I'm going to label this up front as pure speculation, but I have a theory that I want to put out there.
Two weeks ago, the Redskins announced that they were going to wait until after the Super Bowl to make a coaching announcement. That game was played on February 3. We all thought that this meant that Dan Snyder was waiting to interview the Giants' Steve Spagnuolo, something he did for the better part of two days.
So, the Redskins waited two weeks for nothing, right? Minus Spags, the pool of potential coaches is the same now as it was then, right?
Not so fast.
Another major football event took place a few days after the Super Bowl. Wednesday was NCAA signing day, the day that college football recruits formally commit to the institution of higher learning of their choice. The few weeks leading up to that are critical for college football programs. Years have been invested in trying to woo a given star player to State U and if the coach of State U were to bolt for the pros two weeks before signing day all that effort could well be wasted. A player who wanted to play for a particular coach just might decide to go elsewhere.
However, after that recruit signs on the line there is little recourse if the coach leaves. The player commits to the school, not to the coach. It may be wrong for a coach to leave as soon as the ink on the contracts is dry, but nothing prohibits him from doing so.
So, was Snyder waiting for the first week in February not only because it marks the end of the NFL season but it also marks the start of open season on college coaches?
The one NCAA coach in which Snyder has demonstrated an interest is Pete Carroll of USC. Carroll also demonstrated an interested in the job. They met a few weeks ago in St. Louis and at the time the time both sides "decided not to pursue" the possibility, according to the AP story.
Neither side wanted the fact that the meeting took place to become public knowledge. It happened "early in the process" , perhaps in the first week after Joe Gibbs announced his retirement on January 8. Nobody knew about it until the NFL Network reported it on January 27.
The issue likely was control. It's been pretty well established that Carroll would want something close to complete control if he was going to take an NFL job and Vinny Cerrato is standing in the way of a Redskins coach having that.
But what Snyder giveth, Snyder can taketh away. Should he want to remove that obstacle to hiring Carroll, he could simply announce that the new coach and Cerrato would "share responsibility" for player personnel, meaning that Carroll would make the decisions and Cerrato would make the coffee.
It would be a bit stickier to get around the fact that the coordinators have been hired, but maybe Carroll could decide that he will work around that in exchange for an eight-figure annual salary.
I probably have wasted an hour of my life typing this and I apologize if you've wasted the five minutes it took to read it. If I had to bet right now, I'd put my money on Jim Fassel. But the longer it takes, the more improbable possibilities come into play.