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January 17, 2016

Eagles reportedly (and inexplicably) interested in Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator

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011716SteveSpagnuolo Julio Cortez/AP

Steve Spagnuolo's last 2 seasons as a defensive coordinator produced the worst and third-worst defenses in NFL history.

According to Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News, Steve Spagnuolo is new Eagles head coach Doug Pederson’s top choice for defensive coordinator.

That would be a lateral move for Spagnuolo, and therefore the Giants could try to block it, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post points out:

"It would be a lateral move to defensive coordinator in Philadelphia and, as such, the Giants could block it, but Mara said recently he never wants to force assistant coaches to stay if they want to go elsewhere. The Eagles also could potentially give Spagnuolo more money or an additional title of associate head coach."

It's surprising that two teams would jostle over Spagnuolo, considering his recent history as a defensive coordinator.

Spagnuolo was an assistant coach with the Eagles from 1999 to 2006, before being hired by the Giants to be their defensive coordinator in 2007. The Giants promptly won the Super Bowl with the help of a Giants defensive front that included Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. The Giants defense followed up its Super Bowl year with another strong season in 2008 and Spagnuolo was snapped up by the Rams to be their head coach.

Since then, Spagnuolo's defenses have been brutally bad. Here is where they have ranked in his stops as a defensive coordinator or head coach: 

 Steve SpagnuoloOverall Run Pass Points 
 2007 Giants (DC)11 17 
 2008 Giants (DC)
 2009 Rams (HC)29 27 25 31 
 2010 Rams (HC)19 17 19 12 
 2011 Rams (HC)22 31 26 
 2012 Saints (DC)32 32 31 31 
 2015 Giants (DC)32 24 32 30 

As the chart above shows, Spagnuolo's defenses have finished dead last in the NFL in each of his last two seasons as a defensive coordinator. In fact, the 2012 Saints and 2015 Giants defenses rank worst and third-worst respectively in NFL history for yards allowed in a season.

Year Yards allowed 
 2012 Saints7042 
 1981 Colts6793 
 2015 Giants6725 

Obviously, it's not just scheme that led to Spagnuolo's atrocious defenses. There have to be bad players contributing to that mess. But consider this -- Spagnuolo's 2012 Saints, which, again, were the worst defense in NFL history, improved to fourth in the NFL the next season under the awful Rob Ryan.

If you think Bill Davis should be replaced as the Eagles' defensive coordinator, and this "stay or go" poll shows that 91 percent of you do, at least he has fared better than Spagnuolo.

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