CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 20: Head coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars argues a call against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
With rumors swirling regarding the prospects that the Cincinnati Bengals could lose Mike Zimmer to a head coaching position in Miami or Tampa Bay, one suddenly has to wonder what becomes of the team's defensive coordinator position. According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, "two leading candidates" that could replace Zimmer includes the in-house option of defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle and former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.
Del Rio, a former coach alongside Marvin Lewis in Baltimore, is currently generating buzz as a defensive coordinator in Atlanta, where Del Rio and head coach Mike Smith have an extensive coaching relationship. Before Smith spent five seasons as Del Rio's defensive coordinator in Jacksonville, the two coached together on Baltimore's defense under defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis.
When asked about the possible reunion, Falcons head coach Mike Smith deflected:
"I’m not going to comment on that position at this point in time. It’s something that just came about. We’ll go through the due process of getting the best defensive coordinator for our football team."
Ultimately the Bengals won't make a move unless Mike Zimmer is hired as a head coach elsewhere, leaving the defensive coordinator position vacant. Atlanta, on the other hand, is open to hire Del Rio, or whomever they wish as soon as they want. So if the Bengals want Del Rio if Zimmer leaves, most likely it'll be too late.
Coyle, who the Bengals refused Philadelphia permission last year for the vacant defensive coordinator position, has been an assistant coach with the Bengals since 2001. Defensive coordinator experience includes stints at Fresno State, Maryland, Syracuse, Holy Cross and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.