The other day, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis hinted at the fact that there could be another opening aside from the one left by Kevin Coyle. In case you haven't heard, Coyle is was named defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins earlier today. With Lewis' comments, people began speculating that he was referring to linebackers coach, Jeff Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald joined the team in 2008, but his contract had expired and with many in Bengaldom not liking the progression of Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers, it has become increasingly apparent that Fitzgerald won't be retained.
Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer has a thought on who will be replacing Fitzgerald in that capacity.
That means there are two openings on the Bengals staff, with the team going for an outside hire to fill Coyle’s spot. Assistant special teams and defensive backs coach Paul Guenther is expected to become the linebackers coach, replacing Jeff FitzGerald who is not being retained. Guenther assisted with the linebackers from 2006-10.
The move makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, the Bengals like to promote coaches from within and with Guenther being with the team for eight years now, they probably felt like he was suited for this position. Secondly, as the assistant special teams coach, Guenther likely works with a lot of the linebackers on the coverage team already.
Bengals fans can only hope that this works out better than the disaster in Philadelphia last year. If you remember, Eagles head coach Andy Reid named his offensive line coach, Juan Castillo, as his 2011 defensive coordinator. That situation didn't end well at all, as both Reid and Castillo caught a lot of criticism about the defense's performance. This isn't as drastic of a move as that one, but there is a transition that will have to take place.
Again, nothing is official yet with Fitzgerald or Guenther, so we'll be sure to keep you posted once something official takes place. However, if Guenther is the guy that the team hires, let's hope he can mold the group into a dominant one.