Cincinnati Bengals linebackers coach Paul Guenther is one of the most respected LBs coaches in the NFL, and it was reported earlier today by the Cincinnati Enquirer that Guenther was the Bengals top candidate to replace Mike Zimmer as the team’s defensive coordinator. Zimmer was the Minnesota Vikings top head coaching candidate for about a week, and the Vikings pulled the trigger and hired Zimmer after an extensive interview process. While with the Bengals, Zimmer consistently led one of the best defenses in the NFL year-in and year-out, and he was one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL. His move up to head coach with the Vikings was definitely something he deserved, and it’s unsurprising that people in league circles love Zimmer’s potential as a head coach. He’s great with X’s and O’s and knows how to command respect from players.
The Bengals lost two touted coordinators this offseason to head coaching positions, as the Washington Redskins hired away offensive coordinator Jay Gruden last week. Both Gruden and Zimmer actually tried to poach Guenther away from the Bengals and heard both sides out, but the Bengals have unsurprisingly rewarded Guenther with a promotion that he undoubtedly deserves.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports have indeed promoted Paul Guenther to the role of defensive coordinator to replace Mike Zimmer, and he should be an adequate DC for the Bengals. As a linebackers coach, Guenther asserted himself as a key member of the coaching staff by developing top talents such as Vontaze Burfict and the underrated Vincent Rey, and it’s clear that he’s more than competent at his job. Judging by the interest he received this offseason, he’s plenty good enough to be a solid defensive coordinator in this league. While running backs coach Hue Jackson was a much more tailor-made promotion to coordinator for the Bengals than Guenther, it’s not often that you have a guy as good as Jackson lying around on your staff as a positions coach. Guenther is an easy promotion for the Bengals to make, and their coaching staff will still be solid- just not stacked.