“Do your job!”
The line by one Gus Bradley has sensationalized the Philadelphia Sports World. It represents accountability and emotion: both of which have gone astray ever since Jim Johnson passed away.
Gus Bradley has become the fan underdog in the search, and understandably so. An emotional, defensive-minded coach that gets in players’ faces, Bradley could be exactly what Jeff Lurie is looking for.
“A student of the game who is obsessed and who absolutely and, on his own, is completely driven to be the best, that’s what you’re looking for.”
Bradley clearly displays innovation, with his unique coverages and blitzes. The Coordinator previously spent three years with the Tanpa Bay Buccaneers, two as a QB coach and one as a Quality Control coach. He dragged a mediocre linebacker group to the divisional round of the playoffs. He coped with the distraction of the Richard Sherman appeal, and held his team accountable when fellow CB Rob Browner was suspended.
After the team gave up 28 points in a loss to Detroit, Bradley responded, and the team gave up an average of 13.1 points through their last eight games. Bradley heightened the second-youngest squad to ninth in the NFL in yards allowed.
However, a warning must be heeded. Should Bradley be hired-and it seems increasingly more likely-the right coaches must surround him. Defensively, sound position coaches must be chosen to ensure the players have the skills to function in Bradley’s scheme.
Offensively is where selection will be key. Bradley could choose one of the current Seahawks staff, such as QB Coach Carl Smith. Smith was previously the OC in Jacksonville, where running the ball was key. Bradley will want someone who will balance the offense, and a QB coach who has also worked with Maurice-Jones Drew could be the man.
In addition, Bradley may want a more independent coach who can take full reigns of the offense. Former Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey can uphold this responsibility. As Falcons Offensive Coordinator in 2008, Mularkey’s group ranked second in the league in rushing with a 152.5 average. The team also ranked sixth in total yards, and tenth in scoring. Obviously, there must be an ample focus in this offense to pass, to create large chunks of yards and bunches of points. Mularkey is used to a balanced offense with Michael Turner and Matt Ryan. He would be an ideal choice to relieve Bradley’s offensive responsibilities as a Head Coach.
If Bradley is indeed hired, he must find the proper staff to join him. Otherwise, a potential super-hiring may not have relevance, and this staff could become one of the busts of NFL coaching history.