Thursday, February 11, 2016

Spagnuolo sweepstakes heat up

With hardly a chirp coming from Eagles, the Steve Spagnuolo sweepstakes took another turn this afternoon after one team dropped out of the race for the former Rams coach and another jumped in.

Spagnuolo sweepstakes heat up

The sweepstakes for Steve Spagnuolo continues to heat up. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
The sweepstakes for Steve Spagnuolo continues to heat up. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

With hardly a chirp coming from Eagles, the Steve Spagnuolo sweepstakes took another turn this afternoon after one team dropped out of the race for the former Rams coach and another jumped in.

The Falcons, who reportedly were interested in Spagnuolo, hired Mike Nolan to be their next defensive coordinator. The Colts, meanwhile, had Spagnuolo in on Monday to interview for the Colts defensive coordinator opening, according to various reports.

The news coming out of Indianapolis didn't end there. Head coach Jim Caldwell was fired on Tuesday, the team announced. There had already been speculation that Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg would be a candidate for that position if Caldwell was ousted, but now his name can certainly be thrown into the mix.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, who was hired by Indianapolis last week, spent eight seasons in the Eagles' personnel department, lastly as their director of player personnel. If the Colts choose to select Andrew Luck with the first pick in April's draft, Mornhinweg could be viewed as a strong choice to be the head coach to guide the Stanford quarterback.

More coverage
Eagletarian: Where will Spags and Mornhinweg land?
Birds' Eye View: Mornhinweg to interview with Raiders
MTC: Evaluating the Eagles' rookie class

The Colts could have competition for Mornhinweg if he is indeed on their radar. He will interview with the Raiders this week for their head coaching vacancy, according to NFL sources.

Spagnuolo interviewed with Caldwell and the Colts front office, according to Jay Glazer of, so it remains to be seen if he would remain a viable candidate with a new coach being brought in.

Still, Spagnuolo is believed to have other options even with the Falcons out of the picture. New Orleans is reportedly interested in the former Giants defensive coordinator, who was fired two weeks ago. ESPN reported that Spagnuolo will interview with the Saints on Wednesday. Minnesota is also in search of someone to lead their defense.

And then there are the Eagles. Andy Reid returned to Philadelphia on Sunday after a week-long break, but his plans remain a mystery wrapped inside a riddle.

- Will he fire Juan Castillo as his defensive coordinator?

- Will he replace Castillo with Spagnuolo?

- Will he move Castillo into another spot, perhaps to the secondary coach vacany after Johnnie Lynn was fired two weeks ago?

- Will he just stick with Castillo?

If Reid wants Spagnuolo he'll have to make some other decisions aside from what to do with Castillo. Will he be able to keep defensive line coach Jim Washburn, whose wide-nine scheme up front may not mesh with Spagnuolo's blitz-happy defense? Does he even want to change the overall scheme a year after a major overhaul? 

Even if Reid covets Spagnuolo, the former Eagles assistant may not even want to return to Philly. New Orleans could be a more attractive destination with head coach Sean Payton on more solid ground than Reid and with quarterback Drew Brees in tow. Of course, the Eagles could outbid the Saints for Spagnuolo. The Eagles have a reputation for being one of the teams to pay some assistants as top scale.

And then there is always the possibility that Reid may have his eye on another candidate, although there aren't many established defensive minds still out there -- Jack Del Rio? -- and the Eagles surely can't risk bringing in another unknown to lead their defense.

Stay tuned.

Staff Writer
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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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