Mike Zimmer was once the defensive coordinator for the Bengals. He worked for the organization for six seasons (2008-13) before taking over as Minnesota Vikings’ head coach in 2014. During his stay in Cincinnati, the club was extremely solid when it came to his forte. Led by a deep defensive front and lots of talent at numerous positions, this group was an ideal complement to a balanced offense.
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During Zimmer’s final three years in the Queen City, the club ranked seventh, sixth and third overall in the NFL, respectively, in fewest total yards allowed. Not surprisingly, the Bengals were in the playoffs each of those seasons.
Of course, it’s been a much different story the last five years and it all came to a head in 2018. Cincinnati finished dead last in the league in total yards and passing yards in the league while only three teams surrendered more yards per game on the ground.
All told, the Bengals surrendered 455 yards and 49 offensive touchdowns. The club managed just 34 sacks and forced only 18 turnovers. So the new defensive coordinator under new head coach Zac Taylor is Lou Anarumo.
He still has defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap up front and a secondary led by safeties Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams — the latter both totaling 100-plus tackles a year ago. But there’s a lot of work to be done to resurrect this unit.