- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PHOENIX — As his search for a coach reaches a third week today, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is expanding his options.

Snyder chatted with Pete Carroll over the weekend, but the conversation never reached the interview stage once the Southern Cal coach outlined his demands for near full-control of the football side of the organization.

Carroll was an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 and 1996, when Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato worked in the club’s front office.

Cerrato still was there when Steve Mariucci became the 49ers’ coach in 1997, and sources with knowledge of the situation said Mariucci now is under consideration.

Mariucci, now employed by the NFL Network, could meet with Snyder and Cerrato in Arizona tomorrow, a day after they hold a second interview with Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks.

The former Redskins defensive backs coach — he worked for the team in 2000 — is the only minority candidate in the process. Meeks would join deposed assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams and former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel as the only candidates to meet twice with the Redskins‘ braintrust.

Mariucci, who last coached in 2005 with the Detroit Lions, is known to want to get back into coaching. One hangup could be his relationship with Cerrato, whom he declined to keep on when the 49ers’ front office broke up in 1998.

Snyder and Cerrato could spend Thursday here talking with current front-runner Fassel, an Arizona resident.

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is expected to meet with Snyder and Cerrato shortly after his team plays the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII here Sunday.

Snyder and Cerrato also are considering asking for permission to speak to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is on the verge of a contract extension with his current team. On Jan. 11, three days after coach Joe Gibbs resigned, Schwartz became the first candidate the Redskins interviewed.

Williams, meanwhile, was in Jacksonville yesterday to interview for the Jaguars’ vacant defensive coordinator position. Snyder fired Williams on Saturday and replaced him with defensive line coach Greg Blache.

Former associate head coach Al Saunders, also fired Saturday, is in negotiations with the St. Louis Rams for their offensive coordinator position. Saunders served as an assistant in the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

Saunders also is a candidate for the same spot with the Oakland Raiders. If owner Al Davis succeeds in forcing out coach Lane Kiffin, Saunders also could be a candidate for that position.