Bengals News

Bengals tab Teryl Austin as new defensive coordinator

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CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts against the Detroit Lions during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts against the Detroit Lions during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Bengals found Paul Guenther’s replacement in Pennsylvania native Teryl Austin.

With Paul Guenther set to join Jon Gruden in Oakland, the Bengals announced today the signing of Teryl Austin as their next defensive coordinator.

The move was first reported by ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

The Bengals first had to win a bidding war with Guenther’s new team for Austin. According to Ian Rapoport, the Raiders were pursuing Austin as an assistant head coach.

But in the end, Austin chose to come to the Queen City. He will be Cincinnati’s first defensive coordinator outside the Mike Zimmer coaching tree since Chuck Bresnahan.

The overall numbers are not in Austin’s favor. In four seasons in Detroit, Austin’s defense ranked in the top 10 just once. That was in 2014, when his unit finished second overall and third in scoring. That season, the Lions won double-digit games for the first time since 1991, but lost the NFC North in the regular-season finale before losing to Dallas in the first round of the playoffs.

After his rookie season in the Motor City, though, Austin’s defense finished 18th in 2015 and 2016, then 27th overall last season.

Austin had interviewed with the Lions for the head coaching position. But many NFL pundits believe Matt Patricia is set to take that gig once New England’s season ends. The Lions also blocked division-rival Green Bay from interviewing Austin.

Austin’s early years 

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A veteran NFL coach, Austin has been in three Super Bowls. Over his 14-year career, he went to the big game in 2005 as Seattle’s defensive backs coach, in 2008 at the same position with Arizona, then earned a Super Bowl ring with Baltimore in 2012 as a secondary coach.

Austin landed in Baltimore after a one-year stint with Urban Meyer at Florida in 2010. He then followed Jim Caldwell, Baltimore’s offensive coordinator for two years, to Detroit.

Austin takes over a Bengals defense that was middle-of-the-road in 2017. Cincinnati’s defense finished 18th overall, 8th against the pass and 16th in scoring. The Bengals biggest blemish was defending the run and causing turnovers. In both instances, they finished 30th.

There are some factors going into the defense’s struggles, though. The biggest one is time of possession. The Bengals had the worst time of possession in the NFL last season, with the defense on the field for an average of 32:51 per game.

The bottom line is that Austin has what appears to be an up-and-coming defense to work with. William Jackson III seems to be a rising star and Darqueze Dennard’s play finally improved along with his health.

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Veterans Dre Kirkpatrick and Adam Jones will be back, too. Kirkpatrick has struggled with penalties, dubiously the league’s leader over the past few seasons.

What should excite Austin is his new defensive line. Pro-Bowlers Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, along with veterans Michael Johnson and Pat Sims.

There’s also young-guns Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson, the NFL’s rookie sacks leader last season.

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