Inside the Out Clause

Spagnuolo as a Giant Could Spags be angling back to NY?

ProFootballTalk picked up on an item in the latest Bernie Bits column, and turned it into a tiny seed of a nightmare.

When Steve Spagnuolo agreed to become the Rams’ head coach, he had an opt-out clause inserted in his contract. If the franchise got sold, Spagnuolo would be free to leave the Rams. The sale and Khan’s approval won’t become official for at least a couple of months, but I don’t think Spagnuolo is going anywhere.

Bernie Bits, Feb 13 2010

ProFootballTalk added a bit of snark to their analysis, stating: “So if anyone wants a coach who went 1-15 last year, the line starts, well, pretty much anywhere.”

Sure, we readily admit that Spags hasn’t burnished his head-coaching resume with a 1-15 start in the pros, even if he earns high marks for leadership and team development. But I can tell you right off that there’s one very high profile team with a lot of money on hand that would love to have Spagnuolo back: The New York Giants.

Is this a real worry? Mike from G-Men Den on FanBall offers his thoughts after the break:

G-Men Den: Wow, I had no idea about that clause… very intriguing. I will say this, however….Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese are committed to Perry Fewell, and they aren’t the type of management team that would let Fewell go before even giving him a chance.

RamsHerd: I admit, the Perry Fewell signing wasn’t on my radar. In searching for “Giants replace Bill Sheridan,” no articles on Fewell turned up. Knowing he’s in place sets my mind at ease. And reading what’s out there, it sounds like the Giants found a Spagnuolo clone:

What the Giants will get is a passionate coach who has a reputation as a yeller on the sideline. But former Bills and Rutgers defensive end Ryan Neill rarely heard Fewell curse at or berate a player. Rather, everyone understood Fewell’s intent was “to chew you out, tell you how to do it the right way and then applaud you when you did it right.”

… Pass defense has been the strength of units run by Fewell, a former defensive backs coach. The Bills ranked second to the Jets in passing yards per game allowed, and their 28 interceptions were also second-most in the league. Buffalo also finished seventh in 2006 and 13th in 2008. The only hiccup on Fewell’s watch came in 2007, when the Bills slipped to 29th.

Wilson said the biggest key was a solid pass rush that disrupted the offense’s rhythm, forced opposing quarterbacks to move the “launch point” of their passes by creating pressure and allowed the defensive backs to be aggressive.

— Perry Fewell charged with restoring pride to disgraced Giants defense.

G-Men Den: Yeah, I am very excited about Fewell… he comes from that same school of being aggressive and attacking that Spags has.

Now, if in 2010 Fewell doesn’t do much better than Bill Sheridan, and if Spags suffers through another awful season, all bets are off….in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spags eventually winds up as the Giants’ head coach.

RamsHerd: I think that in itself says something about the esteem that Spagnuolo has in New York. That fans in the hottest sports cauldron in the US would welcome a coach coming off two potentially miserable seasons, and task him with returning them to their Super Bowl glory… and what’s more, I have little doubt he could do it. Hopefully, though, it’s here in St Louis.