JayGruden

Jay Gruden next up in Eagles’ version of American Idol…

This head coach audition is already getting old for me— but I should be more patient. Next up— Jeff and Howie interview Jay Gruden, the NFL's version of Prince Harry compared to older brother William (Jon Gruden).

 

 

 

 

The team already has interviewed seven candidates since firing Andy Reid on Dec. 31, and has permission to speak to two other coordinators. Jay Gruden, the younger brother of ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Jon Gruden, just finished his second season as OC in Cincinnati. He previously served as an offensive assistant on his brother’s staff in Tampa Bay from 2002-08. He also coached several years in the AFL, winning the Arena Bowl title twice.

Gruden interviewed with Arizona on Thursday.

The Eagles are expected to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

This interview carousel is wearing on my nerves.

Meanwhile, new Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid filled two key positions on his staff Friday as the team announced the hiring of Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator and Doug Pederson as offensive coordinator.

Sutton, 61, comes to the Chiefs after 13 seasons with New York Jets, where he was the defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008 and also a linebackers coach. Sutton also was a head coach at Army.

Pederson, 44, is a former NFL quarterback who worked under Reid with the Eagles as an offensive assistant the past four years.

"Doug has been around the game a long time, and he has great vision," Reid said. "As a former player in this league, he sees the game from a different perspective, and that will be a great benefit for our players. He has a knack for developing talent, and he's a good communicator. Doug is ready for this position."

Reid was hired by the Chiefs this week after being fired by the Eagles following a 4-12 season in 2012.

So far, Buffalo and Kansas City are the only NFL teams that have hired their next head coaches…Oops, correction— Cleveland just named Rob Chudzinski, their previous tight ends coach and OC between 2004 and 2008, as their new head coach.

Doug Marrone wasted little time removing defensive coordinator Mike Pettine from the free-agent market after the Buffalo Bills wasted even less time hiring Marrone to be their head coach — before the Philadelphia Eagles could get to him.

In Pettine, Marrone may have found the key to instant success, according to Damien Woody, a former New York Jet who this week praised the Jets' former defensive coordinator as a star on the rise.

"A lot of people assume that it's all Rex, and Rex is the mastermind [of Pettine's Jets' defenses]," Woody told the Buffalo News, referring to current New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "But Pettine had a lot of input. He knows that defense just as well as Rex does."

"You know Mike Pettine's going to be hungry because he wanted to get out of the shadow of Rex and prove himself. Ultimately, he wants to be a head coach. So he's going to be a highly motivated guy, a guy that's been schooled in that defense."

This coming after Pettine, who grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs as an Eagles fan, went on record saying he was paying close attention to what was happening with the Eagles in this offseason.

Whether the Eagles would have seriously considered Pettine as a candidate to be on their staff is unclear. What is clear is that this now will not happen no matter how they feel about him. He was locked up quickly by a coach who was locked up quicker, reducing the field of available candidates — though still vast — for the Eagles' new coaching staff by two.

Getting the right coordinators in place will be just as important as getting the right head coach. That much has been obvious just in Jeffrey Lurie's tenure as owner.

His first hire was Ray Rhodes, a coach with a defensive background who brought Jon Gruden along with him to be his offensive coordinator. His second hire was Reid, an offensive-minded coach who had the good sense to get Jim Johnson to run his defense with little or no interference.

Filling out a staff can be trickier because NFL teams are not required to allow their assistant coaches to interview for anything other than head-coaching jobs with other teams after they sign their renewals, which almost always are on a yearly basis and done within weeks after the end of the season.

If the Eagles land a coach with an offensive background, such as Denver's Mike McCoy or Indianapolis' Bruce Arians, who's their next Jim Johnson? More importantly, how will they be able to get him after so many other new coaches had a head start assembling their staffs?

Lurie, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski sat down with former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith on Thursday, and even if he doesn't become their ultimate choice, don't think they didn't float the idea of him being defensive coordinator if that's what their ultimate choice wants.

Smith and some of the most recently fired head coaches such as Norv Turner and Ken Whisenhunt might be the best candidates for coordinators. They won't be on the market long, however, and they won't be persuaded to take any job in which they're not totally comfortable with the head coach.

Roseman, except for a brief video interview he did for the team's website, has gone silent since this process began. He probably didn't mean it to come out this way when he said: "The key is getting the right guy, the key isn't getting the right guy as quickly as possible."

But getting the right guy as quickly as possible should be the biggest key in this process, because the "right guy" then has to surround himself with the right guys as coordinators before all the best ones are gone.

Slap me in the face moment here… Okay, stay patient, stay focused…

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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