The Cincinnati Bengals somewhat surprised their fans by hiring Jay Gruden as the team's offensive coordinator, following the welcome departure of Bob Bratkowski. It wasn't so much that we had a problem with Gruden; rather we just didn't know who he was, beyond his last name along with a career in the United Football League. Was he qualified, could he implement an offense during a lockout-shortened offseason? Relevant questions during an offseason that started somewhat painfully.
Through eight games those questions have long been answered. Though the offense is ranked 22nd overall in the league, Gruden is doing it with a rookie quarterback and a young wide receiver group, often adjusting to the opposing defense and putting the offense into position to produce game-winning drives.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports writes that Jay Gruden could be working himself into a candidate for a head coaching gig. Granted. The article features many coaches that could become candidates for a top coaching gig in 2012, but it was somewhat of a surprise to see him referenced. What he writes about Gruden:
He has long been in the shadow of his over-the-top brother, but Gruden’s impressive work with the Cincinnati Bengals, including turning quarterback Andy Dalton into a Rookie of the Year candidate, shouldn’t be overlooked. In addition, he has far more tact than his brother.
Cole also mentioned Mike Zimmer, but saying that "some view him as having hit his ceiling" already. Fine. Keep him in Cincinnati as long as you'd like, I say.