Jay Gruden no longer an option for Lions

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will not even make it to Detroit for an interview with the Detroit Lions.

Per a tweet from ESPN Insider Adam Schefter on Thursday morning, Gruden has been hired as the next coach in Washington.

Gruden never seemed like a favorite candidate for the Lions, but he did fit the profile of what the team has been looking for, and the Lions requested to talk with him about the opening.

It also means the pool of candidates for Detroit has slimmed even more. Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Munchak, Jim Caldwell and Gary Kubiak are the four candidates who have either interviewed or are scheduled to interview with the team.

They are all, essentially, similar candidates. All have been head coaches in the NFL. All have offensive experience. Of the four, all except Munchak have extensive experience working with quarterbacks. And all except Munchak have led their teams to the playoffs in their time as a head coach.

As for Whisenhunt, Schefter reported Thursday morning that Whisenhunt, as we wrote Wednesday, will interview today with the Lions. Then he'll talk with Tennessee on Friday and Cleveland on Saturday leading up to his divisional playoff game against Denver on Sunday.

No team can hire Whisenhunt until after the Chargers are knocked out of the playoffs. By Monday, the Lions could know where they stand -- or potentially be able to hire -- the candidate they have appeared to favor all along.