎIím not sure why we do that, maybe we should change the word.í So thatís been really good, the give and take and the interaction has been great.
Q: How do you look at your defense at this point? Obviously thereís some new faces, some old ones also?
A: We lost some guys, too, so itís the give and take. Weíve kind of been formulating that right now. You go back before free agency and youíre still doing your scheme and youíre evaluating where youíre going to go from here. Itís kind of hard to fully dive into what youíre going to be and what youíre going to install until you know what you have, so thatís starting to take shape now. With the four guys we signed in free agency, plus Jasper Brinkley being back in there, itís starting to come together now. We have kind of steered more toward what we would become based on the people that we have now, which is important.
Q: How is that different?
A: I donít that it will change all that much, there might be some tweaks here and there. Even though weíve identified these guys that are coming in as new, and we think we know what they are, itís going to take a little while in the offseason to figure out exactly how we can intertwine them with the guys that we had a year ago, and what we did scheme-wise, should we keep some things, should we get rid of things? So all thatís ongoing right now.
Q: When a team goes out in the first quick wave of free agency and commits 200 million dollars to defensive playersÖdoes it speak to how depleted things were? What kind of deck you were dealing with last year?
A: I think every season rests on its own. I think everybody around the league, all 32 teams, they look at their depth, who they have, what are the holes theyíve got to fill, whatís available. I just think we did a really good jobóIím not just saying that because of the guys that we gotóbut I think the way we went about it and how it all turned out. I think we did exactly what we needed to do.
Q: Do you feel you now have more chess pieces that you can use as opposed to kind of just figuring it out with all these pawns?
A: Letís go back a yearóJPP, as we all know, is a really good football playeróhe wasnít here with us, didnít have him all spring. So now we get him fully right from the beginning, thatís an advantage. We do think obviously the three guys that we got in free agency obviously give us something; whether thatís because we didnít have it last year or we did, Iím not really here to talk about that. Iím here to talk about going forward. Again, Iím excited about the guys we got. Iím hoping, certainly, that we can put a better product of the field than we did a year ago. I think that we will. All the pieces coming togetherówhether itís players or coachesóis something that weíre excited about.