Mark Curnutte analyzed the implications of the Bengals three-game winning streak, peaked after a 16-6 beating of the Kansas City Chiefs.
That finish, coupled with a franchise-record 23 players on the injured reserve list - not counting starting quarterback Carson Palmer or right tackle Stacy Andrews - should be enough ammunition to give Bengals management confidence to stay the course into next season.
We're still not exactly sure what would change. Would there be a change in the front office? Not likely while Mike Brown sits in the Admiral's chair. A new head coach? In fact, we honestly believe that the Bengals wouldn't have changed a thing, if they would have only won a single game or eight games. What could change?
Mark Curnutte believes that Bob Bratkowski is safe.
Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski is not likely to take a fall, even though the Bengals scored a league-worst 204 points, because his offense didn't have Palmer for 12 games.
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.
The Bengals are on their third defensive coordinator, and the two preceding coordinators recorded defenses amongst the worst in the league -- though non were the worst in the league. What leverage Bratkowski has saving his job is unknown. But we feel that an offensive coordinator calling the players for the worst offense in the league in his eighth season is a failure with the system he's incorporated. In most instances of long-term offensive coordinators with a single team, it's just time to move on.