- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Steve Spagnuolo’s whirlwind three days continued last night with a trip aboard Redskin One and the start of his interview with Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for the team’s coaching vacancy.

Spagnuolo, the New York Giants’ first-year defensive coordinator whose unit was key in Sunday’s Super Bowl XLII upset of the New England Patriots, flew home with the team Monday and spoke with Snyder for 90 minutes that night.

A person close to the situation said the conversation went “great.”

Yesterday, Spagnuolo attended the Giants’ ticker-tape parade in Manhattan before flying south to meet with Snyder and executive vice president Vinny Cerrato at Snyder’s Potomac residence.

The late start to the process means the session will resume today and probably will delay any announcement of a new coach until Friday, 31 days after Joe Gibbs retired for the second time.

Spagnuolo is the sixth candidate to interview for the job. Snyder stalled the search nearly two weeks ago so he could interview Spagnuolo.

“He’s been waiting for him ever since the Giants beat Dallas, when he took care of the Cowboys with basically a makeshift secondary,” a league source said.

The source confirmed Spagnuolo’s interest in the job.

After last night’s press conference to recognize elected Hall of Fame players Darrell Green and Art Monk, Snyder refused to set a timetable on a hire.

“We’re going to back to work [last night], and hopefully we’ll be making the right decision in the very near future,” he said. “We told everybody up front we’d do a full process, and we got a little delayed because of the playoffs. I would obviously liked to have had it happen sooner, to be able to have interviewed everyone, but we’re going to finalize our decisions in the near future.”

On Saturday, Snyder said he wanted the process wrapped up by the end of this week.

“We’ve been working hard the whole time and doing it thorough and all of our research and our references and every detail, every ‘I’ has been dotted, every ‘t’ has been crossed. … We’re trying to do the right thing.”

Spagnuolo, a league source said, has been on Snyder’s list since the start of the search. He emerged as a legitimate candidate after the he devised game plans to defeat Jeff Garcia, Tony Romo, Brett Favre and Tom Brady.

The Giants are formulating a contract offer that would include a substantial pay raise to keep Spagnuolo.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who has one season left on his contract, is expected to sign a multiyear extension, so even if a new contract for Spagnuolo with New York included a provision that would name him Coughlin’s successor, it could prove to be a long wait.

While dodging Spagnuolo’s candidacy, Snyder said the Giants’ defensive performance against the Patriots — New England was held to season lows in points and yards — impressed him.

“It was a very interesting game to see the most explosive offense I’ve seen in years and years be slowed down like that,” he said. “It was quite impressive.”

As Spagnuolo is interviewing, Jim Fassel, Ron Meeks and Steve Mariucci await word on Snyder’s decision. A league source said Mariucci remains in the mix.

Staff writer Bob Cohn contributed to this article.

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