Back in 2005, John Clayton wrote that Bob Bratkowski was a head coaching candidate, largely credited with the work put into developing Carson Palmer (*cough Ken Zampese *cough). Charles Robinson agreed. Before Sean Payton, the Saints were interested. As one could assume on their own, even though Bratkowski was looked at, he didn't get any promotional jobs, sticking with the Bengals. In 2006, the Bengals had the eighth-ranked offense (yards and scoring), falling to 10th total and 11th scoring in 2007.
Some of us, me included, often hypothesize that with the talent on this offense we should be scorching teams with 30-point averages. Maybe that's unfair to place on Bratkowski, but we believed it nonetheless. Furthermore, when the Bengals offense finished the season as the league's worst, another glaring omission grew: The system can't be that good, if we can't plug players in, and put them in a position to succeed. Yes, Palmer was gone. Yes, the Bengals lacked a rushing offense. Yes, the offensive line stunk up the place earlier in the season. With that suddenly in mind, is it fair that we think the system itself is broken? In all honesty, sometimes we do. While we also acknowledge that the Bengals have good skill players, we're continuously mortared to death with our (lack of) depth. We quickly learned this season that we have no depth on offense, and that the play-calling had to be simplified just to move the ball -- in which we often failed to do until late.
It was trying to run up the gut on third-and-short, the predictability of rushing on double tight end formations, the shovel passes (god, I hate shovel passes), poorly executed screen passes. It took until late in the season to find the offense's strengths, and using Fitzpatrick in a less Palmer-like role, challenging the offensive line to be men, and handing the ball off to Cedric Benson. In truth, while we often complain about his play-calling, general system, or running Chris Perry at any point in the game, the more urgent matter is that this team isn't built to deal with injuries. Depth is limited and poor; though one could argue when 23 players go down, which doesn't include Stacy Andrews and Carson Palmer, that you're going to have depth problems no matter what.
Now Bratkowski isn't sought out much. He's under fire from fans. Lewis was noncommittal regarding anyone in his staff. "...we have the blanket statement that we'll see what happens when it happens," Lewis said during Monday's press conference. "I don't know any of that right now (changes). We just finished playing yesterday. I'm sure guys have aspirations to do different things, and we'll see what those hold."
We firmly believe at CJ that Bratkowski should go. Not because of being a total ineffective offense during his tenure; we had some good moments, didn't we? But we believe it's time to move on and try something new.