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Cincinnati Bengals OC Jay Gruden Plans "Baby Steps"

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who admits to being "absolutely kind of surprised" he got the job (don't worry, Jay, same here), plans to follow the time-honored K.I.S.S. principle -- Keep It Simple, Stupid -- whenever the NFL finally gets back to actual football.

"We’re going to have to take baby steps, but I don’t want to assume it’s hard for them. I want to challenge them also. I want them to really have to study, learn and push themselves mentally. Physically, it’s going to be a grind because I don’t know how much they’ve been running and all that stuff. That’s another issue — how much deep, down-the-field stuff we put in. We have to take their legs into consideration, so I’m taking some deeper routes out. But from a formation standpoint, I think we’ll start with our basic stuff, continue to expand on a daily basis and see how much they can handle."

Jay isn't expecting Carson Palmer to return, and seems to be focused on rookie QB Andy Dalton (the piece contains no mention of Jordan Palmer). Jay is also a fan of bringing back RB Cedric Benson, saying "he's everything you want in a back" but adding some other team may snap him up once free agency starts.

While the conventional wisdom, as well as Jay's desire to keep things simple, would argue for a focus on Benson and the running game, head coach Marvin Lewis expressed interest in a more balanced approach.

"I feel like we have to attack by meshing the run and pass together," Lewis said. "They can’t be two separate elements. They have to be coordinated together."

I agree that's desirable, but how much of a passing game they can execute early on, what with young receivers, a new QB and a new system, is a big question mark.