Spags Report

Posted: December 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 54 Comments »

This is the time of year when the rumor mill gets over-worked.  One thing that you must do when reading rumors is consider the source.  Is this guy likely to have knowledge of the Eagles and/or the player/coach talked about in the rumor?

The rumor du jour (Sounds good…I’ll have that) is that Steve Spagnuolo will be fired by the Rams and hired by the Eagles to be the DC in 2012.  The rumor comes from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Tribune.  Here’s the line specifically:

League sources also said this week that it is all but certain that Spagnuolo will join Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator.

Could this be true?  Sure.  We’ve talked about Spags rejoining the Eagles for a while now.  That said, let’s read this carefully.  A reporter from San Diego is doing a story on where the Chargers GM might end up if fired by them.  The projected team is the Rams.  The story says that Spags, the current Rams coach, will be fired and move on to the Eagles.  We’ve got a Chargers expert telling us what will happen in the Rams future and with the future of the Rams current coach, involving a third team.  Forgive me if I’m reluctant to buy the rumor.

Kevin Acee is a good reporter.  He is a very good source for Chargers news.  I have no idea if he’s a good source for Rams news.  I know that he’s never been a go-to source for Eagles news.  Hell, Eagles beat writers have trouble finding out Eagles news.  “League sources” know what Spags future is?

This feels much more like someone guessing and trying to connect the dots.  The report might turn out to be true, but I find it hard to believe the Eagles are actively talking to Spags about his future.  He’s still the HC in St. Louis and the Eagles have a DC in place.

Once the season ends and Spags is actually fired, I’m sure the Eagles will consider adding him.  Nothing is a done deal right now.  Spags has a good reputation.  He’s likely to have multiple jobs to choose from.  Does he want to return to the nest?  Does he go back to NY if they fire Perry Fewell (which wouldn’t shock me)?  Does Spags want to go elsewhere?

We know from watching Andy Reid over the years that he is very methodical.  He moves at his own pace and follows his plan.  We don’t know if Spags fits that plan right now.  About a week from now we’ll start to find out.

This isn’t a complete no-brainer for either side.  Spags would need to see how he’d fit in here.  Would he be the DC or some other title?  Would he work with Juan or replace him?  Does the Wide-9 stay?  I’m sure Spags goal is to rehab his image and work toward another HC job.  Does coming back to Philly help that goal?   Reid has to deliver serious results next year.  Spags could see the Eagles as a pressure-cooker situation that could blow up and not want to return.

For the Eagles, they need to figure out Juan’s future.  Do you fire him and replace him with Spags?  Do you hire Spags to help him?  Is Spags the right guy?  Is he coming here for a year or two?  Is that worth it if Spags wants to be the DC?

* * * * *

Assuming Spags does get fired, I’m sure the lure of getting to “coach” Derek Landri will peak his interest.  I say “coach” because really…does anyone need to tell the sun to be hot or water to be wet?  Derek Landri is a great player.  That’s just a fact.  The sun sets in the West.  Derek Landri will sack QBs in the East (unless it is a road game and then he does it wherever the game is…but you get the point).

54 Comments on “Spags Report”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 11:44 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    I see Braylon Edwards was released by the 49ers. I wonder if the Eagles would pick him up as insurance in case Jackson walks next season. Hard to believe Edwards went from being a top ten receiver a couple years ago to where he is now.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 12:08 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Not interested in Braylon. Underachiever. I’ll pass.

    Not sure what DJax’s future is, but there are other options, draft and otherwise. Pass on Braylon.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 8:44 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Yeah, no thanks. Guy has all the talent but has played his way out of favor in three places in three seasons. Pass.

  4. 4 Daniel Suraci said at 11:44 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    I vote we keep Juan. We need something to complain about.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 12:08 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Sometimes the obvious thing is simply overlooked. Hadn’t considered this angle, but it makes complete sense. Besides, Eagles fans are just getting the hang of hating the guy. Firing him means we need a new person to hate on. It could take us half a season to get the feel of things. That means a lot of awkward complaining.

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 1:41 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Along these lines, any chance we can bring back Joe Kuharich?

  7. 7 James Wann said at 3:01 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Nah. He should do the press conferences.

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 11:47 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    This is exactly what I was thinking, whenever there is a report like this you have to be skeptical especially when it is a West Coast reporter reporting on the Eagles. As it is in my mind Castillo has earned another year at DC with the way the defense has been playing.

  9. 9 Trevor Turner said at 12:07 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Call me ignorant, but I’m having a hard time buying into this “defensive resurgence” when the opposing QBs were Matt Moore, Matt Sanchez and Stephen McGee.

    If Castillo is kept, it will remind me a lot of how everyone overreacted to 2 good games from Jamar Chaney at the end of last year.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 12:26 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    I approve of this post. I would love to keep Castillo around just not as the DC. Lets him build himself up like anyone else before getting thrown in the deep end like he was this year.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 1:27 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    That is a fair point, but check out the way those guys were playing coming into the game. Moore had 8 TDs, 1 INT in recent hot streak. We shut him down. Since then, he’s had 5 TDs, 1 INT. Stayed hot.

    Sanchez had 7 TDs, 1 INT in games prior to us. Mark stayed cold and struggled vs Giants.

    Cowboys game is oddest. We knocked out the starting QB. Backup came in with no practice/prep and struggled. They do have good weapons, but that game is hard to read too much into w/ QB situation.

    The other key point in all of this…the D played well at times early in the year. The problem was not playing consistently well. They’ve done that for 3 straight games. We dominated Dallas when they did have Romo. We are the team that sent Sam Bradford and the Rams spiraling in a bad direction. Remember that some people thought the Rams would win the NFC West back in September.

    We’re 8th in yards and 12th in points. That isn’t all due to playing crappy QBs or getting lucky.

  12. 12 Steve H said at 1:52 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    For me its about the eyeball test. Its not just the stats and who we played, but how we looked doing it. 3 weeks ago was the first time all season where we were actually gang tackling, with 6 or 7 guys piling up on a ball carrier. Guys were playing faster and with more enthusiasm and making more plays.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 2:53 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    This. Also when our STs or O coughed the ball up, bar ! TD to Miami, we got a turnover of our own. WWe made enough mistakes in one of those games to look, well like we have looked most of the season, yet the D pulled us back.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 2:41 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Count me as a skeptic, but the good performances against bad offenses helmed by mediocre QBs rings hollow to me. The Eagles D shut down Matt Moore and Sanchise, blah, blah. Yes the very same defense that had Tavaris Jackson looking like Joe Montana. Eagles are 12th in points, but if Reid buddy, Bellichik, didn’t take his foot off the gas pedal, New England could’ve lit the Eagles up for 50+ points. Here’s a great retort to anyone “believing” the defensive resurgence meme:

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 3:13 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    This is nonsense. They’ve played well over a 10 game stretch.
    Every team plays mostly mediocre QBs, there are 32 teams and only 10 top ten QBs. So there are a bunch of guys who aren’t top QBs.

    Go check the Ravens schedule, Big Ben (2), Schaub, Rivers, the other 11 games were against the second raters, unless you think Dalton as a rookie is a top 10 QB (no way).

    You hope to slow down the top QBs, shut down the good but not great QBs more often than not (Romo, Eli) and beat the mediocre QBs (but they have a good game every so often, even Jackson and Skelton).

    This isn’t a great defense, but to denigrate the way they’ve played for 10 games is more about hatin’ on Juan than objective analysis.

  16. 16 Nicholas Hill said at 8:29 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Excellent point. I concur.

    Objectively, there is no way to deny that this defense has made massive strides throughout the season. Since the first Washington game, this defense has been, for the most part on of the top 10 defenses in the league.

    True, the Pats game was not good at all, but, Brady is capable of baffling the best defensive coordinators in the league. The blame for this season falls in so many places, it’s insane. This ludicrous need to fire someone, for the sake of having a fall guy, needs to stop. That kind of crap will make talented coaches think twice about coming to Philadelphia in the future.

  17. 17 Jason A Hines said at 2:27 AM on December 28th, 2011:

    I don’t think anyone disagrees that changes need to be made, the questions is “What changes?” Will this be fixed by better LBs? Or do we need a new DC? Do we need to pick up a veteran safety who can actually challenge to be a starter, or will the continued development of the young guys be enough? I’m not even saying that Castillo should be kept, but we cannot deny that the defense has looked better in the types of games that they were losing earlier in the season.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 3:09 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    It’s not like McGee left a lot of points on the field, even against good QBs, you get the lucky defensive performance where the QB misses (or the WR drops, see the playoffs last year) the wide open pass.

    The only pass McGee missed was Robinson down the sideline, and if it isn’t a perfect pass, DRC probably catches up to him, that’s the advantage of great recovery speed for a CB. Other than that, he was throwing under pressure, and most of his completions came on scrambles when receivers worked free or short passes where defenders did a good job of tackling in the open field.

    Otherwise, McGee did a great job not making mistakes, hitting the open guy and scrambling to keep plays alive, but he was under constant pressure all game. I’m not sure Romo would have fared any better. Hard to play QB when both OTs are getting bitch slapped all game.

    Does the Falcon defense suck? Because Brees took them apart, frankly, even the top defenses struggle to stop Brees, Rodgers and Brady. So if you’re only going to use these three QBs as a measure, who has a good defense?

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 10:41 AM on December 28th, 2011:

    “frankly, even the top defenses struggle to stop Brees, Rodgers and Brady. So if you’re only going to use these three QBs as a measure, who has a good defense?”

    i’ve been wondering this exact question myself. everyone says “the d played well against a bunch of no-name qbs, but sucked against tom brady!”
    IIRC, we actually had a good game on D for the first half. they made some adjustments and we couldn’t counter. shutting down tom brady for a half of a game is more than most teams can say…

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 12:17 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Reid, Spags and Gruden all have the same agent: Bob LaMonte. So it’s rather obvious who our League Source in question here is. Doesn’t make it any less or more likely; but you’d think that the individuals involved would all be on board with the potential moves. Unless it’s just a case of LaMonte revving up interest on behalf of his clients.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 1:28 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Good point about the agent. Completely overlooked that angle. And you are also right that he could be using this angle to generate buzz/competition for Spags services.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 12:31 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    This post by Tommy makes me sad. Usually speculation about next year begins heavily after the regular season/playoffs; not with 1 week to go in the regular season. Oh well let the dreaming of next year begin because to be an Eagles fan is to continually subscribe to the notion that “hope springs eternal”. Tommy get to some more write-ups on prospects over at the SN site. Information is looking a bit stale.

  23. 23 Gregory Post said at 12:58 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    “Steve, we’d love to have you coach our defense in Philadelphia”
    “I don’t know, New York is offering me a lot more money…”
    “But you get to coach Derek Landri”

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 1:29 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    See how easy that is.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 1:50 PM on December 27th, 2011:


    Any preliminary thoughts on whether Spags is even the right guy to bring back — on the assumption that Washburn’s going no where.

    And also noting that Spags’s defenses have finished in Points Allowed: 17, 5, 31, 12, 24 (with 1 game to play).

    Here are the stats for Spags’ as DC and HC/DC:

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 2:01 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    That 17th in Pts allowed finish was the year that the Giants won the SB. They were awful for the first month, then got better.

    Spags is a good defensive coach, not great. He doesn’t have the track record of Dom Capers, Gregg Williams, Monte Kiffin, or Wade Phillips. Those guys have done it for years and years, and with different teams.

    As long as Spags could handle the Wide-9, I think I’d be fine with him coming back. I really like the DL right now and don’t want to change it all that much. Spags believes in a 1-gap scheme so the Wide-9 isn’t worlds different. We have blitzed more recently so I’m sure we could incorporate some of Spags blitzing ideas.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 3:21 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Frankly, I’d feel more comfortable with Spags as an assistant HC role, consulting with Juan and acting as a “super scout”, reviewing both Tennessee and Eagle game film to see what works (and what doesn’t work) with the wide 9, providing advice on personnel, schemes, etc.

    Meanwhile Juan can focus on the nitty gritty of coaching as the DC, with Spags providing an objective voice guiding him. This also would allow Spags to focus on the big picture, and grow as a future HC by working on more than just coaching, interacting with Howie and Banner, interacting with AR.

    This would preserve continuity, reward Juan for a job well done, but ensure more adult supervision than Lynn provided this season.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 10:43 AM on December 28th, 2011:

    all of this.

    plus, in this position, we could keep spags on board in case we want to give him a different position later – move him to DC or even HC, perhaps.

  29. 29 Jonathan said at 1:56 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    It all makes too much sense for it to happen. Castillo gets to continue in DC role while being mentored by assistant head coach Spags for a year or two while he bides his time waiting for either the Eagles head coach vacancy to open or another good job. The team hones its use of the Wide 9, while incorporating some better blitz packages in the red zone. Big Red can go back to the days when he could completely turn the defense over to someone else and concentrate on the offense and preparation for each game (his real strengths). Sounds like a recipe for success, which means it won’t happen.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 2:04 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    What’s the take on Spagnuolo as a possible future successor to Reid? Are the reasons he may be fired from St. Louis issues that likely would come up for him again?

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 2:22 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Good question. I need to do some research on the STL situation. I know that team has been highly dysfunctional since the last years of the Martz era. The organization needs strong leadership. Spags did some good things, but also made some mistakes. I bet he really regrets hiring Josh McDaniels.

  32. 32 Matthew Verhoog said at 2:39 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    STL best receivers are guys that could hardly make our team.

  33. 33 Anonymous said at 5:21 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    And at this point I’m pretty sure they are on their 8th string cornerback

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 9:03 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    They have 10 CBs on IR. Shocking. Never heard of such a thing.

  35. 35 ChowderFACE said at 2:20 PM on December 27th, 2011:


    I know this is just pure theoretical but what are your thoughts on adding a Colston to the WR crew opposite Maclin. I know he is injured often but I think he could be an interesting replacement if DJax skips down. Sure he doesnt have the speed but he does add a different dimension that the Eagles have lacked for a very long time

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 2:35 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Love the thought of a guy like Colston. I’d love to add a big WR to the mix. Cost will be issue. He’s looking for big bucks. Some other team may overpay for his services (Rams? Panthers?). Eagles aren’t going to go into crazy bidding war for WR.

    And there is always the possibility we keep DJax and just draft someone.

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 3:17 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    There are a lot of WRs who will hit the market this year, if they don’t get resigned before March, which will drive the price down (plus there are a couple premier WRs in the draft who’ll start as rookies).

    Most teams don’t want to pay top dollars to more than one WR, NO will have to choose between Colston, Meachem and the knowledge they have to ante up a top contract to Graham after next season.

    This may also help the DeSean negotiations, coming off a so-so season, with durability question marks, he may not have nearly the demand than Rosenhaus has lead him to believe. Not when you can sign Vincent Jackson as your deep threat.

  38. 38 Matthew Verhoog said at 2:38 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Colston a bit of rich mans riley cooper?

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 3:42 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Colston is much, much, much better. Not fair to compare them.

    Riley can develop into good role player, but I don’t know that he’ll ever be a starter. Colston is an outstanding WR.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 2:33 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    I think that Spags would be good as DC and that there’s about a 1.7% chance he would accept being anything other than a DC. Remember how quickly McDermott got a job, Allen was hired after the Eagles interview, the slim pickins of DCs that lots of columns focused on. Rivera didn’t hire McDermott because he wanted Reid to keep playing golf with him. Spags will get DC offers and he will take one rather than a lesser role, in part because he wants to prove himself in the role again.

    I am not sold on Spags as a HC.

    Whether Jack Del Rio would be good is something the coaching grapevine would have a lot more insight on than an observer, but that seems interesting to me.

    Castillo: I was one of the “fire Juan” folks in October but considering the circumstances of his new job, the strike, and the fact that he not only wais an OL coach but likes to tinker with his own ideas he may have found his stride as DC even if he and the team were truly awful earlier. Andy knows the guy is smart and that’s why he picked him, even though not getting a more experienced guy may have cost them a deep playoff run. I’m not sold on Juan for ’12 but it has a chance of working out..

  41. 41 Anonymous said at 2:35 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    The other thing about Spags is that he plays his options well.. turning down the Redskins job when Zorn was picked knowing he would get a shot elsewhere. He will wait for the right situation.

  42. 42 Anonymous said at 3:56 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    FYI…Matt Moore is 11th in the NFL in QB rating.
    89.8, with 15 TDs and only 7 picks. If not for Eagles game, would probably be 90+.

  43. 43 Liam Garrett said at 5:22 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Hey, Tommy. All this talk about next year’s defense has gotten my mind turning, and I have a couple questions:

    – What do you think is the most we can reasonably get for Asante? A first-round pick in the upcoming draft?

    – I just read a blog saying that we should try to trade for the Niners’ Larry Grant. I know Grant is good, but this blog was saying he is a diamond in the rough. What’s your take on him?

    – Okay, this isn’t strictly a defense question, but can we put a franchise tag on Desean after this season, then trade him? Would that work?*

    *I ask that last question because I dream of a scenario where we unload Asante and Desean (and maybe even some loose weight like Chaney), and we’re able to to pick up a guy like Grant, draft both Blackmon AND Kueckly, and throw whatever money is left (AFTER we resign Landri, of course) at Stephen Tulloch, meaning our linebackers would be Grant, Tulloch, and your newest son Kueckly joining your older son, Brian Rolle.

    Ahhh…. Dreaming is fun. (Let me know how nuts I am.)

  44. 44 Thorin McGee said at 5:22 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    The Eagles D is 8th in yardage and 10th in points right now. Tougher to fire that DC than it sounds.

    Against Juan: A bunch of 4th Q collapses where the defense took the blame for the loss and our eventual 4-8 record. (I have put these ont he D too).

    For Juan: The stats say the D is good, despite the Eagles O being at the bottom of the league in turnovers.

    Now, the Philly press has been quick to call that a spin, a mirage, a hallucination, a tease and every other synonym for bullshit a mid-college journalism degree provides. But these are the same guys who put “terrible press conferences” at the top of the list of reasons he should be fired. The local press has been tyring to fire Andy since the first time they talked to him, he makes their job harder, and this season is their best chance to do it. These are not unbiased articles we’re reading.

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 5:28 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    I read that Stevie “why god? why?” Johnson is looking for about 9 mil a year up in Buffalo, and they are afraid the front office isn’t gonna pay up. Now that’s obviously what he is asking for now so he probably would take somewhere around 7.5-8. I’m sorry but I see Stevie and DJax as similar type receivers with the only difference being that Stevie is a year or two older and doesn’t return punts.

  46. 46 Anonymous said at 5:59 PM on December 27th, 2011:


    Sorry if you already addressed this.

    What’s your opinion on playing/resting Shady this week? I know he may be within reach of the rushing title, but a lot of bad things can happen in a pile.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 6:23 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Re: Colton as a free agent

    How much is he a product of Drew Brees’ precision passing?

    He’s not a deep threat. Neither is Maclin.

    I think we’d be disappointed.

    Keep D-Jax . . . the Devil we know.

  48. 48 Anonymous said at 7:52 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    I know I’m bias in this thought, and we have other positions of need (LB), but if we could get Mcnutt (WR) in the 3rd round or later I would be a happy camper.

  49. 49 Jose Antonio Contreras said at 8:07 PM on December 27th, 2011:


    Looking ahead to ’12, we get to face the hottest division in the AFC (PIT, BAL, CIN) and the streaky NFC South (Brees, Ryan&Roddy&Julio, Cam, etc). With a win on sunday, we stay at no. 2 in the East, meaning we also get to face DET. I just don’t feel good or think Castillo, even with a whole off-season on his back, will be up to the task. This streak we’re on lately is encouraging, but having to face this teams next season will be much tougher, and considering that it will be probably Andy’s last chance to win it all, I don’t think the front office feels easy either.

    What options besides from the Spags hype do we have for DC?

    PS. Next season will be the first time since ’06 we don’t get to face the Bears. About time huh?

  50. 50 Anonymous said at 8:58 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Earl Thomas makes the Pro Bowl. Where are you Morton! You nailed it. Time to fire roseman.

  51. 51 Steve H said at 11:01 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Not terribly impressed with Campbell. He’s just a name.

  52. 52 Anonymous said at 8:42 AM on December 28th, 2011:

    Who is Campbell? I was just making a joke as Earl Thomas is a player referenced as an option to draft instead of Graham. That an JPP.

  53. 53 Anonymous said at 9:43 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    I think you read the journalistic situation there pretty well.

    (Alleged) Abuse of “sources close to” really hurts the credibility of those who are doing legwork and getting legitimate tips. I find it hard to believe that a not-fired coach has a job lined up, although I’d find it hard to believe feelers haven’t been put out.

    Maybe this whole thing is to gauge reaction to both moves.

  54. 54 Sjampen said at 9:46 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    Its even worse than that isn’t it. The story basically is a non fired general manager will replace another non fired general manager and fire a HC who will replace a non fired DC for a third team.