Traveling does offer some interesting insights into outside opinions of your team, and I had a good earful yesterday while driving around Houston, TX and listening to the discussions on the ESPN radio affiliate in regard to the Kubiak firing and conjecture about who might replace him.
The discussion landed flatly on the Cincinnati Bengals staff with a discussion of our coordinators. Surprisingly, the talk focused more on Jay Gruden than it did on Mike Zimmer. It seems that the discussion had been on Jon Gruden, but many feel that Big Jon won't leave his tv job - so Jay's the next best thing, right? Hah.
The show's host noted that Jay Gruden seems "to be what we need in Houston." Really? I found that pretty funny. They mentioned that Zimmer seems to be the guy making the Bengal defense dominant but then went back to the focus on Gruden. Finally they discussed whether Marvin Lewis is a good head coach or not. The host said that Lewis was an A-plus Defensive coordinator and a C-plus head coach before noting that C-plus is pretty good for where the Bengals were when he started and that his best head coaching moves were in hiring the right coordinators. Maybe so.
The repercussions of Gruden and/or Zimmer leaving are large, however. Gruden, love him or hate him, is running an O that is supposed to fit Dalton like a glove. A new OC with a new system could be a real problem in Cincy - could you imagine how Dalton might play in a system that doesn't fit him well? Zimmer leaving would be catastrophic, I fear. And I think the hosts suggesting that Lewis isn't an X's and O's kind of head coach are accurate - his strengths lie in organization, motivation, and personnel.
The last note I have is simply a thought for discussion. How would Jay Gruden or Zimmer transfer over to a head coaching spot? Being a good coordinator is not necessarily the recipe for being a good head coach. Clearly the front offices of numerous teams that have bypassed Zimmer feel that he isn't the kind of guy who could make that jump seamlessly. I'm not saying that I agree - in fact, I'm not sure on that comment either way. I'm not sure whether Gruden could make that jump either. As an owner considering Gruden, I would be worried that he hasn't been consistently effective in Cincinnati at the OC job where the Bengal defense has put the team in the playoffs both of Gruden's seasons while the offense has failed miserably in both of those appearances. For me, that shows a lack of preparation and game-planning by the OC and/or domination by the opposing DC.
Just wondering where CJ'ers are on this discussion which will likely heat up again at the conclusion of this football season.