The second week of the Cincinnati Bengals head coaching search continues. Interviewing several candidates to fill their first head coaching vacancy since 2003. Here’s where things currently stand in the Bengals search.
Several notable names stand out as prominent contenders for this job. This includes several candidates with ties to the Bengals. Including former Bengals player and current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is another contender. Joseph was previously the secondary coach for the Bengals.
The Bengals have interviewed three in-house candidates. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, assistant Hue Jackson and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons. Two candidates are currently assistants with the Los Angeles Rams. Quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor and tight end/pass game coordinator Shane Waldron. Taylor was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Cincinnati in 2016. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken is another candidate in the mix.
Some of the Bengals candidates are assistants on teams that qualified for the playoffs. The teams that Eric Bieniemy, Zac Taylor and Shane Waldron coach for are still in the playoffs. Bieniemy’s Chiefs will face the Indianapolis Colts in Kansas City. Taylor and Waldron’s Rams will face the Dallas Cowboys in Los Angeles. Both games will take place this coming Saturday evening.
There are several reasons why Bengals fans could have substantive reservations about some candidates. The Buccaneers record since Todd Monken’s 2016 hiring doesn’t help his case. Hue Jackson seems to be the least popular of the Bengals candidates. Ultimately given his head coaching record and the sense that his hiring wouldn’t give the Bengals a fresh start. That second concern also applies to all of the Bengals in-house candidates.
The Bengals could end this search with an outsider. Which is what the Bengals did when they hired Marvin Lewis in 2003. This could be a helpful asset for Monken, Zac Taylor and Shane Waldron. Those three candidates don’t have any previous connections to the Bengals organization. They also have their offensive expertise as a potential asset for this job.
Offense is the main area of expertise for most of these candidates. Understandable given the current state of the National Football League. Following a regular season where offense was dominant. However, the Bengals will need someone that can also revive their defensive unit. The Bengals had one of the worst defensive units in the NFL in 2018. The Bengals will need a new defensive coordinator along with their new head coach.
Cincinnati’s search for a new head coach is starting to wind down. Several NFL franchises are starting to fill their head coaching vacancies. None of the recent coaches hired were known candidates for the Bengals job. Currently, it remains unclear whether the Bengals will hire their next head coach this week or next week.