- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2008

PHOENIX — Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said yesterday he hopes to have a new coach in place by the end of the week and will select from a pool of two to three candidates.

Speaking after the Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement — which included former Redskins Darrell Green and Art Monk — Snyder indicated he is waiting until after tonight’s Super Bowl to continue the interview process.

The three candidates are believed to be Jim Fassel, Ron Meeks and Steve Spagnuolo. Steve Mariucci could enter the mix after his interview today.

A league source said Spagnuolo, the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator, will return to New Jersey with the team Monday, but the Redskins are still waiting to contact him. New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is not under consideration.

“We would have liked this to be done two weeks ago, but I wish people would recognize our initial target list and it dragged on because of the Super Bowl,” Snyder said. “We all wanted it to be faster. But this is our process and this is us being patient going through the process.”

Snyder said the Redskins’ assistant coaches, minus running backs coach Earnest Byner and quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, have signed multiyear contract extensions. Those deals likely are through at least 2010.

The entire training and strength-conditioning staffs also will return.

Byner interviewed last week for a similar position with Tampa Bay and has turned down a one-year extension by the Redskins.

Lazor, who is unlikely to be retained, has interviewed with another team.

Although he fired coordinators Gregg Williams and Al Saunders, Snyder said continuity has remained his goal throughout the search.

“That’s one of the things we’ve really focused on,” he said. “It became very apparent during the process that everybody agreed we had a great coaching staff. The promotion of Greg Blache [to defensive coordinator] will go a long way because he’s a really fantastic coach and a great guy.”

Snyder defended the hiring of both coordinators before a head coach.

“Jim Zorn is the only coach we’ve added so in reality, we’re not hiring as much as we’re keeping,” he said. “We thought [adding Zorn] would be a smart move, and we did it. Other than that, we have not turned over our coaching staff.”

If Byner and Lazor don’t return, the Redskins will have a minimum of four new assistants — defensive line, running backs, quarterbacks and Zorn — on staff.

Speaking from his home in North Carolina, former coach Joe Gibbs supported Snyder’s move in hiring Zorn and Blache ahead of his replacement.

“If you wait until late in the process, in this case going after the Super Bowl, a lot of the key people will be signed up by different teams,” Gibbs said. “Dan couldn’t afford to wait or he was going to lose a lot of good coaches.”

Gibbs, who has not participated in any of the interviews, defended the way Snyder is conducting the search.

“I’ve been staying quiet on the process out of respect for the process,” Gibbs said. “Some people took that to mean I was disappointed. That’s not the case at all. I want to emphasize that I think Dan has been very, very thorough. In the end, what’s going to come out of this is that he’s going to make a great choice for the Redskins.”

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