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KC Chiefs hire Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator

Andy Reid has turned to a familiar name for his new defensive coordinator.

Steve Spagnuolo was hired by the Chiefs on Thursday night, the team announced.

Spagnuolo, 59, is the former head coach of the St. Louis Rams and New York Giants. He worked with Reid and the Eagles from 1999 to 2006 as a defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and linebackers coach before becoming the Giants’ defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008.

“Steve is a bright defensive mind with a lot of coaching experience and success in our league,” Reid said in a release from the Chiefs announcing the move. “I know him well from our time together in Philadelphia and I feel that his leadership skills and teaching abilities, combined with his scheme, will be a great fit for our team as we move forward.”

The hire could signal an alignment shift for the Chiefs, who have run a 3-4 defense since Bob Sutton arrived with Reid in 2013. Spagnuolo has primarily run a 4-3 base with two tackles and two defensive ends.

Sutton was fired by the Chiefs on Tuesday, two days after the Sunday’s loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Spagnuolo became the Rams head coach in 2009 but was fired in 2011 with a 10-38 record. Spagnuolo worked with the Saints and Ravens before becoming the Giants defensive coordinator again in 2015. He worked as New York’s interim head coach after Ben McAdoo was fired in 2017. He went 1-3 as head coach for the Giants.

He did not coach in 2018 but told NJ Advance Media at last year’s Super Bowl that he would soon be back in the game.

“I’m going to coach again,” Spagnuolo said. “I’m passionate about it. I love it too much … and I will find a way to make it work and hopefully get back on the trail a year from now.”

The Giants finished in the top 10 defensively three times with Spagnuolo as the coordinator, though two of his last three defenses finished last and second to last in yards allowed.

During his tenure with the Eagles, Spagnuolo served with defensive coordinator Jim Johnson to help shape some of the league’s best units. From 2000-07, Johnson’s defenses tied for first in the NFL in sacks and were second in third-down efficiency and fourth in fewest points allowed.

Other high and low points in Spagnuolo’s career include a magnificent scheme by the Giants in the Super Bowl XLII. The Patriots had set an NFL scoring record and Tom Brady was the league’s MVP. Spagnuolo’s defense sacked Brady five times and the Giants, a 12-point underdog, won 17-14.

Spagnuolo was the Saints’ defensive coordinator in 2012, the season head coach Sean Payton sat out in the bounty scandal. The Saints allowed the most yards of any defense in NFL history and finished 7-9. Spagnuolo was fired after the season.

The Chiefs allowed at least 29 points in each of their five losses this season, including the 37-31 overtime loss in the playoffs to the Patriots.

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