During this past offseason we as fans have been through quite a bit. We've witnessed the first official lockout in the NFL for the first time in over 20 years, even though the work stoppage was lifted only to be reinstated. We've also watched as teams have attempted to transform their rosters via the draft, since trades and free agency are not permitted for the time being.
In this epic battle between two opposing forces, (players and owners) it appears as though neither side is going to budge from their stance. However, during all of this turmoil there is one group of people involved with football that we haven't heard from. And those people would be the coaches.
On Wednesday the coaches filed a brief which clearly indicates that coaches are on the player's side of this ugly situation. The NFL Coaches Association became the newest party member when a brief was filed with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
I suppose that during this lockout we have focused a majority of our attention on the players and owners since they are the center of this grudge match. Coaches merely seem like a figment of our imagination at this point since there haven't been many, if any reports, discussing their views of the matter at hand.
Coaches are now urging the court to "end the lockout." The coaches have their reasons and quite frankly I don't blame them. In brief the coaches cited that the lockout inflicts harm on the ability to hold summer minicamps and workouts to get on the same page as the rest of the coaching staff and players heading into the season, whenever the heck that will be. The lockout is very harmful to teams who have news coaches, such as the Bengals who hired Jay Gruden to replace Bob Bratkowski as the offensive coordinator.
The lockout is not only causing agony for us fans, but it's also detrimental for our Bengals. With Gruden now making the plays, it's vital that he work withthe offense since he is bringing a West Coast style into the picture. For most players on the Bengals that aren't familiar with that style of offense because it's a rarity in the league.
It's also important that Grudenknows what weapons he will have to work with on offense. Will Cedric Benson be resigned to lead the running attack? Will Carson Palmer raise the white flag in his standoff with Mike Brown or will Andy Dalton be at center leading the Bengals offensive charge? Whomever the quarterback may be, then who will the passing targets be? Is the combination of A.J. Green and Chad Ochocinco going to work for the season? Or will a veteran be brought into the fold as competition for both? Does Jermaine Gresham progress as a player or will the lockout hurt his ability to grow as an athlete? I know that was a long series of obvious thoughts, but those are some of the more significant concerns regarding the offense.
Compared to every other team in the AFC North, the Bengals will be behind once a season begins. Cincinnati is the only team in the AFC North to see the changing of coaching personnel. No other team within the division has to learn a new style of offense. For the Steelers and Ravens it will just be a matter of getting back into the rhythm of things, whereas for the Bengals it will be a matter of nailing down the plays and finding for that rhythm under Gruden's West Coast offense. The only team within the AFC North that is in a worse situation would be the Browns who have a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator.
Hopefully with the NFLCA filing a brief, owners and players will finally realize that the lockout needs to end immediately. But as usual only time will tell.