The merry-go-round gets a hard spin this morning:
* The San Diego Tribune reports that Jon Gruden has decided to return to coaching in 2012, and that ESPN already knows not to expect him to go through with the 5-year contract extension he just signed there.
Stirring the pot further, beat writer Kevin Acee says that Stan Kroenke will go after Gruden, and Chargers GM A.J. Smith, who's widely expected to be under the axe in San Diego. I love how no local reporter has any clue anything is going on, but the beat writer in SAN DIEGO knows. (Bernie Miklasz speculated the rumors are coming from... John Shaw, who is believed to be counseling Kroenke through this process. Oh Lord.) Acee further says that Steve Spagnuolo would be considered a lock to re-join the Eagles' staff as defensive coordinator.
Gruden would certainly be a game-changer. I didn't have him on the list because of the ESPN deal, but he'd have to be right at the top of anybody's list. #1, he's got experience, and I've gotten really tired of breaking in guys who have no head coaching experience anywhere. #2, he's got the Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers (oops, had to fix that). #3, he'd bring the organization some badly-needed swagger. The Rams haven't had any since Martz. #4, he's a highly regarded offensive mind. #5, he's got a great record developing QBs. #6, there's a chance you get his brother Jay on the staff, one of the up-and-coming coaching candidates in his own right as Cincinnati's OC.
Gruden would not be an uncontroversial pick. I'd want to vet several things out. He's a very combustible personality. The Rams have needed an ass-kicker for about 6 years, but is Gruden too volatile? I'd want to know a lot more about what went wrong in Tampa Bay than I do now. I'd also like a straightforward answer about his remarks on MNF a couple of weeks ago. Now that you're in the Rams' shoes, are you still serious about kicking the tires with Robert Griffin? (Or Andrew Luck?)
Gruden will certainly be sought after by Miami, and my guess is that their owner, like the Angels' owner with Albert Pujols, has money burning holes in his pockets and will be willing to drop a ridiculous deal. ESPN's rumormongers Schefter and Mortensen Saturday morning also teased a "stealth candidate" in Jacksonville. I had thought Mike Martz because of Shahid Khan's ties to St. Louis, but Gruden makes a lot of sense in that context.
* On NBC Sunday night, Peter King called the Rams' job the best one of those likely to become available, because of Sam Bradford, the possibility of having the first pick next year, and - who around here ever reported this? - the most available cap room of any team for 2013. (P.S. to Stan: let's keep Kevin Demoff.)
* ESPN Saturday morning called Andy Reid safe with the Eagles' job. The main reason I mention Reid is because he was the top name on my list. Don't know what that says about my list. Right now, the top of my list is a neck-and-neck-and-neck race between usual suspects Gruden, Brian Billick and Jeff Fisher. Jason LaCanfora has the Rams going after Fisher, who has connections to A.J. Smith.
* ESPN also reported that the chances are good that the Chiefs will just stick with interim head coach Romeo Crennel after this season, because the team has responded so well to him. /sarcasm/Yay, the Rams can keep Josh McDaniels!/sarcasm/