By Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, February 7, 2008
New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Washington Redskins management continued to discuss the team's head coaching vacancy last night, his second day of meetings with owner Daniel Snyder. Spagnuolo spent Tuesday night and all of yesterday with Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, the executive vice president-football operations, and is a strong contender for the job, sources said.
Jim Fassel, who nearly was hired two weeks ago, also is a finalist and was awaiting word from the team on a decision. League sources said that Fassel, former San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks anticipated that Snyder could contact them late last night with his decision as well, with the process winding down a month after Joe Gibbs resigned. As of 1 a.m. today, those candidates had not heard from the Redskins, league sources said.
Fassel remained hopeful and believed that he and Spagnuolo were the leading candidates, league sources said, while sources close to Spagnuolo said the coach, who led New York's defense in its Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, was enthused about his sessions with the team. League sources said Meeks and Mariucci were less optimistic about their chances and sensed the decision likely would come down to Fassel or Spagnuolo.
The Redskins have most of their coaching staff in place and selected new offensive and defensive coordinators before a head coach, an unusual situation but not a deterrent to the final candidates. The Giants do not want to lose Spagnuolo and were working on a counter-proposal to enhance his contract with them, league sources said.
Redskins Note: The Redskins began creating salary cap space by renegotiating the contracts of guard Randy Thomas and defensive end Andre Carter, league sources said. The team entered the offseason $20 million over the 2008 salary cap and could restructure 12 ore more contracts.