The Philadelphia Eagles seemingly won’t be led by a college coach in 2013. As such, unless the Eagles lure an old coach like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher back to the NFL, they’ll have to choose someone who’s mainly been a coordinator. However, the Indianapolis Colts’ Bruce Arians has served in both roles this past season.
Arians has had a rough last few days, as he missed the Colts’ playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 6 due to an illness. But he was released on Jan. 7, according to the Indianapolis Star, which means the Eagles can move forward with their plans to interview him later in the week.
According to the Associated Press, the Eagles will talk to Arians, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden during this week. Yet Philadelphia couldn’t hire Bradley until Seattle is eliminated from the playoffs, and Gruden couldn’t get Cincinnati’s offense going in its wild card loss on Jan. 5.
Arians is the only one of these names with head coaching experience, although it came completely by accident. He was at the center of the feel good story of the season, however, as the Colts went from 2-14 to 11-5 despite losing regular head coach Chuck Pagano to cancer treatment.
But in his absence, Arians won eight games, helped Andrew Luck win big in just his first year, and erased the ugly end of the Peyton Manning era from Indianapolis’s memory. That type of stunning turnaround is exactly what the Eagles are looking for.
Like Indianapolis, Philadelphia was once a perennial contender for years and now needs to start from scratch. And if the Eagles have no choice but to let young Nick Foles keep starting at quarterback, they can hope Arians does for him what he did for Luck.
Yet according to the Star, the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears are also set to talk to Arians. The Browns and Eagles fought each other for Chip Kelly this past weekend, yet no one won that battle except the Oregon Ducks when Kelly stayed in college.
If Cleveland and Philadelphia do battle again, will one of them actually get a new coach this time? Or would the much better Bears or much better Colts win out instead? Either way, once Arians finishes recovering from his hospital stay, he’ll have a lot to consider.