The Philadelphia Eagles have looked at and are still looking at a lot of coaching candidates. However, nearly every one of them has made a terrible closing statement which has to give the Eagles pause. Gus Bradley was the latest to do so, after his Seattle Seahawks forfeited a legendary comeback over the Atlanta Falcons in less than half-a-minute on Jan. 13.
The Seahawks’ defensive coordinator was thoroughly outfoxed by Matt Ryan’s Falcons -- first by falling behind by 27-7 after three quarters, and then by losing a shocking 28-27 lead with under 30 seconds to go. This kind of loss must make the Eagles wonder if Bradley really is the defensive wizard they need.
But their other two current coaching candidates didn’t exactly excel in the playoffs either. Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals’ offense coordinators Bruce Arians and Jay Gruden will still get interviews this week, despite how things turned out for their teams in the postseason.
Gruden’s Bengals were stuck in traction on Jan. 5 against the Houston Texans in a 19-13 wild card loss. As for Arians, he missed the Colts’ playoff game with the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 6 due to an illness. Yet the fact that the Colts only got three field goals without him may actually make a stronger case for him.
None of them did as badly in their last game of the season than former candidate Brian Kelly did. His Notre Dame Fighting Irish were slaughtered in the BCS title game on Jan. 7, yet Kelly was still rumored to be a top choice for the Eagles afterwards. However, that possibility died off after just a few days, which may have been for the best.
Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith also emerged as a candidate last week, despite how his Bears’ career ended by missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record. In addition, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy got an interview the week before his Broncos got upset by the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 12.
The only serious Eagles candidate to end his season on a high note was Oregon Ducks’ coach Chip Kelly, who won the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3. Of course, although he was considered Philadelphia’s top choice for weeks, he stayed in school anyway. As such, the Eagles now only have candidates whose big game qualifications took a hit this postseason.