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Sean Payton reportedly moved on from Gregg Williams

Before the "bounty" scandal sent Gregg Williamsbackpacking through Thailand, his jump from the New Orleans Saints to the St. Louis Rams was portrayed as a lateral move for a defensive coordinator looking for a fresh start.

Not so, according to Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver, who cited a highly placed Saints source in reporting Sean Payton had essentially fired Williams two months before the defensive coordinator was indefinitely suspended by Roger Goodell.

Williams' "live by the blitz, die by the blitz" philosophy had helped bury the Saints in their postseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and Payton was ready for a sharp left turn in defensive philosophy.

Enter Steve Spagnuolo, who will bring a more measured approach to New Orleans' scheme in 2012.

"Well, yeah, teams knew we were going to be in a blitz 90 percent of the time, and they reacted accordingly," defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis said Friday. "It started to be where everything was three-step drop. I feel like people started to know exactly what was going on."

"The scheme is drastically different," veteran linebacker Scott Shanle says. "Under Gregg, it was man blitz, or you're playing Cover 2. Now it's three-deep and a lot of zone blitzes - everything is opposite, really. And 'Spags' isn't a big rah-rah guy, which Gregg obviously was."

(Love that last part. Perhaps the understatement of the decade.)

Though he lost some luster following his 10-38 run as head coach with the Rams, it wasn't long ago that Spagnuolo was one the NFL's hottest properties after he helped guide the Giants to an upset win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Don't be surprised if Spagnuolo's new approach yields better results for the Saints, and perhaps, another head-coaching gig down the line.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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