Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff nearly set

Andy Lyons

While we still project that the Bengals will hire another coach or two before their staff is completed, the major coaching positions are filled. We break 'em down.

In the span of two weeks, the Cincinnati Bengals have lost two of their three coordinators with Jay Gruden leaving for Washington and Mike Zimmer for Minnesota. Instead of placing both job openings on Monster.com with the headline, "think you can call plays" (Madden players need not apply), the Bengals promoted from within.

Hue Jackson's experience and familiarity within the offense (and organization) made him the logical choice to replace Gruden as the team's offensive coordinator. Paul Guenther's rise as the team's next defensive coordinator was the product of being a Marvin Lewis prodigy, who also studied under Mike Zimmer for six years. Cincinnati promoted Kyle Caskey to running backs coach, replacing Jackson and former Lions linebackers coach Mark Burke was hired to replace Guenther for the same position.

There are still needs. We project that the Bengals will hire an offensive quality control coach, as well as an assistant defensive backs coach -- the former is usually for younger, sometimes rookie, coaches.

Here's how Cincinnati's coaching staff looks. [NOTE: Other changes could still be in the queue at position coaches, so by no means is this set in stone... merely our projection]

HEAD COACH
Marvin Lewis: Enters his 12th season as the Bengals head coach, the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL. He has more victories (90) than Sam Wyche, who is second in franchise history with 64. Lewis is also only one of three head coaches in Cincinnati with a winning regular season record, joining Forrest Gregg and Bill Johnson. However, he currently holds the franchise's longest streak of postseason games without a win at five. Paul Brown is second after going 0-3 in the playoffs as the Bengals head coach.

OFFENSE
Hue Jackson (Coordinator): Though this will be his first year as the team's offensive coordinator, replacing Gruden, this will actually be Jackson's fifth season in the NFL as an offensive play-caller (Baltimore '03, Atlanta '07, Oakland '11-12). Jackson will apply a more physical offense with a stronger running game while continuing to develop quarterback Andy Dalton -- and pushing him harder than Gruden did during the first three years.
Ken Zampese (Quarterbacks): Entering his 12th seasons as the team's quarterback coach, Zampese was once considered an in-house replacement at offensive coordinator. Despite the criticism of Dalton, Zampese is credited with developing the quarterback enough to make him a single-season franchise record holder in yards and touchdowns thrown. He's also criticized for not developing Dalton more, largely due to his increased number of turnovers each season.
Kyle Caskey (Running Backs): Joined the Bengals in 2010 as the team's offensive quality control coach. He remained in that position through 2013, while also becoming an assistant offensive line coach in 2012. Promoted to running backs coach this offseason after Jackson was moved up to offensive coordinator.
Paul Alexander (Offensive Line, Asst. Head Coach): Despite some criticism in recent years, Alexander successfully moved pieces around the offensive line in 2013 when injuries forced him to play musical chairs. Football Outsiders ranked the Bengals offensive line in the top-five in two of the past three seasons and they scored the second-best pass blocking efficiency score for the second time in as many seasons, according to Pro Football Focus -- they were third best in 2011.
Jonathan Hayes (Tight Ends): Will enter his 12th season on Cincinnati's coaching staff as the team's tight ends coach. Helped coach Jermaine Gresham into one of the best four-year starts at the position in franchise history. More was expected out of the Gresham and Tyler Eifert combination in '13, but both combined for 85 receptions for 903 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
James Urban (Wide Receivers): Though A.J. Green is the obvious all-star in Urban's group, Marvin Jones had the most impressive rise this season posting a career-high 10 touchdown receptions. Green and Jones became the first wide receiver duo in franchise history to score double-digit touchdowns. Urban could see consideration as a future offensive coordinator.

DEFENSE
Paul Guenther (Coordinator): Given most of the credit for developing Vontaze Burfict, and even Emmanuel Lamur, if we see ever see him sans an injury. Guenther also helped Taylor Mays transition into a productive hybrid defensive back that played linebacker. Has been with the Bengals since 2005. Coached under Lewis in 2002 with the Washington Redskins. Understudy of Mike Zimmer for the past six years. It will be interesting to see the Bengals defense with Guenther, who has never been a play-caller in the NFL.
Jay Hayes (Defensive Line): Maybe one of the most under-appreciated position coaches on the team, Hayes has helped guide the team's best unit with Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, and Geno Atkins, all non-first round selections, and a street free agent Wallace Gilberry into virtual superstars. Tasked with developing Margus Hunt.
Matt Burke (Linebackers): According to some scouts and former players, Burke is a good one. Coached under Jim Schwartz in Detroit for five years before their staff was let go during the offseason.
Mark Carrier (Defensive Backs): Joined the Bengals in 2012 to replace Kevin Coyle, who was hired by Miami to become their defensive coordinator. Consistently forced to shuffle his lineup due to injuries, Carrier has also helped develop Adam Jones and tasked with making Dre Kirkpatrick a more productive defensive back. Even when the Bengals lost starters Leon Hall and Terence Newman, there wasn't a significant decline in the team's production from the secondary.
David Lippincott (Asst Linebackers/Quality Control): Another example of how family is integral to the Cincinnati Bengals, the son of Jim Lippincott joined the Bengals in 2008 as a coaching assistant before his eventual promotion as an assistant coach (yes, the two positions are different... one gets the coach coffee, the other helps him coach players). Has been helping Guenther as an assistant since 2011.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Darrin Simmons (Coordinator): Joined the Bengals with Lewis '03 and has been the special teams coach since. His coverage teams are routinely one of the better units in the NFL and has helped several players achieve franchise records. Huber set the team record in gross average, net average and punts inside the 20 in 2012. Mike Nugent set a franchise record for most points and field goals in 2011. Clark Harris hasn't botched a long-snap yet.
Brayden Coombs (Asst. Special Teams/Quality Control): Son of the legendary Kerry Coombs, Brayden joined the Bengals in 2010 as a coaching assistant before his promotion as an assistant coach. Has also helped as an assistant wide receivers coach.

TRAINING STAFF
Chip Morton (Strength and Conditioning): Has been the head strength and conditioning coach since '03 when he followed Lewis from Washington -- both have worked together since Baltimore in '99. He's a huge reason why many players are able to recover from major injuries. Universally praised in league circles for being one of the better strength coaches in the NFL.
Jeff Friday (Asst. Strength and Conditioning): Friday was in Baltimore with Morton and Lewis for several seasons before his eventual return to the NFL in '10 as Morton's assistant with the Bengals.

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