There might not be a happier man in the Cincinnati Bengals organization that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. His defenses have finished in the top-7 of the NFL in three of the past four years, and with essentially everyone returning after the re-signings of cornerback Terence Newman, and Zimmer spoke on WLW 700 yesterday on why his defenses have been so successful:
If you’re a good coach and you push them hard, they respect you. I try to get them better each and every day.
He’s also glad the team brought back linebacker Rey Maualuga, and defended him amidst heavy criticism from fans and media:
He does outstanding things in the run game. He understands coverages very well. He’s better than most people think he is.
When asked about how close to signing with the Oakland Raiders instead of the Bengals, Newman admits he was close to leaving for the more lucrative offer
I honestly was very, very, very, very close to going to Oakland. Reggie McKenzie has great insight and I think he’s going to be a very, very good addition to helping things in Oakland. I just liked the conversation we had. For what I wanted and how I would expect my career to end, if it is to end in two years this (Cincinnati) is a football team that has made the playoffs the last two years. The defense played well. Looking at those things, I thought this was probably the best place for me. I have the utmost respect for Zim, and I’ve known a lot of his family since I was in Dallas. To me, it was important to do things the right way, and that was to come back here.
The Bengals also announced five uniform number changes last night:
Quarterback Josh Johnson, who signed with the Bengals as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, will wear uniform No. 8. Johnson last spent time with Cleveland.
Taveon Rogers, who spent last season on the Reserve/Injured list (shoulder), has changed from No. 39 to No. 83. Rogers was switched from CB to WR following the 2012 season.
Rounding out the list of numbers are linebackers Brandon Joiner (No. 49) and Aaron Maybin (No. 51), along with fullback Jourdan Brooks (No. 35).