In his first season as an NFL offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden won't be huddled under the wing of his head coach, Marvin Lewis during the draft. In Lewis' annual pre-draft press conference, he said that Gruden, along with all of the other offensive coaches, including quarterback coach Ken Zampese and wide receivers coach James Urban, has been heavily involved in the scouting process leading up to the draft this Thursday.
"He’s been able to be as involved as anyone I’ve been around. He’s going to see the eyes of the offense through the quarterback’s eyes. It’s been another hands on input person to go along with Kenny (Zampese). Along with James Urban I’ve included them all in the process so that we’ve had a lot of different opinions and chances to spend time with these players."
What great timing to be a new offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals! Not only is the NFL in the middle of a lockout, preventing you from communicating the new playbook for an entirely new offensive system to your current players, but your star quarterback, the man who you figured would lead your offense at least until 2015, has demanded a trade and threatened to retire if he isn't dealt.
If he's as heavily involved as Lewis claims he is, maybe he'll have a say in who the Bengals select in the first couple rounds. It's no secret that Gruden has been impressed by Florida State's Christian Ponder, saying:
"Great competitor," Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said afterward, noting that Ponder also brings rare leadership intangibles. "An interesting guy and a great prospect."
If the Bengals are looking for a new quarterback to lead their team starting with the 2011 season, Gruden's input may guide the Bengals into selecting a quarterback that's already well versed in the west coast offense. The only two quarterbacks that fit into that category are TCU's Andy Dalton and Ponder.
The draft begins in just three days and we'll know more once they make their first round pick. Speaking of the draft, if you're not busy, come on down to Willie's Sports Cafe and celebrate with Cincy Jungle.