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Bengals bites (1/16) and open thread

Links, notes and stories about the Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Zimmer and the NFL.

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Doc: Zimmer was Bengals' best defensive coordinator
This one’s for Chris Crocker, twice resurrected from the depths of his family-room couch, and for Terence Newman, merely resurrected. It’s for Adam Jones, no longer Pac Man, and Wallace Gilberry, no longer wandering. Each found a home with the Bengals. Player and team were the better for it. It’s for Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, raw recruits becoming polished. Especially Dunlap, whose ability was never questioned, only his mentality. These are Zim’s guys.

Zim's top five games
The top five games in former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's 100-game reign.

Bengals counting on continuity in wake of coordinator raids
In less than a week Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has lost two coordinators that anchored three straight playoff runs.

Mike Zimmer to take 'attitude' to Minnesota
Chris Crocker, the Cincinnati Bengals' venerable on-again, off-again retired defensive back, spent parts of the past seven seasons playing for Mike Zimmer, the now former Bengals defensive coordinator who on Wednesday became the Minnesota Vikings' next head coach.

Mike Zimmer's legacy in Cincy cemented
Now that the Minnesota Vikings have hired Mike Zimmer away from the Cincinnati Bengals, filling their head coaching vacancy, let's look back at the legacy the former defensive coordinator has left behind. To say it's a good legacy would be an understatement.

History on Bengals side in coordinator shuffle
Maybe losing their offensive and defensive coordinators is exactly what the Bengals needed. At least according to three examples in the past 20 years. Although there is no all-time list since varying responsibilities can't be explained in titles, ESPN and Elias Sports Bureau offered the three clubs Wednesday. The year after they lost them, two went to a conference title game and one got a first-round bye, results the Bengals would have taken this season.

How Zim guys pulled it off
D used to stand for doubt in Bengaldom. Until Mike Zimmer arrived in 2008. Then D stood for demanding. Do-it-right-or-I'll-find-somebody-that-will. He didn't worry about faces of the franchise. He got in faces. Chris Crocker and Leon Hall and all the other Zim guys helped spread the change.

Hall: 'We have to work harder'
If there were extensions of Mike Zimmer on the field while he was the Bengals defensive coordinator for the secondary coach at heart, they were cornerback Leon Hall and nickel back Chris Crocker.

Smiles, pride fill Zimmer's defense
When news broke Wednesday morning Mike Zimmer received the head coaching position of the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Crocker looked down at the information arriving via text message and his instant reaction was clear. 'I just smiled,' Crocker said.

Paul Guenther is Bengals' choice to replace Zimmer
With Mike Zimmer landing in Minnesota, the Bengals begin the near impossible task of replacing the production he leaves behind in Cincinnati.

Bengals got it right getting Paul Guenther to stay as new DC
Ah, the joys of reacting instantaneously to news in today's ever-evolving social media climate. It usually means that as soon as you share one news nugget or thought or idea, it's time to move on because that one has evaporated and another, more interesting item has come along.

No Mike Zimmer means Cincinnati Bengals growing pains
It finally happened. And the city of Cincinnati couldn't be any happier -- or sadder. In a young year that has already been full of conflicting feelings for the Cincinnati Bengals and their faithful, another emotional blow was levied Wednesday morning when ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported the Minnesota Vikings were hiring longtime Bengals assistant Mike Zimmer. At long last, Cincinnati's defensive coordinator since 2008 received the job he probably could have -- nay, should have -- been given years ago.

Bengals see regular-season TV ratings boost
Despite some difficulty getting fans to fill seats, the Cincinnati Bengals saw substantial gains this season in local-market TV ratings.

USA Football announces fifth annual All-Fundamentals Team
Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green named to the All-Fundamentals team.

2014 NFL Draft: Underclassmen Tracker
With the season winding down, draft-eligible underclassmen will soon make their intentions known about returning to school or entering the 2014 NFL Draft. Last season a record 73 underclassmen were granted eligibility, surpassing the previous high (65), which was set the year prior.

Coach Killers, Week 19: Luck's poor performance raises questions
It was bound to happen. Andrew Luck, the first overall selection in the 2012 draft who picked up in Indianapolis where Peyton Manning left off, was going to struggle. After leading Indy to 11 wins in each of his first two seasons, Luck stumbled his way through two January playoff games that, for the first time in his career, have people questioning his franchise-quarterback pedigree.

NFL Playoffs: NFC title tickets cost more than Brady-Manning XV
The most expensive game to go to during the regular season was the 49ers-Seahawks game in Week 14 where the cheapest ticket to get into Candlestick Park was $249. The third most expensive ticket of the regular season was in Week 2 where the cheapest ticket to get into CenturyLink Field was $204.

PHOTO: Denver bar has insult for Patriots QB Tom Brady
A bar owner in Denver has decided to get creative with his marquee and that creativity involves insulting Tom Brady.

Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and next wave of QBs are here to stay
Greg Roman’s favorite play-call from last Sunday, the one that led to Colin Kaepernick pilfering the opposing quarterback’s Superman shirt-rip celebration in the end zone, had been in the offensive coordinator’s back pocket since Nov.

Cleveland Browns' head coach search slow and steady, as all should be
It's rare that the Browns get credit for taking the smart approach, but they're doing it right when it comes to finding Rob Chudzinski's replacement. The NFL's coaching carousel spins fast. Too fast. And now it's time for the league to make changes to help the hiring teams that can't help themselves

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady: Making the Extraordinary Look Routine
This will be the seventh divisional playoff weekend that has featured Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. At 36 and 37, respectively, both men rank among the best ever at their position and are amazingly still improving.

Colin Kaepernick: San Francisco 49ers quarterback of the future?
The NFL game is set up for great pocket passers to flourish. Case in point: on Sunday, this generation’s best two pocket passers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, will appear in the AFC Championship Game for the fourth and eighth times, respectively.

Oakland roots created Marshawn Lynch's 'Beast Mode'
Before "Beast Mode" began, Marshawn Lynch was a 180-pound scatback who drove his coaches crazy at Oakland Technical High School by avoiding contact.