A look back at the 2003 Cincinnati Bengals

Scott Halleran

Coming off of the worst season in Bengals history, first year head coach Marvin Lewis takes the reigns.

Raise your hand if you miss Dick LeBeau. After an outstanding playing career and then assistant coaching career, LeBeau was offered the position of head coach of the Bengals. A 12 - 33 record ensued. After his 2-14 season, LeBeau was replaced by Marvin Lewis. LeBeau currently is still a thorn in the side of offenses around the NFL.

2003 also brought about the guy with the golden arm, Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer. While he sat the bench and learned under the tutelage of baby hands Jon Kitna, we were all happy with the pick. The season began with three straight losses and the Bengals being outscored 70 - 40. They were then able to win eight of their next 11. The Bengals had a legitimate shot at the division heading into week 14 with a 7-5 record. A bad loss to Baltimore (31-13) set the Bengals back and they finished the season at 8-8. Bengals fans could not have been happier.

The Bengals offense ranked 13th in points scored and their defense was ranked 24th in points given up. There were two Pro-Bowlers (Chad Johnson and Willie Anderson)

This set the table for the next two seasons of 8-8 and 11-5.

The 2003 Bengals coaching staff was as follows:

Head Coaches

  • Head Coach – Marvin Lewis
  • Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line – Paul Alexander

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator – Bob Bratkowski
  • Quarterbacks – Ken Zampese
  • Running Backs – Jim Anderson
  • Wide Receivers – Alex Wood
  • Tight Ends – Jonathan Hayes
  • Offensive Assistant – Bob Surace

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator – Leslie Frazier
  • Defensive Line – Jay Hayes
  • Linebackers – Ricky Hunley
  • Defensive Backs – Kevin Coyle
  • Assistant Defensive Backs – Louie Cioffi

Special Teams Coaches

  • Special Teams – Darrin Simmons

Fast forward 10 years and while the players have changed, the coaching staff is still partially in tact.

The 2013 Bengals coaching staff currently:

Head Coaches

  • Head Coach – Marvin Lewis

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator – Jay Gruden
  • Quarterbacks – Ken Zampese
  • Running Backs – Hue Jackson
  • Wide Receivers – James Urban
  • Tight Ends – Jonathan Hayes
  • Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line – Paul Alexander
  • Offensive Quality Control/Assistant Offensive Line – Kyle Caskey
  • Offensive Assistant – Brayden Coombs

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator – Mike Zimmer
  • Defensive Line – Jay Hayes
  • Linebackers – Paul Guenther
  • Defensive Backs – Mark Carrier
  • Assistant Defensive Backs – Adam Zimmer
  • Defensive Quality Control/Assistant Linebackers – David Lippincott

Special Teams Coaches

  • Special Teams – Darrin Simmons

It all starts at the top and 2003 gave us Marvin Lewis. While there is debate whether or not Marvin is the man for the job currently, it is hard to argue that he was not critical in the changing of the current culture. Since Lewis took over the Bengals have suffered only three losing seasons and achieved four playoff births.

While the level of success has improved and is measurable, it would be nice for the Bengals to continue the trend. Next season I intend to do a similar comparison and talk about the Bengals and a playoff win.

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