When it was announced that Jay Gruden was hired to be the Cincinnati Bengals new offensive coordinator, he had to know that he was walking into a sticky situation. He was going to take charge of an offense that had seriously underachieved over the last few years, he was going to have to deal with one of the biggest diva wide receivers in the league, the franchise quarterback that he would have coached had just demanded a trade and quit and his boss was going to be one of the worst owners in the NFL. On top of all that, the NFL was spiraling towards a lockout.
However, after a fairly successful draft and now that his offense has taken shape and finally taken the field, Gruden knows that the offense has an uphill battle but he also knows that there are no excuses to not succeed.
"It's not like we don't have anything here," he said, leaning back behind a desk in a Bengals meeting room. "These guys are legitimate weapons, and these guys are legitimate players.
"Yes, it will be a challenge with whoever's on offense, and I don't think we can use any excuses. There's no excuse for us not to be great because we have great people here."
Gruden has implemented a West Coast offense which should work well for new quarterback Andy Dalton. He also has a young but extremely talented group of receivers from recently drafted wide receiver A.J. Green to Jermaine Gresham at tight end. On top of that, Gruden has Cedric Benson back to carry the ball for him.
All the pieces seem to be in place and once the offense gets more experienced on the field and if Dalton can get used to the quicker pace and the complex defenses of the NFL, there's no reason that this offense can't thrive in the not to distant future.