ALEX LEE, Daily News Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 1:15 AM
THE CLAMOR for Jon Gruden to succeed Andy Reid as Eagles coach has gone on for years. It is inevitable.
Reid is essentially a lame duck at this point. Gruden has been an assistant coach here before. Gruden has won a Super Bowl - what everyone in Philadelphia wants - and beat Reid's Eagles on the way to winning it. He has even been reported to be a big fan of rookie quarterback Nick Foles.
To top it off, for the second time in 4 weeks, Gruden broadcast an Eagles game on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
But for those hoping that the combination of Gruden in the booth and 70,000 fed-up Eagles fans in the stands would result in a lovefest for Gruden or a bloodbath for Reid, Monday night was a disappointment.
Gruden typically gushes over quarterbacks of all shapes and sizes. But he was critical of Foles' play against the Panthers. On the opening possession, the Eagles rookie methodically led the team into the red zone, only to nearly throw two picks, once he got there. The Eagles were lucky to come away with a field goal.
"You can't make that throw," Gruden said of Foles' errant toss, which went through the hands of Carolina safety Sherrod Martin. Gruden later added that the Panthers defense was "all over Foles' eyes" in the first half.
Late in the first quarter, Foles rolled out to the right and foolishly threw across his body to Brent Celek in the middle of the field. Celek was crushed by Greg Hardy, who was flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver, prompting Gruden to say, "They should throw that on the quarterback."
Earlier this month, Gruden praises Foles, whom he saw play while announcing the Eagles' second preseason game. Michael Vick got hurt on the sixth play and Foles finished the game in impressive style. Gruden extolled Foles' size, vision and toughness, but Monday night was a different story.
He was, however, very complimentary of Eagles running back Bryce Brown, who made his first start in place of the concussed LeSean McCoy.
"I love the NFL. Every year, you discover a new star," Gruden said after Brown's 65-yard touchdown sprint in the second quarter.
After Foles nearly threw another pick before the half, Gruden said: "He is lucky he hasn't thrown three interceptions. The only thing he has done well is hand the ball off to Bryce Brown."
Brown broke the Eagles' single-game rookie rushing record, but coughed up two costly fumbles.
As for the Eagles' head coach, Gruden said he "hates to see Andy Reid get booed" but expressed confidence in his mental toughness.
Gruden-to-Eagles rumors have been around since he was fired in Tampa Bay and joined ESPN. Gruden is said to be is interested in returning to the NFL, but will leave his broadcast job only for the perfect situation.
Many Philly fans hope that the Eagles, who have a stable ownership group and play in huge football market, are that situation.
The Eagles don't have another game on "Monday Night Football" this year. Eagles fans will just have to wait and see whether Gruden sends any more signals about his coaching intentions.
On Twitter: @leeal02
ALEX LEE Daily News Staff Writer email@example.com