The Bengals offense kept the band together over the offseason, retaining all of their starters after last year’s trip to the playoffs.
That could be a good thing and a bad thing. The positive side is that familiarity with scheme and teammates can lead to better results while the negative is that familiarity will likely breed contempt if the offense struggles the way it did at various points last season, including the playoff loss to the Texans.
Cincinnati also added tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard in the draft in hopes of avoiding future brownouts, which is likely part of the reason why offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said that he knows the offense must take “major, major, major steps in the right direction moving forward.” Gruden said that he’s seen progress during the offseason work.
“We’re getting accomplished what we wanted. We’ve seen a lot from a defensive standpoint,” Gruden said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Andy [Dalton] has gotten a lot of reps. He’s working through some things and it is only his third year. We’re going back to basics but throwing a lot at him. We’re happy with the progress the offense has made. The thing about our offense is they came back and are willing to work hard, they are all unselfish and have a great understanding of what it is going to take for us to get to the next level.”
The talk about progress is much vaguer than Gruden’s admission about the steps that the Bengals offense needs to take in 2013 and that’s for good reason. We’ve seen the Gruden work with generally the same offensive pieces for the last two years and those results speak much more loudly than any talk about improvement during OTAs. Gruden knows that and he knows the jury will remain out on the Bengals until well into next season.