Updated: 3:30 p.m.
With the appointment of Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator, the Bengals are sticking with the structure and language of Jay Gruden's playbook but allowing Jackson to tweak it as a playcaller. And, head coach Marvin Lewis said at a Friday news conference the same thing is going to happen on defense if coordinator Mike Zimmer gets a head coaching job.
But Lewis said that doesn't mean that hire would come internally like Jackson did. With virtually all the starters coming back and the Bengals coming off their first season since 1989 placing both units in the top 10 of NFL rankings, Lewis is looking for tweaks and not an overhaul.
The major takeaways from Friday's news conference besides the systems staying intact is that Jackson wants to be physical and run the ball first, and then establishing balance, as well as standing behind quarterback Andy Dalton.
"What I need to do is unleash these guys. Let them have the opportunity to do that," Jackson said of the physical style he wants. "We have a bunch of big, physical men … you want to establish yourself as an offensive football team, you have to be able to put your hand down and block the guy in front of you. You have to be able to attempt to run over the other team. If you can't do that in this league, you have no chance of winning."
First, gut reaction?
Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham, a true former offensive lineman, said he wanted to give Jackson a standing ovation.
"There won't be 30 passes in a quarter anymore," Lapham said. "There won't be 50 passes in a game anymore. Unless it's tragic. It's not going to happen. You won't see going strictly pass down 10 points."
More Hue: He's going to call plays from the sidelines "because I like to feel" the offense and defense. He also said he's not sure if the Bengals will draft another quarterback and if they do, it's not because it will push Dalton.
"I'm going to be the guy that pushes Andy and I think Andy will push himself," Jackson said.
Jackson's hire went over well with some prominent members of the offense, such as left tackle/guard Andrew Whitworth and slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. Whitworth thinks Jackson's in-your-face style of coaching is good for a young offense. He appreciates what Gruden brought to the table and it doesn't mean one approach is better than the other.
"Hue is known to coach with an energy and passion and try to push guys to be as good as they can be," Whitworth said. "He's more of an in-your-face guy every day. When things came up, sure, Jay dealt with it, but it wasn't his style. It's just a different mentality, not better.
"Guys are going to have to adjust to that. They have to find a way to push themselves and that's what Hue will do well. One thing he's really good at, one of his talents is he's able to create a bond with his players so he can really push them and they want that. That's the tricky part. He is going to find a way that they want to be pushed."
Hawkins, heading into his fourth season, is one of the seven Bengals receivers that has only known Gruden as the coordinator and he says that's a big deal that the playbook and language of the offense is staying the same. He noticed that when Jackson coached defensive backs two years ago and running backs this past season, he approached everyone if he thought he could help.
"That's how much he knows the game," Hawkins said. "I'm excited about it. Hue's a great coach, he knows his football. He's been in the league a long time. He's had success. I think he overachieved in Oakland. With Hue's football mind and all the talent we have, I think we're headed in the right direction."
In promoting assistant offensive line coach Kyle Caskey to fill Jackson's spot at running backs coach, the Bengals are getting a guy familiar with the inner workings of the scheme. Along with working with the O-line, Caskey worked closely with Jay Gruden on the computer and creating the playbook.