Eagles begin search to replace Kelly
PHILADELPHIA — Before they look outside for a new coach to replace Chip Kelly, the Philadelphia Eagleswill consider their own assistants.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who led the Eagles to a season-ending win over the Giants as interim coach, interviewed on Monday. Running backs coach Duce Staley interviewed last Friday.
"I've been here now for 13 years under two different regimes," Shurmur said. "I told the players (Saturday) night that I probably learned more in the last three years than I've learned in any stretch of my coaching career.
"I think we constantly refine ourselves and we become a better version of ourselves every single day. You learn something new every day."
Shurmur was 9-23 as Cleveland's coach in 2011-12. He joined Kelly's staff in 2013 and got the chance to be in charge for a week after the Eagles made an abrupt change last Tuesday.
"I enjoyed this opportunity," Shurmur said. "It's kind of bittersweet. Then I think back that maybe had I been a better assistant that this wouldn't have been the case."
Bradford status: Shurmur began his NFL coaching career on Andy Reid's staff in Philadelphia in 1999. He spent 10 seasons under Reid before going to St. Louis to be offensive coordinator in 2009-10. Shurmur worked with Sam Bradford in the quarterback's rookie season with the Rams, and they were reunited in Philadelphia this year.
"The quarterback-head coach relationship is extremely important in any organization," Bradford said. "Given the history I have with Pat, I think it would mean a lot to me. I would love to play for him. I really enjoyed playing for him today. If he is a candidate, I hope that he gets serious consideration."
Bradford isn't a lock to return to Philadelphia, however. He can become a free agent in March and wants to know who will be the coach before he signs a new contract. There's no guarantee a new coach wants him to be the quarterback, either.
"It definitely depends on who they hire and what kind of offensive system he wants to run, if he feels like I fit and I feel like I fit," Bradford said.
Following Kelly: Kelly was 10-6 his first two seasons and won the NFC East title in 2013. He went 6-9 before losing his job the same year he took control of personnel decisions.
The biggest knock against Kelly was his inability to communicate well with his players. Some called him distant and unapproachable, though others had good rapport with him.
"You want to play for a guy that's going to be there for you," said Bradford, who was one of the players disappointed to see Kelly fired. "He's going to lead you and inspire you, someone the guys in the locker room can really rally around."
Other candidates: The Eagles are expected to consider many candidates for the job, including several coordinators. Carolina's defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and offensive coordinators Adam Gase (Chicago), Hue Jackson (Cincinnati) and Josh McDaniels (New England) are among the likely candidates.