Bengals getting off to the right start with coaches they choose to interview

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the sideline in the fourth quarter during an NFL Week 15 football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals won, 27-17.Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 21
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the sideline in the fourth quarter during an NFL Week 15 football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals won, 27-17.Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 21 /
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The Cincinnati Bengals will have plenty of coaching vacancies to fill, and they’re getting off to a good start with who they’re choosing to interview.

As things stand, the Cincinnati Bengals will have to replace their position coaches for the offensive line, defensive line, wide receivers, and running backs, in addition to a defensive assistant. Zac Taylor has already gotten off to a fast start finding their replacements, reportedly interviewing Hank Fraley to lead the offensive trenches moving forward.

Hiring the right guy to be the offensive line coach is of utmost importance this offseason. The unit has been abysmal for the past several seasons and hit rock bottom under former offensive line coach Jim Turner.

As the club attempts to give the room a makeover to shore up the protection for Joe Burrow, some of the mishaps that occurred under Turner’s watch cannot be afforded. There are numerous candidates for the job, but Fraley measures up as well as any that might be available.

Hank Fraley’s time in Detroit

Most recently, Fraley has served as the offensive line coach in Detroit, although his path to the Lions has had plenty of twists and turns along the way.

His NFL journey didn’t begin with a clipboard among the coaching ranks, but rather, in a uniform. Fraley played in the league for 11 years with three different franchises, a fact that the players he coaches undoubtedly appreciate.

From there, he served as the offensive line coach for a pair of smaller collegiate programs. He was hired on by the Minnesota Vikings shortly after to be their assistant offensive line coach. Fraley made one more jump to the collegiate level to lead the trenches for UCLA before moving back up to Detroit.

Clearly, the 43-year-old coach has plenty of experience. There’s plenty to look into, but some of his most important work came just this year and is likely a big reason behind his landing of the Bengals interview.

Fraley was able to get great performances out of young players. Center Frank Ragnow got a Pro Bowl nod, left tackle Taylor Decker has his highest Pro Football Focus grade since his rookie year (82.0), and Jonah Jackson showed flashes as a rookie. Not to mention, he had two other young starters at the ages of 27 and 25 playing well.

In other words, he was able to get acceptable play out of offensive linemen that were either highly drafted, young, or both, something the Bengals have struggled to do in recent years. That should be great news for Jonah Williams and the other young guys on the roster.

With Cincinnati poised to take at least one, if not multiple, offensive linemen early on in the 2021 draft, Fraley’s fit makes even more sense.

Bengals still have a long way to go

Although the Bengals were wise to net an interview with Fraley, they still have to get him to accept the job if they want him at the helm in the trenches. That can be a tough sell for Zac Taylor.

Regardless of what happens with Fraley though, there are still plenty of other holes on the staff as well. There’s a lot of work to be done within Paul Brown Stadium to identify and land candidates that are of the caliber of Fraley.

With interviews being conducted all around the league, WhoDey nation should find out soon enough if the Bengals are capable of landing adequate coaching replacements.

Next. Zac Taylor will have a hard time replacing assistants. dark