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Saints' Spagnuolo searching for answers to defensive woes

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Dan Parr
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Posted Sept. 15, 2012 @ 2:31 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

First-year Saints coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is already under fire after his defense’s poor showing in the season opener.

Spagnuolo, the first coordinator to face dynamic rookie QB Robert Griffin III, appeared to be caught off guard by the offense’s gameplan, as Washington racked up 40 points and 459 yards in Week One. He said Friday he felt like he let the organization down and hopes that the feeling will be a motivating factor for his unit going forward.

It’s obviously not the first impression Spagnuolo had hoped to make as he tries to strengthen his reputation as a coordinator following a disappointing three seasons as head coach of the Rams, who fired him after last season.

Saints players are clearly still adjusting to Spagnuolo’s style and defensive system. Their issues in Week One were not unfamiliar, though — Spagnuolo inherited a defense that last season had the second-fewest takeaways in the league, ranked 28th in quarterback sack percentage and allowed a league-high 16 pass plays of 40 yards or longer.

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