An Inconvenient History Lesson

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What may be interesting to some is that the West Coast Offense (WCO) currently being utilized by Bengals Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden was actually created another Bengals assistant coach, Bill Walsh, in the late 1960s under the auspices of the team’s founder Paul Brown.  While Virgil Carter was the first quarterback to effectively run the WCO, Ken Anderson is largely recognized as the quarterback who demonstrated its real potential.

Over the course of his 16-year career in the NFL, Anderson made four trips to the Pro Bowl, won four passing titles, was named NFL MVP in 1981, and set what was then the record for completion percentage in a single season in 1982 (70.66%).  Of course, Walsh took his coaching abilities to San Francisco in 1979 where he partnered with Joe Montana at the outset of one of the most incredible and storied dynasties in the history of the National Football League.  Since then, the WCO became the hallmark offense of elite coach / quarterback pairings; George Seifert and Steve Young also Mike Shanahan and John Elway, though a young Gary Kubiak as the Offensive Coordinator implemented his own run-heavy version) to name a few.

By the late 1980’s, the WCO was being implemented all over the League, but it was in Cincinnati where the rules of the game were changed yet again.  Head Coach Sam Wyche had developed the No Huddle Offense in 1986, further accelerating his already incredibly fast and aggressive WCO, but only put it into full practice in the 1988 season.  On the other side of the ball in that same season, the Bengals Defensive Coordinator had formulated a new defensive scheme targeting directly the strengths of the WCO.  That defense was called The Zone Blitz.  That Defensive Coordinator was Dick LeBeau.

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