On Gus Bradley, the Seahawks defense, and postseason stock

Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley (center) stands with other coaches during NFL football practice, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Renton, Wash. Bradley is on the the list of possible candidates for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job to replace Andy Reid. (Ted S. Warren/AP)


For those who want Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to be the next Eagles coach -- and judging by my inbox and Twitter feed, there are many fans on that bandwagon -- the best news might have been the Falcons' 30-28 win over the Seahawks. That frees up Bradley to be hired by an interested team, and the Eagles and Chargers right now appear to be the interested teams.

One's judgment of Bradley should not be weighed by Sunday's game, though, even though the Seahawks surrendered a last-minute lead. For one, two passes in the fourth quarter of a road game against one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL is too small of a sample size to form any type of judgment. Also, it counters the very reasons a coach should be considered. Bradley oversaw the best scoring defense in the NFL this season, but that would be a foolish reason to hire him. Every season, top coordinators are hired by NFL teams. Every season, former top coordinators are fired by NFL teams.

The reason to hire a coach is for characteristics that go beyond scheme and stats -- what's his short-term, mid-term, and long-term plan; how does he lead a team; how innovative are his ideas; how well can he run a staff; how does he deal with problems in the locker room; how does he represent the team. When the coach is inside the building, he needs to hire skilled coordinators and strong coaches, and that's when scheme matters. (Of course, a good quarterback is also imperative.)

In speaking to Seahawks defensive players last week, three things seemed clear about Bradley:

1) Players want to play for him. He was described as a "player's coach" by multiple players. One player called him "new-school," and said that he's the type of coach whom players will listen to and follow.

2) He's full of energy and optimism. Cornerback Richard Sherman said Bradley never seems to have a bad day, ever boasting energy -- even when he's sick, or his voice is hoarse. So if a high-energy coach is appealing, Bradley should excite you.

3) The Seahawks run Bradley's defense. I wanted to know specifically what role Bradley possesses, particularly because Pete Carroll has a decorated resume with defense. I was told that Carroll has influence, but Bradley puts together the game plan and makes the calls.

None of this means Bradley will be the Eagles head coach, or even a good head coach if he becomes one. Frankly, that has as much to do with the roster that's assembled and the quarterback of the future. 

But it helps show why Bradley is a popular candidate, and why he could potentially become the coach within the next days.