Last year the Bengals had a new offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden, a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton and little time to install the playbook because of the lockout. So they went with a bare-bones version of Gruden’s offense, and it worked well enough that the Bengals made the playoffs.
So does that mean Gruden has decided that a simple offense is the way to go? Nope. Gruden says that this offseason he has beefed up the playbook considerably.
“Quite a bit,” Gruden said. “Probably too much. I have always been criticized about having too many plays, but I would rather have too many plays than not enough. But we are going to continue to expand. From a daily, a weekly basis, we are going to add more things.”
For his part, Dalton said he believes the thicker playbook this season will give him more freedom and lead to better results.
“We can put in more stuff,” Dalton said. “We can all basically do whatever we want with some of the guys.”
So if the 2012 Bengals’ offense improves, that’s a testament to Gruden’s coaching ability. And if the Bengals’ offense declines from last year, that’s an indication that Gruden really has added too much to the offense. We might discover that instead of giving the Bengals a better playbook, Gruden was just over-thinking things by giving the Bengals a bigger playbook.