Offensive overhaul gives Andy Dalton, A.J. Green that rookie feeling

From ESPN - April 16, 2018

CINCINNATI -- There's a perception outside of the Cincinnati Bengals' locker room that not much has changed in the few months since the organization re-signed longtime coach Marvin Lewis to a new contract.

Some of the players have heard it and they might even understand it. But they do not agree with it.

Monday was the first day of the Bengals' offseason training program, and during the open locker room period, players were throwing around terminology that indicated they feel quite the opposite. "Change" and "fresh start" were some of the words repeated by various players, including quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green.

Indeed, it's the offense that appears to be affected the most. The defensive side has a new coordinator in Teryl Austin and a secondary coach. But the offense is essentially being overhauled. Bill Lazor, who replaced the fired Ken Zampese after two games last season, is putting his own stamp on the offense, while wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell, offensive line coach Frank Pollack and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt are all new.

Dalton alone is on his fourth offensive coordinator since he was drafted in 2011, but he admitted this is the first year the team was actually moving away from the framework of Jay Gruden's offense that was in place when Dalton was a rookie.

"This is a complete change," Dalton said. "What we were doing before was basically Jay [Grudens] offense with the adaptation of Hue [Jackson], he put his stuff on it, then [Ken Zampese] took over and he did his thing. Now were starting from square one. This is all new."

Dalton said he felt like they are starting from scratch in a way. He had gotten to know the offense so well that it was second nature to him. Now he's having to relearn everything, and he admitted the challenge was exciting.


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