Jon Gruden interested in coaching the Falcons?

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora reported this morning that, if Jon Gruden were to return to coaching, his preferred destinations would be either Oakland, or Atlanta.

Per CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora, league sources have indicated that if Jon Gruden would choose to leave ESPN's broadcast booth and return to coaching, his most likely destinations are Oakland, or Atlanta.

Oakland makes particular sense. Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001, leading the team to the AFC Championship in the 2001 season. Following that season, Gruden was essentially traded to Tampa Bay by the Raiders after the Buccaneers fired Tony Dungy. Tampa Bay gave the Raiders two first round picks, two second round picks, and $8 million for Gruden, and Gruden led the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory over the Raiders that season, so it was probably worth it for the Bucs, and probably not so much for the Raiders.

Atlanta is probably an appealing destination for a number of coaches. The Falcons have considerable offensive talent at their disposal, but haven't been able to put it all together. With the team failing to even look competitive for the past three weeks, to an extent that cannot be explained away by injuries alone, Mike Smith's seat may be getting warmer.

Chucky's (former Falcon Grady Jackson gave Jon Gruden that nickname, by the way) coaching style would be a real departure from Mike Smith's. While Smitty is generally calm and collected on the sideline, Gruden's sideline temperament is fiery. The other big difference is, Smitty seems to be universally beloved by his players, and a handful of Gruden's former players have alleged that Gruden is condescending, needs to be the center of attention at all times, and is "inherently dishonest."

At this point, Mike Smith is absolutely still the Falcons' coach, and considering the injuries on both sides of the ball, as well as his five-year track record of success before this train wreck of a season, it will be surprising if Smith is fired. However, Gruden has a track record of turning teams around in a short amount of time, and that in and of itself may cause Arthur Blank to at least consider a coaching change, if he isn't already.

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