Gus Leaves Town

Posted: January 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 58 Comments »

I love the movie “Miller’s Crossing”.  The dialogue is nothing short of brilliant.  There is a scene where the police chief offers his opinion and he’s quickly told to shut his yap by someone more powerful than him.  The chief responds:  ” I was just speculatin’ about a hypothesis. I know I don’t know nothin’.”  Well, keep that phrase in mind as you read this.  Lots of speculation.  And I know I don’t know nothin.

Gus Bradley is going to Jacksonville to talk to the Jaguars about being their head coach.  For the Gus Bradley fans, this is not a good sign.

Bradley met with the Eagles yesterday for 6 or 7 hours.  The meeting was initially billed as a formality, but sources quickly put it out there that this was in fact an interview first and foremost.  The Eagles had only met with Gus for 2 hours in Atlanta.  They liked what they heard, but a good first date doesn’t mean you’re ready to get married.  The Eagles wanted more information from Gus.

I don’t know what was covered on Saturday and what on Tuesday, but something happened or was said last night that led to a breakdown.  If the Eagles made an offer to Gus, he wouldn’t be headed to Jacksonville.  I do not for one second buy the notion that he wanted to look around and have multiple interviews.  I might buy that if it wasn’t the Jaguars.  There is nothing appealing about that team right now.

Something happened.

I don’t know if the Eagles didn’t like something Gus said or if possibly he didn’t like something the team said.  Some fans immediately want to make this a Howie Roseman issue.  Is that possible? I guess.  I sure don’t think so.  Gus isn’t a former HC.  He’s never had full control over personnel with a team.  Gus isn’t a guy that has ever shown any desire for power.  He wasn’t pushing Monte Kiffin in Tampa to move up the ladder.  He wasn’t fighting with Jim Mora or Pete Carroll for more control of the defense.  Gus is a “Do your job” guy.  And he’d have no reason to be anti-Howie.  Seattle is a team the Eagles have had a solid relationship with over the years.

My best guess is that the Eagles didn’t like something they heard about staff, scheme, or the offense.  I do not know what happened, but let’s speculate so you could have an idea of what could be the kind of issues.

* Maybe Gus told the Eagles he wanted his buddy and Seattle DL coach Todd Wash to be the DC.  I could see Gus wanting that.  I could see the Eagles saying no.  Wash was a DC at Missouri Southern State.  He’s been a DL coach in the NFL and at NDSU with Gus.  After going through the last 4 years, the Eagles might feel a veteran DC is an absolute must.

* Maybe Gus told the Eagles he wanted to run the Tampa 2.  Maybe they were set on him bringing over the current Seattle system.  Or maybe that’s reversed.  Either way, it could be that type of a disagreement.

* Maybe Gus told the Eagles he wanted a run heavy offense and believed in a limited passing game.

* Maybe Gus told the Eagles that he wanted to find a Russell Wilson type of QB and to replicate the Seattle offense.  He could have then thrown out some names of draft prospects and maybe the names were terrible suggestions.

* Maybe Gus was pushing for an oddball OC that scared the Eagles.  This could be another situation where he was pushing for a young guy and they wanted a veteran.

* Maybe Gus simply seemed in over his head when it came to discussing staff issues.  This is a critical area for new coaches, and even veteran coaches.  The candidate must give the sense that he’s got a good plan.

Again…this is pure speculation.

I do think there was some type of breakdown.  The Eagles aggressively brought in Gus for the second interview.  I realize that the first one was short and they knew the least about him, but the way they did this made it feel as if he was the guy they wanted.  If the Eagles loved everything they heard on Tuesday, I guarantee you they’d have made him a strong offer and he’d be the coach.

Does Gus leaving mean he’s done as a candidate?  That’s a tough question.  I think it would all boil down to whether there was a dispute with the Eagles or whether he simply gave answers they didn’t like.  A dispute can be settled.  If he scared them off because he gave bad answers, that is something that probably can’t be fixed.  Who knows, though.  Maybe Howie and Lurie will step back and discuss the situation and still feel that he’s the best guy, even with whatever flaw they’re worried about.

It is possible that Howie/Lurie said something to Gus that made him uneasy.  I don’t know what this would be.  Maybe they were pushing assistant coaches on him.  Maybe they were pushing schemes on him.  That type of thing.  If so, Gus might have reacted badly to them doing this and that could have caused the breakdown.

Something must be considered about Howie.  He’s desperate for success.  Howie is very competitive, but also needs some good things to happen to help his job security.  I get the feeling that if Howie believes in a coach, he’ll do whatever it takes to make that relationship work.  GMs that get fired have trouble getting a second job.  Tom Heckert is unemployed right now, but helped put together a Super Bowl team and drafted some really good players.  Howie wants to stay Eagles GM.  I think he’ll bend over backwards to win, knowing that helps with his future.

I’ve covered Lurie before.  He hired Ray Rhodes in 1995.  That didn’t end well, but Ray had 2 playoff appearances in 4 years and was NFL Coach of the Year in 1995.  His tenure was hurt by the lack of a cohesive front office.  Ray was a good hire.  Not great, but good.  I do think Andy Reid was a great hire.  He never did bring home the title, but did everything else you would want.

I trust Jeff Lurie when it comes to hiring coaches.

Some people pick on that statement due to the recent struggles, but I think that is mixing arguments.  Lurie had little to do with the day-to-day football operations.  If you want to argue that he was too patient with Reid, that’s a different discussion.  But that also has nothing to do with the ability to hire a good coach.

Where do the Eagles go from here?

Tim McManus had a very interesting blurb yesterday.

The Eagles met with Jay Gruden and Ken Whisenhunt on Monday. Whisenhunt made a strong case for himself by focusing on his accomplishments, which includes a Super Bowl win as offensive coordinator of the Steelers and Super Bowl appearance as head coach of the Cardinals in less than ideal circumstances. He is now considered ahead of Brian Billick in terms of desirable candidates.

Bruce Arians, meanwhile, is no longer part of the equation. There was a report that the Colts offensive coordinator would interview with the Eagles Tuesday, but the team came out Monday night and said nothing was scheduled. Moments later, the second interview with Bradley was announced for that day. Arians is now considered “off the radar.”

Let’s say for argument’s sake that Bradley is still a candidate.  We’ve got him, Whiz (by the sound of the info above), and Jay Gruden as potential finalists.  The team also met with Lovie Smith and Billick. So the group is:

Gus Bradley – hot name, but talking to the Jags
Ken Whisenhunt – former ARZ coach…took team to SB…also had horrible problems with QB, OL
Jay Gruden – Cincy OC…no word on his interview
Lovie Smith – former CHI coach…took team to SB…terrible with his offense
Brian Billick – the man nobody wants

Let’s see if the Eagles bring any of them back for another meeting.  That’ll be the next clue as to who really is at the top of the list now.

* * * * *

The Bears hired Marc Trestman to be their new HC.  I think that is great for him.  I met Marc last year down at the Senior Bowl.  We rode in the elevator together and had a quick conversation.  He’s the guy who initiated the talk and was very friendly.  Some NFL guys can be very arrogant, but Marc won me over in that short elevator ride.  Good things happen to good people.  I’ll be pulling for him and the Bears to do well.


58 Comments on “Gus Leaves Town”

  1. 1 brza said at 10:49 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    This coaching search has shown that even though the season has been over for a long time the Birds are still finding ways to lose in the 4th quarter.

  2. 2 DP said at 10:53 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Any chance they are waiting for Nolan or somebody else from a team still in the playoffs?

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 11:01 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Sure, if they really want those guys. Eagles have done research on plenty of people. They’re not rushing this. If they make the hire, it is because they wanted that guy.

  4. 4 MichaelFloyd84 said at 12:09 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Unfortunately “not rushing” is roughly the same as being late to the party and getting garbage assistant coaches and coordinators

  5. 5 47_Ronin said at 11:01 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    I feel like Lurie and Roseman are playing nine dimensional chess with the HC selection process. And I see this post on PFT this morning

    The opaqueness of the process is frustrating and leads to speculating about hypotheses. But I’m getting a gut feeling that the likely result of the meeting with Bradley was that the Eagles triumvirate said something to him that made him apprehensive, e.g., pushing coaches/scheme.

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 11:06 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Interesting link. I didn’t see the referenced article on so commenting on that is hard.

  7. 7 Anders said at 11:07 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Well the PFT article was writing by Florio. That alone makes me think he is just grasping for a straw.

  8. 8 47_Ronin said at 11:21 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Yeah I generally hold my breath when reading Florio b/c of his penchant to overly editorialize posts with his opinions, but having story on PE com about leading DC candidates makes me wonder. And I’m asking myself why would the editor(s) at PE com allow that story to go up before an HC was hired.

  9. 9 Anders said at 11:25 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    as Tommy said, we dont have the wording of that article, so we dont know if the article was pure speculation based on Gus looking like the next HC.

  10. 10 TommyLawlor said at 11:39 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    I checked. It was just them writing about something Ian Rappaport said on Twitter. No conspiracy. Just Ian speculating and the Eagles building content off that.

  11. 11 Anders said at 11:46 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    So basicly it was just Florio going all Florio on the Eagles again?

  12. 12 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 11:02 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    The Emperor wears no clothes:

    We are now officially a joke of a franchise.

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 11:05 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    How the hell is that? If we didn’t offer Gus the job, how does that make us look bad?

  14. 14 xeynon said at 11:37 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Agree with Tommy, this kind of reaction is nonsensical. If the reason Bradley is leaving is that on second look he turned out not to be such a great candidate after all, why is neglecting to hire him a bad move?

    Hiring a coach is one of those decisions that needs to be done right, not done fast. People need to understand that and have a bit more patience.

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 11:39 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    If we do find out Gus turned the Eagles down, I’ll change my tune. Don’t think that’s the case.

  16. 16 Bob Brewer said at 11:06 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    While we fans desire information, I’d rather see this whole process kept as quiet as possible. The Eagles have been one of the most transparent organizations during this hiring process and all it has done has caused PR grief.

    This should be a thorough process, not done instantaneously. The other hiring organizations are not having the PR strain the Eagles are because their searches are more quiet.

    I still have belief in this process.

  17. 17 Alex Karklins said at 11:10 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Time for Jon Gruden to ride in on his white horse:

    I don’t know what to think. Part of me is disappointed, but the other part of me thinks that the Eagles would be doomed if they ended up with the candidate that everyone wants.

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 11:21 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    That gif makes me think of Wayne’s World and the discussion they have of where Bug Bunny is sexy when dressed as a girl bunny. Kudos.

  19. 19 laeagle said at 11:15 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    If Bradley does end up in Jacksonville, we’ll never know whether he was a good coach for us or not. He’ll be destined for failure there. Terrible franchise with an owner who is more interested in making a splash and profit than in winning a Super Bowl. Case in point: the coach there will have to deal with the owner wanting to play multiple games per year in London to build that “market”. Wonderful idea. Good luck trying to win a division championship with that schedule.

  20. 20 brza said at 11:19 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    I just don’t understand how Whiz can make any type of case for himself that intrigues the Eagles or any other team right now. The past 3 years they have gone 5-11, 8-8 and 5-11. Definitely a downgrade from Reid. I don’t see how a coach can claim a bad situation or bad personell as an excuse in his 6th season. Even if he didn’t have the power over personell decisions he still has to be held accountable for not developing players and/or making the schemes fit the players. Plus, even if he didn’t have the power on paper he still had to have input into the process because at the end of the day his butt would be on the line for the product on the field.

  21. 21 laeagle said at 11:23 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    I don’t disagree with this, but I will point out that the Cards were also a terrible organization, with a notoriously cheap owner. Not sure what the FO situation was there, but it’s worth considering.

  22. 22 TommyLawlor said at 11:23 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Whiz can make a case, but there is no way he’s absolved for all of the problems. He’d need to sell the Eagles that he now sees where he erred and would be a better coach for it.

  23. 23 Anders said at 11:24 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Maybe he didnt want to draft 2 first round RBs but instead a few OLs? That would be a huge selling point

  24. 24 Josh said at 11:30 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    I don’t see how Gus leaving indicates that there was a breakdown. A couple of key factors we knew before Tuesday’s session even started:

    1) Gus arrived alone – no wife or agent on the plane

    2) Eagles let word leak that this was not a 2nd interview but a ‘continuation’ of the time that they had in ATL

    3) They only talked for approximately 90 minutes on Saturday.

    Any agent worth his salt would ABSOLUTELY make Gus go to Jax unless the Eagles made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Based on how this search is going and his credentials, that was not going to happen. He isn’t going to get Chip Kelly money where he’d be foolish not to sign on the dotted line. Gus/Agent need to create leverage with the Eagles to drive the best deal. With the SD job (and now CHI) being filled, Jax is the only other place he is getting a sniff.

    Perhaps Gus told Khan he’d come and is principled enough to follow through. This is his first foray into being interviewed, so he is learning as well. It is the same reason that you don’t marry the first person you date or go to the first college you visit. You need to discover what you like/don’t like about a potential match.

    I don’t think that the Birds are in a rush, even if Gus is #1 option. Money is on Jax at least interviewing Roman, so they have time. They don’t have to have an all-night negotiating session. I would bet they are doing more analysis to ensure that Gus is the guy and will re-engage him later this week.

    Of course, if he never leaves Jacksonville, that would be pretty damning to this search.

  25. 25 D-von said at 11:36 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    My sentiments exactly

  26. 26 TommyLawlor said at 11:42 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Josh makes a good case, but I strongly disagree. If the Eagles made him an offer, he’s nuts to turn it down and go look elsewhere. This can be like musical chairs and you don’t want to be the coach standing when the music stops.

    If the Eagles didn’t make him an offer, that probably means something didn’t go as planned.

  27. 27 D-von said at 11:48 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Not saying you theories aren’t correct. I just think that Eagles want to pursue every avenue with finding their HC.

  28. 28 Josh said at 11:52 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Agreed. As Mick would say, time is on our side….even if it is excruciating as a fan.

    Our only “competition” left for candidates is Jax and AZ. If we aren’t a better destination than those two franchises, I’ll happily read all the “Howie is the devil” and “Jeff is a dope” articles until training camp starts.

  29. 29 Khidr9 said at 11:36 AM on January 16th, 2013:

    Well said. This has been my belief all along. If he signs with the Jags that narrative will be blown.

  30. 30 new coach said at 12:00 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    If Nolan shuts down Kapernick, then he should be the guy. WOuld show he has the chops to coach against the 2013 QBs.

  31. 31 RC5000 said at 12:01 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    I realize it’s “what ifs” but I’m having a little bit of a hard time with the hypothesis the Eagles didn’t trust Gus choice of DC. OC maybe. He’s a defensive coach and you want him, I would think it would be important he pick his defensive staff. And if they didn’t like something he said to make them think they couldn’t trust him with DC hiring than really they didn’t like him not his DC choice. Just wondering why that would be an issue. I also don’t understand why they would decide the defensive scheme at all. I realize they have to maybe change personnel some but if they’re looking for a quick fix based on current personnel, that’s even worse imo. There is very little on defense they must keep. I would think about the only part of the staff Lurie, Roseman, and Smolenski MAYBE should decide is OC. And I hope they aren’t saying they want to keep Morhinweg as OC. .

  32. 32 Nick Kahlon said at 12:02 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Tommy, what do you make of Reid’s recent comments in multiple interviews that the thing he learned from his experience in Philly is that (paraphrasing) all of the coaches and front office need to be pulling in the same direction? We’ve all assumed he was talking about Banner, but I wonder if maybe it was directed at Howie.

  33. 33 Nick Kahlon said at 12:05 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    That would line up the column with the cbssportsline hatchet job with Spadaro’s e-mail to you: the sticking point may be Howie and his insistence on picking coordinators, precisely for the reason you point out- that his future is at stake.

  34. 34 Nick Kahlon said at 12:34 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    I take back everything I said – Chip Kelly! In Howie I trust

  35. 35 Bob Brewer said at 12:02 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Mort just tweeted Chip Kelly is the new coach of the Eagles.

  36. 36 brza said at 12:04 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    This search is getting crazy. Newest “source” tweet:

    @mortreport: Chip Kelly is the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, according to league sources. No announcement yet.

  37. 37 CalSFro said at 12:08 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    So…everybody ok with Gus leaving town without a deal now?

  38. 38 Anders said at 12:10 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    but nobody wants to work for Howie.

  39. 39 BC1968 said at 12:07 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Maybe Gus asked Lurie if his ex-wife was dating yet.

  40. 40 Septhinox said at 12:10 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Chip Kelly is the new coach,

  41. 41 Skeptic_Eagle said at 12:10 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    I would say that if it came down to a discussion of Xs & Os between Bradley, Lurie, Roseman, and Smolenski, Bradley should get as far away from the Eagles organization as possible. If the Eagles braintrust is trying to force Bradley into a specific style or scheme, or micromanage the way he was going to put a staff together I think that’d be an harbinger of disaster; quite frankly, none of those guys is qualified to tell Bradley how to coach football, and it would be better if Bradley and the Eagles part ways. That specific scenario has larger, sinister effects for the coaching search, in the big picture, though.

    It sounds as if Lurie/Banner learned early on during the process of hiring Reid that they were looking for qualities, not specific formations, offensive or defensive philosophies, etc. I feel like Banner & Lurie knew they didn’t know enough about football at the cellular level to try and dictate schemes to a coach, they just knew they wanted a leader that was organized, and commanding, at that once they had selected that leader, to let him lead as he saw fit. They got that in Reid, and I believe he “ran” the organization for a long time. I’m nervous that the team of Lurie, as a senior NFL owner, and Howie as a wunderkind GM and draft enthusiast, believe they know more about Xs and Os than they really do. Maybe Bradley bombed the interview, and isn’t the right guy, but I’d much prefer that he bombed it because he had no clue about how to “lead”, or didn’t have the kind of organized presence they were looking for, rather than giving them some specific professional analysis than they didn’t agree with.

  42. 42 laeagle said at 12:10 PM on January 16th, 2013:


  43. 43 begatts said at 12:11 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Chris Mortensen is reporting that Chip Kelly is new HC of the Philadelphia Eagles.

  44. 44 RC5000 said at 12:12 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    chip kelly? is this true?

  45. 45 new coach said at 12:12 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    What if: bringing in all of these candidates was getting “free” consulting.
    To Gus- What is the best way to beat Russell Wilson, RGIII, Kapernick. We learn from him for free

    maybe we suspected Kelly all long would take it, but figured it couldnt hurt to pick the brains of some of the NFL’s best

  46. 46 RC5000 said at 12:12 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    emb crashed already

  47. 47 Skeptic_Eagle said at 12:13 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    “We fired Andy Reid, and hired Ken Whisenhunt to replace him”. Can’t see how you can spin that positively.

  48. 48 new coach said at 12:14 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    read below. We fired Andy Reid and brought in Chip Kelly.

  49. 49 Skeptic_Eagle said at 12:15 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Now, that’s a headline!

  50. 50 Steven Dileo said at 12:14 PM on January 16th, 2013:


  51. 51 ArnoMaris said at 12:15 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Chip Kelly will be the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles,’s Ian Rapoport reports.

  52. 52 brza said at 12:19 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    This is like the Asomugha signing a couple years back. Everyone thought we weren’t even in the running then boom out of nowhere the announcement. Wow, can’t believe it.
    Hope Kelly works out better than Aso but for now I am really pleasently surprised.

  53. 53 CalSFro said at 12:21 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Yeah, I kinda almost wish you hadn’t made that comparison…true though it may be.

  54. 54 brza said at 12:24 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    haha, sorry. Didn’t mean to rain on the parade. I’m actually really excited about the hiring. Just occured to me how similar the surprise was.

  55. 55 IamSam said at 12:17 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    wow!!!kelly mania

  56. 56 Alex Karklins said at 12:21 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Holy Crap. They got their man. Chip Kelly is the new coach of the
    Eagles. It was assumed that he was their first choice all along, but
    that returning to Oregon was more attractive. What changed? Dump truck
    full of money? Was he always the coach, and the Eagles have just been
    interviewing guys to be assistants? If he was always the coach, how the
    hell have they kept this quiet? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

  57. 57 brza said at 12:47 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    So, now to the DC search. If Lovie isn’t willing to bump down from HC to DC then what about Rod Marinelli? It was Lovie’s system but Rod has been running it.

  58. 58 livingonapear said at 2:31 PM on January 16th, 2013:

    Now take yer flunky and dangle.