Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma on Wednesday blasted the New Orleans Times Picayune for a story citing an anonymous Saints player who criticized defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and called for his firing.
Vilma tweeted that the report is "'anonymous source' bs"
"We're not the Jets," Vilma told reporters, citing several stories about the Jets this year that frequently quoted unnamed players who criticized team coaches, management and teammates, in particular backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who will likely be leaving the Jets soon. Rumors are Tebow is heading to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
When the paper later contacted Vilma to expound on his tweet, he refused to, saying only, "I'm bothered you reported it. We're not the Jets who run to the media for everything," Vilma told the newspaper.
However, that the player requested anonymity bothers Vilma.
"That's not the question or the point. If he's man enough to tell you, he should be man enough to put his name on it. And you should do the same," he told the newspaper.
The Saints' defense allowed an NFL-record 7,042 yards to opponents this season. New Orleans also finished last among the 32 teams in the NFL in total defense, rush defense and was second-to-last in pass defense.
"To give up what we gave up can't be all talent," the unnamed player told the newspaper. "Look at where his units (have) been ranked before. I think one top 10?"
The same unnamed player told the newspaper that Saints players never had a say in Spagnuolo's defensive gameplan every week.
"He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap," the player told the newspaper. "(Spagnuolo has) no patience and zero personality. (He) has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. (I) think it's even harder after having (former defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams), who guys enjoyed."
Vilma has supporters in his criticism. Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton also backed up Spagnuolo, calling the anonymous player "a coward" for not coming forth with his name.
"It was (Spagnuolo's) first year putting it in, and everything we went through, yeah I'm a firm believer in the system," Lofton told the newspaper. "I think it's a complicated system, but at the same time, it has an answer for everything an offense does. We will be successful in the future. ... Yes, there is some thinking that goes into it before the play and during the play, but once you've got a grasp to it, I really think this is a great system."