The Philadelphia Eagles were in an ironic place on Jan. 7. It was the day that former coach Andy Reid was introduced as the new coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, as he found a new job faster than Philadelphia found his replacement. With Chip Kelly out of the running, no one knows who the organization will turn to now.
One potential new candidate is Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, whom the Eagles got permission to talk to on Jan. 7, according to the Associated Press. Ironically, his more famous brother Jon has occasionally been linked as a possible candidate as well.
However, Jon Gruden hasn’t officially expressed interest in returning to the NFL, let alone the Eagles. As such, Philadelphia has to focus on the interested candidates that are left, although Jay Gruden’s stock took a hit this past weekend.
The Bengals lost their second straight wild card game to the Houston Texans on Jan. 5, mainly due to a lack of offense. Although Gruden has helped Andy Dalton guide the Bengals to two consecutive playoff berths in his first two seasons, his lack of postseason success so far is becoming a concern.
Still, given his regular season success with a young quarterback, and the possibility that Nick Foles will have to start for the Eagles in 2013, Gruden may be a good fit. The Bengals also blew out the Eagles on Dec. 13, but most of their 34 points came off of turnovers. Yet Gruden also served as offensive assistant for Jon and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002 and 2008 -- and they had enough offense to beat the Eagles in the 2003 NFC title game.
Nevertheless, if Jon ever expresses real interest in coaching again, he will instantly become a hotter name than Jay. But Philadelphia probably can’t afford to wait that long, now that the bigger names on the market are gone and the likes of the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears are battling the Eagles for the leftovers.
Yet with college coaches out of the running, it seems the Eagles are focusing strictly on pro coordinators. In addition to Gruden, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley are also scheduled to come by this week. Will they be more easily swayed than Kelly and Bill O’Brien were?