Okay, this isn’t Jay Gruden’s 3rd year coaching, but this is his 3rd year as an offensive coordinator for the Bengals. If year 3 is a good way to measure a player’s success, then why can’t it be the standard for a coach’s success too? I admit, a coach’s career is much longer than a player’s career, but the bar must be set, and Jay Gruden, just like Andy Dalton, has no excuse not to be successful as a 3rd year offensive coordinator.
Before being added to the Bengals coaching staff in 2011, Gruden was a very well respected offensive coordinator in the UFL, and former head coach of the Florida Tuskers. Gruden came to the Bengals after the firing of former offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski who held the position since 2001. Gruden, just like Dalton and Green, came into a lockout NFL season and in a completely new style of offense.
Once the lockout ended, Gruden scrambled to put the playbook together in 2011, and really did not try to call too much to overwhelm the new Bengals quarterback. Gruden quickly learned, however, that Dalton could handle about anything thrown his way. 2011 came and went with the Bengals losing to the Texans in the first round of the playoffs, and with a full offseason to prepare in 2012, there was no reason to think this past season wouldn’t be short of electrifying.
2012 definitely had more offensive ups and downs than a Kings Island roller coaster. There were times during the season when the Bengals offense seemed like a well oiled machine that was virtually unstoppable. Other parts of the season, however, the Bengals couldn’t manage to gain a first down, and the play calling seemed stale at best. Obviously Gruden cannot go onto the field and execute the plays, but if the play calling seems predictable to us fans at home, imagine what the opposing defensive coordinators think.