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Steve Spagnuolo assailed by New Orleans Saints player

Improvement was expected from the New Orleans Saints' defense this season under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. It didn't happen, and at least one Saints player believes a change is necessary.

An anonymous player ripped Spagnuolo to Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune, saying Spanguolo is a "control freak" who should be fired.

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"Trust me, all the guys were being politically correct this season when answering questions," the player told the newspaper. "It's bad."

The Saints' numbers weren't great, although we thought they played much better in the second half of the season. Still, they set the NFL record for most yards allowed this season with 7,042. The unit was 31st in scoring this season, giving up 28.4 points per game.

The anonymous player's bigger problem was with Spagnuolo's management style, saying he treats players like "crap."

"Players have no say in anything," the player complained. "... Nothing ever changed. It was his way only. 

"Don't even get me started on lack (of) ability to adjust during games. Bad, bad, bad."

There are a lot of veterans on the Saints' defense that know they probably won't be back this season. This sounds like a player who knows he might be on the way out the door. They are the type of comments that Saints players never made about former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. No matter how ugly things ended between the Saints and Williams, the players always were wildly loyal to him until the bounty scandal erupted.

"Players have no say in anything," the player said. "It was (a) complete opposite from before where it was a simple D that players had lot of control and say. We couldn't suggest (expletive). ... Nothing ever changed. It was his way only."

Whereas Williams was seen as a leader, Spagnuolo was called a phony.

"He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap," the player said. "(He) has no patience and zero personality.

"(He) has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. (I) think it's even harder after having (former defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams), who guys enjoyed."

We don't know what player made these comments, but we do know Spagnuolo is a lot more likely to be with the team next season than the player who tore him apart.

UPDATE: Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma apparently read Holder's story and wasn't a fan of the reporter's use of an anonymous source.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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