Why Bengals fans should trust Teryl Austin in 2018
The Cincinnati Bengals replaced former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther with former Detroit Lions coordinator Teryl Austin. What should we expect?
Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther left to join the Oakland Raiders this offseason joining the team under head coach John Gruden. Cincinnati was quick to find a replacement with former Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin in January. Austin will bring a much-needed change to the Bengals defense, and I think that fans should embrace the transition.
In Guenther’s last season as the Bengals defensive coordinator, Cincinnati ranked 16th in points per game allowed and 18th in total yards given up per game. The most notable issue on defense is stopping the run game as they ranked 30th last year in rushing yards per game allowed and 21st the season before. I think Austin will make some needed changes to the defense to help solve this issue.
Following his first season as defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions in 2014, Austin has been a candidate for the head coaching jobs each year since. In his first season as coordinator, he took a defense that ranked 14th in DVOA in 2013 to 3rd in DVOA in 2014. Unfortunately, after the 2014 season concluded was when the Lions defensive roster wholly unraveled. Austin was left without any playmakers the following seasons.
When I say that Austin lost all of his playmaking talents following that 2014 season, I mean all of it. Players like Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, James Ihedigbo, and DeAndre Levy all in one offseason. The only talent left who would develop along that defensive line was Ansah who has struggled with injuries since.
Something fans should be excited for is his ability to develop defensive backs into stars. In 2015 and 2016, the Lions ranked toward the bottom of the league in takeaways due to their poor talent on defense. Thanks to the development of their cornerbacks by Austin, however, in 2017 the defense ranked third in the league for takeaways. Cornerback Darius Slay led the league last year with eight interceptions.
Cincinnati already has talented playmakers at all three levels of the defense, especially the secondary. With cornerbacks including Dre Kirkpatrick who’s coming back healthy this season and the breakouts of 2017 in William Jackson III and Darqueze Dennard, Austin has plenty of guys to fit his scheme. Adding to the safety group with Jessie Bates in the second-round will make the overall group more dangerous right away. The Bengals also drafted Davontae Harris and Darius Phillips in the fifth-round of this year’s draft so look for them in a season or two of developing with Austin.
Compare what Detroit had in 2014 along the defensive line with that which Cincinnati has now. Star defensive tackle that can pass rush and plug lanes in the middle in Geno Atkins. A wide variety of defensive end talent in Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson (linebacker that plays mostly edge rusher), rookie Sam Hubbard, Jordan Willis, and Michael Johnson. Add in the star linebacker with Vontaze Burfict to match the Levy comparison and Cincinnati has a more talented roster than Detroit’s defense had in 2014. Imagine what Austin can do with this kind of talent.
As I mentioned earlier that Austin would help solve the inability to stop the run on defense, in 2014 when Austin had talent on the Lions defense, it ranked first in rushing yards given up per game. Given the number of weapons along the defensive from for the Bengals and adding with linebackers like Preston Brown in the middle of the defense, it should be a much improved season for the Cincinnati defense.
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Cincinnati has way too many playmakers on the defensive side of the ball to play like they did last season. Not causing turnovers and getting trampled by the run game is something that Austin will turn around immediately in my opinion. I think Bengals fans should be excited about their new defensive coordinator.