Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Raiders will be facing the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and on the opposite sideline, the Jaguars have someone who knows probably more about Carson Palmer than anyone in football.
That man is Bob Bratkowski, the Jaguars offensive coordinator. The reason he knows Carson Palmer so well is because he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati from 2001 to 2010 which included the first eight years of Palmer's NFL career.
Bratkowski was the offensive coordinator when the Bengals scouted Palmer out of USC and when they drafted the Heisman Trophy winner with the number one overall pick in the 2003 draft.
He was there through his growth as a rookie riding the bench, watching Jon Kitna as he waited his turn as the next big thing in Cincinnati. He was part of the decision to hand him Palmer the reins in his second season when he took the team to a 6-7 record in 13 games.
And Bratkowski crafted the offense around Palmer which he took to two Pro Bowls in 2005 and 2006 and throw for over 4000 yards in 2006 and 2007.
Bratkowski's final game on the Bengals' coaching staff was also Palmer's final game as a Bengal.
So, yeah, you can say the two of them know each other pretty well.
Who has the advantage in this familiarity? Hard to know for sure. Palmer isn't working in the same system as he had for eight seasons under Bratkowski so it's possible Palmer could impart a lot of Bratkowski tendencies on the Raiders.
But for Palmer it can't be a comfortable situation facing a guy who has studied you back to your college days, groomed you as a young NFL quarterback, and molded you into the player you are today. Are there really any secrets left after all that?
Consider this example, if you will. Remember when the Raiders faced their former head coach Jon Gruden and the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in 2002? Sure you do. The Raiders had the same players with the same offensive mind (Bill Callahan) running the same playbook as the year prior under Gruden and good ole Chucky knew every move they would make before they made them. Sorry for that painful memory but it is hard not to make the same kind of correlation.
That season and in the Super Bowl, the Raiders were clearly the superior team. And yet their record-setting offense and MVP quarterback were rendered helpless against the guy who had spent the previous four seasons as their head coach.
This Raiders team looks to be the superior team to the Jaguars as well. But if anyone knows how to crack Palmer, it's a guy who had raised him from NFL infancy to maturity and beyond over an eight year period. Think about how unusual it is for a single quarterback to have the same offensive coordinator for eight seasons. That's almost unheard of in today's NFL. The Jaguars defensive coordinator is going to spend so much time with Bratkowski this week, they are going to be each other's children's God parents by Monday.
Hopefully for the Raiders and Carson Palmer, the switch to the West Coast offense will take the bulk of the predictability away. But if we see a few instances where the defense seems a little too keen on what Palmer is doing, I think we know why that might be.