Following the 2011 season, the Rams fired Steve Spagnuolo as head coach. Following the 2012 season, the Saints fired Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator.
Spagnuolo needed a friend. Enter Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who hired Spagnuolo as a senior defensive assistant in May.
Exactly what will Spagnuolo do with the Ravens? Offer input wherever he thinks it will help. Harbaugh and Spagnuolo were assistants for several years on the Eagles’ staff under Andy Reid.
"Either a sounding board, or an added idea, or another set of eyes,’’ Spagnuolo said recently at minicamp. "John and I used to talk about this all the time. You can never have enough eyes with some kind of experience.
"I can’t wait to get to training camp and into the games and be in the fire with these guys and see how they do it. I’ve had great respect for, certainly, John (Harbaugh) always, even when we were assistants together."
Spagnuolo wants to be a head coach again one day, but for now, his focus is on the Ravens.
"Dick Vermeil, I listened to him speak one time, and his advice to young coaches, any coach was, `Be the best at whatever job you have right now.’"
Spagnuolo spent time this spring visiting college practices, among them Alabama, Ohio St., Texas A & M, Boston College, and Connecticut. One of the most popular topics was how to defend the read option featuring mobile quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson.
"You can see the wave,’’ Spagnuolo said. "The game on Saturday is filtering into the game on Sunday. Coaches right now at that level have a handle on some of this."
Spagnuolo thought about taking a year off from coaching, but joining the Ravens was an opportunity he could not pass up.
"It’s been a tough two years, but I’m focusing forward, and I’m excited,’’ Spagnuolo said. "This is a privilege to be part of a great organization. I’m just a lucky man, very very lucky.’’