Eagles get permission to talk to Jay Gruden

Gruden
Gruden
Posted: January 09, 2013

THE EAGLES finally received permission to talk to Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday, something that didn't really inspire Eagles fans who watched the Bengals' 19-13 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday with an eye on Gruden.

Gruden, 45, was a sought-after head-coaching candidate a year ago, after his first year in Cincinnati, but signed an extension with the Bengals. This year, his name again is hot, with the Cardinals also expressing interest. Maybe teams feel there is only so much a guy can do with Andy Dalton.

"If guys have opportunities to be head coaches, I'm going to be as supportive as I can," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters Monday.

The Eagles also have interviews on deck with Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, 46, and 60-year-old Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who like Gruden, is done in the playoffs.

The Birds interviewed Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday. There is buzz that McCoy is going to end up going to Chicago, where his former quarterback, Jay Cutler, plays now. McCoy also is in the mix with Arizona, reports say.

But if you want Bradley or McCoy hired anytime soon, you'd better hope the Seahawks lose to the Falcons this coming weekend, or the Broncos are upset by the Ravens. The rules say that while there are interview windows for coaches still involved in the playoffs, "no contract shall be executed, and no agreement to execute a contract, or an announcement of a contract or of an agreement for employment, shall be permitted until after the conclusion of the employer's playing season."

The intent of this rule is to not mess with teams still in the playoffs, which is laudable. However, it creates a frustrating situation. Theoretically, the Eagles could have decided during their Sunday interview they wanted McCoy to be their coach, and he could have decided that was what he wanted. But there is no way for either party to move forward on that. Presumably, the Eagles would have to continue to conduct a sham "search" until the Broncos are done, which very well could be Feb. 4, the day after the Super Bowl. That's nearly a month from now, the Daily News has learned.

It's interesting to note that nobody has waited around until after the Super Bowl to hire a coach since Kansas City waited for the Cardinals to lose, so the Chiefs could hire Todd Haley in 2009. ( That worked out well.)

Hiring a coach in February puts you behind on many levels. For one thing, the assistant-coach market is really picked over by then. For another, your coaching staff misses Senior Bowl week, the best way to evaluate draft-eligible talent between the end of the college season and the draft. A team like the Eagles, with the fourth overall pick and of course early picks in subsequent rounds, needs all eyes on the prospects as soon as possible.

You also are behind other teams in evaluating the talent on your roster, in terms of who stays and who goes, and on assessing the free-agent market.

Can a coach hired in February be successful? Sure. But it isn't the best setup, by a long shot.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

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