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Friday Recap: Bengals coaching changes, fines and questionably legal hits

We take a look at an extremely busy Friday afternoon as the team announced coaching changes while the league announced fines.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

What a day.

If you're like me, stuck in the doldrums of fluorescent lighting and paper jams, you're realizing things happened with the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday. Let's list the day's events:

Are you caught up now?

Walking to the parking lot or garage, examining news/Twiitter, perhaps you're understanding the scope of Friday's changes. In addition to Vance Joseph and Matt Burke leaving for Miami, reports surfaced that defensive line coach Jay Hayes will join former Bengals defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Mark Duffner in Tampa Bay.

To me, this was a shocker.

Hayes, a position coach who has helped Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins become Pro Bowlers, while promoting growth with Michael Johnson and Wallace Gilberry, coached a defense that's ranked 12th or better in six of the previous eight seasons. Was he ready for new challenges? Does he have family in Florida? Who knows, best wishes to him.

The Cincinnati Enquirer casually reported that Carrier became the fourth defensive position coach to leave Cincinnati. Is there a great conspiracy; an overreaction to highlight change to an exhausted fanbase; or questionable timing with coaches looking for new challenges? Who can say. Why even worry about it? My opinion: If Carrier's contract wasn't renewed, he was fired. After all, the team created a position for Joseph to help Carrier coach defensive backs in 2014.

In the meantime, the Bengals have found Matt Burke's replacement in former Saints head coach (and interim Rams head coach) Jim Haslett. They're examining options for two vacancies in the secondary, including former defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, who spent three-plus seasons in Miami as the Dolphins defensive coordinator. Michigan coach Greg Jackson and 49ers coach Tim Lewis, who was once a coveted head coaching candidate as a former Giants defensive coordinator, have already been interviewed. Since being the must-have head coaching candidate ten years ago, Lewis has bounced around in Carolina, Seattle, Atlanta and San Francisco as an assistant coach.

In the meantime, Cincinnati announced quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese (like Hayes, one of Lewis' original hires in 2003), was promoted as the team's offensive coordinator. Logical arguments suggest Zampese offers the least amount of change, carrying on an offensive system integrated by Jay Gruden and enhanced by Hue Jackson. Unlike Gruden and Jackson, Zampese has never called plays in the NFL. It's understood why the Bengals promoted Zampese -- to make sure we don't change things on Andy Dalton. However, he's the first coach Marvin Lewis has hired/promoted with zero offensive coordinator experience. This will be interesting.

The Bengals need to find a defensive backs coach, maybe two, and a defensive line coach. They will also need a quarterback's coach to replace Zampese -- unless they merge the positions.

It would be easier to list the fines:

  • Bengals CB Adam Jones, $28,940 (contact with an official);
  • Steelers OG Ramon Foster, $17,363 (unnecessary roughness);
  • Bengals DT Domata Peko, $8,681 (unnecessary roughness);
  • Bengals DE Wallace Gilberry, $8,681 (unsportsmanlike conduct);
  • Steelers coach Mike Munchak, $10,000;
  • Steelers coach (and assclown) Joey Porter, $10,000;

An area of intrigue for Bengals fans centered around possible discipline against Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who drilled running back Giovani Bernard with the crown of his helmet, leaving Bernard motionless for several moments.

In 2013, the league approved a new rule preventing players from leading with the crown of their helmet. The league released a video explaining the rule, with the narrator saying:

"The first rule change prohibits a runner or tackler from initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet outside the tackle box," the video's narrator says. "There are three components to this foul: First, the player must line up his opponent. Second, he must lower his head. And third, he must deliver a forcible blow with the crown of his helmet to any part of his opponent's body. The crown is the very top of the helmet. This rule was designed not only to protect the player receiving the blow, but also the player delivering it. Violations of this rule will result in 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness, and potential discipline. If the contact occurs in the tackle box, or if all three components are not present, there is no foul."

Unfortunately, Vice President of NFL Officiating Dean Blandino didn't see Shazier lining up against Bernard. "You have to line up your opponent, you have to lower your head, and you have to make forcible contact with the very top of the helmet," said Bandino,  The key issue here is the line up. And when we're talking about angles, and the players are moving at different angles, where you have Bernard is moving in this direction, Shazier is moving in this direction, then we don't have the line up.

"You're really dealing with the players moving in the same direction towards each other when this rule would apply," Bandino continued. "The theory being, when players are moving at angles, they don't have as much opportunity to avoid that contact. That's where the rule does not apply. You watch it here, we're moving at angle, not a foul."

Bernard never returned to the game.