Bengals Offseason List: Part One, Coaching Reset

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Jul 31, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A general view of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A general view of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 13, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (left) and new head coach Hue Jackson talk during a press conference at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (left) and new head coach Hue Jackson talk during a press conference at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Coaching Staff Moves:

The coaching staff was the first thing that saw change. It has gone through the biggest turnover in the Marvin Lewis era and included some familiar faces in football. The team choose age and experience with the hires, and maybe even a possible underlying succession plan. Here’s is a look, and grade at the moves.

Offensive Coordinator: Ken Zampese replacing Hue Jackson

Downgrade

When you lose your offensive coordinator, and potential next head coach, to the Cleveland Browns and promote the quarterbacks coach who has never called plays during a game, it’s a down grade. Hue Jackson had some questionable calls through the season and the running game imploded on it’s self. But, Andy Dalton was a top 5 quarterback and Hue had a lot to do with that. Consistency and embracing the passing game is what Zampese brings, it will be a wait and see process for how the offense looks with it’s 3rd OC in 6 years.

Take a look at Stripe Hype’s Matthew Wilson piece; he provides a great in-depth look at Zampese.

Quarterbacks coach: Bill Lazor for Ken Zampese

Upgrade

It’s hard to judge Lazor on his time in Miami because of the revolving door of coaches that are in and out. Lazor was said to be a big reason for making then Eagles quarterback Nick Foles look like a franchise quarterback when he posted a 27-2 touchdown to interception ratio. Since that season without Lazor, Foles has posted a 20-20 touchdown to int. ratio and is an afterthought for the Rams. His work with Foles and the Eagles is what lead to his hiring in Miami.

What’s an eyebrow raiser is that Lazor was said to be relived by iterm head coach Dan Cambell because he refused to run it more in Miami. Now pair that with Zampese’s background as the passing game coordinator for Mike Martz and “The Greatest Show on Turf”. Could we see the Bengals offense move to the current times and be more passing game oriented?

Linebackers Coach: Jim Haslett for Matt Burke

Upgrade

This is the biggest upgrade of the coaching staff in my opinion. As a former NFL linebacker, rookie of the year, and All-Pro, Haslett brings a perspective that Burke will never have. He also brings loads of coaching experience as a former head coach, defensive coordinator, and linebackers coach at various stops. Haslett isn’t a familiar face to the Bengals, but he’s just what the doctor as an old school grinder who can be a mentor as well.

Defensive Line Coach: Jay Burney For Jay Hayes

Upgrade

This one is hard to judge because Hayes has produced some good defensive lines across his 13 years with the Bengals. However, he has also had not had a lot of success with recent draft picks, Brandon Thompson, Devon Still, Margus Hunt, and Will Clarke. One thing about Burney is he’s well traveled. He has coached all over the place and has previous experience working with Marvin Lewis and Jim Haslett. Burney is another old school coach and fresh voice who can come in and light a fire under two draft picks, Hunt and Clarke.

Defensive Secondary Coach: Kevin Coyle and Robert Livingston for Vance Joseph and Mark Carrier

Even

Coyle brings loads of experience as a former pro and college coordinator. Obviously, he knows Cincinnati having spent 11 years with the Bengals in the same position. Coyle comes from the Miami Dolphins where his first two seasons his defense finished in the top 10. Joseph and Carrier’s secondary had a very solid year. The combination made players play better, which is what position coaches are suppose to do. There also was not a noticeable drop off when rookies Josh Shaw and Derron Smith had to take snaps.  One thing about Coyle though is he won’t put up with immaturity and irresponsibility, something the Bengals lacked at crucial times this year.

Summary: The coaching hires made by the Bengals clearly showed a priority on experience and maturity. If Paul Guenther has another successful year as the defensive coordinator he could be up for a head coaching position in 2017. This is why I believe that we are seeing the future succession plan that failed to keep Hue Jackson. However instead of Hue Jackson being the successor, it will be Paul Guenther and an already built experienced staff behind him. Here we go Bengals fans, next season has already started.

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