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Saints fire Spagnuolo, will move to 3-4 defense

The SportsXchange

Sean Payton wasted little time putting his stamp back on the New Orleans Saints, firing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and announcing the team will switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Secondary coach Ken Flajole was also let go.

The moves came just two days after Payton was reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell from his suspension.

Spagnuolo was hired last offseason to replace Gregg Williams, who had left to become the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams before his indefinite suspension for his role in the "Bountygate" scandle.

The Saints were on pace to break the single-season NFL record for yards allowed much of the season, and wound up dead last in total defense, allowing an average of 440.1 yards per game. They were also last in defending the run (147.6 yards per game) and ranked 31st in scoring defense (28.4 points per game) and pass defense (292.6 yards per game).

"I personally want to thank Steve and Ken for their contributions during what was an unprecedented 2012 season," Payton said in a statement. "Philosophically we are changing our defense to a 3-4 alignment and right now is the best time to accomplish this transition."
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