Next In Line…Jay Gruden

Per a report from Ron Clements of The Rams have requested permission to speak with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden for their open head coach position, according to Bernie Miklasz of 101ESPN and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Bengals had the NFL’s 20th-ranked offense this season under rookie QB Andy Dalton.

Not willing to be held hostage by Jeff Fisher the Rams area clearly doing more than just their due diligence. While Fisher is still their first choice the Rams are playing it smart, not sitting on their hands while other options catch on elsewhere. This would also mark a move in the opposite direction and from Spagnuolo’s defensive first mentality.

With QB of the future already in place and a couple of years left in Steven Jackson’s legs it would be wise to utilize both resources while you have them together. Also with A.J Green in Cincinnati it is likely that Gruden understands how important it is to arm a young QB with weapons. An idea pleasing to Bradford and Rams fans alike.

A former QB himself, Gruden knows and understands what it takes to succeed at the position.  The 43-year-old Gruden was a quarterback at Louisville, throwing for more than 7,000 yards and 44 touchdowns from 1985 to 1988. He also was a quarterback in the AFL, guiding the Tampa Bay Storm to four titles between 1991 and 1996. He also played for the Predators, resigning as coach to return to the field. In the league’s 20th anniversary, Gruden was named No. 4 on the AFL’s list of its top 20 greatest players.

Gruden is one of the hottest coordinators in the NFL these days after his success with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. Perhaps the Rams think he could do the same with quarterback Sam Bradford who struggled mightily in his second NFL season.

Having done a superb job in his first season has offensive coordinator for the Bengals, Gruden has every right to seize this opportunity to become a head coach of an NFL team.  Nobody expected much from Cincinnati this season, but Gruden helped Andy Dalton have a successful season, finishing 9-7 and earning a wild-card spot.

Gruden’s ties to football area are strong. He spent seven seasons on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff under his brother Jon, who was the head coach. Jay Gruden also served as head coach of the Arena League’s Orlando team and UFL’s Florida franchise before joining Cincinnati this season.

He coached the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League in 2010 after leading the UFL’s Florida Tuskers in 2009. He also has coached in the Arena Football League, winning AFL titles with the Orlando Predators in 1998 and 2000.