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Thursday, August 11, 2011
Thoughts from Bengals OC Jay Gruden

By James Walker

GEOREGTOWN, Ky. -- The Cincinnati Bengals will begin their 2011 preseason Friday against the Detroit Lions. One of Cincinnati's big storylines will be the new-look, West Coast offense led by first-year offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

The AFC North blog and several media members recently spoke with Gruden to get his thoughts on a variety of topics leading into the preseason:

Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wants the Bengals "to be a physical football team."
(On what Gruden wants to see from his offense Friday)

Jay Gruden: We just want to set a standard for ourselves and what kind of team we want to be. It starts in the preseason. How are we going to come off the ball? How are we going to break the huddle? The little things that we're going to do. Are we detailed in our assignments and what's our physicality going to be? Are going to be soft, or are we physical? We want to be a physical football team.

(On how much of the new offense is installed)

Gruden: I think enough right now. I think these guys have enough in where we can keep people off balance. We will add as we go on. Depending on who we play and what defenses we're playing, we might change some things up. But right now I think we're in good shape.

(On the speed of the installation process)

Gruden: I can always install plays. People have to slow me down. I can install 50 plays a night, but that's not what's good for this team. What's good for this team is giving them a chance to win and giving them a chance to succeed. It's enough things in for them to be successful on the field and knowing what to do.

(On right tackle Andre Smith)

Gruden: He looks very good. I don't know what he looked like before. I heard it was not very good (laughs). But he looks good to me right now. We're excited that he's a candidate to start at right tackle. He needs to play. He needs to practice. He's got to get the reps if he's going to play. We need to see if that foot will hold up. Right now it's holding up, so we're excited about it.

(On receivers A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson)

Gruden: Well, those two guys on the outside are very athletic. You almost have to take a different approach as a quarterback when those two guys are running down the field. If a defensive back has his back turned, you have to give [the receiver] a chance. A lot of times you want to tell a quarterback, "It's either us or nobody." But with these two guys you can throw it up high and let them go get it. A.J. has made about four of those already in this camp and Jerome had three in the last two days. So that's a [great] option for the quarterback. It sure makes him look good.