|Dalton and Green should be pleased Gruden's staying in Cincy. (Getty Images)|
Jay Gruden, thanks to the work he did with Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, was a hot name in coaching circles for open positions with a number of teams. But he's not going anywhere in 2012.
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Gruden's decided to stay with the Bengals and continue working with Dalton and the young Cincinnati offense in 2012.
"I’m happy here," Gruden said, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I like working for Marvin (Lewis) and with the team. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface on offense, but we have a lot of good, young players and have the potential to do even better next season."
Gruden was believed to be a possibility for the Jaguars opening, and the Rams called the Bengals seeking permission to speak with Gruden, but he declined any opportunities to interview for anything other than his current job.
This is curious for a couple of reasons. One, Gruden wasn't taking a job -- he was just interviewing, and there's nothing illegal, immoral or otherwise about that. Two, though the Bengals made the playoffs and Dalton had a great season, Cincy got lucky with their schedule.
In 2011, they played the AFC South and NFC West, two of the weaker divisions in football. In 2012 they'll play the NFC East and AFC West, which is substantially tougher. (Although, hey, bonus: Carson Palmer plays the Bengals!)
That being said, Dalton and A.J. Green, along with the two first-round picks Cincy has in 2012 (thanks Carson!), it's possible that the Bengals could continue developing into a potent offense.
If that happens, Gruden's name will continue to be mentioned in the coaching rumor mill, and it's possible he'll have more opportunities for a coaching gig than he had this offseason.
As we've said on the podcast time and time again, just because there are only 32 NFL coaching jobs doesn't mean you have to take one when it's open.
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