If the NFL rumors are true, then former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden may have an itch to leave the broadcast booth of Monday Night Football and return to the coaching sidelines. Of course, any time a head coach is rumored to be on the chopping block – especially with a team with tradition or money to spend – Gruden’s name unmistakably comes up first. He is often followed by the likes of Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren. None of them have returned to coaching.
But could this time be different?
As it was first reported here at The Pigskin Report on Thursday, Gruden’s name has been linked to the Philadelphia Eagles. It is actually being reported that Gruden is so enamored with the possibility of coaching the Eagles that he has already been secretly working on assembling a staff if he accepts the position. But forget about what coaches he would prefer to hire. I see a much larger question out there when it comes to Philadelphia.
Who would Gruden want as his quarterback?
Michael Vick is a disaster. In fact, it is because current Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid hitched his wagon to Vick that he may soon be fired in the first place. Reid and the Eagles may have been better of never getting involved with Vick and letting Donovan McNabb keep the starting job for one more season before handing the reigns to Kevin Kolb. I am not saying that would have worked out all that much better, but it may have been viewed more favorably than sticking with Vick.
If Gruden were to take the job as head coach with the Eagles, would he first insist that the team releases Vick as soon as they can do so from a contractual standpoint? I truthfully cannot see Gruden putting up with the same mistakes from Vick that do not seem to bother Reid enough. Not enough to make a change, at least.
Granted, this is at the infant stages of anything at all happening. The Eagles still have half of the 2012 NFL season remaining. At 3-5, I highly doubt that this team can turn things around well enough or soon enough to make the playoffs. And, as Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie already said prior to this season, mediocrity would not cut it for another year. To me, with this roster and payroll, that means that missing the playoffs will translate to massive changes, beginning with the head coach.
But Reid has not yet been fired. The Eagles are not even mathematically out of contention this season. Other teams – including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and San Diego Chargers – could all have head coaching openings this offseason. Gruden will likely be tied to all of them, as well as some potential spots in college football. So far, no team has been able to lure him back to the sidelines.
Could the eagles finally be the ones who do so successfully?
That all may depend on whether or not they are finally ready to give up on Vick as their starting quarterback.