With Shawne Merriman briefly on the waiver wire, I got to thinking about how we need more pass rushing, but a 3-4 OLB like Merriman just won't fit our 4-3 scheme.
Then I realized something. There's a vacancy at head coach, and Mike Zimmer is one of the names being tossed around. If he took it, the new DC might install a different scheme, like a 3-4. I feel that the Bengals are actually better suited right now for such a defense. Let me explain.
We saw the Michael Johnson hybrid experiment. It hasn't looked promising. However, that's not how you run a 3-4, by switching it in here and there. A real 3-4 is the defensive base. Maybe that would work. We seem to have a bunch of guys that aren't true 4-3 lineman, but we have a guy who could be an average nose tackle (Peko) and a bunch of 3-4 ends, like Fanene, Dunlap, Rucker and Tank. They aren't pure DTs or DEs either way, and they've been mixed around in our 4-3 base. They'd make great 3-4 ends.
Then there are the OLB/DE hybrids, like Johnson and Geathers. Geathers knows how to play linebacker, but he's been an and most of his career. He might be out after this season, though. Johnson would be a good fit if this were his permanent position, but that's what it needs to be. Rivers would make another really good 3-4 OLB, with his versatility.
What really makes me love this idea is Dhani Jones and Rey Maualuga in the middle. We've had problems with our LBs in coverage, but if there's two of them back there ready to make plays and more pressure on the QB, they won't get exposed as easily. I like the idea of Dhani and Rey Rey sharing the middle.
For these reasons, the guy I really want to see come to town if there's a defensive coordinator opening would be Wade Phillips. He's had huge success as a DC running the 3-4, though he does make a crappy head coach. Dallas will fire him, hence his availability, and he could come to Cincinnati and start making real game plans while Zimmer continues to pound away at the fundamentals.