From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles have interviewed former Ravens coach and current Fox analyst Brian Billick for their coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press on Sunday.Billick, who led Baltimore to a Super Bowl title in the 2000 season, met with the Eagles last Monday, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss it.The Eagles are known to have interviewed eight other candidates, including three high-profile college coaches who decided to stay at their schools. They were Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Oregon's Chip Kelly and Penn State's Bill O'Brien.Philadelphia fired Andy Reid on Dec. 31, a day after finishing 4-12 in his 14th season.Billick hasn't coached since 2007. He was 80-64 in nine seasons with the Ravens, leading them to two division titles and a 5-3 record in four playoff appearances.CSNPhilly.com first reported Billick's interview.The 58-year-old Billick began his NFL coaching career in Minnesota as a tight ends coach in 1992. After two seasons, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and helped the Vikings set a then-record 556 points in 1998.Billick became the second coach in Ravens history in 1999 and guided them to a Super Bowl victory over the New York Giants in his second season.Known for having a dynamic offense in Minnesota, Billick never come close to matching it in Baltimore. His offense never ranked higher than 14th in total yards and cracked the top 10 in points just once.Of course, talent had a part in that. The Vikings had Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper as their quarterbacks, along with star wide receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss and running back Robert Smith.Billick's Ravens were built on strong defenses led by Ray Lewis and Co. They finished in the top six in total yards in eight of Billick's nine seasons.Billick assembled quite a coaching staff in Baltimore. Six of his assistants became head coaches, including Mike Smith (Atlanta), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati), Rex Ryan (New York Jets), Mike Singletary (San Francisco), Mike Nolan (San Francisco) and Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville).The Eagles have an interview scheduled with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday and are expected to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians this week.They met with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Saturday, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Seattle lost to Atlanta on Sunday, so the Eagles are free to hire Bradley if he's their choice.Owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith on Thursday. They previously met with Atlanta assistants Nolan and Keith Armstrong and Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
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It wasn’t an exciting night at the Advocate Center but it was a successful one in the eyes of the rebuilding Chicago Bulls.
And a telling one, from their inaction as they stayed put to select Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. and Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison with their two first round picks.
They’re not looking to press the fast-forward button on this methodical process, placing unrealistic expectations on themselves that they’re nowhere near ready to embrace.
But perhaps, it was necessary.
Trade offers were around, and the Bulls were enamored with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marvin Bagley III in addition to their interest in Mohamed Bamba. But the price of swapping picks, along with giving up the 22nd spot and a future first-rounder was too rich for the Bulls, according to sources.
“We’re always looking and probing for opportunity. How close we got, we don’t know,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “We looked into some things. We thought it was more than a six-player draft. And Wendell is a guy we’ve been high on for quite awhile.”
They believe they’ve opted for prudence instead of panic on a night where bold, confident steps are expected.
After a painful march to the end of an unsatisfying season and dropping a spot in the lottery, a trade would’ve been a do-good when many felt the Bulls should’ve been at the top of the draft order.
After all, so much was made of their scouts and staff spending so much time during the year to assess the top talent—nobody wanted to see all that unspoken promise result in a mid-lottery seventh selection.
“We feel we’re in a situation at this time of our rebuild that to give up assets, important draft assets to move up a spot or two, that didn’t make sense to us and the way we’re planning,” Paxson said. “We continue to talk about being patient and disciplined in how we make decisions.”
One can look at it as the Bulls being unwilling to embrace what comes with taking a top-four talent—especially with Jackson being viewed as a long play as opposed to an instant impact prospect—the word “playoffs” would’ve been swirling all around Madison and Wood for the next several months.
Or one can view it as a sober approach, that Paxson and Forman know there’s far too many unanswered questions about their core, that a slightly better-than-expected regular season wasn’t going to seduce them down a costly road.
They don’t seem to be completely sold on Kris Dunn as the unequivocal point guard of the future, unafraid to take Trae Young if he fell into their lap.
Zach LaVine didn’t play to his expectations, the franchise’s expectations and he didn’t look comfortable playing with the Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, in part because they didn’t have the opportunity.
He enters restricted free agency and nobody will know how much the Bulls value him until they put an initial offer in front of him, likely on the eve of free agency a week from now.
As much as the last 12 months were about hitting the reset button and trading Jimmy Butler to put themselves in this spot, the months of October to April didn’t shed as much light as many anticipated—hence the talk from Paxson about patience and not being in a rush with the rebuild right now.
Because honestly, there’s nothing to rush—the last thing this distrusting fan base wants to hear.
Carter can be exactly what the Bulls need—some ways immediately, other ways in time provided the roster construction is competent and not done at a snail’s pace, the biggest fear from this jaded fan base.
Having to sacrifice at Duke once Bagley III reclassified to get to college, his offensive game didn’t develop as much as it could have—and it’s not like he’ll be featured early on in Chicago with Markkanen and LaVine penciled in as main scoring options.
“As much as you wanna talk about the game getting away from bigs, big guys and their ability to score, the way the game’s going,” Paxson said. “He wants to set screens for guys. This is a young man who’s gonna fit into the team concept that we want to have. And Chandler will do the same.”
Carter had to submerge his talents and gifts during the one season he had to showcase it for the greater good. It speaks to a certain emotional maturity the 19-year old has, a sober approach to look at the bigger picture while still making the most of his not-so-plentiful opportunities.
“Wendell is still a young guy,” Paxson said. “Very few draft picks are finished product, especially in our game where we’re drafting so young. He’s got a lot of room to grow. Defensively as a rim protector, he’ll do really well. Verticality at the rim, he’s been taught really well. Smart kid, we think he’s gonna be really good.”
Hutchison isn’t the high-upside talent Carter is, having played four years of college ball, improving each year to the point that the Bulls supposedly made him a promise very early on in the draft process.
Their unwillingness to give up the 22nd pick, whether they like the perception or not, stems from their belief Hutchison can be an impact player.
“We like Chandler a lot,” Paxson said. “We scouted him early, scouted him often. He knew we liked him. He addresses a position of need. We had debates on wings and players at his position. His ability to rebound and take it off the board, those things are really valuable, especially the way we want to play.”
Paxson alluded to tense discussions leading to the draft, where one can surmise there was serious consideration about not just going with the status quo—their reported interest in point guard Collin Sexton should be proof of that—and that should come as a positive sign for Bulls fans, who feel the front office is satisfied with a slow-rolling, low-accountability approach since they aren’t saddling themselves with high expectations.
To paraphrase Forman, the Bulls are “still building up our asset base” and subtly saying they expect to be in a similar position next June.
Soberly saying winning and contention isn’t on the horizon can be refreshing to hear, but they walk a fine line of expressing too much comfort in things staying the way they are.