The Cincinnati Bengals are working to rebuild their coaching staff following several losses they've had less than a week into the offseason.
Among those needing to be replaced is linebackers coach Matt Burke after he left to join Vance Joseph, who was hired as the Miami Dolphins' next defensive coordinator. Burke will now be Miami's linebackers coach, and it looks like Cincinnati has already found his replacement.
Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson first reported it "sounds like Jim Haslett" will become the new Bengals linebackers coach, and it has now been confirmed by others as well.
As @GeoffHobsonCin reported and others have tweeted, former Redskins DC Jim Haslett headed to Cincy to work with the LBs.
— John Keim (@john_keim) January 15, 2016
This should be a quality hire for Cincinnati and their already-strong defense. Haslett is the only person to be recognized as a College Football Hall of Famer (2001), AP NFL Coach of the Year (2000) and AP Defensive Rookie of the Year (1979), per Washington's official website.
Haslett, who spent this past season in the college ranks as a consultant for Penn State, has more than three decades of experience in the NFL as a player and coach. He spent eight years with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets as a linebacker (1979-1987, named All-Pro in 1980) before retiring and beginning his coaching career as an assistant coach with the University of Buffalo (1988–1990).
Haslett's first NFL break would come as the linebackers coach of the Los Angeles Rams from 1993-94 before taking that same role with the New Orleans Saints in 1995. This would be where Haslett's best NFL coaching days would begin as he ascended into the role of defensive coordinator in 1996 before taking that same role with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1997-99).
Haslett later returned to the New Orleans to become their head coach, a role he served in from 2000-2005 while compiling a 45-51 record. His downfall came in 2005 when the Saints went 3-13 in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, which forced them to play every game away from New Orleans.
Haslett would then have stints as the St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator (2006-08) and Washington defensive coordinator (2010-14) before mutually parting ways following the 2014 season. His units finished 20th (2014), 18th (2013), 28th (2012), 13th (2011), and 31st (2010). While it wasn't always pretty, Haslett had several good defenses that were led by strong play at the linebacker position.
In 2012, Haslett sent three linebackers to the Pro Bowl, including All-Pro London Fletcher, who won the NFC Defensive Player of the Month award for December. Haslett’s unit was in the top ﬁve in the NFL in takeaways, rushing yards allowed and passes defended in 2012. They ﬁnished fourth in the NFC and tied for ﬁﬅh in the NFL with 31 takeaways.
After leaving Washington at the end of the 2014 season, Haslett was a consultant for Penn State in 2015, which more or less was a way from him to remain in coaching while also getting a bit of a break to recharge his batteries and get back into the NFL in 2016.
It looks like he'll get his chance to do so with the Bengals and their talented corps. of linebackers. Given Haslett's vast background as a defensive coordinator, this should be a good hire for the Bengals.