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Saints fire Spagnuolo

Under Steve Spagnuolo, the Saints give up record 7,042 yards.

Under Steve Spagnuolo, the Saints give up record 7,042 yards.

NEW ORLEANS — The Saints fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on Thursday after one season.

New Orleans ranked last in the NFL in total defense and run defense, yielding a league-record 7,042 yards. The Saints (7-9) allowed 454 points; only Tennessee gave up more.

Special teams coordinator Ken Flajole was also fired.

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

Without Payton, who was suspended for his role in a bounty scandal, and with linebacker Jonathan Vilma and end Will Smith in limbo for portions of the schedule while their suspensions were appealed, the Saints started 0-4. They gave up at least 27 points 11 times.

Elway Supports tebow: Broncos vice president John Elway, asked if Tim Tebow has a place in the NFL, said "in the right situation, I think it's a possibility. He's got to be in the right situation."

Tebow was traded to the Jets during last offseason after leading Denver to one playoff win as the starting quarterback, but he struggled in New York.

"He's a good kid, and he works his tail off," Elway said.

Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, who in April made negative comments about Tebow's quarterbacking skills, also said Tebow can play in the NFL. Asked where Tebow might land, Thomas said, "I have no idea, but he's a great player."

Browns: Two assistants were hired: Brian Baker (outside linebackers) and Jon Embree (tight ends). Baker was Cowboys defensive line coach the past two seasons; Embree was Colorado's head coach the past two seasons.

Giants: President and CEO John Mara thinks the team will have plenty of opportunities to win Super Bowls as long as they have Eli Manning at quarterback. "He's (32). He's got a lot of years left," Mara said. "I think our window is still pretty wide." Mara said the Giants "certainly don't need to tear the whole thing down" after failing to make the postseason for the third time in four years. Still, some sting lingers. "Obviously, we were very disappointed not being in the postseason," he said. "I haven't quite gotten over that yet, particularly back-to-back games in Atlanta and Baltimore (lost by a combined 67-14)."

Jaguars: Three assistants agreed to terms: DeWayne Walker (defensive backs), Frank Scelfo (quarterbacks ) and George Yarno (offensive line). Walker resigned Thursday as New Mexico State's coach after four seasons. Scelfo, out of coaching last year, spent time at Arizona (2010-11), Louisiana Tech (2007-09) and Tulane (1996-2006). Yarno, an offensive lineman for the Bucs (1979-83, 1985-87), spent the past four seasons with the Lions.

Jets: John Idzik was introduced as the replacement for fired GM Mike Tannenbaum. Seattle's former vice president of football administration didn't offer specifics as he outlined a broad vision. "It will be based on a collaborative effort," he said. "It will be inclusive, well thought out and well researched. It will be the power of 'we.' "

Rams: Rob Ryan, fired earlier this month by the Cowboys, has been hired as defensive coordinator, ESPN reported.

Saints fire Spagnuolo 01/24/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 11:54pm]
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