Steve Spagnuolo is now available, sending a portion of Eagles fans into debate about the prospect of hiring the former Eagles linebackers coach/Giants defensive coordinator/Rams head coach/Saints defensive coordinator.
Of course, the Eagles defensive coordinator job might not be as available as it appears, if the job is simply waiting on ice for 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell after the Super Bowl.
But any potential marriage between Spagnuolo and the Eagles might also be complicated by the Eagles' potential scheme. There have been hints that the Eagles will switch ot a 3-4 under coach Chip Kelly. (Donatell ran a 4-3 in his stops as a defensive coordinator, but coaches in San Francisco, where they run a 3-4.) Spagnuolo's career has been marked by an attacking 4-3 defense similar to the one Jim Johnson used with the Eagles. In fact, one of the reasons the Saints made the change was because they want to run a 3-4. (It also didn't help that the Saints gave up more yards than any team in history under Spagnuolo last season.)
But for argument's sake, let's examine Spagnuolo. There is a faction of fans who see what happened in New Orleans last season and don't want anything to do with Spagnuolo. Of course, he also won a Super Bowl in his first season as defensive coordinator with the Giants. He's well thought of around the NFL, and especially in the NFC East. The Eagles know him, he knows Philadelphia. He also has head-coaching experience, which could be a benefit on the staff.
Spagnuolo has a connection to Kelly. They both have New England roots (as do many members of Kelly's prospective staff), and coached in the same conference in the early 1990s. Because Spagnuolo just became available on Thursday, his candidacy is a recent development. Perhaps there's a different spot on the staff for him -- an assistant head coach role, or something of that nature -- or maybe Spagnuolo can find a coordinator job elsewhere.
But if the Eagles go to a 3-4, don't expect Spagnuolo to be the coordinator.