Thursday, September 17, 2009

Almost - Part One

Could have been our coach

Sunday the Redskins play the St. Louis Rams, led by their new head coach Steve Spagnulo, the former defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, beyond wanting some get back for what happened last season against the Rams, this game will also be infused with a certain sense of what if, for you see Steve very nearly was the Redskins head coach. Today Curly R begins a two part series on Steve Spagnulo's Redskins fly by on the way to head coach.

Part One: How Steve Became Spags
Part Two: Almost the Redskins Coach


Steve Spagnuolo was a wide receiver at Springfield College in Springfield Massachusetts, the football field there is called Stagg Field after Amos Alonzo Stagg, the football pioneer that brought such radical ideas to football as names on uniforms, the lateral, the man in motion, the tackling dummy, the Statue of Liberty play and not insignificantly, helmets. Springfield College was Amos' first full time coaching gig in 1890 and 1891 after graduating from Yale in 1889.

Steve graduated in 1982 and joined the University of Massachusetts that fall as a graduate assistant, nearly lost in the sands of time is that Steve is also a former member of the Redskins staff, he was a player personnel intern in 1983.

Who joined the Redskins in 1983? Babe Laufenberg, Charles Mann, Darrell Green and Kelvin Bryant.

Steve got back into coaching in 1984 at Lafayette College and then and forever after was a defensive coach. By 1999 Steve had made the jump full time to the NFL, Andy Reid hired Steve as a defensive assistant, in 2001 Steve became the Eagles defensive backs coach and in 2004 was became the linebackers coach in Philadelphia. In all Steve spent eight years under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.

Before the 2007 season Tom Coughlin came calling and Steve left Philadelphia to become the defensive coordinator in New York, replacing Tim Lewis who had cultivated an aggressive scheme in Pittsburgh but moved the Giants' defense to a read-react scheme, coach Coughlin wanted to bring some aggression to his team and went calling for a Jim Johnson disciple.

While in New York, Steve's defenses were elite, in 2007, the year New York won the Super Bowl, the Giants defense was seventh in fewest yards per game, eighth in fewest rushing yards per game, eleventh in fewest passing yards per game, fifth in lowest opponents' passing percentage, and get this number one in the league in sacks with 53, six more than the next team.

They won the freaking Super Bowl! They put down the Patriots, 2007's version of the Evil Empire. And they did it on the strength of a defense coached by Steve.

It is understandable with his pedigree and experience that Steve Spagnuolo would soon attract attention as a head coaching candidate. First among Steve's suitors in the 2008 offseason was Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Steve Spagnulo's Almost concludes tomorrow with part two, Almost the Redskins Coach.

Steve Spagnuolo: AP photo from here.