According to Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network, Steve Spagnuolo is expected to join the Philadelphia Eagles by the end of this week. It also sounds very possible that Juan Castillo will remain with the team in some capacity.
Here is the quote from La Canfora:
Spagnuolo, let go by the St. Louis Rams last week, is expected to be back in Philadelphia by the end of the week. The Eagles released a secondary coach over the weekend, so they have flexibility to move around the staff and bring Spagnuolo back as an assistant head coach, if not defensive coordinator.
If Andy Reid wants to retain embattled defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in some other capacity, that’s a possibility as well, according to league sources. Spagnuolo is a disciple of former Eagles defensive guru Jim Johnson, and was much-liked during his eight-year stint on Andy Reid’s staff.
Spagnuolo wanted to take time off last week, according to a league source, but expect his phone to start ringing quickly.
This is great news for the Eagles if true. It’s a move that has been heavily speculated on for the past few weeks and has been on the minds of some Eagles fans for a few months now.
And as you may know, this is something that yours truly has been clamoring for since the beginning of December.
I also agree with the notion to retain Castillo. I think that’s important for him as a person, development as a coach, and keeping some continuity with the players. He could learn quite a bit about defensive game planning from a coach like Spags.
Spagnuolo originally came to the Eagles in 1999 as part of Andy Reid’s initial staff. He worked under Jim Johnson as an assistant coach and worked his way up from defensive assistant to defensive backs coach, and then to linebackers coach.
In 2006, when Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress took the head coaching job in Minnesota, he wanted Spagnuolo as his defensive coordinator. However, Andy Reid refused to let him out of his contract in Philadelphia.
Reid wasn’t trying to just block Spags from a promotion, he just recognized that Spagnuolo was a good, ascending coach and viewed him as Jim Johnson’s replacement if Johnson was to leave for a head coaching job.
However, Giants beat writer Mark Garafolo created a stir by digging up an old article where someone close to Spagnuolo said that those were “dark days” for Spags when Reid didn’t allow him to join Childress in Minny.
Ultimately, that was proven to not be a big deal as Reid and Spagnuolo have remained friends and Spags has nothing but all the respect in the world for the man who gave him his first opportunity in the NFL.
In 2007, Reid finally let him leave once the New York Giants came calling and hired Spags as their defensive coordinator.
Spags took over a Giants defense that ranked 25th in the NFL in 2006. In his first season as the head man on defense, he improved the unit all the way up to a No. 7 ranking, including an NFL-best 53 sacks.
Spagnuolo’s inaugural season as defensive coordinator culminated with a Super Bowl victory in which his defense shut down the explosive, and then undefeated, New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Quite a rookie debut, I’d say.
Spagnuolo kept the Giants’ defense playing at a high level in 2008 and ended the season as the No. 5 ranked defense. Two stellar seasons as a coordinator catapulted him into a head coaching job for the St. Louis Rams.
Now, after a miserable three-years in St. Louis where he accumulated just a 10-38 record, Spags may be heading back to where it all began.
He is exactly what the Eagles need to take the defense to another level.
With the Eagles facing eight playoff teams next season, along with some pretty good quarterbacks, they’ll need an experienced coordinator who can devise an effective game plan to shut those teams down.