Who can right the ship in Cincinnati?

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The Cincinnati Bengals are in an interesting spot. They have had the same head coach for the past 16 years. For the first time since 2003, the Bengals will be looking for a new head coach. Ironically, the last time the Cleveland Browns swept the Bengals, was the last time a head coach change was made, that is until now. Cincinnati was swept for the first time since 2002 by Cleveland. Perhaps this was the final straw for Mike Brown. Now with Marvin Lewis fired as head coach, there is an opening for the perfect candidate to take over and right the ship in Cincinnati.

Here is the current list of viable candidates for Cincinnati; Bill Lazor, their Offensive Coordinator, Darrin Simmons their special teams coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chief’s Offensive Coordinator, Hue Jackson, their special assistant to the head coach, Shane Waldron, Los Angeles Rams’ pass game coordinator, Todd Monken, Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator, Vance Joseph, former Broncos head coach and Zac Taylor, Rams quarterback coach. All these candidates are good options but only a few are excellent choices or choices that would be a quality decision. The following head coach options would not be the best for Cincinnati. Vance Joseph, Hue Jackson, and Bill Lazor would all not be good candidates for the Bengals to higher as a new head coach.

Let’s examine first Vance Joseph. He was a graduate assistant for the University of Colorado Boulder, then a defensive backs coach for a while with the university. He then bounced from team to team, including Cincinnati as a defensive backs coach. He landed a defensive coordinator position with the Miami Dolphins but was fired after one season. After that, he became the head coach of the Broncos for two seasons leading them to back to back losing records for the first time since 1970. This guy is a good person, off the field. He is good with the fans and a humble guy off the field, but on the field, he is inept to be a head coach. Being a head coach, let alone a defensive coordinator proved to be just too much responsibility and required more football savvy than he was prepared for. When he was in Miami, they were ranked 17th on defense.

Next up, we will examine Hue Jackson. Hue Jackson is another coach that got in over his head at the head coaching position. He left Cincinnati and became the Cleveland Browns head coach for 3 seasons. As their head coach, he put together a 3 and 36 record. Meaning, Out of his 3 years as the head coach, he only won 3 games and lost 36. This also includes a season where they didn’t win a single game and went 0-16. Bill Lazor, their former offensive coordinator is another option to cross off this list. Today, Bill Lazor was fired from the Bengals, officially ruling him out of the head coaching race. His offensive stats speak for themselves this season. 17th overall in points, 26th overall in points, 24th overall in passing yards and 21st overall in rushing yards. That is rather horrendous given the offensive weapons they have with AJ Green, Joe Mixon, and John Ross to name a few.

This offense has the potential to be a top scoring team but lackluster play calls and a failure to address the dual deep threat as well as the suspect offensive line creates problems. Now, Andy Dalton is a good QB when the games are of normal circumstance, but shine the lights on him and he crumbles faster than a cookie in the hands of 2yr old. The choices that seem logical or are a good hire are; Darrin Simmons, special teams coach, Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator, Zac Taylor, Rams Quarter Back coach, and Todd Monken, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator. First, the in house candidate of Darrin Simmons. Cincinnati was ranked 7th overall in the league regarding special teams. This is a good sign since special teams is a strategic matter based on who to kick it to, the coverage set up and if to continuously kick it for a touchback or let the return man have a chance at receiving it.

It would be an interesting take to see how his special teams’ knowledge faired as a head coach. Given the magic Darrin Simmons was able to pull for the Bengals special teams, there is a decent chance that could correlate to the head coaching spot for play calling. However, Cincinnati’s best bet for turning the ship around would be a person outside of the organization that can bring in fresh ideas. Todd Monken, the former Offensive Coordinator for the Tampa Buccaneers would be a good choice for a high-octane, high power offense.

Tampa Bay was ranked 12th overall in points, 3rd overall in yards, 1st overall in passing yards and 29th overall in rushing yards despite finishing the season with a 5-11 record. This points to the defensive struggles and the lack in the rushing game. In Cincinnati, Todd would have a good pair of running backs to work with Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard. Correlating a high power offense with this team would be a dream for any play caller. Having the cunning and understanding to dial up plays that can carve through defenses or gas them out with the run game is ideal for a head coach to have. It would be safe to say that Cincinnati would have more explosive plays as well as more dynamic play calling if Todd Monken received the head coaching position.

Next on this list of great candidates for the head coaching vacancy, is Eric Bieniemy, the Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator. Kansas City offensive is certainly a high power and a dazzling show to watch, especially with Patrick Mahomes at the helm. The Chiefs rank 1st overall in points, 1st overall in yards, 3rd overall in passing yards and 16th overall in rushing yards. Hiring Eric Bieniemy as a head coach would create a similar circumstance as hiring Todd Monken as head coach except he has shown what he can do with well-balanced offense as well as with creative play calling. He can dial up plays that seem to confuse every defensive coordinator out there.

It has obviously shown that their offense is powerful, especially when they had the shoot-out with the Los Angeles Rams when they scored a combined 105 points. Eric would bring an ample amount of firepower play calling, coaching skills as well as the keys to help develop their offense to be a high power schemed team. Eric is also a former Bengal, playing with the team from 1995-1998. There is still one name left on the list that is appearing to be the front runner.

The apparent front runner for the head coaching position is Zac Taylor the QB coach for the Los Angeles Rams. Zac Taylor was able to help provide key input during the draft last year to help find Jared Goff, current QB for the Rams, some help on the offensive line as well as offensive targets. He found a way to develop Goff to read defenses with ease as well as help him attune his patience to find targets down the field. Goff has shown some incredible progress compared to last season. Last year he threw for 3,804 yards, 28 touchdowns and 7 interceptions earning him a 55.7 QB rating. This season he has thrown for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions giving him a 66.2 QB rating so far.

That is a good improvement compared to his prior season. He would be a great candidate to help take Cincinnati over the edge to help reclaim the AFC North crown as well as help Andy Dalton progress and mature into the QB he is supposed to be for the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati appears to be moving towards hiring Zac Taylor as their new head coach once the LA Rams season comes to an end, whether that be this weekend or in a few weeks.

If the new head coach is Zac Taylor, he will have a strong hand in shaping the Bengals franchise for years to come, given he will have a strong hand in the upcoming draft as well as having mostly his way on who will be hired as the new offensive coordinator for the Bengals as well as the new special assistant to the head coach. Here is hoping that Cincinnati does target and plan to hire either of these great choices being, Zac Taylor (the clear frontrunner and potential choice), Eric Bieniemy, the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs or Todd Monkens the former Offensive Coordinator for the Buccaneers. Darrin Simmons is a good choice but Cincinnati needs a fresh start outside the organization with those three being a clear stellar choice.

If something were to fall through with Zac Taylor, reminder, there is nothing official yet but if he does back out and pulls a Josh McDaniels (backed out of the Indianapolis Colts head coach position after accepting it), Eric Bieniemy would be a stellar backup choice.