NEW ORLEANS - The Saints have fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and secondary coach Ken Flajole.
Spagnuolo oversaw a defense that set a record for futility, allowing an NFL-record 7,042 yards. Four teams racked up 500-plus yards of offense alone.
Coach Sean Payton made the move in just his third day back as the team's head coach. Wednesday he did say there would be some tough meetings coming up. He had several quotes during which, in his first press conference since being reinstated, he talked about how badly the defense played, saying it "kept him up at night."
"I personally want to thank Steve and Ken for their contributions during what was an unprecedented 2012 season," Payton said in a news release, addinjg that the team would be switching to a 3-4 alignment in 2013.
The move did not come as a big surprise to linebacker Scott Shanle, who will be an unrestricted free agent this spring.
"No, I'm not shocked at all," he said. "I think I would have been more shocked if no change would have been made after the way last season went."
Shanle said the move to a 3-4 should benefit the defensive ends Martez Wilson and Junior Galette the most.
"As I looked at the team last year, I thought we needed to mix up our fronts," Shanle said. "Martez (Wilson) and Junior (Galette) could have been outside in a 3-4 with Jonathan (Vilma) and Curtis (Lofton) on the inside. I think the personnel makes sense."
Meanwhile, cornerback Jabari Greer was thinking more of the departing Spagnuolo on a personal level when he heard about the move.
"Spags was a good coach and an even better man," Greer said via text message. "I am thankful for the opportunity to play with a man of such strong faith and wish him well in all that he does."