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Now that the Bengals' season is over, teams with head-coaching vacancies are free to interview offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that the Redskins, Vikings, Lions and Titans have all requested permission to do just that.
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"He is one of the most in-demand coordinators and has passed up opportunities in the past but is very much interested in becoming a head coach now, sources said.
"Many of these jobs would interest him, and all are likely to hire an offensive-minded coach, with correcting, or finding, a quarterback the paramount chore for these organizations. While Gruden's offense has struggled in the playoffs the last three years, he has helped Andy Dalton -- a limited quarterback in some regards -- put up some record regular-season numbers, and the Bengals' offense was among the NFL's best the second half of the season.
"Gruden previously served as a coach (and essentially general manager) in the Arena League, he has strong organizational skills, and comes from a coaching pedigree, with his older brother Jon, a former Super Bowl winner. Gruden also has ties to Redskins GM Bruce Allen, and the Redskins in particular could end up hiring an offensive-minded, first-time head coach."
There has been some skepticism about Gruden's play-calling skills, especially in light of Dalton's implosion Sunday, but the reality is this: A coach is only as good as his franchise quarterback. Just ask Bill Belichick, who was run out of Cleveland, and began his New England career with a 5-11 record with Drew Bledsoe under center.
Put another way: You think a healthy Robert Griffin III changes the perception about Gruden's abilities? Because a year ago, people were talking about Kyle Shanahan as possible head-coaching candidate.