One Week In, New Names For Eagles To Consider
The Eagles are one week into their coaching search, and the landscape has changed considerably.
Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien are staying at Oregon and Penn State, respectively. Dirk Koetter will remain offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. And Doug Marrone signed on with the Bills.
All four were on the Eagles’ radar at one time or another during the last seven days.
So where do Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski go from here? The interviews will continue this week. Below is a list of candidates to keep an eye on.
Gus Bradley – Defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
The latest: Based on our post from this morning, Bradley might be the fan favorite. He’s been the Seahawks defensive coordinator since 2009. This year, Seattle finished first in scoring defense (15.3 PPG) and fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings. Bradley was part of the Tampa Bay Bucs’ staff for three seasons. Monte Kiffin called him a once-in-a-lifetime coach. Pete Carroll said Bradley’s the best teacher he’s ever been around. And players seem to love taking the field for him. The 46-year-old is expected to interview with the Eagles this week, although no specific date has been set. The process still has to play out, but Bradley appears to be very much in the mix.
Mike McCoy – Offensive coordinator, Denver Broncos
The latest: The Eagles moved on from Kelly Sunday and interviewed McCoy in Denver. The 40-year-old Broncos offensive coordinator is drawing plenty of interest and has also interviewed with the Bears and Cardinals. We’ve discussed why McCoy’s attractive at length here. He’s maximized the potential of quarterbacks like Jake Delhomme, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. Most would agree that having a franchise quarterback is the most direct route to NFL success. But what happens when you can’t find one of those guys? It’s good to have a coach who can adapt to personnel. And McCoy’s done that. Peyton Manning said recently he thinks McCoy is ready to be an NFL coach. The Eagles are not allowed to interview McCoy for a second time until the Broncos are knocked out of the playoffs. If Denver reaches the Super Bowl, teams can interview McCoy again after championship weekend.
Jay Gruden – Offensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
The latest: The Eagles have requested permission to interview Gruden, but have not yet received it. The Bengals are out of the playoffs after failing to score an offensive touchdown Saturday against the Texans. Andy Dalton has left plays on the field all season long. Then again, if Gruden is going to be credited with helping to develop Dalton, he surely deserves part of the blame for the second-year QB not playing better in the postseason. Gruden had never been a coordinator or position coach in the NFL or college before 2011. His resume won’t blow suitors away. Gruden’s best chance at landing a head-coaching gig will be to impress during the interview process.
Bruce Arians – Offensive coordinator, Indianapolis Colts
The latest: Arians missed yesterday’s loss to the Ravens after being hospitalized with nausea and headaches. Stepping in for Chuck Pagano, he has been at the center of the feel-good story in the NFL this season. Arians has experience working with young quarterbacks. He’s helped Andrew Luck along as a rookie and worked with Ben Roethlisberger from 2007-2011, a run that included a Super Bowl win and another Super Bowl appearance. He of course has Philadelphia roots too, having served as the head coach at Temple from 1983 to 1988. The one thing working against Arians is that he’s 60 and has never been an NFL head coach. Colts GM Ryan Grigson said recently that the team would like to try to keep Arians. The Eagles are expected to interview him, but no date has been set.
Darrell Bevell – Offensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
The latest: I’m guessing Bevell has an entire page on his resume devoted to Russell Wilson. The rookie QB completed over 64 percent of his passes and threw 26 touchdowns this season. And the Seahawks are headed to the divisional round of the playoffs to take on the Falcons. Bevell has seven years of coordinator experience – the last two with the Seahawks and the previous five with the Vikings. He also served six years on the Packers’ staff, including three seasons as quarterbacks coach. The Seahawks finished the year eighth in scoring offense and fourth in Football Outsiders’ rankings. So far, the only interview Bevell has lined up is with the Bears. But that could change.
Mike Nolan – Falcons defensive coordinator
The latest: The Eagles interviewed him last week. Tim talked to Dan Reeves about Nolan’s credentials and his desire for a second chance. There’s no doubt that Nolan is a respected defensive coordinator, but he went just 18-37 in three-plus seasons with the 49ers. That history will be tough to sell to a frustrated fan base. Then again, Lurie said the Eagles are going to make the right choice, even if it’s not the most popular one. No other team has been linked to Nolan.
Lovie Smith – Former head coach, Chicago Bears
The latest: You figure if the Eagles are willing to give Nolan a look, then they should at least see what Smith has to say. The former Bears coach went 81-63 in nine seasons in Chicago. Smith’s teams were almost always in the mix, but only made the playoffs three times. He had defense and special teams covered, but never could quite get the offense going. Smith interviewed with the Bills before they hired Marrone. He is 54-years-old.
Keith Armstrong – Special-teams coordinator, Atlanta Falcons
The latest: The Eagles interviewed him last week. Armstrong has drawn interest from the Bears and Chiefs too. There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about giving special-teams coaches a look. Armstrong played his college ball at Temple and is a Levittown native. Given some of the coaches he’s up against, Armstrong seems like a longshot at this point.
Mike Zimmer – Defensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
The latest: Mike Mayock openly lobbied for Zimmer to get a look during Saturday’s broadcast. He’s spent the past 13 seasons as a coordinator – five with the Bengals, one with the Falcons and seven with the Cowboys. While Zimmer got a pair of interviews last year (Bucs, Dolphins), he’s yet to get a head-coaching opportunity. Zimmer’s units have finished in the top-10 in scoring defense in three of the past four seasons. In the second half of 2012, the Bengals allowed just 12.8 points per game. At 56-years-old, Zimmer may find himself stuck in the coordinator box. He has no reported interviews scheduled, even though there are still five head-coaching vacancies.
Greg Roman – Offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
The latest: I’m a bit surprised he has not had any interviews yet. Roman, a Ventnor N.J. native, has worked on Jim Harbaugh’s staff for the past four seasons – two with the Niners and two at Stanford. Under the direction of Roman and Harbaugh, Alex Smith turned in his best season as a pro in 2011. The 49ers’ offense turned the ball over just 10 times last season, tied for the fewest in NFL history. This year, the 49ers have changed their offense to fit Colin Kaepernick’s talents. San Francisco is 11th in the league in scoring offense and ranks fifth, according to Football Outsiders. Roman, 40, has never been a head coach at any level and has only been an NFL coordinator for two seasons.
Ben McAdoo – Quarterbacks coach, Green Bay Packers
The latest: Tim introduced us to McAdoo last month as a potential sleeper. He’s worked with Aaron Rodgers and was being looked at as a coordinator by other teams last offseason. Lurie, of course, went this route once before and had success hiring a certain QBs coach from Green Bay. McAdoo is 35-years-old. The Packers take on the 49ers in the divisional round this weekend.