Now that the Cincinnati Bengals have moved beyond the Bob Bratkowski era -- which brought three seasons with a top-ten ranking on offense -- the Bengals and their fans can focus more on what Jay Gruden, the team's newest offensive coordinator, may bring. When asked, during a conference call with the local media (I guess they still hate me), Jay Gruden was asked about his style of offense.
"The beauty of the West Coast is that it has a lot of different branches. We’re going to have a lot of different personnel groupings and a lot of formations. But when it’s all said and done we’ll be simple. I learned the offense from my brother Jon in Tampa Bay in seven years... The beauty of the offense is we can gear to our strengths, whatever they may be — great tight end, great running back, great running game. We have the ability to go a lot of different directions. Once we get into camp and get our roster set, we’ll fire a lot at ‘em and find out what we’re best at, what our quarterback likes and doesn’t like, and go from there."
We figured the offense would be more designed as Jon Gruden's version of the West Coast offense, which never ranked inside the top-ten in seven seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before you groan, read on. In three of his four seasons as the Raiders head coach, Gruden's offense ranked in the top ten and as the Eagles offensive coordinator (1995-1997), his offense ranked in the top-five in two of his three seasons there.
Before arriving at defensive-heavy Baltimore to coach the Ravens, Brian Billick was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator from 1994-1998. And in three of those five seasons, Billick's offense ranked inside the top five with quarterbacks such as Warren Moon (at the end of his career), Brad Johnson and Randall Cunningham (at the end of his career). The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy caught up with Billick on radio row Thursday night and Reedy asked about the West Coast offense.
"There’s no such thing as a West Coast offense anymore. It doesn’t exist," Billick said. "Everyone has taken different bits and pieces of it and its morphed into a number of different things. He may use some of the West Coast verbage but even the most ardent of west coast guys who came directly from the Walsh lineage whether its be via Holmgren to Andy Reid to Jon Gruden, they’ve all evolved it and it’s morphed into different forms almost like the Dungy 2 or Tampa 2, everyone uses a form of it. To identify a team like that, it’s kind of a misnomer because everyone is doing it."