One of the things we expected this offseason after the team recorded their third straight win to close 2008 was a change at offensive coordinator. The point was simple. The worst-placed offense was clearly a system that revolved around a single player, rather than a philosophy. Losing your superstar quarterback became an excuse, evident that a badly flawed system didn't allow replacement players to perform into a system that should be implemented for eight years now (more on that later). Talent? Yes. That too was the issue. Players that aren't worthy of starting in the NFL aren't going to benefit you.
We also acknowledge a couple of things. The Bengals offense ranked in the top-ten from 2005-2007. They were inside the top-13 in points scored from 2003-2007. They have produced. And when all of our players are healthy, the offense scores. That's never the question. We wrote in December:
Our feeling is that if a system is based on one player, then it's a badly flawed system. A good system would take someone like, oh, I don't know, Matt Cassel and still be a top-five offense; the Patriots' backup quarterback's success came from a good system that allowed the team to succeed. You see the difference between greatly organized franchises and not-so greatly organized franchises with that small comparison.
It would have been far more impressive if Bratkowski wouldn't have orchestrated the league's worst offense, in his eighth season, with a bunch of players that didn't even start the season. By now, the system should be so integrated and ingrained with each incoming player, that it should succeed no matter who we plug in. Not used as an excuse.
On Wednesday, the Sporting News' Real Scouts ranked their top-20 offensive coordinators. Bob Bratkowski is....