Report: Dallas Cowboys Have Spoken With Jon Gruden for Coaching Gig

Until the Dallas Cowboys decide on a new head coach, it will be almost impossible to sort through all the speculation and distinguish between fact and rumor.  Jerry Jones has a seemingly endless money pit, so the job is sure to be attractive to a number of high profile personalities around the game.  One such personality could be Jon Gruden.

We already told you we don’t think Jason Garrett will be a great fit as the Cowboys head coach, and plenty of others — including Terrell Owens — agree with that assessment.  According to John Czarnecki of Fox Sports, the Cowboys may have already contacted Gruden to gauge his interest in coaching in Big D next season.  As we know, Gruden has settled into his position with ESPN’s Monday Night Football nicely and is raking in plenty of cash.  However, Czarnecki’s sources say that Gruden’s friends believe he won’t demand a huge salary — not that Jerry wouldn’t offer him one anyway.

Gruden won a Super Bowl in his first season as the coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs eight years ago.  The Cowboys always seem to bring in diva-type players and eccentric personalities, and Gruden is the type of coach who could handle players like that.  I always thought Wade Phillips was too soft to be successful in Dallas.  I don’t think that would be a problem for Gruden.  We’ll know how the situation is going to pan out soon enough, and Sunday afternoon’s Cowboys-Giants game could be an early indicator of whether or not Garrett can handle the Cowboys’ head coaching position.

Jon Gruden Slips Maurice Jones-Drew the Secret Handshake

Any time Jon Gruden is on TV breaking down film with a player, I’m watching. I love seeing what he’s like as a coach and what it’s like being in his office breaking down film.

Prior to Monday night’s game between the Titans and Jaguars, ESPN aired a clip of Gruden visiting with Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The two broke down film, discussed mascots, Gruden gave a shout out to Ryan Grant, and he paid tribute to Maurice by comparing him with Barry Sanders. It was a fun chat, and you could tell Gruden was fond of Maurice. Then at the end of the interview, the two men shook hands but Chucky slipped Maurice the secret handshake highlighted by the extended index finger. MJD appeared to do the same, though his hand was covered:

Is this an NFL fraternity shake? An elite running back club shake? I dunno what club they’re a part of, but I sure want in. Gruden also caused some ripples from viewers going overboard gushing over Maurice’s large thighs. Hey, he was talking running backs — I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, but others were freaking out. Just to satisfy other people’s complaints, I’ll give Gruden a pause for that.

Jon Gruden Apparently Was Giving it to High School Referees

When you think of Jon Gruden, you think of the guy known as Chucky who can get off legendary rants. Sure he puts on his rose-colored glasses for his analyst work with ESPN, but we all know what Gruden is deep down. Apparently that Chucky side was on full display a few weeks ago during his high school football team’s opener.

Chucky’s been assisting Carrollwood Day School in Tampa according to Joe Bucs Fan (via Jimmy Traina’s Hot Clicks), and got into it with the refs during the team’s season-opener. Gruden was tagged with a 15-yard penalty for berating the refs and then removed himself from the situation by walking away to sit in the stands. If you thought that was the end of the story then you would be wrong.

An eye witness told Joe Bucs Fan that “Chucky continued to berate officials while watching from the stands, calling them ‘Forrest Gump’ and questioning calls.” Now that’s the Gruden I know! Chucky may be able to find positive things to say about everyone when he’s doing his TV work, but you know that’s not who he is deep down. Chucky, that’s why we love you man. Don’t ever change.

Kornheiser Out, Gruden in, Thank God

Man, I can’t imagine this having gone any better. I wasn’t at all happy with Tony Kornheiser in the Monday Night Football booth and now he’s being replaced by Jon Gruden, a guy I like. You know, I never really understood the Kornheiser hiring from the start. The guy is really good and enjoyable with Michael Wilbon on PTI. His delivery is smooth, their banter is pretty well-researched and well-supported, and the overall pace of the show is perfect. But just because he’s good on PTI doesn’t mean he has any place in a football booth. At a time where I’m just trying to watch and enjoy a good game and maybe get a few nuggets of analysis while I’m doing it, I had Kornheiser bringing in the journalism angle. My biggest complaint about him is that he was always trying to use everything to tell a story. Rather than letting us enjoy a game that by virtue of fantasy football, office pools, or spreads, nearly everyone watching already has a vested interest, Kornheiser turned each contest into column on TV. It was like he was trying to manufacture interest for games that were already interesting by themselves. That just didn’t work for me.

Needless to say I’m pretty pleased that Tony will no longer be annoying me on Monday nights. So now we have Chucky stepping into the biggest booth around. As I said during the NFL Draft, I liked hearing his commentary. The guy is concise, gets to the point, and has already said he doesn’t want to step on anyone’s shoes. That’s how I like it — the less is more approach. A couple of really interesting footnotes here. The hiring of Chucky shows us that the jockocracy of sportscasting is still very much alive and well. Secondly, ESPN obviously didn’t care that Gruden has ripped them thoroughly in the past (of course he did — he was protecting his player). Lastly, I have no doubt that Tony’s fear of flying is only a convenient excuse for relinquishing the job — Pro Football Talk points out that it didn’t seem to bother him last year. Hurray for Monday nights in the fall this year!

Jon Gruden Takes the High Road, Thinks Tim Tebow Can Play QB in the NFL

With the league trending towards young coaches who have no prior head coaching experience, I’m beginning to think that the time off from the game will do some former head coaches well, starting with guys like Jon Gruden. Talking with the Orlando Sentinel, Chucky said he’s going to take the time off to learn more about football, particularly the spread offense that has become so prolific in the college game. He says he intends to visit Oregon to learn about the spread, Virginia to visit with Al Groh, and South Florida to see how Jim Leavitt built up that program. I think it will serve Chucky well to make these trips. Heck, the firing may have even humbled him and taught him that he might need to start acting differently towards his players; this whole thing could be great for him. Anyway, in addition to saying he was hurt by the criticism he received from his former players, Gruden really took the high road when commenting about the Buccaneers:

“I’ll be the biggest Bucs fan out there this year. And I’ll be there; I’ll be at the games. I’ll root for Raheem. I love Raheem. I hired Raheem — twice. I have a lot of confidence he can do the job and wish him the best.”

And what perhaps might be most interesting to people — are you paying attention Mel Kiper Jr.? — is that Gruden thinks Tim Tebow will revolutionize the quarterback position in the NFL:

[Read more...]

Buccaneers Players Didn’t Support Jon Gruden in Tampa

Once Mike Shanahan got fired by the Broncos, I figured there was a chance Jon Gruden could get fired in Tampa Bay. It’s like free agency dominoes in baseball — once one goes down they all fall after that. Still, it is mildly surprising to hear that both Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen were fired by the Buccaneers. Perhaps even more surprising was that Raheem Morris, who spent the season as the defensive backs coach, got promoted to head coach. Morris actually was promoted to DC once Monte Kiffin left to join his son Lane at Tennessee, but he really doesn’t have experience as a coordinator. So for all those wondering what fueled the firing in Tampa, Adam Schefter has the scoop:

Over the past couple of weeks, the Glazer family called in various Buccaneers players to solicit their opinions on head coach Jon Gruden.

One of the worst-kept secrets in the league was the way Buccaneers players felt about Gruden. There wasn’t a real affinity there.

Mike Florio at PFT adds that Gruden would say one thing to players one day and then do something completely different the next. OK, given this information the firing makes a lot more sense. The part that’s harder to figure out is why they promoted Raheem Morris so quickly when it seems like he’s inexperienced. I know that the league is trending toward unknowns such as John Harbaugh, Mike Smith and Tony Sparano who never had head coaching experience but were successful, but that’s quite a jump to make. Also consider that Mike Shanahan was available and this really leaves you scratching your head. Maybe the Bucs didn’t want to lose Morris who had been interviewing for other head coaching jobs, and maybe the players lent their support to Raheem. Who knows. Perhaps Morris will show us that the Glazers knew what they were doing.

Brian Baldinger: Jon Gruden Wouldn’t Work at Tennessee or in College Football

There’s been a tremendous amount of speculation about Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden leaving the NFL to fill the head coaching vacancy at Tennessee now that Phil Fulmer is out. A lot of the rumors and speculation revolve around Gruden’s ties to Tennesse as a one-time grad assistant with the Vols, and the fact that he still owns property in the area. But NFL analyst Brian Baldinger disagreed with the speculation saying that Gruden would be a bad fit at Tennessee. He gave his reasoning on The Arnie Spanier Show:

“Jon [Gruden] might have the most complex playbook in the whole NFL. That’s why he can only co-exist with a veteran quarterback. Chris Simms didn’t have a chance of digesting that playbook — you’ve gotta have Jeff Garcia or Brad Johnson or Rich Gannon. If you took that playbook to college with 20 hours a week, with 15 spring practices, he would be doing back flips in angst when they couldn’t digest his playbook. It would be a horrible fit, just that alone would be a horrible fit.”

When you think about the point Baldy makes, it’s hard to disagree. The facts are staring you right in the face. And that’s coming from the same analyst who proclaimed on the radio that the Falcons would be the surprise team in the NFL this year, winning around eight games as opposed to the four or less most idiots thought. His reasoning? He broadcasted their preseason games and felt that Matt Ryan was the best quarterback to enter the league since Peyton Manning. I’ll take his word for it. As for Chucky, maybe he can continue to stroke the Tennessee position to gain leverage for a fatter contract with Tampa Bay.