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Bengals vs Dolphins: Connections run deep including coaches, players and the Vigil brothers

The Bengals and Dolphins share many connections, and even blood relatives!

NCAA Football: New Mexico Bowl-Utah State at Texas El Paso Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals and Dolphins have a number of connections among the teams, many of which are relatively new, but one that goes back more than two decades.

The NFL has a few pairs of brothers, and the Vigils are among them. Bengals rookie linebacker Nick Vigil is brothers with Dolphins second year linebacker Zach Vigil. They will play their first game against each other today after being teammates at Utah State. Zach went undrafted before signing with the Dolphins and making the team last year.

“I’m excited to see him,” Zach said via “I saw him the third week of camp, we were able to make it back for a wedding (in Utah). We flew in, flew out kind of deal. So got to see him a little bit there. This’ll be the first time I get to see him and then the long season. You never know how things turn out but probably (won’t see him again) till offseason.”

The brothers talk after each game, though, Zach admits he doesn’t usually watch Nick’s film. To be honest, Nick doesn’t have much film to watch, though he did get in on a handful of defensive snaps for the first time in Week 3.

“I just call him after every game, see how he thinks he did, call my dad, see how Nick performed,” Zach said. “I don’t watch his film regularly or anything like that. This week will obviously be a little different; we can watch him a little more. Just check in to see how he feels he did.”

Another big connection among the teams is the coaching connection and swap that occurred this offseason. Former Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph left Cincinnati in January for a promotion to Dolphins defensive coordinator. With him went linebackers coach Matt Burke. With Joseph gone, the Bengals brought in the man whose job Joseph essentially took. Kevin Coyle was fired as the Dolphins defensive coordinator in October 2015 after the Dolphins started the season 1-3. He spent the rest of the season without an NFL job, but, re-joined the Bengals whom he coached for prior to leaving for Miami in the same role in which he previously served, defensive backs coach. Additionally, the Bengals hired Bill Lazor who was also fired as the Dolphins offensive coordinator, about a month after Coyle was let go, in November. Lazor is now the Bengals quarterbacks coach.

One other notable connection, is the friendship between Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry and Bengals running back Jeremy Hill. The two have yet to play each other at the NFL level, and Hill knows the opportunity doesn’t come too often for the Bengals to play the Dolphins.

"I'm looking forward to playing both [Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry] equally, just for the trash talk factor," Hill said prior to the start of the season. The Bengals play the Giants, who Beckham plays for, later in the year. The three of them were all best friends at LSU. "Honestly, we probably won't play either one of them for a while after this, so we gotta get both of those games."

Hill will surely be looking to have a big game against his former teammate’s new team, even if it’s “just for the trash talk”.

Coaching connections

  • From 2014-15, Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph coached Cincinnati’s defensive backs.
  • Dolphins Linebackers Coach Matt Burke served in the same position with the Bengals from 2014-15.
  • Dolphins Head Strength and Conditioning coach Dave Puloka spent training camp with the Bengals as an undrafted college free agent in 2001.
  • Bengals Secondary Coach Kevin Coyle previously served as Miami’s defensive coordinator (2012-15).
  • Bengals Quarterbacks Coach Bill Lazor was the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator for two seasons (2014-15).
  • Dolphins Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn served as the defensive line coach (1999-2010), Linebackers Coach Matt Burke was an admin. assistant (2004-05) and defensive asst./quality control coach (2006-08) for the Titans, while Bengals CB Adam Jones played for Tennessee (2005-06).
  • In 2014, Dolphins Offensive Line Coach Chris Foerster held the same position with Washington and Tight Ends Coach Shane Day was the asst. o-line coach, while Bengals Defensive Line Coach Jacob Burney served in the same position on the same staff.
  • Dolphins Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen was the receivers/tight ends (1989) and offensive coordinator (1990) for Holy Cross, while Bengals Secondary Coach Kevin Coyle was the defensive coordinator (1986-90).
  • In 1991, Dolphins Defensive Backs Coach Lou Anarumo was a graduate assistant at Syracuse, while Bengals Secondary Coach Kevin Coyle was the defensive coordinator.

Family connections

  • Bengals LB Nick Vigil is the brother of Dolphins LB Zach Vigil.
  • Bengals G Christian Westerman’s mom, Jodie, is a former Miami Dolphins Cheerleader.

Bengals who were Dolphins

  • Bengals LB Karlos Dansby played three seasons (2010-12) with the Dolphins.

Local connections

  • Dolphins Running Backs Coach Danny Barrett played quarterback at Cincinnati from 1979-1982, earning honorable mention All-America honors.
  • Dolphins Senior Scout Terry Bradway was a graduate assistant coaching the receivers at Cincinnati in 1978.
  • Dolphins RB Isaiah Pead is from Columbus, Ohio and prepped at Eastmoor Academy. Pead went on to play collegiately for the University of Cincinnati.
  • Dolphins DT Chris Jones is from Columbus, Ohio and played collegiately for Bowling Green.
  • Several Bengals players are from Florida: DT Geno Atkins (Pembroke Pines), RB Giovani Bernard (Boca Raton) and DT Pat Sims (Ft. Lauderdale).
  • Bengals G Eric Winston played for Miami (Fla.) from 2002-05.
  • Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap played at the University of Florida.

College connections

  • From 2008-09, Dolphins Quarterbacks Coach Bo Hardegree was an assistant at Duke at the same time Bengals LB Vincent Rey (2006-09) played for the Blue Devils.
  • Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake and C/G Anthony Steen and Bengals QB AJ McCarron were all teammates at Alabama. Steen and McCarron were both members of the Crimson Tide’s 2013 BCS National Championship team.
  • Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi and Bengals S George Iloka played together at Boise State.
  • Several players were teammates at Georgia: Dolphins S Reshad Jones (2007-09), Bengals DT Geno Atkins (2007-09), G Clint Boling (2007-10), WR A.J. Green (2008-10) and S Shawn Williams (2009-12).
  • Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry (2011-13) played with Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (2012- 13) and WR James Wright (2010-13) at LSU. Also, Dolphins Quarterbacks Coach Bo Hardegree was an offensive coaching intern there (2012-13).
  • Dolphins CB Tony Lippett (2010-14) and TE Dion Sims (2009-12) played with Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (2010-13) at Michigan State.
  • Dolphins G/T Laremy Tunsil (2013-15) was teammates with Bengals WR Cody Core (2012-15) at Mississippi.