+ Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is scheduled to interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday, the final leg of his rock star head coaching tour. Gruden previously interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers over the past couple of days.
We've previously conjectured that the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles were likely out of the equation. Arizona is reportedly putting everything they have into Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy with a reported second interview and "fall back" plan to promote current defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The Eagles appear to be hinting two possibilities with former head coach Brian Billick and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who the Eagles are reportedly going to meet for a second time on Tuesday.
We may soon add San Diego into the "forget about it" pile. True they interviewed McCoy, who is more Metallica to Gruden's Megadeth, this week. However there's a much stronger connection with Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was in Indianapolis with former Colts vice player of football operations Tom Telesco, who is now the Chargers general manager.
That leaves Jacksonville.
According to reports St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will meet with the Jaguars on Tuesday, while current defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has already interviewed. Reports surfaced late Monday that Bradley also scored an interview in Jacksonville.
Gruden has deep ties in Florida, specifically the Orlando region where he spent roughly ten years as either the head coach or the quarterback for the AFL's Orlando Predators, which plays roughly 130-140 miles from Jacksonville. Before being hired by the Cincinnati Bengals as the offensive coordinator, Gruden spent another two seasons as the head coach for the UFL's Florida Tuskers and somewhere along the way he spent another seven seasons on Jon Gruden's staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If this were the Presidential election and we're asked to declare a winner, we'd say based on the early returns, Gruden sticks around in Cincinnati. But if he leaves, it's Jacksonville.
+ My list of proposes that I'd offer to the NFL, taken from the pages of the college game.
1) Reduce the cost of pass interference from a spot foul to a 15-yard penalty. If the league is going to openly favor the offense with a chicks dig home runs philosophy, then at least limit the damage against the defense. When opposing quarterbacks can launch the football down the field and hope for interference, benefiting the length of the field due to a penalty, something is wrong. Look at it this way. A pass interference shouldn't be a greater punishment than a personal foul.
2) End the ridiculous review process. The replay booth can initiate a review of any play inside the two minute warning, when there's a turnover or when a play results in a score. The booth initiated 346 reviews during the 2012 season and only overturned 115. Normally this is a good practice. Make sure the proper play was called. Unfortunately the league did it wrong and it wastes our time.
When there's a questionable play that the booth wishes to review, they buzz the official, who poorly flaps his arms like a bird, tells us that they're going to review it. Then while the network goes to commercial break, the official jogs to one of the sidelines, puts on his headset at a field-level monitor. Eventually, while the momentum of the game is completely snapped, the commercial break ends and the referees judgment is announced. And during those 231 instances of a replay that didn't result in a play being overturned, you just wasted time watching commercials.
The college system is much different, and in many cases preferable. Each play is reviewed and confined to the booth. When they need to make a change, they tell the officials what those changes are and the game continues relatively unscathed. There are exceptions and a general fear that games would be prolonged, sure. Yet those are rare and how many instances have you thought to yourself, man this game is being extended too much! Probably not much. Likely because you're not inundated with a commercial break every time one happens. Just a thought.
Alternatively, we'd have the college game end the silly "stop the clock" on a first down to reset the chains and stopping the play because someone falls. Make it down by contact at least.
+ One Carolina Panthers fan crossed paths with Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson, who had interviewed with the Carolina Panthers for their vacant offensive coordinator position.
"Mr. Jackson?" I asked, to get his attention. He looked away from his phone and I awkwardly told him "There are alot of people in Carolina, myself included, that hope you're our next Offensive Coordinator." He smiled and said "Well thank you, I hope so too!" And before I could ask he added "the interview went really well."
We're sure this is an innocent interaction, but damn. If the man is using the phone, leave him alone.