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Steve Spagnuolo fired by New Orleans Saints

Sean Payton isn't wasting any time getting back to work.

Just one full day after Payton returned to his job as New Orleans Saints head coach, the team announced that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been fired after only one season on the job. The team also said it's firing secondary coach Ken Flajole.

"I personally want to thank Steve and Ken for their contributions during what was an unprecedented 2012 season," Payton said in a statement released by the Saints. "Philosophically we are changing our defense to a 3-4 alignment, and right now is the best time to accomplish this transition."

The "philosophical" change is a nice way of saying the marriage with Spagnuolo tanked. The Saints' defense went from bad to worse after Gregg Williams left, although it did play better later in the season. Payton alluded to the many defensive problems when he spoke to reporters Wednesday.

We can't help but think this had something to do with Spagnuolo's personal relationships inside the building. An anonymous Saints player absolutely ripped Spagnuolo after the season, saying he was a phony who should be fired.


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"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."

Spagnuolo's defensive schemes didn't help the Saints much, but talent remains the bigger problem. Their pass rush and outside linebacker group could be the worst in the NFL.

This move is more about Payton taking control of the Saints again. He clearly didn't like how Spagnuolo handled things while he was gone.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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