Giants defensive coordinator Spagnuolo interviews for Skins job
ASHBURN, Va. -- From Super Bowl to job interview. From ticker-tape parade in Manhattan to Dan Snyder's house along the Potomac River, via the Washington Redskins owner's private plane.
It's already been quite a week for Steve Spagnuolo.
Still basking in euphoria from a victory on American sport's biggest stage, the New York Giants defensive coordinator arrived in the Washington area Tuesday to interview for the Redskins' coaching vacancy. No audition tape was necessary; the defense's performance in Sunday's 17-14 upset of the New England Patriots pretty much speaks for itself.
"I think they're pretty good," Snyder said. "It was a very interesting game. To see what I consider the most explosive offense I've seen in years and years to just be slowed down like that was quite impressive."
Snyder was making a rare public comment on the coaching search at his own celebratory event, a reception marking the selection of former Redskins Art Monk and Darrell Green into the Hall of Fame. Snyder said he anticipates his team playing in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, this summer.
After the reception, Snyder was planning to head home to meet with Spagnuolo.
"We're going back to work tonight," Snyder said. "And hopefully we'll be making the right decision in the very near future."
Spagnuolo, Ron Meeks and Jim Fassel are the three leading contenders to replace Joe Gibbs, who resigned Jan. 8. The process, now into its fifth week, was delayed because of the Giants' improbable march to the NFL title, forcing the owner to wait before he could interview one of the top names on his list.
"We told everybody up front we'd do a full process, and it got a little delayed because of the playoffs," Snyder said. "We would have obviously liked it to happen sooner, been able to interview everyone."
Meeks and Fassel have one advantage that Spagnuolo doesn't. They both approved of the set of assistant coaches the Redskins have already put in place, having endorsed Jim Zorn to run the offense and Greg Blache to run the defense, according to one of the people familiar with the process.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that not being able to hire his own staff could be a deal-breaker for Spagnuolo.
Spagnuolo and Snyder spoke by phone for 90 minutes Monday night, and the conversation went well, according to two people familiar with the Redskins selection process who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has preferred to keep the details private.
Spagnuolo attended Tuesday's parade in New York, where he and the other Giants coaches and players received keys to the city. He was then picked up in one of Snyder's planes and flown to Washington for face-to-face talks that would begin late in the day and were to continue Wednesday morning, according to the two people familiar with the process.
In between, Spagnuolo was to spend the night at a guesthouse on Snyder's property, receiving the same treatment given several other contenders for the job.
Snyder plans to huddle with his brain trust late Wednesday with the hope of making a selection. He would then have to negotiate a contract with his choice before making an announcement, which could come Thursday or Friday.
Spagnuolo couldn't be any hotter at the moment. His defense sacked Tom Brady five times and held the Patriots -- who hadn't scored fewer than 20 points in a game all season -- to 14 points in one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
This was the 48-year-old coach's first season as a defensive coordinator, and it couldn't have started off any worse -- 80 points allowed in the first two games -- but New York's late season surge put him on Snyder's radar.
"I'm sure a lot of players would love to play for him. I love to play for him. Hopefully, he'll stick around for a while," Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck said Tuesday evening in New York at the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner. "He's not just a coach. He's a guy that you can sit down and talk to, not just about football. That's rare in this business. I think he'd make a great football coach. Hopefully, five or six years from now."
Spagnuolo has a history with the Redskins, albeit brief, having been a front office intern in 1983. He also spent two seasons as an assistant coach in NFL Europe and was with the Philadelphia Eagles for eight seasons -- the last three as linebackers coach -- before joining the Giants last year.
Meeks and Spagnuolo are similar candidates. Neither has been a head coach, and Meeks, 53, was in Spagnuolo's position a year ago, having won a Super Bowl as the defensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts.
Meeks and former Giants coach Fassel have each met with Snyder multiple times about the job. Both have had to wait out the process while Snyder bided his time for a chance to talk to Spagnuolo.
Snyder has met with several other candidates, all of whom are no longer under consideration for various reasons. They included Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Seattle Seahawks defensive backs coach Jim Mora, Redskins assistant Gregg Williams and Southern California coach Pete Carroll.
Steve Mariucci has not been eliminated from contention, according to one of the people familiar with the process, but the former San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions coach has not been contacted for a follow-up interview after meeting with Snyder last week.
Mortensen also reports that if Spagnuolo were offered the Redskins job and accepted, Dom Capers would be the leading candidate to replace him in New York. Capers was the defensive coordinator when Giants coach Tom Coughlin was the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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