Today word came out that former Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski was hired as the new QB coach in Atlanta. Bratkowski replaces Bill Musgrave, who is the new OC in Minnesota, and will coach Matt Ryan under Falcons OC Mike Mularkey. Mularkey and Bratkowski worked together in Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher. Bengal fans might remember that former coach Dick Lebeau hired Bratkowski from Pittsburgh, where he was WR coach. He was in the running for the OC coordinator position there, but lost out to Mularkey, who was TE coach. Joe Reedy also points out that Falcons coach Mike Smith is good friends with Marvin Lewis. These circumstances no doubt allowed the Bengals to help Brat land a gig in less than two weeks after being mildly criticized for their timing in letting him go.
Also on offense, WR coach Mike Sheppard is leaving the staff to coach quarterbacks on Jack Del Rio’s staff in Jacksonville. Sheppard has had a long-standing desire to go back to coaching quarterbacks, but had no chance to do so in Cincy with Ken Zampese entrenched. Hobson advises that Sheppard may be replaced best with Washington Redskins offensive assistant Sean McVay. McVay worked with new OC Jay Gruden in Tampa Bay and in the UFL. He should be quite familiar with Gruden’s offense and was reportedly called a “brilliant young coach” by Redskins defensive coordinator and former NFL head man Jim Haslett.
On the defensive side, assistant secondary coach Louie Coiffi was granted permission to interview in Arizona for a position on new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s staff. Horton, the former Bengals safety, worked with Cioffi under Lebeau’s Bengals staff, and has since been working in Pittsburgh. Hobson suggests that David Lippincott, who assisted Sheppard last season, might get the gig. Lippincott was also mentioned as a possibility at WR coach, but this seems to make more sense to me.
As previously reported, Philadelphia showed intesest current secondary coach Kevin Coyle for their open defensive coordinator position, but the Bengals denied their request.
These moves come on the heels of the sudden resignation and replacement of team physicians Dr. Robert Heidt and Dr. Angelo Colosimo. The medical staff had come under fire in recent seasons with perceived bungling of player injuries. Fans and experts questioned their handling of injuries to WR Peter Warrick, RB Chris Perry, LB Rashad Jeanty, and perhaps most notably, WR Antonio Bryant.
What does all of this mean? The jury is still out, but overall, it can’t be bad. The team was able to show some loyalty to Bratkowski in helping him land on his feet in Atlanta. They were able to bring in some fresh perspectives to the medical staff, and they should be able to add a new WR coach that has familiarity with Gruden’s system.