Why Gus Bradley Should Be the Next Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles

Bryn SwartzSenior Writer IIIJanuary 8, 2013

RENTON, WA- CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Gus Bradley of the Seattle Seahawks poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles' search for a new head coach will contain virtually every candidate in the league.

After all, the Eagles interviewed Bill O'Brien, who ultimately decided to return to Penn State for a second year of coaching. O'Brien would have cost more than twice as much as any other coach in sports had he chosen to head to the NFL.

They were also very interested in Chip Kelly, meeting with the Ducks' head coach for nine hours on Saturday before Kelly also chose to remain in college.

In all, the Eagles have been pretty busy this offseason. They have interviewed or will interview the following head-coaching candidates: Bruce Arians, Mike McCoy, Gus Bradley, Lovie Smith, Jay Gruden, Mike Nolan and Keith Armstrong (via phillymag.com)

But the search has already found a pretty ideal candidate: Gus Bradley.

The 46-year-old defensive coordinator should unquestionably be the head coach of the Eagles starting in 2013.

Bradley has been the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks for four seasons. During those years, they've ranked 25th, 25th, seventh and first in points allowed.

The turnaround for the defense has been just tremendous, especially when you consider the fact that they may have just one player who ranks in the top 50 or even 75 players in the league. That would be cornerback Richard Sherman, who allowed two touchdowns and a 40.4 passer rating while intercepting eight passes.

But the rest of the unit doesn't have a single superstar. Every player is very good.

You've got Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Alan Branch and Jason Jones on the defensive line; Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are the linebackers; and Sherman, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas make up one of the best secondaries in the game.

Clemons is a great example of a player who saw his career skyrocket when he joined the Seahawks.

He was a backup with the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders and Eagles from 2004 to 2009. In fact, he started just three games in six seasons and averaged 3.33 sacks per year.

Then he signed with Seattle and became a star. Over the past three years, he's collected 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks. That's tremendous consistency and fantastic production from a player who likely thrived under Bradley's tutelage.

Seattle would be foolish to let Bradley go, considering all the success the defense has had. But the Eagles need a coach who can fix their D.

I believe that offenses win championships in this era. Look at your last nine Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. The worst in that group is either Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger. No team will compete for a title without a star quarterback.

But the Eagles don't have one and signing a great offensive mind like Mike McCoy likely isn't going to turn Nick Foles into Peyton Manning.

Plus, the offense has most of its pieces in place. You've got two great running backs, some talented receivers, a solid tight end and four of the five pieces for the offensive line.

It's the defense with all the questions.

Do Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie return in 2013? Will Cullen Jenkins be cut? Who are your safeties and your third linebacker?

Bradley would help with all of that.

Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, DeMeco Ryans, Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie all had tremendous talent at one time. Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, and Brandon Boykin are on the rise. Brandon Graham, Mike Patterson, Vinny Curry and Nate Allen are pieces of the puzzle.

Bring in Bradley and I think the Eagles' defense turns into a respectable unit again. Give him a few years and it may rival Jim Johnson's.

The offense won't be ignored either; a new offensive coordinator will join the team in 2013.

But the man in charge of the team should be a defensive mind.