When asked during Tuesday's press conference if there will be any coaching changes, Mike Brown tried to downplay the urgency of coaching changes while admitting that changes are expected. Brown went so far as to say that the timetable for those changes will be "fairly soon." When asked about it later during the press conference, Brown, who hates talking to the media, tried closing the issue saying "We’ll do it in our way, at our pace, after consideration and discussion." At this point, I wanted to stand in the middle of the track during a NASCAR race.
After Tuesday's press conference, here's what we learned -- or at the very least speculated. There will be coaching changes during the offseason, but what those changes are specifically, we won't know. When asked about the level of change on the coaching staff, Brown said that the change will either be through the people that's already employed, or the "people doing them."
Marvin Lewis did confirm that no assistant coach is signed for 2011.
After the press conference, Marvin Lewis sat down with a small group of reporters. When asked if Lewis will have a new offensive coordinator, the head coach said, "that's kind of private to me" calling it a "huge change" if it happened. While it's not a denial, it sure sounds like he's avoiding it until he speaks specifically to Bob Bratkowski. Instead of saying, "yes, we're going in a different direction", Lewis will want to speak to the team's offensive coordinator first. Of course, we're just speculating. Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski is favored by Bengals fans to be the one that's let go. After a rather successful run as an offensive coordinator with an offense that ranked 10th or better from 2005-2007, the Bratkowski-led offense has ranked 32nd, 24th and 20th in the past three seasons.
If the Bengals fire Bratkowski, they have several in-house options to choose from.
Bengals quarterback Ken Zampese, the team's quarterbacks coach, spent three seasons in St. Louis from 2000-2002 as an offensive assistant (2000), wide receivers coach (2001) and a "passing game coach" (2002). The Rams were ranked in the top-ten two of those three seasons. Zampese was also an offensive coordinator for Northern Arizona in 1995. Mike Sheppard, the Bengals wide receivers coach since 2007 has spent time as an offensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers (1997-98), the Buffalo Bills (2001) and New Orleans Saints (2005). Sheppard's best season as a coordinator came in 2001 with the Buffalo Bills, ranked 13th in the league.
If the team goes outsides, then other options include former Bengals wide receivers coach Hue Jackson, who is interviewing for the head coaching vacancies in Oakland and San Francisco. And to a much more unlikely degree, Josh McDaniels, who was the coordinator for New England's record breaking offense in 2007.