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Former Bengals' assistant coach Kevin Coyle fired by Dolphins, could he return to Cincinnati?

Kevin Coyle is currently out of a job, but could he return to Cincinnati for his old job soon?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven't heard by now, the Miami Dolphins have fired their third year defensive coordinator and former Bengals' defensive backs coach, Kevin Coyle. The news came three days after the Dolphins announced they had fired third year head coach, Joe Philbin, following the team's third straight loss of the season in London to the New York Jets. It had been speculated that Philbin and Coyle were on the hot seat ever since the end of the 2014 season when the Dolphins failed to make the playoffs despite a 6-4 start to the season. Coyle, in particular, had been criticized for poor play calling and an inability to create a potent defense, despite spending big bucks on bringing Ndomukong Suh in during the offseason.

You might be thinking: "So what?! What does the Dolphins' defensive coordinator being fired have to do with the Bengals?" Many Bengals fans might remember Coyle as the long time defensive backs coach from 2003-2011. He also served strictly as cornerbacks coach from 2001-2002 under Dick LeBeau, but it was under Marvin Lewis that he really made his mark. He eventually garnered enough respect to get the call to be Philbin's defensive coordinator in Miami.

Philbin and Coyle had been friends for years, and he had previously coached under Philbin's offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, at Holy Cross. But, it was his development of the Bengals' secondary over the prior decade that really showed his qualifications. Not only did he develop one of the NFL's top cornerback tandems of the late 2000s (Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph), but the Bengals' defense as a whole ranked seventh in the 2011 season largely as a result of their ninth ranked pass defense (211.6 passing yards allowed per game). He was also well known for reviving the careers of free agent busts such as Chris Crocker and Gibril Wilson.

Wouldn't it be great if the Bengals could find some room on their staff for one of the best assistant coaches in team history? As previously mentioned, Coyle developed one of the best cornerback tandems in Bengals' history, possibly only rivaled by Chuck Weber's tandem of Ken Riley and Lemar Parrish. The Bengals' cornerbacks have been up and down this season, Dre Kirkpatrick in particular, so the prospect of returning a formerly great defensive backs coach to the team is a tantalizing thought.

The biggest problem with returning Kevin Coyle to the Bengals' staff seems to be the fact that Vance Joseph has been making waves lately and seems to have a lot of respect among the coaching ranks. Joseph also has a co-defensive backs coach in Mark Carrier, who has helped Joseph manage the team's largest position group. At first glance, it would seem there is not much room for Coyle to return to the team. But, the team has already expanded the coaching staff to accommodate this position before, why not make another exception for a coach who has made a big difference in the past? There's also the possibility that Vance Joseph could be called up as a defensive coordinator or head coach some time soon, so Coyle could potentially and eventually serve as Joseph's replacement.

Then again, Coyle also might not want to come back to Cincinnati. While he did find a lot of success here, he had been blocked in the past from pursuing better career opportunities, much like how the Bengals blocked Joseph from interviewing with the Broncos for their vacant defensive coordinator position last offseason.

That said, Joseph has since expressed his satisfaction with how his career has thrived since being blocked by the Bengals. In the same vein, Coyle's unit really took off in 2011, after he was blocked from interviewing with Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Not to mention, that's really just the way the business works. Coaches are blocked from interviewing for other positions all the time, so you'd expect Coyle not to hold a grudge - especially when he got his promotion the very next year with the Dolphins.

Ultimately, it would be nice if the Bengals could find a spot for Coyle. With the Bengals' secondary off to a slow start this season, it would help having a veteran coaching perspective who has had success in the system in the past. The Bengals might need to do some creative re-working of the coaching staff to make this happen, or bring Doyle in just as a consultant, but it would just be one more marker on the road to the playoffs, if successful.