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Transcript: Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo


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http://www.giants.com/news/transcripts/sto...?story_id=24313

January 22, 2007

Opening statement:

First of all, Iýÿd like to thank all of you guys for taking the time to call in. I look forward to meeting and working with all of you. Secondly, I want to say thanks obviously to Coach Coughlin for the opportunity. Iýÿm excited about it and Iýÿm proud to be a part of his staff. And thirdly ýÿ and real important to me ýÿ I want to thank publicly Andy Reid, Mr. (Jeffrey) Lurie, Joe Banner and Jim Johnson, all (of them) down in Philadelphia. That is one class, great organization. Iýÿll miss them all. The nice thing for me is that Iýÿm going to another classy, great organization. All of that is very exciting.

Q: Whatýÿs it going to be like coaching against Andy Reid?

A: Itýÿll be fun. Andy and I ýÿ I heard Coach Coughlin saying to you guys, are real good friends. We go way back, and I think any time you can compete against your friends, thatýÿs kind of special.

Q: How did you sell yourself to Coach Coughlin when you had his attention and were in the room with him?

A: I think honestly, I was just me. I think you go about it that way in this league. You show what you are, what youýÿre about and hope that thatýÿs what theyýÿre looking for. Itýÿs obviously in this situation, I guess whatever I said, did or acted, Coach Coughlin did. I just did what Iýÿve been doing for the last ýÿ I just presented what Iýÿve been doing for the last eight years and my 24, 25 years of experience in coaching, and it worked out pretty good.

Q: How would you describe what youýÿve been doing and your philosophy on defense?

A: Obviously you guys have seen the Giants-Eagles contests the last few years. Thatýÿs obviously going to be the bulk of what I am and what I do, because I believe in it. Itýÿs been successful. But I will pick pieces and parts of where Iýÿve been in a lot of different places. This business is a beg, borrow and steal, so whenever you can get an idea of something new or innovative, you try to incorporate it into what you have and what you do. Iýÿll try to put all of the pieces together and come up with something new.

Q: Do you think the Giants right now have the personnel to carry out what you want to do?

A: Well, Iýÿll be honest with you, I havenýÿt had that time yet, to really make any decisions that way. Iýÿm looking forward to getting together with the defensive staff and Coach Coughlin. That will be the gist of what we do at the beginning, but I donýÿt have a good feel for that right now. You have to remember, when youýÿre playing either in the conference or someone in the NFL and youýÿre on defense, youýÿre kind of honed in to their offense.

Q: Knowing that youýÿre coming to a team with a healthier LaVar Arrington and Antonio Pierce at the position you just coached with a Pro Bowler ýÿ Is that exciting for you?

A: Yeah, what I do know about those guys is real exciting. I was lucky to coach Jeremiah Trotter here. I was blessed in that way. That was a hard conversation this morning. Jeremiah and I got togetherýÿBut no, I do look forward to that, no question.

Q: What did Trotter tell you?

A: Well, you know, itýÿs funny. I guess you never know about players until you get in this situation, but in my mind I just felt like players move on, get another coach, but ýÿ I wonýÿt tell you what our conversation was, but I was touched by it, I can tell you that.

Q: The Eagles defensive under Jim Johnson has been known for its aggression and its blitzing. How much of that was Jim? How much of it was personnel? How much was a mix?

A: That package we had was Jim. Heýÿs been in the league a lot of years prior to coming to Philadelphia, and Iýÿm sure he pulled from other people along the way and did the same thing. We put our heads together as a staff and came up with a few things, too, but the majority of it is Jim sitting down, mixing it together and coming up with something good.

Q: I know itýÿs obviously a move up, but was it a difficult decision to think about maybe being the heir apparent in Philadelphia and the potential uncertainty here?

A: Not really. I donýÿt know if you guys can appreciate this, but when youýÿre in the business Iýÿm in and you aspire to be in certain positions and coordinator was one that I wanted. Thereýÿs only 32 of them in this league and I donýÿt think you ever say no to them. Every year in this league is going to be a challenge, so I look at this as another one and Iýÿm looking forward to it, so no, that never crossed my mind.

Q: Knowing youýÿre going to be facing the Eagles twice a year and knowing Andy Reid, will that be an advantage for you?

A: I guess thereýÿll be a slight advantage, but I would say this: I donýÿt know that that slight advantage is going to make the difference between winning and losing. The advantage I guess Iýÿll have is Iýÿll know the personnel a little bit better, but when you go back and forth ýÿ offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and youýÿre making calls ýÿ I may know what they do, but I donýÿt know what theyýÿre going to do on that play. They donýÿt know what Iýÿm going to do on the play thatýÿs about to come up. Maybe knowing personnel will help, but thatýÿs a good football team down there and Iýÿm anticipating weýÿll have a good one. I think it will be like all Giants and Eagles games ýÿ Hard fought, good, tough football games.

Q: Since youýÿre at the Senior Bowl, obviously youýÿre going to have a particular say in who the Giants draft. What is your idea of an ideal defensive player?

A: First, Iýÿm not down at the Senior Bowl. Iýÿm not going to get the chance to go down there. Iýÿm actually just trying to get things together here in Philadelphia and get up there as soon as I can. But when you talk about an ideal ýÿ I think you asked about an ideal football player? Can you say that again?

Q: To fit into your system, what is the ideal of a good, young football player? What are you looking for?

A: I think in any system in this league defensively, I think we all look for guys that play fast. Iýÿm not going to go down the size, speed issue, all of that. You want smart, intelligent football players that play aggressive and play fast. Now, when I say ýÿplay fastýÿ, that doesnýÿt mean he has to be 4.5, but when heýÿs on the field he has to play like heýÿs 4.5. I think aggressiveness and playing fast ýÿ I will use that term a lot because in this league, especially on the defensive side of the ball, players have got to be able to play fast.

Q: Have you always been a 4-3 guy or have you ever done 3-4?

A: No, actually when I coached in NFL Europe and coordinated there, we ran a 3-4. Most of my other experience has been 4-3, but itýÿs been a mixture. Iýÿm thinking back, as you asked that question, I think we ranýÿMost of itýÿs 4-3. I think, again, along the way when I was with Jack Bicknell and the Barcelona dragons, way back when it was World League of American Football, we played the 3-4 defense with Red Kellen, who is a Jersey guy. I donýÿt know if you guys recognize his name ýÿ (Heýÿs a) good football coach.

Q: Is this the first defensive coordinator job youýÿve been up for?

A: No, there have been a couple others.

Q: Do you have any knowledge of the tradition of defensive coordinators at the Giants and what theyýÿve gone on to do?

A: I mean, John Fox obviously comes to mind. Bill Belichick pops in my head and Iýÿm sure there are others that Iýÿm not aware of, but youýÿre talking about some pretty good football coaches.

Q: And what does it mean to you to be the defensive coordinator at a franchise that has traditionally had such great defensive coordinators?

A: At the New York Giants, youýÿre saying, specifically? Iýÿll tell youýÿIýÿm a little overwhelmed. Iýÿm excited and certainly proud to be a part of the New York Giants. When you think of the NFL and you think of NFL football, there are certain teams that jump out in your head and I think the Giants are one of them. I think it goes without saying that Iýÿm a lucky, lucky man to have the opportunity to hold that position with that particular team.

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