On Wednesday night, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote that, according to his sources, the Bengals offensive coordinator position would be filled by Florida Tuskers head coach Jay Gruden. Not to sound all elitist, but typically we like to have these reports confirmed before overreacting with our Bengals will be going to the Super Bowl in 2011 rant.
On Thursday morning, The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy confirmed that through a tweet. Adam Schefter confirmed Joe Reedy's confirmation. We're still waiting on confirmation from Schefter's confirmation.
Gruden will replace Bob Bratkowski, who spent ten seasons with the Bengals, putting together an offense that ranked in the top-ten during a three-season stretch from 2005-2007. However, since 2008, the Bengals offense ranked 32nd, 24th and 20th, prompting head coach Marvin Lewis to make a change. Chad Ochocinco said that Bratkowski wasn't the problem:
"He’s not the problem. We’ve had some of our best years under the same coordinator. It’s crazy how when we don’t perform well as a team or from the offensive standpoint it falls back on the coaches. It’s not the case. We’ve done very well under Marvin (Lewis) and Bratkowski. It’s crazy."
Carson Palmer reportedly called Bratkowski after he was fired to let his former offensive coordinator know that he wasn't the reason that the franchise quarterback demanded a trade.
Jay Gruden will take on an offense with plenty of questions. Along with the uncertainty of Carson Palmer's future, the team will have to make a choice on a feature back, either signing Cedric Benson for another year or picking one up through the draft or free agency. The offense could also see a dramatic shift from a core of veteran wide receivers to a youth movement led by Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley. And then there's questions about the offensive line, ranging from Andre Smith's contract beyond 2012 and the free agents along the offensive line -- albeit, most of them restricted.
Jay is the younger brother of Jon Gruden, who before doing play-by-play for ESPN's Monday Night Football, was the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.