One probable reason Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak ranks high on owner Jerry Jones’ list to become the Cowboys’ next head coach is his ability to relate to high-profile quarterbacks.
But Jones won’t be able to court Kubiak until after the Super Bowl on Jan. 25 because NFL rules prohibit teams from requesting permission to discuss a job opening with a coach whose team still is playing.
Kubiak, who spent nine years in Denver as John Elway’s backup, worked well with Steve Young as San Francisco’s quarterbacks coach in 1994. And he reportedly has maintained an excellent relationship with Elway during his three years with Denver.
That’s important because Jones would like to find a coach who can work well with Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. Switzer and Aikman had a strained relationship during much of his four-year tenure with the Cowboys.
“He played the game and he was a quarterback, so he knows how to communicate with those guys because he’s been where they are,” said San Francisco receivers coach Larry Kirksey, a close friend of Kubiak.
“He has a knack for communicating. I saw him work with Steve Young and convince him to do things he didn’t want to do.”
Kubiak has emerged as one of the leading candidates to replace Switzer since Jones asked Denver coach Mike Shanahan for a report on Kubiak.
Shanahan, who coached running backs and receivers under Switzer at Oklahoma in 1975 and 1976, gave Kubiak a strong recommendation.
Philadelphia offensive coordinator Jon Gruden and LSU coach Gerry DiNardo also have been mentioned as possible replacements.
Jones did not return several messages left at his office on Monday.
Joe Banner, the Eagles’ executive vice president, would not say if the Cowboys have asked permission to talk with Gruden.
“Here’s our policy,” Banner said. “If we grant permission, we state so publicly. Otherwise, we don’t have any comment.”
Gruden interviewed for the Oakland Raiders’ job Thursday and Friday.
He helped the Eagles become one of the NFL’s top offensive teams this season, despite starting Ty Detmer, Rodney Peete and Bobby Hoying at quarterback.
Before joining the Eagles three years ago, Gruden learned the West Coast offense as an assistant coach with the Packers under Mike Holmgren.
“Jon has done a very good job for us,” said Banner, “and he’s a valuable member of our staff.
“He’s a very focused, determined guy. He’s the kind of coach who comes in early and stays very late.”
LSU athletic director Joe Dean said the Cowboys have not asked permission to speak with DiNardo.
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