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Redskins deserve praise for grandiose dreams

PHOENIX -- When USC coach Pete Carroll spoke with the Atlanta Falcons about their head coaching vacancy, mass speculation ensued.

When Carroll then met with the Redskins about their head coaching vacancy, no one noticed.

But multiple NFL sources confirmed Sunday that Carroll recently met with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder in St. Louis while the USC coach was on a recruiting trip.

Like he did with the Falcons, Carroll listened to the Redskins. Like he did with the Falcons -– and Dolphins and Chargers last year –- Carroll appreciated the potential opportunity, but declined to engage in significant talks.

A source close to the situation said Carroll was far more intrigued with the Washington situation than the Atlanta one. But in the end, both ended with the same result. Carroll passed.

Yet, Washington deserves applause for its grandiose dreams. It did its best to see if it could persuade Carroll to return to the NFL. But if and when Carroll does return -– and why would he keep listening to all these teams if he wasn't considering it? -– then he wants it to be the absolute perfect situation, with the ideal owner, and equally good conditions.

Still, one of the Redskins' ideas was to potentially team Carroll with renowned defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, whose contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was set to expire.

Kiffin entertained the idea of leaving Tampa before re-signing with the Buccaneers. But before he re-signed, one of the opportunities he considered was the Redskins, where he could have been teamed with Carroll, a coach he likes and respects immensely.

Candidates in Washington


The Redskins are the only remaining team with a head coaching vacancy. These are the candidates reportedly being considered:

Jim Fassel
The former Giants coach emerged in the past week as a serious candidate for the position. He has a 58-53-1 career record.

Ron Meeks
The Indianapolis Colts' defensive coordinator worked for one year in Washington during the 2000 season under Norv Turner.

Jim Schwartz
The Tennessee Titans' defensive coordinator took over for Williams when he left to become Buffalo's head coach in 2001.

Carroll once worked with Kiffin's son, Lane, at USC, and the feeling is that one day in the future, Carroll and the senior Kiffin will work together. Where and when, of course, are the big questions. But it was not going to be in Washington, despite the Redskins' efforts.

Once Carroll removed himself from the Redskins competition, Washington proceeded with its multitude of other candidates, each anxious to land the job. As it did, the Redskins came to a realization that could help drive their selection. The realization is this: America loves second chances and few have thrived on them any more than football coaches.

Eight of the past 10 Super Bowl-winning coaches have been on their second head coaching job.

After this Super Bowl, in which New England's Bill Belichick will oppose New York's Tom Coughlin, it will be nine of 11, giving the Redskins more of a reason to select former Giants head coach Jim Fassel as their next head coach.

Fassel remains the leading candidate. Seemingly, the only way the Redskins will not hire him is if Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense shuts down New England in Super Bowl XLII and then Spagnuolo wows Snyder in his interview.

Short of that, Fassel is expected to become the Redskins' next head coach. In the interim, the Redskins are formulating their staff, preparing it for Fassel or the next Washington head coach.

Washington fired Al Saunders five days before its announcement Saturday. Saunders now is expected to interview with the St. Louis Rams. Washington also wiped out defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is a candidate to land with the Tennessee Titans or St. Louis Rams, among others.

The Titans do not have a logical position for Williams due to the fact that their incumbent defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who has interviewed for the Redskins' head coaching job, recently signed a two-year contract extension with Tennessee.

Schwartz's contract in Tennessee had expired but the Titans recognized that their defensive coordinator is one of the game's top young assistant coaches. Tennessee wasted little time shoring up its staff.

Washington, for the time being, still is trying to firm up its staff.

The staredown

Despite rampant speculation that Oakland and its head coach Lane Kiffin could be parting ways this week, the prevailing feeling is that they will not.

Those who know Raiders owner Al Davis insist that he will not terminate Kiffin and pay him the two years and approximately $4 million remaining on his contract.

Those who know Kiffin insist there is no way that the Raiders coach will resign and forego the money that is owed to him.

Thus, the standoff that has gone on throughout the past month is expected to continue and the feeling is that Kiffin will return to coach the Raiders. Of course, that's the feeling of many who are close to the situation.

What actually ensues could be different. But there does seem to be agreement that neither side is willing to walk away from the money.

Trading places

Of all the players involved in Super Bowl XLII, one knows both teams better than any other.

Giants rookie linebacker Zak DeOssie was a ballboy -– a ballboy! -– for the 2001 Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

DeOssie's family was friendly with Patriots coach Bill Belichick's family –- Steve DeOssie played linebacker for the Giants from 1989-'93, and Belichick was his defensive coordinator for those first two seasons. Those connections helped Zak land every kid's dream job.

DeOssie worked as the Patriots' ballboy during the entire 2001 season. He even was on the sideline when New England upset the St. Louis Rams in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.

Now DeOssie, the Giants' 2007 fourth-round pick out of Brown, will go from having worked for the Patriots to trying to beat them.

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