Offenses around the NFL have a wide variety of styles and schemes. Some change over time, such as the NFC North going from ground and pound styles of the past, to pass happy, gun-slinger type offenses of late (with the possible exception of Minnesota). The AFC North is an example of an offensive style of football that hasn’t changed in quite some time. The AFC North prides itself on delivering a smash-mouth brand of offense that dominates at the line of scrimmage and stresses ball control as its top priority. Over the next five segments of this series of articles I will explain why the Cincinnati Bengals have the tools to compete in the AFC North division heading into the 2012 season. Each segment will feature a different aspect of Cincinnati’s offense.
Jay Gruden has brought his hybrid west-coast style offense to Cincinnati. The first thing Gruden did right was building his offense around his young quarterback, Andy Dalton. He didn’t throw the entire playbook at the rookie who didn’t have the benefit of a full off-season. Instead, he implemented new plays as Dalton developed. He was not afraid to let his young quarterback throw downfield on occasion, but mainly relied on short to intermediate routes. This translates into high percentage passes with very small windows of opportunities for opposing defenses to get their hands on the ball.