After news broke last week that Steve Spagnuolo had chosen to become the new defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, a couple key questions surfaced, pertaining to the Eagles:
1. How much actual interest did the Eagles really have in Spagnuolo?
2. Would Juan Castillo be back for a second year?
We're still waiting on an answer to the second question, but Dan Pompei of the National Football Post provided some clarity to the first question in his column today.
Per Pompei, Spagnuolo's decision came down to the Eagles and the Saints. And the deciding factor was Drew Brees:
The Saints can thank Drew Brees for Steve Spagnuolo. The Saints’ new defensive coordinator had his choice of a number of jobs. Among the other teams that either were in hot pursuit or had expressed interest were the Eagles, Falcons, Colts, Bucs and Vikings. It came down to choosing between the Eagles and Saints, and Spags picked Brees over Michael Vick. Why? An offense that scores 38.5 points per game can make a defensive coordinator look pretty smart.
I think that point has merit. In fact, I wrote as much last week. If Spagnuolo's goal is to again become a head coach, his best chance to get another shot is to lead a defense that gets to the Super Bowl. The Saints have a better chance to get there than the Eagles, largely because of how Drew Brees and Sean Payton stack up to Michael Vick and Andy Reid.
According to Pompei, Brees was indeed the difference.
The report also confirms what many have assumed: Reid clearly is not 100 percent sold on Castillo returning for his second season as the team's defensive coordinator, although he may still be the fallback plan. We'll find out (at some point) whether Reid is looking at other candidates, or whether he'll bring Castillo back.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Eagles could lose Marty Mornhinweg. Mornhinweg interviewed with the Raiders on Friday, according to reports, and Pompei says he looks like a "strong candidate" to land the job, although it's early in the search.
And finally, Jim Washburn will not be headed to St. Louis to reunite with Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams. Per Jason La Canfora of NFL Network, Mike Waufle will be hired as the Rams' new defensive line coach.