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Tag:Bob Bratkowski
Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:41 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 10:43 pm
 

New Jags coach Mike Mularkey keeps Mel Tucker

The new Jags owner thinks that Mularkey will be the key to the team's long-term success. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Falcons managed just two points in their playoff loss to the Giants last week and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey parlayed that into the Jaguars head-coaching job.

Actually, that had nothing to do with Mularkey's new gig; Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan said that he was looking for a coach who'd be successful over the long term, and in his mind, Mularkey is his guy.

"When you start sobering up, how does it feel?" Khan said. "That's the key issue. After the binge, how do you feel? ... A wonderful thing about football is everybody looks great until the ball is snapped. Once the ball is snapped, results speak for themselves and we know in September how good a job he is doing preparing, strategizing, [assembling] the staff. It will all come out. By that time, the buzz, the splash, is going to be history."

We'll have to wait eight months to see on-field results, but Mularkey, who was the Bills head coach in 2004-2005, has begun putting together his coaching staff. ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reports that Mel Tucker, who served as the Jaguars' interim head coach after Jack Del Rio was fired in late November, will remain as the defensive coordinator. And Falcons quarterbacks coach Bob Bratkowski will be the Jags' new offensive coordinator.

Tucker apparently turned down an opportunity to join the Vikings as defensive coordinator to return to Jacksonville.

And Bratkowksi, who worked with Matt Ryan in Atlanta and served as the Bengals' offensive coordinator for a decade (including Carson Palmer's tenure there), will now be charged with developing the team's 2011 first-round pick, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and providing NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew some help.

CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter John Oehser writes that Gabbert is a good fit for Mularkey's offensive philosophy. “In this offense, you have to be able to move out of the pocket," Mularkey said. "We like to run the ball, but you have to have something to play off the run and Blaine fits that mold great.”

As for the less than enthusiastic public response to the news that Mularkey had been hired, fans can take solace in this: the new coach says he has learned from his previous mistakes. While the offense will be his, Mularkey will turn over play-calling duties to Bratkowaski. “There are some guys in this league who are excellent play-callers and can manage games (as a head coach)," he said. "I’m not sure I’m one of them.”

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Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Ochocinco still struggling to feel comfortable

OchocincoPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Chad Ochocinco hasn’t had a good preseason with the Patriots.

There have been whispers that he, along with Albert Haynesworth, might be on the chopping block, and the most significant act of his first month in a New England uniform has been to offer to pay the fine of a guy who smacked him in a helmet-to-helmet hit and caused an incompletion.

Either that or the time he offered to live with a Patriots fan as long as that fan had an Xbox.

The part of the preseason, though, that has been flummoxing is that Ochocinco has been slow to catch on to the Patriots offense. You’ll recall Ochocinco grew comfortable in his previous 10 seasons with the Bengals, mainly because he was the star receiver for much of that time and because the offensive coordinator, Bob Bratkowski, ran the offense the entire time he was there.

But with the Patriots, Ochocinco is far behind the likes of Wes Welker and Deion Branch.

Even so, Ochocinco remains positive. And while there are many reasons to rip Ochocinco at any given time, his work ethic is certainly not in question. He works hard, maybe harder than you think.

Ochocinco in New England
“The transition has been good,” Ochocinco told reporters, via the Boston Herald. "It’s been fun. I’ve heard small little rumblings I haven’t caught on yet, but I’m just fine. … You have to think of, coming from any place where you’ve been someplace for 10 years, to come here and learn the verbiage, and learn as much I’ve learned in the past few weeks, I’ve done extremely well.

“I think it’s my third week. Let’s be realistic. It’s the highest levels of football. It’s not easy.”

If Ochocinco was to rate his comfort level on a scale of 1-10, he said he’d be about a seven right now. It is interesting to watch Ochocinco in relation to his new quarterback. With Carson Palmer, Ochocinco would get into shouting matches with him or pout (not just with Palmer, but with the coaching staff as well) on the sidelines of games.

But with Tom Brady, Ochocinco lets him talk as much as he needs to talk. Ochocinco listens to Brady and thinks over what he’s saying. Even if he’s not on the chopping block -- and I’m not convinced he is -- he knows he needs to be much better than he’s been so far.

I’m just nowhere near where I want to be,” Ochocinco said. “I’m my biggest critic anyway. Regardless of what you write, what you guys see, I’m the first to judge myself. I’m always aiming for perfection. One of the things about being here, one of the things about being in an organization like this that prides itself on perfection and excellence, I’m sort of putting the pressure on myself to be right and be perfect now. Not later. I’m trying to squeeze everything within a short time frame, and it’s somewhat impossible. But if I can aim to be as perfect as possible, I think I can get up to speed.”

Of course, if Ochocinco gets too sad, all he has to do is look at the fish that surround his head when he sleeps. That should make him feel better.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 8:28 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 9:02 pm
 

Lewis: Dalton could be Bengals' Week 1 starter



Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's all about perspective. In January, shortly after the Bengals put the finishing touches on another underwhelming season, pretty much everybody -- Marvin Lewis included -- figured the team would have a new head coach in the coming weeks.

Somehow, owner Mike Brown didn't fire Lewis -- and Lewis didn't quit -- which only makes sense in the Groundhog Day/bizarro/funhouse-mirror world of the Cincinnati Bengals. Although Lewis will be back for a ninth season, the team will look decidedly different in 2011.

Quarterback Carson Palmer has threatened to retire if the team doesn't trade him, and wide receiver/soccer hopeful/amateur bull rider Chad Ochocinco has likely caught his last pass in Bengal stripes. Which opens the door for second-round pick Andy Dalton and a bunch of young receivers, including first-rounder AJ Green.

Lewis, appearing on ESPN 101 in St. Louis, spoke on a variety of topics, including whether Dalton could be under center in Week 1.

“Well that’s something we are going to have to see what happens and how it plays out, but there’s no question when we selected Andy Dalton we selected him with that in mind -- that he’d possibly be our opening day starting quarterback,” said Lewis, according to SportsRadioInterviews.com.

Different strokes for different folks, we guess. The Panthers, Titans, Jaguars and Vikings all drafted quarterbacks in the first round (Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder, respectively), but none are expected to start.

Cincy backup Jordan Palmer, who referred to his brother as a "former teammate" earlier in the week, will have a chance to win the gig. But he won't have the luxury of knowing the playbook any better than Dalton; offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski was fired during the offseason and was replaced by Jay Gruden. Everybody's learning a new system.

When asked about Carson's decision to call it a career unless his trade demands are met, Lewis sounded like a man who had long since come to terms with losing the one-time face of the franchise. "Those decisions don’t come overnight," Lewis said. "Those are things that sit in your belly for a long time and they really have a tendency to bother you, so it’s a good decision that he made to move on with the rest of his life and we understand that and accept that. We’ve put things together to move forward, and we’re excited about it. It’s been a great offseason that way, and when we get an opportunity to start working with our players we’ll be fired up and ready to go.”

By most accounts, the organization did a swell job of using the April draft to re-stock the roster. Cincy landed their quarterback of the future in Dalton, the best college wideout in the country in Green, and both will join a young group of pass catchers who showed gobs of potential late last season. Whether it will be enough to improve on a 4-12 record is another matter entirely. But it's not like Lewis hasn't dealt with losing before; in his eight previous seasons, the Bengals finished above .500 just twice. This time, though, the task should be easier if for no other reason than Lewis won't be preoccupied with trying to keep Ochocinco happy.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 8:00 pm
 

Jordan refers to Carson as 'former teammate'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Perhaps it was a Freudian slip or wholly intentional. Either way, we chuckled at Jordan Palmer's comments Wednesday about his brother Carson, who had been the Bengals' starting quarterback the last seven years before proclaiming this offseason that things were so dysfunctional in Cincinnati that if he wasn't traded he would retire.

Meeting Wednesday with the local media for the first time this spring, Jordan was asked about Carson.

“The route I’m taking is I’m focused on the Bengals and myself. I’m getting myself prepared to be the guy and if I’m not I want to get this team as prepared as they can be. I’m separating myself from what Carson is doing. He’s my brother but he’s a former teammate going a different route and I’m focusing in what is front of me.”

Hear that, Carson? Former teammate. That shot across the bow came from your own flesh and blood. 

Actually, we're guessing that Jordan and Carson have discussed their NFL futures, and it's no secret among the Palmers or those with just a passing interest in football: Carson is serious when he says he'll retire if the Bengals don't trade him.

(That said, we were convinced that Carson quit midway through the 2010 season and was secretly replaced by Jordan, who was stuffed into a No. 9 jersey and assumed the starting role with predictably disastrous results. It would certainly explain Carson's steep fall-off from legit franchise quarterback to noodle-armed has-been.)
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Other than referring to Carson as a "former teammate," Jordan's comments were about what you would expect from a backup competing for a starting gig. Even in early June, during the middle of a lockout, Jordan is a long shot. The Bengals selected Andy Dalton in the second round of the 2011 draft and they sound like it will be his job to lose once the labor situation is settled. That possibility, however, hasn't changed Jordan's mindset.

“I definitely want to be the guy, I’m preparing to be the guy," Palmer said, according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I’ve also told him (Dalton) that if he’s the guy it’s not because I’ve helped him out too much. It’s going to be because he’s more ready and better. When Carson came here he had Jon Kitna here to help him be a pro. I’m going to help him be a pro. I’d love to help him get there as fast as he can.”

During a normal offseason, Dalton's youth and inexperience would make Jordan the early favorite. But labor issues, and having to learn an entirely new offense (the club fired offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski after the season and hired Jay Gruden) means that everybody's behind. Veteran guard Bobbie Williams still feels sorry for the rookie.

“I don’t know. I’ll just say, God help the young man. I mean, he’s placed in a challenging position. But you know what, in this profession you’re always placed in a challenging position, it’s up to you how you (react) to it.”

If recent Bengals history is any guide, Dalton's in for a long season.

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Posted on: February 21, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Bengals take Eagles QB coach for their WR coach

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The offensive make-over continues in Cincinnati.

A few weeks after releasing former offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and replacing him with Jay Gruden, the Bengals have hired Eagles QB coach James Urban as the team’s WR coach, which had been vacated by Mike Sheppard (who went to Jacksonville to be the Jaguars QB coach).*

*Does all of that make sense?


Urban had been in Philadelphia the past seven years, and he got much of the credit for Michael Vick’s resurgence this year.

“I am very excited to be able to bring Jim to Cincinnati to work with our receivers,” said head coach Marvin Lewis in a statement. “He brings us a wealth of knowledge in an offensive system very similar to what (new offensive coordinator) Jay Gruden is installing for us. This is a very good fit for our team.”

The move makes sense. Since Gruden plans to install a West Coast attack for the Bengals – and get away from Bratkowski’s vertical attack – it seems like a good idea to bring in a coach like Urban, who has spent so much time in Andy Reid’s system.

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Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Bengals fire offensive coordinator Bratkowski

Posted by Andy Benoit

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that the Cincinnati Bengals have fired offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski. Bratkowski had been with the club since 2001.

The Bengals originally indicated they wouldn’t be making this much-talked-about change, though suspicions grew when Marvin Lewis was recently spotted having dinner with Brad Childress.

One player presumably happy about this move is Cedric Benson. After rushing for over 1,200 yards in a run-first scheme in ’09, the running back grew frustrated when the Bengals, after acquiring Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham, shifted to more of an aerial attack in ’10.

Because of that dinner with Lewis, Childress will be the early favorite to replace Bratkowski. Offensive coordinator in Cincy is an attractive job that offers relative autonomy, given that Lewis’ forte is on the other side of the ball.

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Posted on: January 22, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Could Childress be Bengals next O-coordinator?

Brad Childress Posted by Josh Katzowitz

At first, it was a Thursday dinner with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, one that could be written off to old colleagues who became pals after they went on a USO Tour last offseason.

But the next day, it was a meeting with team officials, and suddenly, we have to wonder if former Vikings coach Brad Childress is actually a candidate to replace Bob Bratkowski as Bengals offensive coordinator.

We told you a few days ago about Lewis most likely bringing back Bratkowski for his 10th season, but I didn’t include this little snippet: when the Cincinnati Enquirer asked him if the same coaching staff that was flying to Mobile, Ala., to coach in the Senior Bowl was the same coaching staff that would return, Lewis said he couldn’t be sure.

“I think we still have a chance for change,” he told the paper. “We still have an opportunity to revise some things.”

Even if Childress isn’t hired and doesn’t coach this season, he’s still entitled to the $3 million per year the Vikings owe him in 2011 and 2012. Bratkowski is under contract for 2011.

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Posted on: January 20, 2011 10:06 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 11:30 pm
 

What will become of the Bengals offense?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATE (11:28 p.m.):
Well, maybe Bratkowski isn't as safe as Lewis led us to believe. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, Marvin Lewis and former Vikings coach Brad Childress were spotted having dinner together tonight.

An interesting twist, eh?

----------

We mentioned it earlier in Hot Routes, but I wanted to bring up once again the assumption that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis will NOT terminate offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski – who’s been in the position for more than a decade, longer than Lewis has been head coach.

C. Benson might not return to Cincinnati next season if offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski is back. (Quick aside about Bratkowski: aside from game day and from events that demand you cover your legs, you never see the guy in pants. He ALWAYS wears shorts. Twenty degrees outside at practice? Bratkowski wears shorts. Figure skating at Fountain Square in the snow? Bratkowski wears shorts. An expedition to the North Pole? Shorts.)

The Bengals fans seem fed up with Bratkowski, who put together some wonderful offenses in the middle of this decade (Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rudi Johnson, etc.) but lately has not had the winning formula. That’s with the exception of last season when Cincinnati became a run-based offense that, perhaps not coincidentally, won the AFC North.

And this season was brutal. Palmer has completely regressed. Benson was overlooked at times. Ochocinco had the worst season of his career. So, why does it appear that Lewis will keep Bratkowski when it seems like the offensive coordinator’s tenure has grown rather stale?

Um, it’s kind of hard to tell. Read this quote and see if you can figure it out.

“(Fans) are clamoring for heads and I understand that. Right now at this point I’m not ready to give them heads yet and we’ll see what happens,” Lewis said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I understand the frustration. If we lop some heads maybe we’ll get better but maybe we wouldn’t but that’s what I’m looking at. Minimal might make things better and more productive. Making major changes rather than an overhaul of the system. A new system is harder than an overhaul and looking how we do it.”

Maybe part of the reason Lewis won’t fire Bratkowski is because owner Mike Brown won’t allow it. Other than that, it’s hard to figure why Lewis would keep his OC (Bratkowski being a nice guy and an extremely quotable coach probably don’t count as reasons).

ESPECIALLY, when you consider that RB Cedric Benson might not want to re-sign with the team if Bratkowski stays (Benson was irked that the team shifted away from that successful run-heavy offense and became more of a passing attack this season).

Said Lewis: “Ced’s passion and energy will make us a great football team again and I don’t want to curtail that and you have to take the bad with the good. I opened up the season talking that it was going to be difficult for Ced with all the attention going to the receivers and that he was going to have to hang through this.”

But one reason Benson might reconsider. Lewis plans to use fullbacks more often this season – Chris Pressley and Fui Vakapuna likely will compete for the starting spot that Jeremi Johnson used to hold.

And what about Chad Ochocinco? Well, if Lewis keeps firing so-called shots at his temperamental WR like this – “No one was talking about him. He couldn’t stand that,” Lewis said regarding some of Ochocinco’s latest Twitter offerings. “You want them to talk about you,
go win football games.” – he shouldn’t expect Ochocinco to want to return.

Of course, maybe that would be best for all anyway.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com