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  • Steve Spagnuolo to the Chiefs highlights the biggest coordinator hires for the 2019 season. Can he save K.C.’s defense?
By Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling
February 11, 2019

On the Monday Morning NFL Podcast, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling analyzed the most important coordinator hires for 2019…

GARY: I would say the Chiefs made the most important coordinator hiring of the offseason. We assume they’re going to score points, the question is if can they stop people, which obviously was what we saw derailed them in the AFC title game this year. Steve Spagnuolo ends up the defensive coordinator. What differences are there between him and Bob Sutton? What do you expect to change there in Kansas City? Because something had to change.

ANDY: Yeah something did have to change. I once asked an offensive coach, “Do you like playing against Steve Spagnuolo?” He said, “No, I do not.” I said, “Why is that?” He said, “Because you’re never quite sure what he’s going to do.” He brings a lot at you. It feels like blitzing has kind of become the theme of the show, but Spagnuolo does that, often with his linebackers involved—a linebacker or a slot corner. He’s not necessarily only a blitzing guy. The coach did add, he said, “He throws a lot at you, I’m not sure he always knows the reasons for what he’s doing, but he’s doing them nonetheless and as a coach, you have to deal with that.”

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GARY: He’s a guy who had some success with that Giants rebuild. He’s battled with Andy Reid when he was defensive coordinator and Andy Reid was coaching the Eagles back in the late aughts. It seems encouraging just because it’s going to be different than what you had with Bob Sutton. We talked about this a little bit late in the year. The Chiefs needed to generate some sort of pressure to offset their problems on the back-end. This is at least an alternative solution, if not the right solution.

ANDY: The biggest difference between Spagnuolo and Sutton—this is actually one of the things that sets Spagnuolo apart if we’re to go off of how he coached with the Giants a few years ago, his second stint with the Giants—is when he does bring pressure, he keeps two safeties deep a lot of the times, which is unusual. Almost always it’s one safety back deep—it’s hard to have two safeties back if you’re needing guys to blitz. You just don’t have enough bodies to do all that, but Spagnuolo matchup zone schemes behind blitzes. I guess it’s a safer type of blitz. The other thing that’s going to be a big deal is how they go about their run defense. Spagnuolo is not a 3-4 guy the way Sutton is. Again, I think that whole 3-4/4-3 thing gets way overblown. It almost means nothing at times, but in Kansas City’s case, it did mean something because they would do two gap concepts out of their 3-4. Spagnuolo will do a little bit more 4-3 stuff. That’s where they really need to change, overhauling their approach to run defense.

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