And then there were two.
Offensive coordinators around the NFL have become the en vogue hires for vacant head coaching positions of late. Each franchise looks for the next Sean Payton and hope that they strike gold with some of these coordinators who haven't had head coaching experience. Current Bengals coordinator Jay Gruden falls into that category and has been linked to a number of head coach openings around the league.
What once started with seven openings has now dwindled to two and Gruden still doesn't have a head coaching job in place. The two openings that remain are ones that Gruden has been linked to, and (maybe not so) coincidentally, they are two of the least desirable positions available. Both the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars have yet to find their new coach.
Current Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, is a fellow who falls into the same category as Gruden. Arians does, however, have some semblance of NFL head coaching experience, as he had to take over for Chuck Pagano after he fell ill this year. According to Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk, Arians currently has the inside track to the Cardinals job.
As to the former, there’s increasing chatter that Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will be offered the head-coaching job with the Cardinals.
Arians, we’re told, wanted the Chicago job, where he was a finalist. Though it’s believed he won’t be leaving the Colts for any head-coaching job, the Cardinals’ vacancy is regarded as one of the worst available, given the absence of a great quarterback and the presence of increasingly stiff competition in the division.
So...he's "the favorite", but he likely won't "leave the Colts for any head coaching job"? Take that how you'd like. Gruden could still be in play at these two destinations, particularly in Jacksonville, but the more time that passes and more names the get circulated, the more likely it is that Gruden stays in Cincinnati. Maybe we're a bit biased, but given the available positions left, Gruden may be best-suited to stay put.
It's very probable that these teams would want their head coach in place before the Senior Bowl practices begin next week.