Report: Eagles ‘Going All In’ On Brian Kelly

The Eagles are “going all in” on Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, according to a report.

Pro Football Talk, citing a source, says that the Eagles want Kelly to be their next head coach.

And if the Eagles don’t get Kelly, there’s a sense that they won’t quite know where to turn next.

One logical choice seems to be Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who is interviewing with the Eagles Saturday.

But Jeffrey Lurie has made it pretty clear through his actions that he sees value on the collegiate level. The team brass has shown interest in Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Syracuse’s Doug Marrone, now in Buffalo.

“I think the NFL right now tends to borrow more from college than the other way around,” said Lurie following his press conference last  week. “But I think it’s more about leadership. Some of these coaches in college are outstanding leaders. And they just go from a younger roster to a slightly older roster — still the average age is, what 26, 27, 25 in the NFL? They are dealing with 19, 20 year-olds. It’s not that big of a difference.

“There’s  no question, and I’m not the only on who thinks that college coaches are well-trained and have experienced tremendous pressure, and can handle it. And they’re smart.”

Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune reports that Kelly was not out of the country, as has been reported, but rather went from Miami to Nashville for a vacation, and is now in Connecticut to attend the Walter Camp dinner. Over the last several days, Kelly has been talking with “NFL people” to get a sense of the differences between college and the pros.

The conversations with NFL folks have been set up via Kelly’s camp and began before his interview with the Eagles last week, but a league source told the Tribune they continued into the weekend. It doesn’t preclude Kelly’s return to Notre Dame at all, but it suggests more than a passing fancy with the idea of coaching at the next level.

The Eagles, according to a report, are expected to meet with Kelly for a second time. Assuming he gets an offer, the Fighting Irish coach is expected to make a decision fairly quickly.

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Eagles To Interview Gus Bradley Today

This is shaping up to be a critical weekend in the Eagles’ search for a new head coach.

Earlier today, we updated you on the courting of Brian Kelly. And now, a league source confirms that Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski will meet with another candidate, Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

The Eagles’ brass will meet Bradley in Atlanta today. The Seahawks face the Falcons in Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game. NFL Network’s Albert Breer first reported the interview.

If the Eagles wanted to conduct a second interview with Bradley, they would have to wait until:

a.) The Seahawks are eliminated from the playoffs.

OR

b.) After the NFC championship game (in the event that Seattle reaches the Super Bowl).

In other words, no second interview can take place next week between the divisional round and the NFC title game.

As for hiring Bradley, the Eagles would have to wait on that too. Les Bowen of the Daily News looked into it and found that “no contract shall be executed, and no agreement to execute a contract, or an announcement of a contract or of an agreement for employment, shall be permitted until after the conclusion of the employer’s playing season.”

That means the Eagles and Bradley would not be able to officially agree to terms on a deal until the Seahawks are eliminated.

As for Bradley, the Eagles aren’t his only suitor. He interviewed with the Chargers on Thursday, according to NFL Network.

For everything we’ve written about Bradley, click here.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Decision Soon On Kelly?

Brian Kelly is “seriously debating” making the leap to the NFL, a source tells Adam Hoge of CBSChicago.com.

But according to the report, there’s one major issue: He doesn’t have an offer from the Eagles yet.

The Eagles interviewed Kelly on Tuesday, one day after the BCS title game. And they are expected to talk to him once again after he returns from vacation.

All along, Jeffrey Lurie has emphasized that the plan is to be thorough. Earlier this week, SI.com’s Peter King indicated that the Eagles really liked Bill O’Brien, but not enough to make him an offer on the spot. And the team is still expected to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

As for Kelly, many speculated that he might simply be using the Eagles to negotiate a better deal at Notre Dame. But I’m not sure that adds up. Like I mentioned earlier this week, Kelly just got the Fighting Irish to the national title game. He was already operating from a position of strength and power. And there are repercussions to flirting with the NFL. Notre Dame has already lost a linebacker recruit because of Kelly’s indecision, per Rivals.com.

By all indications, many at Notre Dame are in the dark about what Kelly’s going to do. From SI.com’s Pete Thamel:

 

The ball appears to be in the Eagles’ court. If they really want Kelly, they’ll meet with him again and make him an offer.

If they want to continue with the process as planned, Kelly will be the one forced to make a decision. Wait around for an offer, which would undoubtedly upset many at Notre Dame; or decide the NFL can wait and stay put.

One way or another, we’ll likely know how serious of a candidate he is by the end of the weekend.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles will meet with Jay Gruden on Monday, Tim reports.

Andy Reid has most of his coaching staff together. Doug Pederson will be his offensive coordinator; Tommy Brasher his defensive line coach; and his son, Britt, will serve as quality-control coach.

Marty Mornhinweg is getting a look from Rex Ryan and the Jets.

The Eagles aren’t the only team interested in Bradley. The Chargers interviewed him already. Lovie Smith interviewed with San Diego also.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor over at IgglesBlitz.com took an in-depth look at Brian Kelly:

I really believe that the inability to work psychological angles and push buttons hurt player development for the Eagles in recent years. Andy Reid seemed to treat his players in a trusting, respectful way. Kelly would be much more demanding. He would be confrontational. He would turn off some players, but if he just connected with a few guys, it would be huge. The Eagles had many good and very good players under Andy Reid, but few great ones.

Evan Mathis made Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro Team:

In the highlight driven world in which we live, many people seem to like like guards who pancake people on occasion, regardless of what they do on the other 1000+ plays. We like them doing whatever it takes to block guys consistently, play in play out. In that regard there isn’t a player in the league close to Mathis.

COMING UP

The coaching search continues.

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Eagles To Meet With Jay Gruden Monday

The Eagles will interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday, according to multiple sources. The Eagles have since confirmed the date.

The younger brother of Jon Gruden sat down with the Cardinals on Thursday. While he is honoring teams’ requests to meet with him, he does not sound like he is itching to get out of Cincinnati.

“I got called to interview for these jobs. I figure I better say yes or they’ll quit asking me,” Gruden told the team’s website.

“I think it will be a great experience and it’s exciting. I have every intention of coming back here. We’ve got a great group of guys here. We’re excited for the future here.”

As we detailed a couple weeks back, Gruden isn’t quick to uproot his family but would likely do so for the right opportunity.

The 45-year-old Gruden was a quarterback both at the University of Louisville and later in the World League and AFL. He was an assistant for the Bucs from 2002-08 and won a Super Bowl coaching under Jon in Tampa. He also won two AFL titles as head coach of the Orlando Predators.

“I’ve been a head coach before for a while,” Gruden said. “I know it’s a different league and it’s not the NFL, but I’ve handled people and handled organization, handled salary caps, done all the things necessary to be a head coach. I understand the game and I think it would be a good fit.”

Gruden says he got some good advice from big brother before starting the interview process.

“Jon’s always got his two cents to add. He can talk with the best of them,” Gruden said. “And he’s been around the block a few times. He’s been to interviews and knows how the process works and been a big help. So I picked his brain a little bit and he’s been excellent in the process, as usual.”

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Andy Reid’s Son, Britt, Named To KC Coaching Staff

Andy Reid unveiled his new coaching staff on Friday. It includes plenty of familiar names, and even a member of his own family.

His son, Britt Reid, will serve as a quality control coach. The press release reads:

Reid enters his first season in the NFL after spending three seasons with the Temple University Owls. At Temple, Reid served as a graduate assistant, working with the offensive side of the ball after a two-year stint as an offensive assistant while he completed his degree. In addition to his three years at Temple, Reid has worked the Steve Addazio football camp for the past two years and in 2008, he served as an assistant offensive line coach at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia. He got his first taste of NFL experience as a training camp coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. Reid is the son of Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid.

As expected, Doug Pederson was named offensive coordinator. Reid also hired former Eagles quality control coach Matt Nagy to be his quarterbacks coach; named former receivers coach David Culley assistant head coach/wide receivers; and also brought over Tommy Brasher (defensive line), Tom Melvin (tight ends) and strength and conditioning men Barry Rubin and Travis Crittenden from his staff in Philadelphia.

“I’m pleased we were able to get all of these coaches on board,” Reid said. “I have relationships with each of them, and I know their past experiences, work ethics and coaching styles. These are high-character coaches, and each one brings something different to the table for us.”

Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton has reportedly been tabbed to be Reid’s defensive coordinator, but was not named in the press release.

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Coaching Buzz: Mornhinweg To New York?

Maybe Marty Mornhinweg‘s next job will be right up the turnpike.

However, he’ll have some competition.

Some thought that Mornhinweg would follow Andy Reid to Kansas City, but it seems that a decision was made to part ways for the time being. Reid instead hired former QB coach Doug Pederson to be his offensive coordinator. Mornhinweg has been with Reid and the Eagles since 2003. I would imagine going from Reid to Rex Ryan would take  a little getting used to.

Interestingly, Reid just hired former Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton to be his defensive coordinator, leading to speculation that the recently-fired Rob Ryan may join his brother in New York.

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Coaching Buzz: Chargers Interview Gus Bradley

The Eagles aren’t the only team showing interest in Gus Bradley.

The Chargers interviewed the Seahawks defensive coordinator last night, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network. The Eagles, meanwhile, have yet to meet with him, as Tim explained this morning. No other teams have expressed public interest in Bradley.

Per NFL rules, assistants whose teams stay alive this weekend cannot interview next week. In other words, if the Seahawks beat the Falcons, the Eagles would have to wait until after the NFC championship game to interview Bradley.

The Eagles are also expected to still interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

There are currently five job openings available: Philadelphia, San Diego, Chicago, Jacksonville and Arizona. The Chargers are also interviewing Lovie Smith, who met with the Eagles yesterday.

REID FINDS HIS COORDINATOR

Andy Reid has found his next defensive coordinator, and it’s not Juan Castillo or Todd Bowles.

Reid will have Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton run his D, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder. Sutton, 61, spent 13 seasons with the Jets, including three (2006-2008) as defensive coordinator.

Per the report, Monte Kiffin was Reid’s top choice, but Kiffin is headed to Dallas to become the Cowboys defensive coordinator. As we’ve pointed out, Bradley coached under Kiffin for three years under in Tampa. The 72-year-old thinks highly of his protege, but there’s now no possibility of the two coaching together in 2013.

The Eagles are clearly being thorough in their coaching search, but the one downside to that philosophy is they could miss out on some top-level assistants who sign on with other teams.

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Coaching Buzz: Lovie Smith Interviewing With Chargers

The Eagles interviewed Lovie Smith yesterday, but the former Bears coach has other suitors.

He’s headed to San Diego to meet with the Chargers about their vacancy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. As we detailed earlier this week, Smith’s Bears teams made the playoffs three times in nine seasons. He had defense and special teams figured out, but failed to put together a top-level offense during his tenure there.

That will be the key question for Smith as he goes through the interview process: What went wrong offensively in Chicago, and how do you plan on fixing that if we hire you?

Smith will have interviewed with three different teams: the Eagles, Bills and Chargers. Buffalo, of course, has already filled its vacancy with Doug Marrone.

If Smith doesn’t get a head-coaching gig, he’d be a heavily-pursued target at defensive coordinator.

Here’s the rundown of Eagles interviews/planned interviews so far:

Coach
Position
Status
Jay GrudenBengals OCWill Interview
Gus BradleySeahawks DCWill Interview
Bruce AriansColts OCWill Interview
Lovie SmithEx-Bears CoachHas Interviewed
Mike NolanFalcons DCHas Interviewed
Keith ArmstrongFalcons ST CoachHas Interviewed
Mike McCoyBroncos OCHas Interviewed
Chip KellyOregon HCHas Interviewed
Bill O'BrienPenn State HCHas Interviewed

JIMMY JOHNSON BREAKING NEWS?

Fox analyst Jimmy  Johnson got people’s attention with this Tweet:

We know about Rob Chudzinski, but if the Bears are ready to hire Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, that’d qualify as breaking news.

Perhaps Johnson has some inside information that no one else is privy to, but his Tweet has not been confirmed.

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Ripple Effect? Browns Hire Rob Chudzinski

The Cleveland Browns’ coaching search has led them to Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.

Joe Banner has chosen Chudzinski as the team’s new head coach, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Banner and the Browns heavily pursued Chip Kelly, but when it became clear that the Oregon coach wasn’t going to Cleveland, they focused their efforts elsewhere. The Browns interviewed several candidates, including Ken Whisenhunt, Bill O’Brien and Ray Horton.

Chudzinski spent the past two seasons as the Panthers offensive coordinator. He previously worked as an assistant with the Chargers and the Browns.

So, what does this mean for the Eagles? At the beginning of the process, it appeared Banner and Jeffrey Lurie would be battling for the same candidates: Chip Kelly, O’Brien, Doug Marrone. But after Kelly decided he was staying put, the two franchises went their separate ways. The Eagles have shown interest in Brian Kelly, Lovie Smith and Gus Bradley, among others.

The Browns are the third team to fill their head-coaching vacancy. The Chiefs hired Andy Reid. And the Bills hired Marrone.

After the Jaguars fired Mike Mularkey Thursday, that leaves five positions open: Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Chicago, Arizona and San Diego.

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Coaching Buzz: Moves That Impact the Eagles

Things have been relatively quiet with the Eagles today, but there has been plenty of movement around the league that could impact the Birds.

Here’s a roundup of what’s going on:

* Let’s start in Cleveland where Joe Banner and the Browns are interviewing Ken Whisenhunt for a second time, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain-Dealer. The Bills expressed some interest in Whisenhunt before hiring Doug Marrone, but no other teams have interviewed the former Cardinals coach.

* The Jaguars joined the party late, firing Mike Mularkey today after one season. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, they’ll take a look at 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Surprisingly, Roman has not had a single interview up to this point.

* Jay Gruden is currently interviewing with the Cardinals, and he told reporters the plan is to meet with the Eagles next week.

* League sources tell ESPN’s Ed Werder that the Cowboys, who fired Rob Ryan this week, have focused their defensive coordinator search on 72-year-old Monte Kiffin. Kiffin’s age apparently is not scaring teams off. SI.com’s Peter King reported earlier this week that Kiffin could be on Andy Reid’s radar in Kansas City. As for an Eagles slant, the team is expected to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Bradley coached under Kiffin for three seasons with the Bucs, and Kiffin apparently thought Bradley was a “once-in-a-lifetime” coach. Perhaps the mentor wouldn’t mind running the protege’s defense if he gets back in the league? Just a thought.

* Multiple reports indicate that Doug Pederson will be Reid’s offensive coordinator in Kansas City. The former Eagles QB coach drew some pretty high praise from former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah:

* There was a report Wednesday night that the Bears were also interested in Brian Kelly, but Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times says that’s not the case.

* Bruce Arians told a San Diego radio station that his interest in the Chargers job has increased now that they hired Tom Telesco as their GM:

“I think so much of [the] success that teams have are great relationships between general manager and head coach,” Arians said, per SportsRadioInterviews.com. “And it’s not who has control of the roster, it’s how do we get the best players? … I had the opportunity to work for 12 weeks as a head coach this year with Ryan Grigson and Tommy Telesco, and it was a fantastic relationship. And I wouldn’t want to work in any other situation as a head coach, unless it’s that type of relationship where nobody’s got a power player [and] we’re all in this together trying to win.”

Arians is expected to interview with the Eagles.

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