When Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was announced as Washington's next head coach, many fans were relieved -- not unlike the firing of Bob Bratkowski after the 2010 season when the offense was obsessed with the passing game and struggled towards a four-win season.
Fans may not have been the only ones.
According to Len Pasquarelli with the National Football Post, players, team officials and even fellow coaches believed that Gruden "sacrificed some degree of balance" for the passing game.
They’re not quite shouting "good riddance" in Cincinnati with the departure of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, the new Washington head coach. But there definitely are some players, team officials and fans (perhaps even a few assistants), who felt that, for all the positives Gruden brought to the Bengals offense, he frequently was too enamored of the passing game and sacrificed some degree of balance.
Pasquarelli goes on to highlight that the Bengals passed on 57 percent of their offensive snaps this year with Gruden ordering "up 54 pass plays on 79 snaps" against the San Diego Chargers.
For a quarterback as potentially shaky as Andy Dalton, that’s a lot, as we all saw. Gruden did some terrific work in Cincinnati, especially with the development of Dalton, and it’s not just coincidence that the club advanced to the postseason in each of his three years there. But he also bears some of the culpability for the Bengals being a playoff one-and-done team each year.
Cincinnati promoted Hue Jackson, who plans to have a more physical offense while continuing to develop Dalton. In other words, more runs and less emphasis on the passing game.
Jackson, though, seems to understand the need to be different, because he knows that much of the criticism toward Gruden was coming from the Bengals’ locker room, where many felt that rookie Giovani Bernard needed the ball in his hands more in 2013.