A lot of things have to fall into place for the Cincinnati Bengals to make a third-consecutive playoff appearance for the first time in franchise history. The defense has to remain among the NFL’s elite, while the core of a young Bengals team (10 starters age 25 or younger) continues to make adequate strides and not regress.
But after a complete overhaul of the offense in 2011 that saw Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson depart, as well as offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, it’s been a slow but steady process of rebuilding and retooling that unit. Now, in Year 3 of the A.J. Green/Andy Dalton/Jay Gruden era, it’s time for the offense to finally begin carrying its own weight, and stop being such a liability as it has over the past two seasons.
Everyone wants to put the pressure on Dalton, and with him trying to prove that he’s worthy of being called a true “franchise QB”, much should be expected of him.
But OC Jay Gruden also has a lot of pressure on him to finally get this unit clicking in 2013. It hasn’t been an easy job for the former Arena Football League head coach, as he’s basically had to build an offense from scratch, and has done an admirable job to this point.