Despite defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer becoming the head coach for the Minnesota Vikings, not much will change with Cincinnati's defense this year. Linebacker coach Paul Guenther, who has been with Cincinnati since 2005 and recently promoted as the team's defensive coordinator, plans to apply much of Zimmer's system this year with a few changes, according to Bengals.com.
He plans on keeping the same techniques and system passed on from Mike Zimmer, but he says he plans to have more multiple fronts in an effort to get better matchups. The plan is to move players into more favorable spots on the defensive line while keeping the same personnel group. And on any down, not just third down.
The plan may be necessitated due to Michael Johnson's unknown status for next season (likely gone, but we're holding onto some hope). Maybe it includes moving Carlos Dunlap inside, or applying more Margus Hunt, who Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis raved about on Friday while also highlighting the continued need to develop.
"He’s a hard-working kid. He’s one of the first kids in the building every morning," said Lewis. "You can’t take that away from him, his work ethic, his ability to understand coaching and what the coaches are trying to do, but he continues to need time on task. This will be fun. This offseason and training camp will be great for him."
What about Geno Atkins playing defensive end in 3-4 fronts, with Domata Peko playing his usual nose tackle spot and maybe Dunlap at end. A scenario such as that would allow someone like Vincent Rey, who rushes the quarterback relentlessly, or James Harrison, who is more comfortable rushing, to pressure the passer more.
Either way. We appreciate and like that while Guenther will keep together what has always worked in Cincinnati, he's not afraid of applying more changed suited towards his play-calling style (whatever that will be).