Clayton: Bengals Are One of the Teams Affected Most by the Lockout

When the 8th Circuit Judges made a 2-1 decision to grant the NFL owners an extended stay until their appeal can be heard on June 3, offensive coordinators around the league began cutting pages out of their play books. With the offseason training programs in jeopardy, it's possible that teams won't be able to get the practice that they usually would during minicamp and, possibly, even in preseason games.

Teams like the Patriots, Colts, Saints, Packers, Steelers and Ravens, the NFL's more established teams, will be affected by the lockout but will likely find their stride soon after they take the field. The lockout will take a much bigger toll on the younger and less established teams, especially teams like the Vikings, Titans and, according to ESPN senior writer John Clayton, the Cincinnati Bengals.

Clayton mentions that it would be a different story if it wasn't Andy Dalton poised to run the offense in 2011 and it was Carson Palmer instead. However, Palmer's pending retirement after his trade demand has ruled him out. Instead, the Bengals will probably start a rookie for the first time since they started Greg Cook in 1969. Dalton's college system could hold him back as well. Clayton mentions that Dalton will be forced to make the transition from the college spread offense to a pro-style west coast system in a very limited amount of time. That combined with a new offensive coordinator that has limited NFL experience, could make the Bengals' 2011 road very bumpy.

The problem is trying to get rookie QB Andy Dalton on the same page with new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden without a true offseason. Converting a spread offense quarterback into a West Coast system is hard enough, but to do it with no offseason prep is nearly impossible. Because most of Gruden's time has been spent in Arena football, it's not as if he can buy Dalton time and bring in a veteran who has worked with him in the past. Some believe the Bengals might go for a Jim Sorgi to help out, but is that going to be good enough?

If the Bengals plan on having a successful 2011 season, they're probably going to have to put as little pressure on Dalton as possible and lean heavily on a running game and on their defense, just like they did in 2009. That makes the re-signing of Cedric Benson, or a Benson-like back, extremely important. The play of the offensive line will be extremely important too.

The more the Bengals control the clock on offense with a power running game and the more their defense keeps opposing offenses out of the end zone, the more successful the Bengals will be in 2011 -- at least that will be the case until the coaches feel confident that Dalton gets it. 

The 2011 blue print for the Bengals won't win them a Super Bowl; teams will elite quarterbacks and vertical passing attacks win Super Bowls. That doesn't mean that they won't have a successful season, though. Honestly, with a rookie quarterback at the helm, I would consider an 8-8 season in the AFC North a fairly successful one. At least it would be a good building block for the 2012 season, which will be their last chance, because we all know the world is going to end next year.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker