College Defensive Coach To Replace Jim Haslett: Lou Spanos
Spanos is familiar to both the Redskins and Redskins fans as he was the team’s linebacker coach for two years (2010 and 2011) when Mike Shanahan first took over. He was then hired as the defensive coordinator at UCLA where been these past two seasons.
Why the Redskins Want Him:
Spanos is familiar with Mike Shanahan from his two years in DC so there may be a more seamless transition than many of the other options. Spanos also would be familiar with some key players including Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, and Perry Riley (assuming Orakpo and Riley are back), which could help with this team buying into his system. Though Spanos has spent the last two years at the collegiate level, his previous 17 years of experience all came at the NFL level, with 15 years in Pittsburgh and 2 years in DC. Spanos understands the 3-4 defense as good as anyone, after spending so many years in the Pittsburgh organization many under the tutelage of Dick LeBeau. Learning under LeBeau is about the best teaching one could ask for and could offer the tweaks this Redskins defense needs to pick their level of play up.
Spanos brought his 3-4 defense to UCLA under Jim Mora Jr. and has quickly turned them into a respectable defense. Spanos has the Bruins generating a lot of pressure and had them 8th in the nation in total sacks his first year at UCLA. Spanos could also bring some knowledge and creativity that he’s seen at the college level to find some more wrinkles to use on defense and help combat the high powered NFL offenses.
Why Spanos Might Be Interested In Coming to DC:
Yes Spanos has only been at his job for two years, but he’s probably not looking to stay at the collegiate level for long. Spanos has spent almost his entire coaching tenure at the NFL level and would probably relish the chance at a defensive coordinator job. This is also of course a job where he’d be familiar with some of the coaches and players (though that could possibly be a negative) so that could make this more interesting than some other job offers out there. Spanos is definitely known in some circles, but unlike some of the top defensive coordinators in college he’s probably not going to be fielding a lot of big job offers this year.
Now Mike Shanahan’s future status could be a detractor for Spanos, as he may want better job security to make the jump at this point. Also, Spanos may want to make some coaching moves, which Shanahan may not approve of and could be a deal breaker for him.
Chance Of Happening:
This is actually probably the most likely of any of the college defensive coordinators profiled that could come to DC. It’s unknown how the relationship between Mike Shanahan and Lou Spanos was during his time in Washington, but assuming that it wasn’t too bad there are enough reasons why this could happen. Spanos is one of the few coaches who might not be too turned off if Mike Shanahan is viewed as a lame duck coach. Also he might not look to make wholesale changes to the coaching staff, which probably would be a major road block to Mike Shanahan. Spanos might not be the best option, but he is probably the best that Shanahan can get this year and could hopefully be the upgrade the Redskins need.