Over the past few years, the Bengals were fortunate to tap the services of some of the brightest coaching minds in the NFL to serve as assistant coaches. In a few short years, Hue Jackson has risen from the Bengals' special teams assistant to running backs coach and, eventually, offensive coordinator. He is one of the hottest head coaching candidates this offseason, with interest from San Francisco, Cleveland and the New York Giants.
The first new head coaching hire of the 2016 offseason was Adam Gase to the Miami Dolphins, after being a hot candidate the past two years himself. Miami cleaned house in their coaching staff over the course of the year, with firings occurring during and after the season. Because of this, Gase was given free reign to create his staff.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, Gase is grabbing two good Cincinnati defensive assistant coaches in Vance Joseph (defensive backs) and Matt Burke (linebackerS) to round out his staff. Joseph has been one of the team's two defensive backs coaches the past two years, while Burke has overseen the linebacker group since 2014.
One potential candidate the Bengals are looking at to fill the void left by Joseph, according to Bengals.com, is Kevin Coyle. If his name sounds familiar, it should, as he coached the Bengals secondary from 2001-2011. He began as the cornerbacks coach for the club and was promoted to heading up the entire secondary when Marvin Lewis arrived in Cincinnati back in 2003.
After the club's renaissance under Lewis and the defense vastly improving under Mike Zimmer, Coyle was grabbed up by the Dolphins to become their defensive coordinator. He lasted until the middle of this season when he was one of the scapegoats released from his job by interim head coach, Dan Campbell. It was part of a coaching purge that began with the firing of Joe Philbin during the team's bye week this year.
In terms of yards allowed per game, Coyle's defenses in Miami finished 21st in both 2012 and 2013, 12th in 2014 and 25th this season (though he wasn't a part of the team for most of the season). Part of his demise in Miami came with his inability to get the most out of and/or gain control of prized free agent acquisition, Ndamukong Suh.
Nothing is set, in terms of Coyle being a sure replacement, but a reunion wouldn't be surprising. Lewis prefers "his guys", as evidenced by Jackson's return in 2012, and the Bengals' secondary had some of its best seasons under Coyle's watch. Whoever the next position coach will be for the group in conjunction with Mark Carrier, big projects are ahead with certain players. Getting more out of Darqueze Dennard in his third pro season, more development out of Dre Kirkpatrick as a starter, and finding a productive niche for Josh Shaw all headline the priorities for the Bengals' defensive backs in 2016.