Here's why the Eagles should hire Gus Bradley

Here's why the Eagles should hire Gus Bradley
January 7, 2013, 7:12 pm
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Gus Bradley did more Sunday afternoon on the sideline of FedEx Field to demonstrate he deserves a head coaching job than he could ever demonstrate in some formal interview with a bunch of guys in suits at a restaurant, office or hotel suite.

The Eagles were granted permission last week to interview Bradley, the Seahawks' defensive coordinator, once the Seahawks wild-card game against the Redskins ended, and Bradley did nothing to hurt his candidacy.

Seattle won its first road playoff game since 1983, thanks in great part to Bradleys swarming defense, which held the Redskins scoreless over the final 47 minutes after spotting Washington a quick 14-0 lead.

Any Eagles fan watching Bradleys defense had to be saying to himself, This is what we need.

After the Redskins took a 14-0 lead with 2:26 left in the first quarter, the 'Skins had outgained the Seahawks 129 yards to minus-two yards.

This is when Twitter blew up with some vintage anti-Bradley sentiment: OK, let's cancel that interview with the Seahawks' defensive coordinator!" one of my followers tweeted.

But you learn more about a coach from how he responds to adversity than anything else.

And guess what.

After allowing TD drives of 80 and 49 yards in the first quarter, the Seahawks allowed nothing.

No team had come back from a 14-point deficit after the first quarter in a postseason game since you might remember this the Eagles beat the Packers in the 4th-and-26 game at the Linc in 2003 after trailing 14-0 after 15 minutes.

Jim Johnson found a way to do it nine years ago by harrassing Brett Favre into mistake after mistake, and Gus Bradley found a way to do it Sunday by stomping on Robert Griffin III until he had to leave the game, suffocating Alfred Morris and choking off the Redskins receivers.

After being outgained 129 to minus-2, the Seahawks outgained the Redskins 382-74 the rest of the way. Obviously some of that was due to RG3 being hobbled, but thats not the Seahawks problem. They smelled blood and they swarmed.

They hit. They tackled. They forced turnovers. They played disciplined, physical, ferocious football. The likes of which we havent seen around here in a long time.

After the 'Skins easily drove down the field a second time, the NBC TV cameras showed head coach Pete Carroll grabbing Bradley on the sidelines, as if to say, Hey, what are we going to do to slow these guys down?

Whatever they came up with worked.

The Redskins averaged 7.8 yards per possession after those first two TD drives.

After the first quarter, Griffin passed for just 16 yards. After allowing Morris, a 1,600-yard rusher, 49 rushing yards on eight carries in the first quarter (6.1 average), the Seahawks held him to 31 yards on eight carries (3.9 average) the rest of the game.

It was a brilliant display of defensive adjustment by a guy who was coaching at Fargo, N.D., seven years ago.

How can you watch the product the Seahawks put on the field Sunday and not want this guy to be your head coach?

The hunch here is still that the Eagles will go with an offensive mind over a defensive mind. Its an offensive league, and we know Jeff Lurie all things being equal prefers having a bright, innovative offensive guy running the franchise and a strong coordinator leading the defense.

But with all due respect to Mike McCoy and Bruce Arians, good luck finding a stronger candidate to bring the Eagles into the future and turn this mess around than Gus Bradley.

The Eagles need to get better on offense, sure, but they have some pieces in place and will get some injured guys back. On defense, they need a complete overhaul. They need a culture change. They need to learn how to tackle. Learn how to cover. Learn how to hit. Learn how to play football.

Who better to change the mentality of this languid bunch and infuse them with the ferocity and discipline necessary to be a competitive defense than the guy who built the Seahawks into this savage wrecking machine?

Now, Bradley wont have the same talent at the start in Philly that he has right now in Seattle. But that doesnt matter. The transformation of the Eagles back into a team that doesnt go out there and embarrass itself every week has to begin with a change in its approach.

You watch the videos of his media interviews, and you can see hes got a tremendous personality. You read the quotes from his players, and you can see hes a tremendous leader. You spot him on the sidelines, and you can see hes got tremendous energy. You watch the brand of football his guys play, and you can see hes a tremendous tactician.

The Eagles dodged a bullet when things fell apart with Chip Kelly, who seems to be more enamored of being wanted than being an NFL head coach.

The Eagles need somebody who wants to be here. Who has the energy, personality and ability to turn around a franchise at its lowest ebb in a generation. Who understands what Eagles fans understand that smart, physical, disciplined defense wins championships.

Bradleys official interview with the Eagles hasnt been scheduled yet, but his units performance Sunday afternoon was one heck of an interview in itself.

Ive seen enough.

The Eagles need Gus Bradley.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com