Who is Gus Bradley? What does he represent? The credentials are impressive, for sure. Bradley was a star football player and scholar at North Dakota State and moved his way up the coaching ranks the workmanlike way: Small schools in college to NFL quality control coach in Tampa Bay to linebackers coach there to defensive coordinator in Seattle to rising head-coaching candidate who is currently wanted by teams in search of a new head coach.
The Eagles met with Bradley on Saturday and announced late on Monday night that they will have a second interview with Bradley on Tuesday. There is nothing promised beyond that.
But why not be excited about this whole process? Isn't this where you kind of expected the process to be at this point, in its third week? Bradley had been a media and fan darling from the moment the job became open, so he's here and the Eagles are here and, well, who knows what is going to happen?
Bradley's reputation is that of an intense, details-driven defensive mind who turned Seattle into one of the feared and most productive defenses in the four years he has been defensive coordinator. Seattle plays an aggressive, imaginative scheme and certainly does not lack confidence. Hired by defensive mind Pete Carroll, Bradley was impressive enough to the head coach that Bradley's defense is the one that is used in Seattle.
What else does he bring to the table? He's a high-energy guy, and that's something this team needs after its sleepwalking act of 2012. What we don't know about Bradley is who he is bringing to the table as far as his coaching staff goes, but clearly the Eagles were pleased enough with his initial presentation -- even with a playoff game staring him in the face -- that they've scheduled a second conversation.
A second interview represents the "next phase" of the coaching search, clearly. That is not to say, however, that the Eagles won't have other prospects that we have not been made aware of, because the team has obviously lived up to its promise to search in all corners for candidates and to inquire and extend itself and the three-man team of Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski to great lengths to find the right man. If that means there are more coaches to interview, so be it. The job is to find the right coach for the job, no matter how long it takes.
The Eagles have been linked -- officially and unofficially -- with 11 coaches. Some have come from the college ranks. Some are current NFL assistant coaches. Some are former head coaches in search of their next challenge. All made the first wave of interviews for the Eagles.
Only Bradley, to date, has reached the second round of interviews. And so now the heartbeat grows faster and the anticipation heightens and the end game may, or may not, be closer.
Gus Bradley looks like he could be one of us, doesn't he? Intense, energetic, successful. We'll know a lot more after the Eagles talk to him for a second time and dig deeper to find out if he is worthy of deeper consideration.
It's exciting, now that we see the plan taking shape. We may be a day away, a few days away, a couple of weeks still. The vision of the next Eagles head coach is forming, and from this perspective, I like what I see.