Bleeding Green Nation is profiling all the candidates and potential candidates for the Eagles head coaching position in 2016.
Adam Gase is hot commodity among teams that are in need of a head coach for his work with Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler, getting career years for both players as their offensive coordinator. He is considered by many around the league to be a bright young offensive mind, Peyton Manning called him "the smartest guy I know" in 2014, and as such is in serious demand around the league. A year ago he interviewed with the Falcons, Bears, 49ers and Bills, and is already scheduled to interview with the Eagles, Browns and Dolphins this week. No word on if he will wear the tailor made suit Jay Cutler bought for him, but he probably will.
2000 LSU (graduate assistant)
2001-2002 LSU (recruiting assistant)
2003-2004 Detroit Lions (scouting assistant)
2005-2006 Detroit Lions (offensive assistant)
2007 Detroit Lions (quarterbacks)
2008 San Francisco 49ers (offensive assistant)
2009-2010 Denver Broncos (wide receivers)
2011-2012 Denver Broncos (quarterbacks)
2013-2014 Denver Broncos (offensive coordinator)
2015 Chicago Bears (offensive coordinator)
Why he could work
Having a good coach-quarterback combination is a significant part of being a consistently good team, and Gase appears to be half of that combination. In 2013 Peyton Manning rewrote the record books with 55 touchdowns and 5,477 passing yards, the Broncos had two 1,200 yard wide receivers in Demaryius Thomas (1,430) and Eric Decker (1,288), Julius Thomas, who previously had one career reception, caught 12 touchdowns, and Knowshon Moreno had the best year of his career. In 2014 the Broncos were no less effective. The Broncos again had a dominant WR duo with Demaryius Thomas (1,619 yards) and Emmanuel Sanders (1,404) who replaced Decker in free agency. Manning's counting stats declined as you would expect after setting records, but he was still tremendously effective with his 4,727 passing yards the second best of his career and his 39 TDs his third best mark behind his record-setting 2004 and 2013 seasons. Prior to the arrival of Manning, Gase was Brandon Marshall and Brandon Lloyd's position coach for their Pro Bowl seasons in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and was the quarterbacks coach during the Tim Tebow era, where he and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy had to adjust their playbook in-season when Tebow was made the starting quarterback.
When John Fox was fired in Denver Gase went with him to Chicago, where he inherited the turnover plagued Jay Cutler. Under Gase, Cutler had one of the best years of his career. Cutler's interception percentage dropped from 3.2 in 2014, and 3.4 for his career, to 2.3, the second-best mark of his career. He set or tied career highs in completion percentage, passer rating, yards per attempt, and did so without taking many sacks. Culter had just multi-interception game and after Week 3 did not throw interceptions in back to back games. And Culter and Gase did this despite every starting WR, TE and RB missing time, including Alshon Jeffrey missing half the season. Entering Week 17 the Bears offense was just 23rd in points and 21st in yards, though it was 10th in DVOA (11th passing, 5th rushing).
In both Denver and Chicago, Gase went back to what worked best for his QBs, looking at Florida's offense and reaching out to Urban Meyer for Tebow, borrowed from Indy's playbook for Manning, and incorporating what worked best for Cutler when Mike Martz, who Gase worked with in Detroit, in 2010 into his playbook in 2015. That flexibility will likely greatly appeal to the Eagles.
Why he might not be the guy
There's no getting around that as impressive as the individual seasons he has gotten out of his players has been, the bulk of Gase's best work was with Peyton Manning, one of the greatest players to ever play football. And in Denver Manning was surrounded with top level talent to throw to. Getting the best out of the best is certainly a good thing, but it is difficult to separate Gase's contributions from a player who essentially doubles as a coach on the field. His work with Cutler has boosted his already high profile, but it's just one season of good play. And while Cutler was more efficient in nearly all areas of play, the improvements weren't major, and Cutler was already an established and bonafide starter. Gase has never had an opportunity to groom a young QB.
And at the age of 37 and with 12 years of NFL coaching experience in total, he is one of the least experienced coaches that is being sought after for a head coaching job. Being a young coach in and of itself is not a hindrance, but Gase has no clear cut proven track record either like other candidates do. Mike Tomlin was both younger (35) and had less coordinator experience (one year) than Gase did, but the same could be said for Lane Kiffin and Raheem Morris, among others.
If Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles are looking to find a coach to either maximize Sam Bradford or a young QB (or both), Gase is, despite the limitations of his experiences, one of the more attractive coaches. Good quarterbacks are in short supply in the NFL, and with so many coaches getting jobs for working with just one quarterback, Gase at least has two on his resume that have played well under him. Having interviewed with four teams last year and at least three this year, it appears to be only a matter of time until he is a head coach. His relative inexperience compared to other candidates should give one pause, but Lurie has said that he isn't against taking a risk again in hiring a coach. On one hand he's maximized talent on two teams, on the other he's done so over just three years. Gase's interview may need to be weighed heavily by the Eagles to balance his short resume.