ESPN analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden made a little news this weekend after he commented that he’d give coaching one more try. Speaking at an event in Florida, Gruden said that he’s got a perfect coaching record since leaving the NFL but “But no, I would like to give coaching one more try.” Gruden’s name is always associated with coaching vacancies but this is the first time he’s actually admitted he’d like to return to the league. Where might he land in the NFL if he chooses to return next year?
Gruden has a very comfortable gig with ESPN doing Monday Night Football and is paid handsomely for his efforts. He also has started a new program on ESPN leading up to the NFL Draft called Gruden’s QB Camp where he sits down with college quarterbacks coming into the draft.
Gruden is an offensive minded head coach and you know that he has to be excited watching football in recent years as the league is witnessing an offensive explosion. He doesn’t have to return to the league but if he does it will likely be into a situation that he wants. Where might he land next year?
Dallas Cowboys– One of the highest profile coaching jobs in professional sports. Many members of his coaching staff are currently with the Cowboys. Dallas has been struggling with mediocrity. Since winning the Super Bowl in 1995, the Cowboys have a 142-138 overall record. Does Jerry Jones decide that time might be running out and throw a boat load of money at Gruden next year? I don’t think Gruden and Jones can co-exist and Dallas is reportedly going to be $31 million over the salary cap next season.
Carolina Panthers– Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was on the hot seat at the start of the season. Carolina is playing better in recent weeks but might miss out on the playoffs this season. A report linked Gruden to the Panthers last season, but the Panthers ownership was not prepared to give him the power he wanted. Carolina has a solid defense and it would be interesting to see what Gruden could do with QB Cam Newton. Don’t forget the Panthers play the Buccaneers twice a season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Second-year head coach Greg Schiano appears to be dead coach walking for the remainder of this season. Tampa has been a trainwreck after firing Gruden. Experiments with Raheem Morris and Schiano have failed miserably. Gruden lives in Tampa. Could the Glazers reach out to Gruden and extend a multi-million dollar olive branch. Tampa needs to get their next coaching hire right. Tampa might consider a pr move with bringing back a familiar face, one that brought the team it’s only Super Bowl championship.
Houston Texans– Gary Kubiak is suddenly finding himself on the hot seat. One of the biggest disappointments of this NFL regular season, the Texans were considered in Super Bowl talk at the start of the season. At this point, they’ll struggle to be .500 at the end of the season. The Texans have a solid defense. Could Gruden resurrect Matt Schaub’s career? He won a Super Bowl with a smothering defense and QB Brad Johnson.
Tennessee Titans– Gregg Williams has done a good job as the Titans defensive coordinator this year, but another season without a post-season appearance and Mike Munchak could be gone. The Titans have offensive questions. Gruden’s wife is from Tennessee.
Minnesota Vikings– As many people have suggested that Leslie Frazier is on the hot seat, I doubt he gets fired after this season one year removed from a post-season appearance. Gruden has stated that he prefers warm weather climates. Too many questions surround the quarterback position.
I think if the Houston Texans were to give Gruden the power that he wants if they wind up firing Gary Kubiak, they might be able to coax Gruden out of the broadcast booth. Then if he takes them to the Super Bowl, all the Texans fans will say that Gruden won with Kubiak’s team.