Redskins Will Meet Giants' Spagnuolo

SPAGNUOLO (Bill Kostroun - Associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Washington Redskins are scheduled to interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo today for their vacant head-coaching position, league sources said, with the rising star the last of their candidates. Spagnuolo's interview comes just two days after the first-year coordinator's defense stopped the previously undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Owner Daniel Snyder has said that he would interview at least one candidate from the Super Bowl staffs before making a final decision. Spagnuolo has earned accolades around the league for New York's aggressive and effective schemes, and his long history and success in the NFC East (Spagnuolo was a longtime assistant in Philadelphia) also made him attractive to Snyder. Former Giants Coach Jim Fassel had been the front-runner, with Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, the team's executive vice president for football operations, using his suggestions as a guide to assembling coordinators, but Fassel has not been a head coach for four years and Spagnuolo is generating a buzz.

Snyder has said he would like to end the search that began with Joe Gibbs's resignation Jan. 8 by the end of this week. In the month since Gibbs unexpectedly resigned, the Redskins have talked to many former head coaches and assistants, nearly giving the job to Fassel two weeks ago before opting instead to expand the search, league sources said. Snyder and Cerrato interviewed Tennessee assistant Jim Schwartz, Fassel, former Redskins assistant Gregg Williams (then still on the staff), Seattle assistant Jim Mora, Indianapolis assistant Ron Meeks and former San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci. Snyder also had discussions with USC head coach Pete Carroll and former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, league sources said. Carroll and Cowher reportedly like their current lifestyles and would have required authority over personnel and the front office to enter into more lengthy discussions for the position, league sources said.

Williams (since fired by the team), Meeks and Fassel had multiple interviews, with the team outlining the parameters of a contract with Fassel but never offering him the job. League sources believed him to be the leading candidate entering Sunday's game.

Meeks last spoke to team officials a week ago and remains hopeful about the position, league sources said. Spagnuolo is expected to take part in the Giants' victory parade in New York today, while Snyder will be at Redskins Park in the afternoon for a news conference with former Redskins Darrell Green and Art Monk, both of whom were voted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday. The interview is scheduled for afterward.

Sessions with Snyder often last upward of 12 hours, with some candidates spending the night in his guest house before resuming talks the following morning. While the situation with the Redskins is highly unusual -- Snyder and Cerrato have hired coordinators and extended the contracts of virtually the entire staff before picking a head coach -- it is not entirely unprecedented. In February 2002 the Oakland Raiders agreed to in essence trade head coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay, where a staff was largely in place. Gruden won a Super Bowl his first year with the Buccaneers and has the same agent, Bob LaMonte, as Spagnuolo.

Spagnuolo, 48, had his first NFL job as a player personnel intern for the Redskins in 1983. He also spent a year as a scout for San Diego -- giving him coaching and personnel experience -- and after several college coaching stints he joined the Eagles in 1999. Spagnuolo coached linebackers and defensive backs under highly respected coordinator Jim Johnson before leaving Philadelphia for New York a year ago.

Staff writer Jason Reid contributed to this report.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company