From 2001 through 2010, current Jaguars offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski held the same position with the Cincinnati Bengals. There was a time when Bratkowski was a king in Cincinnati. In 2003, the Bengals had a renaissance of sorts when the Marvin Lewis and Jon Kitna-led Bengals made an unlikely postseason push. Under Bratkowski, Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer were All-Pros, and Chris Henry, Rudi Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh became household names.
But personnel attrition, injuries and predictable playcalling led to a demise of the once-proud Bengals offense. With a surprising division title in 2009 maybe being the exception, the offense struggled overall from 2008-2010. "Brat" became a scapegoat and was released when fans were calling for his head after the debacle that was the 2010 season.
He landed on back his feet, first with the Falcons as their quarterbacks coach in 2011 and then with the Jaguars as their offensive coordinator when they hired Mike Mularkey. Bratkowski is now tasked with developing second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert and rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The results haven't been resounding thus far and the Jaguars are off to a 1-2 start. What Brat does have to work with is All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew and a solid tight end in Marcedes Lewis. The pieces are there, it's just about Bratkowski finding the formula.
One thing going in the Jaguars' corner is that they are facing a Bengals defense currently ranked No.29 overall. Additionally, the Bengals could be without some sort of combination of cornerbacks, including Leon Hall, Nate Clements and Jason Allen. The elements are there for the Jaguars to have a breakout offensive performance on Sunday, so we'll see if Bratkowski can take advantage.
The thing that the Bengals have going for them in this matchup is familiarity. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was hired in Cincinnati in 2008, so he has an idea of Bratkowski's tendencies. Additionally, the Bengals beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville last year with a lot of the same personnel, so they should have an idea of how to bottle up their offense (AKA stop Jones-Drew at all costs).
It's going to be interesting to see who wins the day: Zimmer or Bratkowski? The Jaguars' offensive unit and the Bengals' defensive unit are both maligned right now and are likely looking at this game as one where they could get things back on track. It's going to be an interesting evening in Jacksonville on Sunday.