After 12 years apart, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are reunited and undergoing another edition of training camp together.
Spagnuolo and Reid coached together from 1999-2006 with the Philadelphia Eagles, where Spagnuolo started as a defensive assistant and eventually became the team’s linebackers coach from 2004-06. After eight seasons together, Spagnuolo went to the New York Giants in 2007 as a defensive coordinator and helped lead them to a Super Bowl.
Spagnuolo is joyed to be back with Reid and has enjoyed his time this far with the Chiefs.
“I’m like a little kid out there,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s how I feel — I feel like I’m 12 again. Part of that is being with Coach Reid again, and quite frankly being with this group of players is great. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be at training camp, I’m happy with the way these guys are working.”
Adding a new defensive coordinator and scheme to the mix of an already Super Bowl-contending team can sometimes mess with the team chemistry, but Coach Reid isn’t worried about the group coming together.
“It’s what we had done in Philly for all those years, so I’m familiar with it,” Reid said. “It takes a little bit of time, as we keep growing with it. But the energy level is there, and you see they’re making plays.”
While Spagnuolo has known Reid for years and they are familiar with each other, he has already made an impact for multiple Chiefs players in a very short amount of time with the team. Spagnuolo is often seen taking time away from practice to coach players up 1-on-1.
“I am not going to lie, Spags is a legendary coach,” defensive end Frank Clark said. “He put the whole script out there and put it into our hands as the players and to really invest our time into learning this playbook.
“You know, you look down at his tree of him coaching with Coach Reid, and him coaching in Philly, and him coaching this New York Giants defense. It is no mystery that when guys really adapt to his calling and what he is saying, we fall in line with the success we can have.”
While Spagnuolo is known for his time with the Eagles and Giants, he has made an impact on multiple rosters. He was the head coach for the St. Louis Rams from 2009-’12, defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints in 2012, and was on the defensive coaching staff in Baltimore from 2013-14, helping them win Super Bowl XLVII.
Spagnuolo returned to the Giants in 2015 and joined Kansas City this past offseason after taking a year away from football. His experience with many teams has helped him give the Chiefs defense a more competitive energy.
“They have us thinking a little bit as far as moving around trying to disguise a lot of stuff and guys are just out there competing,” wide receiver Sammy Watkins said. “Coach (Spagnuolo) has those guys moving off a different energy, out there competing and I think that’s the best part. We can make each other better.”
With 36 of years of coaching experience, counting college football, Spagnuolo is looking to help turn the 31st-ranked defense from a year ago around. With the addition of multiple new defensive players, Spagnuolo is looking to help lead the Chiefs to what would be his third Super Bowl this coming season.