Coaching Buzz: A Look At Jay Gruden

The focus may be on the wrong Gruden.

While plenty of fans are clamoring for the more famous brother, Jon, to climb down from the broadcast booth to take over the Eagles in 2013, the chances  of that becoming a reality are slim. But hiring his younger brother, Jay, just might make some sense.

The Eagles will get a first-hand look at Jay Gruden‘s work on Thursday night when the Bengals come to Philly. The 45-year-old is in his second year as offensive coordinator for Cincinnati. Integral in the selection and development of quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green, Gruden helped transform the Bengals from a 4-12 club in 2010 to a playoff team the following year. Dalton and Green became the first quarterback-wide receiver duo to play in the Pro Bowl as rookies.

As it just so happens, the Eagles have a young Texas-born quarterback of their own that could use some mentoring.

“From everything I have heard I think Foles would be a good fit for his system. I think Foles and Jay would get along pretty well,” offered Bengals beat man Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He is a big guy (Foles is 6-5, 243; Dalton is 6-2, 220), he is accurate and he makes good decisions. I think Jay likes quarterbacks with a little bit of moxy and the ability to persevere.

“Dalton and Foles are about equal in mobility. [Gruden] values accuracy and I know one thing about Foles coming out was that he is extremely accurate.”

Reedy explained that Gruden runs a variation of the West Coast offense that is more rooted in a balanced attack and features a decent amount of the vertical game. He likes the tight end working underneath, and his methods work best with versatile backs that can catch the ball out of the backfield and hold up in pass protection.

“We are not reinventing the wheel against every new defense we face,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “Jay sees the offense through the quarterback’s eyes, and it’s a case of building from week to week, rather than starting over. The quarterback has a lot of leeway in the things he can call, and Jay recognized that Andy was the type of player who could use those options effectively.”

You can argue that the Eagles have some pieces in place to run Gruden’s system effectively, and a quarterback that might work for him.

Gruden was a quarterback himself both at the University of Louisville and later in the World League and AFL. He was an assistant for the Bucs from 2002-08 and won a Super Bowl coaching under Jon in Tampa. He also won two AFL titles as head coach of the Orlando Predators.

Gruden was said to have been offered the Jaguars head coaching job last year, but declined. Part of the reason is because he is not a man that likes to uproot his family. Reedy said that Andy Reid tried to add Gruden to his staff on multiple occasions before Lewis got him but his advances were denied, in part for the very same reason.

“One of his kids is a senior in high school and one is just starting,” said Reedy. “One reason he stayed out of coaching searches last year is he made a promise with his family that they would stick around for at least one more year.”

Would he be willing to move now for a head coaching gig?

“I think he wants a shot but it’s got to be the right situation,” Reedy said. “He is young enough where he can kind of wait and confident enough that he is not going to take a job just for the sake of taking it.”

A reminder that you can find all of the latest coaching buzz in our special section.

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