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Steve Spagnuolo, Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Coordinator

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2023 8:36 pm

Steve Spagnuolo, Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Coordinator

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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February 14, 2023 8:36 pm

Steve Spagnuolo joined Zach to discuss the adjustments made by the Chiefs defense in the second half and his relationship with Andy Reid. 

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But I listen I took my hat off to the guys when we needed to make a couple plays we did And then we kind of turned it over to Patrick and he did his thing.

So Thank god for us. We ended up having more points than they did I'll tell you what I was really impressed about with your defense and we know Jalen Hurts was incredible in the game and He did a good job through the air and then also on the ground But you guys really did shut down their running backs coach. What was the key there? Well, it was a focus going in we knew we couldn't Play these guys very well if they were two-dimensional so we had to take something away and we we focused on the run part of It now I give Jalen Hurts all kinds of credit that he is an impressive talented quarterback that runs that offense as good as anybody and he just put some throws on the money I was I was Extremely impressed with him. My hat goes off to him and what they did and their offensive staff. I mean They they came up with plays early, you know, they kind of had us behind a little bit Fortunately, you know, we rallied up at halftime our guys never, you know stuck their head in the sand and came out played Well, I got a couple stops Like I said, and we were able to turn around a little bit, but I thought with Philadelphia did was pretty good We know the Chiefs throughout the years have been down before at halftime or in a big game What was the the vibe in the field in the locker room at halftime down by 10? Yeah, we were a little you know, listen, we're a little surprised that kind of yet He punched us in the mouth a little bit, you know a little shell sauce But once we got in there, it was a long halftime So the message early kind of had two messages or two Two five-minute segments where we visited with the guys but earlier it was look Even as bad as it feels because nobody likes to give up 24 points and a half We were only down 10 points and we just kept reminding ourselves.

It was 10 points. Our offense was getting the ball first You know, Patrick they get to him and the other 10 they go out and do their thing Uh, and we'll be right back in and that's what happened gave us a little bit of juice We came out we get a style holding to a field goal and get a couple of stops and you know before you know We're ahead. So, you know our guys are resilient The whole team i'm talking about from quarterback right to the defense and fortunately for us it worked again You know this past game I thought that field goal bending but don't breaking Early on in that second half was enormous for you guys to hold them to that field goal And make it a 27-21 game even though you were trailing Yeah, that was big and this is going to go lost in the whole shuffle here, but there was a key third and I don't know if it was third and five a third and four down the red zone They came out in an empty. We had a particular check-in that we did put in at halftime And I think it caused uh their coach to call a time out Uh, which was good to think they might have run a a different play there and then when they came back out You know fortunately for us we you know, we got they threw it underneath I believe we got a tackle before we got to the sticks and they kicked the field goal, but that was important I mean our offense could just come down and scored and we certainly didn't want to go back to 10 points behind again So it was things like that in the game that you know helped us to eventually win it Steve spagnolo here with us the world champion three-time world champion defensive coordinator in the nfl one with the giants and Two with the kansas city chiefs going into this game spags There was a lot of talk about their defense and then also their offensive line I know you don't need any extra motivation for a super ball But did you feel like your team was getting a little disrespected? Did you sense that from from your players throughout the week?

You know, it's funny. I listen i'm, you know, our heads are buried in those offices as coaches So I don't really get to see much or hear much and you know, so we're not privy to it but somebody mentioned it to me later in the week and You know if that's what was out there and it gave our guys a little bit of inspiration great I don't think we needed any more than the fact that we were playing in a huge game I mean that doesn't get any bigger than the super bowl Uh, but listen, you know people say what they want before the game. That's okay You still got to go out and play it And I think our guys understand that it's what goes on between the white lines that matters most I know hertz was unbelievable The fumble was also big nick bolton picks it up and takes it into the end zone and he must had a second one In the game this ball coaches. How about him and what he's been able to do for your team all throughout the year? Yeah, he's key. Wouldn't that have been terrific if that um, you know, if that second one had been a scoop and score He might have been the mvp of the game. I mean he got the trifecta on the first one You know, he causes the fumble he picks the fumble up and he scores touchdown that was huge in the game quite honestly Being honest with his deck. I I forget about that, you know, i'm just so concerned about Not letting them score points, but for us to get seven points on defense, that's big Uh nick bolton Is a key cog in what we do and how we operate.

I can't say enough about him You know if i'm gonna i'm gonna toot anybody's horn. It's going to be nix I didn't think he got near enough credit this year playing the linebacker position, but that's me You know, i'm certainly biased but I think people will realize the kind of player exceptional mike linebacker that he is as we go forward here So I was really happy for him. What did you think about the review? Did you think there was any chance that play was going to stand on the second one because in the stadium I was Sitting next to a few cheese fans and even they thought that one was coming back coach You're talking you're talking about the second fumble.

Yeah, scooped up. Yeah Well, I you know, it's one of those I believe they ruled it incomplete My guess is if they ruled it complete fumble score That they would have left it that way because it was kind of one of those that was 50 50 But you know the officials saw it a certain way Uh, and that's how it goes, you know Sometimes you win those sometimes you lose but it really would have been nice But nick and for us to have gotten that I would have I think was the first play of the second half So it's been huge steve's bagnolo here with us. I want to have you just look back at chris jones a little bit coach because We all know what he means to this team and what he's done In this league as well You've coached a lot of great players Just how does he kind of rank in in all the players that you've coached throughout the years with? What he's able to do on the defensive side of the ball for you guys Yeah, he's he's as don probably the most dominant inside player that i've ever had or been around Uh, he makes a huge difference in any game and certainly in big games and the one nice thing about him Is he's such a great athlete and long and talented that he's flexible enough to go outside We did a little bit of that in the game.

We did a little bit of putting them on the On the center. We were trying to get back to that again You know in that third and fourth quarter and never cut the situation where we could do it But he's so flexible and so dominant the things that go unnoticed is he did some good things in the run game Uh in this game where he's just dominant knocks the line of scrimmage back And our guys feed off of that but he's a he's an exceptional player I mean I told him the other day now listen i'm biased but to me he was the defensive player of the year Um, you know, hopefully we can go on forward. Maybe he'll get that someday But he's certainly worthy of all the recognition that he gets steve spagnolo here with us so spags I thought it was a very unselfish play by mckinnon because he could have easily walked in that end zone And then you guys would have to go back on the field and who knows what would have happened In that moment. I'm sure you were happy that uh that he went down right at the one or two yard line Well, to be honest with you exactly I had mixed feelings. I He's an intelligent. I love that kid and it was an intelligent play But part of me after giving up that touchdown part of me wanted to go back out and close it somehow, you know I mean, I knew that we were going to score Um or get a field goal or something in there and you know the pride in you as a defensive coach with defensive players you want to go out and help close it for your team, but exceptional move by uh By him on that with jet as we call him just a real smart football player team guy, right? I mean he got a chance to score a touchdown in the super bowl and he doesn't do it because he realizes the most important Things to win the game so my hat goes off to him Were you surprised they called holding on that third and eight to give you guys the first down? You know, I haven't seen the play.

So I don't really know. I mean listen, I know in games we've played We've had that against us too. So however, they saw it they saw it and you know, listen again If they don't call the holding penalty I believe we take a field goal and then I got confidence that our guy's going to go out and Find a way to win it in a three-point game, but uh, they called and that's the way it is. So we'll take it I know there weren't a lot of drives in the second half, but what really changed with your defense in the second half coach Yeah, we made again. There were a few minor adjustments We talked about some things that we were going to do. We got a chance to do a couple of them The one I talked about when they came out and um, you know, they had an empty formation. We made an adjustment. That was key Um, and then you know, I just thought our guys hung in there tackled. Um, You know, I made a couple of like you said a couple of key stops third down was really important We didn't play well overall On third down but in that second half we did and we were able to get off the field and that was key to get The ball back to patrick. I remember last time we had you on after the chiefs won that super bowl a few years ago I asked you when did you sense that your defense could be a championship caliber defense? And I remember spags you said it was in the game where? Mahomes got hurt a few years back your defense made a big play late and that really Created a domino effect in terms of confidence you talked earlier about this being you know, some guys a very young group When did you realize that this group could could go to a level of a championship caliber kind of team?

Yeah, that's a difficult question. I mean all year long. It was really just the grind to keep getting them better Um, I didn't know where that would culminate or what we would become I I do think that we we peaked as a group In that cincinnati game because joe burrow fell in the football all over the ball yard and other games the first game We had played them. I thought we gained a lot of confidence there and you know again We played made just enough plays in this past game to help us win. I think you know I think all the guys would tell you we would have liked to have performed overall better You know the long passes, you know, if you could take those two away and you can't do that It would have made all the difference in the world But I think it was a slow gradual progress we got better as the season went on and we played our best football at the end Um, you know with a chance to maybe play better in this past super bowl game But I was really really proud of the way the guys performed all year long Now, you know how it is every game's different and you never know how the games are going to play out But you go back to that afc title game. Uh, you guys do not get to the super bowl nor are obviously standing where you are today As a three-time champion if it wasn't for the way that your defense played up against burrow on that afc title game Yeah, again, I go back. I was really proud of the way the guys played the illicit to hold them the 20 points that that offense Again, like so about this.

Yeah explosive they can put up a bunch of points at any time. Joe burrow I think is elite um and all the other weapons that they have that we know about But our guys stood up and you know the thing we forget about lj sneak that hurt like the third play of that game We're without our best corner and those young guys stepped it up. So yeah, that was uh, we won't ever forget that And it did get us to the super bowl So that that thing that I think is a feather in the cap of the defensive guys. What is there to say coach? About patrick mahomes at this stage because nothing surprises me anymore Uh, but this is probably I thought his most impressive year because you take away tyrique And the way that he really did spread that ball out all throughout the season was very impressive Yeah, we can't listen. None of us can say enough about patrick and how much he means to us and the type of guy that he Is I mean his leadership permeates all the way through the team over the defense special teams the whole thing and He is what he is what he's what everybody sees in terms of how elite he is and the great players that he makes and I'm, sure glad i'm on a team with him a quarterback Steve spagnola a few more before we let you run and appreciate you doing this Um as you're now a three-time super bowl champion chiefs win the super bowl on sunday up against the eagles in a crazy game You've been with andy for a long time And and you were there in philly with him, too To see him now be a two-time super bowl champion after all those years of wondering if he was ever going to win one And now he has two just how do you kind of reflect it? And what does that mean to you for andy reed? Yeah, listen, i'm andy means the world to me the first guy I grabbed when we won the super bowl This is him because I feel that strongly about him. I'm just so happy for him getting it I mean to me to me he's a five-time super bowl winner when I say that that's that's where I put him in that group Even though he doesn't have it statistically, but it's really nice to know that they can call him as a head coach as a two-time Super bowl winner that certainly listen we all know he's a future hall of famer And he's a future hall of famer statistically as a head coach but more as a person and a man Uh, and there isn't a guy that's worked for him that's been around andy that doesn't feel that way He just has that much effect on people players people that work for him and with him and I can't say enough about him I'm, sure glad i'm working for him Nothing against jonathan gannon or shane stiken, uh, because there's a lot of people that are deserving of jobs in this league We talked before about maybe you getting a second chance to be a head coach eric be enemy Hasn't got a first chance to be a head coach yet Does that at all like rub you the wrong way? When you see their defensive coordinator offensive coordinator, uh, get head coaching jobs today and and you and eric still Have not got that you got it once with the rams, but eric hasn't got it at all Uh, listen, it's an interesting question.

I I don't ever uh, there's I never feel that way. Um, What I'd like the opportunity to do again. Yeah. I mean it's a prideful business and Yeah, I think the second time around is always better for a lot of people.

It's it's been proven. Would I like another chance? Yes, but i'm happy for those other guys. Jonathan. Gannon was with us with the rams. He was a pro scout force at the time So i'm happy for him and I wish all those guys luck. Um, and I do know this I got a really good job God has blessed me with the experiences i've had and if it's in god's plans for me to be a head coach down the road I will it won't have anything to do with anything else and if that happens i'll be a happy man If not, i'm very very content with what i'm doing right now and listen I get to enjoy a parade Tomorrow, that's not too bad either.

Right? What are you gonna be like at the parade? You're now a vet at these things I just hang out on the one when murray and I just hang out on one of the Buses or floats or whatever they have and we just take it all in and enjoy love watching the people at those things Last thing i'll ask you coach that moment after the game Um with you andy reed eric the enemy embracing was pretty special Just I know you probably you said you haven't seen it yet again, but you lived it What was going on in that little conversation and all the elation euphoria right after the game? i'll be honestly there's not much conversation because you can't hear anything they're so loud and everybody's jumping around but There's a lot of smiles and a lot of hugging but there's a lot of I love yous and uh, Like I say andy was the first guy I wanted to grab because of what he means to me and then after that Then yeah, then i'm just looking for my wife and that's that's a challenge in and of itself Um, because there's no we never talk about plans What are you going to be after if we win this because you heaven forbid you don't want to talk about it before it happens?

But I just love andy and it was a great moment And then everything that happens the half hour and into the hours of the night that happened after that It's just very very special. I know you have a lot of family that are patriot fans You also worked for the eagles years ago and you have a lot of Close people that know you that are eagles fans. You're not going to be popular with your friends coach yeah, I went through it when I go back, uh to new england where my My family where I grew up, but listen, hopefully hopefully the the eagles fans won't kick us out of philadelphia We still have a home there Uh, but listen, they're passionate and I love that. Thank god Uh, we won I wasn't sure if I was going to have to sell the place if that had happened Right now I can keep and keep going back to the jersey shore where all the eagles fans are but Well, i'm very very blessed and very fortunate and humbled by it all zach. I really am well coach really do appreciate you doing this Once again, congratulations to you Appreciate you doing this once again. Congratulations And enjoy the off season. Thanks so much. You deserve it Appreciate it. Zach. Thanks for having me on. Take care
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-18 20:51:18 / 2023-02-18 20:59:14 / 8

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