Ever since the Bengals brought in Jay Gruden to run their offense in 2011, the Bengals offense has looked pretty much the same.
Sure, Hue Jackson and Ken Zampese tried to put their own spins on it, but the majority of it has been very much the same.
Andy Dalton was drafted by the Bengals for the 2011 season, which means his entire time in the NFL has been based around Gruden’s offense from 2011. Playing with the same kinds basic ideas for that long can really wear out an offense and a quarterback, not to mention the Bengals have seen a steady decrease of talent along that side of the ball since the 2015 season.
The Bengals offense seems to be on the up swing with talent though, and Bill Lazor plans to bring a whole new playbook to bring in this new era of Bengals football. Of course many will note that Lazor was the offensive coordinator for 14 games last year, but he did that using Zampese’s offense.
Lazor’s changes will cause some pretty earth shaking changes considering how long Gruden’s foundation has been in place. That is something Dalton is looking forward to, according to Geoff Hobson of the Bengals official site.
“The sense I’m getting is there is going to be a lot of change and a lot of learning, which is a good thing,” Dalton told Hobson. “I think it’s good to challenge yourself and kind of re-fresh yourself on what you’re doing. When you’re hearing the same thing for seven straight years, it can be mundane and you already know it. Now it’s new and fresh and I’m looking forward to it.
“I think we’re going to be multiple. I think we’re going to do what we have to do to win and get the best possible matchups.”
This is great to hear considering Gruden ran on the concept of doing what you do, and forcing the defense to prove they can stop it. That may work out for a few years, but after seven years, NFL defenses get a pretty good idea of what is coming.
Also, just the adrenaline boost that comes from learning a new system, and being able to do something new should be something we see have an effect on this offense early on. It is something you see fairly often from teams with new offensive coordinators. Defenses have no idea what is coming, and players are just generally more excited to go out there and execute.
Of course, changing something that has been around for this long does mean your players lose that familiarity with it. I’m sure it was second nature for Dalton at time calling plays last season. However, the quarterback doesn’t seem worried about learning an entirely new offense for the first time in his NFL career.
“I’m sure it will be like my rookie year,” Dalton told Hobson. “Learning an offense, learning what is going on. It’s been awhile since I’ve had to learn a new offense with formations and stuff.”
One thing is for sure. We should be seeing a new Dalton next season. He posted some of his worst numbers as a professional last year. It was the first time since his rookie season that he completed less than 60 percent of his passes, and the first time he threw double digit interceptions in three seasons.
Change could do some good for Dalton. It could refocus him at the age of 30 with the window for this team seemingly opening up for a few more seasons. It is something he can’t wait to get started with on Monday.
“That’s why Monday is going to be fun,” Dalton tells Hobson. “It’s going to be good to see the guys and see how things are going and see where this offense is going to be. I’m sure there is going to be a lot of change in what we do and how we do certain things. The way we may call certain things. I’m anxious to get rolling with it.”