Steve Spagnuolo, fired this week as head coach of the St. Louis Rams, has considerable cachet as a defensive coordinator, despite his 10-38 record in three seasons running the Rams. That's because Spagnuolo was the Giants' DC when they won the Super Bowl four years ago, and is considered by many to be the architect of that triumph. Before that, Spagnuolo was among the best and brightest on Jim Johnson's Eagles defensive staff.
Sometimes when a coach is fired with a year left on his deal, he prefers to sit back and watch, maybe do a little TV work, collecting the paycheck. A source close to Spagnuolo said today that is not Spags' mindset. The source said Spagnuolo, 52, expects to coach in the NFL next season, and would be interested in any opening that might occur with the Eagles.
That's news because the Newark Star-Ledger last week implied otherwise, noting that Spagnuolo was not happy his final year in Philadelphia (2006). When then-Birds offensive coordinator Brad Childress got the head coaching job in Minnesota, Childress wanted to take Spagnuolo with him as defensive coordinator. But Eagles coach Andy Reid said that when he was in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren had a rule about assistants who left to become head coaches -- they should build their own staffs, not pilfer from his. Reid said he wasn't letting Childress take anyone with him.
Of course, a year later Spagnuolo left for the Giants, and that all worked out pretty well for him. And last year at the NFL Scouting Combine, Spagnuolo took part in a dinner organized by former Reid assistants, Spags speaking appreciatively of his former head coach.
The source did not say Spagnuolo definitely is coming back here. He expects to have options, the source said, and no doubt he is interested in weighing them. We still don't know there is an opening with the Eagles. Team chairman Jeffrey Lurie seemed to send mixed signals on defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in Lurie's Tuesday press conference. There has been speculation that even if Castillo stays, Spagnuolo might return as some sort of assistant head coach, adding defensive savvy to the mix and perhaps positioning himself as Reid's logical successor.