The Bengals have to keep these two coaches. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to retain these two coordinators. They are the most important reason that the Bengals have turned around and made it to the playoffs this year. They are the reason for getting so much talent and skill out of each player when no one else in the league thought that these players could win even one game. If the Bengals want to be the “perennial playoff contenders” that Marvin always speaks about, it starts with securing these two smart coaches. And that’s not to say that they should stay in Cincinnati forever because it’s unrealistic to think that a coordinator will never leave his team. The coaching carousel will always go round and round, but I just hope that these two guys stay long enough to get a Superbowl ring while coaching the Bengals.
Personally, I don’t think Gruden will leave for Jacksonville. The Jags are looking for an offensive-minded coach to groom Gabbert. Fortunately, I know that Gruden didn’t really like Gabbert very much in the drafting process. That’s why the team took AJ Green, and not Gabbert with their 4th overall pick. Gruden really, really wanted Dalton as his guy. Gruden was a long-time QB in the AFL, and I think his personality and mindset are very similar to Dalton’s. Determined, scrappy QB’s that supposedly didn’t have the physical gifts to be superstars. So, I don’t think Gruden will leave the Bengals after spending one year developing his prized QB, only to start developing another young QB that he didn’t like very much in the first place.
With Zimmer, I think he’ll stay with the Bengals too. He’s in his twelfth season as a coordinator and he’s been involved in head coaching rumors for the past few years. Especially when he received Assistant Coach of the Year Honors for his defensive unit’s performance in 2009. After 2008, he signed a three-year contract extension (good for one more year) that made him the highest paid assistant in team history. It makes sense for him to stay for the final year of his contract, and I know how much he loves a lot of the guys on the squad. He has a great relationship with Marvin Lewis, and he seems to believe that his players have the skills to become Superbowl winners. I think he’ll stay for this year at least. But, Bengals fans will definitely be having this conversation one year from now if he doesn’t receive a contract extension by then.