Jon Gruden: 5 Struggling QBs Who'd Thrive with Chucky as Coach
Jon Gruden is a quarterback guru, and there are a handful of struggling signal-callers who would greatly benefit from his guidance.
During his time with the Oakland Raiders, Gruden turned Rich Gannon from a below-average quarterback into a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro.
He then helped Brad Johnson have his best years as a pro during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including a 2002 campaign that earned Johnson his second Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl victory.
There's no doubt that Chucky would have a positive impact on any quarterback lucky enough call him coach. With that in mind, here are five quarterbacks who are currently floundering but who would thrive under Gruden's tutelage.
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Jake Locker has all the physical tools to become an excellent NFL quarterback, but he doesn't do a good job from the shoulders up at this point in his career.
Locker isn't adept at his pre-snap reads, and he struggles when defenses take away his primary receiver.
As a result, Locker's 2012 season was nothing short of a disaster. He finished the year having completed just 56.4 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Gruden knows how to get players to confidently assess plays both before and after the snap, and he'd have Locker playing with acumen in no time.
Furthermore, Locker is blessed with some rare physical traits. He can throw the ball a country mile and run almost as well as Robert Griffin III, but his accuracy continues to be a problem. Gruden would pound the basics of mechanics into Locker's skull, and the results would come swiftly.
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (For Now)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Mark Sanchez's biggest problem these days is that he doesn't have any confidence in himself or his teammates. He doesn't trust what he sees on the field, and his time under Rex Ryan has seemingly debilitated him to the point of no return.
One thing Jon Gruden doesn't lack is confidence, but unlike Ryan, he is confident because he knows how to fix problems on offense.
Sanchez needs to unlearn all the stuff Ryan and his staff put into his noggin, and the best way he can do that is if Gruden were to take him to school on a regular basis.
Sanchez won't ever be as good as Tom Brady. But with Gruden's assistance, I'm confident he could become an Alex Smith-type quarterback who makes good decisions, delivers the ball on time and manages an offense well enough to consistently win games.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Especially with a receiver like Calvin Johnson on his side.
There's no way Jon Gruden would put up with Stafford's lazy approach to playing the quarterback position, and he'd whip this talented player into shape.
Under Gruden's guidance, it's not insane to believe Stafford could challenge the 6,000-yard mark in a season.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles (For Now)
Take. What. The. Defense. Gives. You.
That would be Jon Gruden's mantra for Michael Vick, and if the Eagles quarterback could ever stick to that principle, he'd be able to duplicate his marvelous 2010 season.
Vick, like Matthew Stafford, also struggles to maintain good throwing mechanics, often throwing off his back foot for no good reason.
In addition to implementing an offense that helped Vick complete a higher percentage of passes and helping him with his mechanics, Gruden would make sure to establish a running game that would protect the injury-prone signal-caller.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Philip Rivers matches up with Jon Gruden more than any other quarterback on this list.
The success Gruden's had in the past has been when he had veteran quarterbacks with fiery personalities and a passion for X's and O's—just like him.
Rivers has languished under an apathetic Norv Turner for the past few years, and Gruden would inevitably fire up the spark that used to burn so brightly underneath Rivers' helmet.
The two of them could take the NFL by storm, and I have no doubt in my mind they'd be in the playoffs in 2013, should the San Diego Chargers hire Gruden.
Unfortunately, I don't see it happening, as the Chargers seem to be targeting Lovie Smith at the present moment (h/t ESPN's Adam Schefter), and Gruden has yet to sniff an appointment with any NFL team (h/t NFL.com's Ian Rapoport).
Too bad, because I'd pay good money to watch the two of them put together an offense for the Chargers.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78