By Zach Berman The Philadelphia Inquirer
LANDOVER, Md. — Gus Bradley is expected to interview for the Eagles’ coaching job this week. His Seahawks defense made quite a statement on Sunday.
Seattle’s defensive coordinator played an important role in a 24-14 playoff win over Washington as the Seahawks limited the Redskins to 69 yards in the final three quarters.
“He’s a people’s person,” Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said. “All the guys in the room respect him. He’s definitely a great candidate for a head coaching job.”
That support was echoed throughout the visiting locker room at FedEx Field. The 46-year-old coordinator has earned the respect of a defense that allowed fewer points than any NFL team this season.
If Chip Kelly elects to stay at Oregon, the Eagles search would likely focus on an NFL coordinator. Enter Bradley, whom the Eagles have been granted permission to interview.
Cornerback Richard Sherman called Bradley “one of the most enthusiastic guys you’ll ever meet.”
“You’ve never seen him have a bad day,” Sherman said. “He’s been sick, no voice, hoarse, and he comes in with the most energy. And you’re like, ‘There’s nothing that can bring this guy’s energy down.’ And he’s never down. No matter the score, he makes his guys show up, presses his guys to be the best, and that’s what makes Gus Bradley a great head coaching candidate.”
Bradley, who was not available for an interview, oversees a scheme that has been successful this season. The defense is a hybrid between a 4-3 and a 3-4. It has four down linemen, but it uses concepts from the 3-4 and requires players with versatile skill sets. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who is 61 and has coached for four decades, told the Seattle Times that Bradley is “the best teacher I’ve been around.”
Bradley became the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator in 2009, when Jim Mora was head coach. He previously served as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Jon Gruden and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Even though Carroll has a defensive background, linebacker LeRoy Hill said that Bradley makes the calls and runs the defense. Hill, who has been with Seahawks throughout Bradley’s tenure, insisted that the Eagles would love him.
“He’ll definitely be a players’ coach, new-school,” Hill said. “He can get guys to follow in and listen.”
The Seahawks held opponents to 15.3 points per game this season. The Eagles surrendered 27.8 points per game. On Sunday, the Seahawks did what the Eagles could not do: neutralize the dynamic, albeit injured, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. If it was Bradley’s final audition for the Eagles, it was an impressive one.
“He’s going to climb the (NFL) ranks,” Hill said.