If you take today's reports about the future of current St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo at face value, then you would assume that he's all but gone to Philadelphia. The fit may be obvious, but not so fast says one report. According to Dan Graziano, ESPN's NFC East blogger, Spagnuolo's ticket to Philly has yet to be punched.
First, he points out the obvious. The Eagles defense struggled under coordinator Juan Castillo, a strange experiment that many questioned from the beginning. Hiring Spags closes the Jim Johnson loop. The Eagles defense has changed since the passing of Jim Johnson. They now run the infamous "wide 9" which has led to some criticism.
Of course, many of the players are holdovers from the Johnson system and Spags knows his defensive philosophy. The Eagles have also been criticized for using one of the game's top press corners, Nnamdi Asomugha, in more zone schemes. It wouldn't be huge leap for Spagnuolo to change the defense again.
Since there's no guarantee that Spagnuolo will return to Philly, he figures to be a free agent. He could be a highly sought after free agent, too.
Finally, everyone I speak to says that Spagnuolo is still very well regarded as a coach by NFL decision-makers, in spite of his lack of success in St. Louis. There will be competition for his services, and a couple of people to whom I've spoken have even suggested to me he could possibly get another head coaching opportunity right away. Even if Spagnuolo is on the market, it's no sure thing that his next job is in Philadelphia.
It's hard to believe some team would hire him as a head coach again, but under the right circumstances, it might work.
Spagnuolo probably won't last beyond Monday in St. Louis. Just like the reports of A.J. Smith, Jon Gruden, and Jeff Fisher riding into town to replace him, any speculation on where Spags might land is just that, speculation.