Should Bengals DC Paul Guenther’s Job Be in Question?


Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther (left) talks with head coach Marvin Lewis prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Every year we hear rumors and questions about which head coaches are going to be fired and which ones will survive. In this case, given the performance of this defense over the whole season, should Paul Guenther’s job be in jeopardy after just one year?

This defense was one of the NFL’s best just last year under defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who this off-season became the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. The Bengals’ defense was fifth in points against in 2014, allowing just 19.1 points per game. They had six turnovers returned for touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 43 sacks, and 13 forced fumbles. Not too shabby for a team that lost its defensive leader during the season (Geno Atkins).

This season has been completely different. The Bengals have not had a defensive touchdown, they have just 15 sacks, 12 interceptions, and seven forced fumbles. The one point where the two years are similar, they both lost a defensive leader to injury (this year being Vontaze Burfict). The Bengals’ first round draft pick, Darqueze Dennard, has seen the field little acting primarily as a gunner on special teams.  With just 15 tackles and 1 sack, it’s no wonder why Dennard has expressed his frustration while dealing with such little playing time. His inexperience may justify some lack of playing time, but with the pass defense ranking 21st in the league, something needs to be changed.

This is Paul Guenther’s first season as defensive coordinator, but being part of Mike Zimmer’s defense over the past handful of years while developing players like Vontaze Burfict and Vincent Rey says Guenther should be better than this. Maybe I am climbing the “wrong tree” and this is a Marvin Lewis problem. If it is, then maybe it is time to make a leadership change.  But until Lewis proves to the Bengals front office that he can’t get it done, he most likely will be back for a 13th year.

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There is a few things I can say about this situation. Number one, minus the loss of Michael Johnson, this team is composed of pretty much the same roster as last seasosn with a few upgrades with the draft. Number two, Paul Guenther is the biggest changing variable to a team going from fifth in the league to 22nd in the league in total defense. So the question Bengals nation goes to you, if the Bengals don’t make a head coaching change, should they make a change at defensive coordinator?  Let us know what you think below.