Jay Gruden’s star rises quickly


For years, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was regarded as a guy who was riding his brother’s coattails.  The younger brother of Jon Gruden began his coaching career in the Arena Football League, and even though he won a pair of titles with the Orlando Preadtors, the perception was that the Gruden brothers occupied two different planes in the coaching hierarchy — especially since Jon Gruden gave Jay Gruden a position on the Buccaneers’ staff from 2002 through 2008, and no one else ever offered Jay Gruden an NFL shot, in any capacity.

That changed this year, in large part because Jay Gruden finally was willing to move from the Orlando/Tampa area.  (Most recently, Jay Gruden coached the soon-to-be defunct UFL’s already-defunct Florida Tuskers.)  The Panthers considered him for the job of quarterbacks coach, and then Bengals coach Marvin Lewis pulled off a stunner, hiring Jay Gruden to be the team’s offensive coordinator.

Now, with the Bengals at 4-2 and Jay Gruden presiding over an offense being driven by the rookie quarterback and rookie receiver, the buzz is building for Jay Gruden to become an NFL head coach.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel has become the first person to make the case for Jay to be considered for a top job in football’s top league.  “I have a long way to go before that happens,” Jay Gruden told Bianchi.  “I’m just trying to figure out a way to beat Seattle in our next game.  I don’t think about what might be four or five years down the road.  I’ve never worried about any job except the one I have.”

But will it be four or five years down the road?  Another guy who worked Jon Gruden’s staff, Mike Tomlin, became a head coach after only one year as a defensive coordinator in Minnesota.  And the success of the Harbaugh brothers and the Ryan brothers will cause more and more people to think that Jay Gruden can thrive in the NFL, too, just like Jon did.

And so, eventually, nearly 20 percent of the league’s 32 teams could be run by a trio of brother acts:  the Harbaughs, the Ryans, and the Grudens.

26 responses to “Jay Gruden’s star rises quickly

  1. Hiring an Arena League coach? That’s crazier than hiring an Offensive line coach to be the Defensive Coordinator. See what I’m doing here? It’s football, plain and simple.

  2. Remember years back when Jason Garrett was the hot commodity? Things change; let’s allow Gruden to build up a resume before getting too far ahead of ourselves.

    Offensive coordinators are important without a doubt, but what one of them can be called a “Star?” For that matter, the only star among head coaches is Rex Ryan and how’s that working out?

  3. Stepping out from a succesful brothers shadow is no easy task. Congrats to you and the long suffering Bengal fans. Keep up the good work.

  4. Lets just stop and let Mr Gruden develop that offense for a few years before we lose him.

    I already think Mike Zimmer is going to be lost to another team. I don’t want to have to replace BOTH coordinators.

  5. Anyone who lives in the Tampa/Orlando area would not be surprised by this. Jon and Jay know football and their father knows the game as well. I wish Jay well just as long as it’s not agaist the Bucs.

  6. Jay you’re young, stay an cord for a few years. Maybe bounce around to a few other teams. Try to get under some good head coaches, and then pounce once you know you’re fully ready. Unless you think you can do it then if the texans don’t make the playoffs i’m sure you could coach there if you wanted too.

  7. He certainly deserves kudos for his work so far but IMO it’s too early to anoint him as the next greatest thing. He has the right attitude about it.
    The Bengals coach I would give a HC opportunity to is Zimmer. Guy can coach either 4-3 or 3-4 and seems to be a guy players like to play for who tailors his defense to what his players can do. Showing flexibility/adaptability is important to being a HC.

  8. Let’s not get carried away here. He’s got a whole 6 NFL games under his belt as an OC. Let’s wait to see what happens the rest of the year first before we start naming him the next Vince Lombardi.

  9. Jay owes being an OC to the UFL, he was in the UFL being an OC there and then head coach for the FL franchise, which is not defunct but moved to Virginia in the UFL and is now coached by Marty Schottenheimer.

    He’s smarter than ‘that guy’ John Gruden

  10. Doubt that bucks, he just signed a 5 year extension with ESPN last week…I think he’s great on MNF though, I was glad to hear that.

  11. In light of my last comment, how cool is it to finally see the Bengals, Lions and even Raiders having good years so far?!?! So far so good for them all!
    great season so far!

  12. Is this the same Jay Gruden that everyone was ripping the Bengals for hiring all those months ago?! Pretty strong bandwagon at 4-2!

  13. Don’t even know where to begin. First, Jay Gruden has been awesome as a player and coach in the AFL so I’m glad to see him get a chance. Second, where is the story about Jon Gruden coaching Andy Dalton all summer during the lockout. You know that had to be going on. Third, exactly what success has Jon Gruden had in the league? He took over Tony Dungy’s perennial playoff team and won the first year while tearing the franchise apart and leaving it a big mess.

  14. What are you guys smokin? Last week your partner on Sunday night, Peter King, suggested Mike Zimmer should be a HC.
    Dick Lebeau is the DC of the number one defense in the league again. DL has been a DC of 4 super teams, including the hapless Bengals. Why would you suggest the OC of a mediocre offense be a HC after 6 games? Has any executive with some authority to hire a HC suggested Jay Gruden? Is this “story” REPORTING something or just WA speculation? At least DL has been a head coach in this league, and probably learned something from the experience. (Remember the genius Bill Belechick was the HC in Cleveland before the Patriots hired him.). If you are going to speculate, at least pick a coach from a successful franchise.

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