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Bengals Bytes (1/7): Time to tag?

The Bengals have a history of not using their franchise tag, but with so many critical players entering free agency is it possible they take advantage of it? The Browns part ways with their defensive coordinator. The statistics behind firing a head coach.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Safety Duke Ihenacho Says Chris Cooley Is Full Of Shit

Former Washington tight end Chris Cooley, currently A Guy Who Says A Lot Of Shit On The Radio, spent some time on his ESPN show today floating an interesting theory about why Washington’s defensive backs struggled this season.

Urban looks for renewal after solid '16

If you’re the Assistant Coach of the Year this week, you are miserable. After working seven seasons for Andy Reid in Philadelphia, James Urban is heading into his seventh season coaching Marvin Lewis’ wide receivers in Cincinnati and that means this is just the third time he hasn’t been to the postseason.

Report: Guenther staying

The conventional wisdom has been the Bengals coaching staff is staying intact despite the 6-9-1 record and confirmation came Friday with a CBS report that the Bengals denied persmission for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to re-join old friend Jay Gruden in Washington in the same job. It’s far from a surprise.

Could the Bengals use the franchise tag this offseason?

As the Cincinnati Bengals head into this offseason, there will be many questions about what they will do with their free agents, particularly Andrew Whitworth, Dre Kirkpatrick and Kevin Zeitler. This week's Twitter mailbag focuses on the franchise-tag question. Could the Bengals use it on any of those players?

Bengals 2016 Season Review: Best and worst moments and awards

The Bengals 2016 season is now in the past, but a little less than a week after the team finished with a disappointing 6-9-1 record it's time to look back at the best and the worst from the season and hand out awards.

AFC North Bytes

Report: Browns making change at defensive coordinator

After the end of the regular season, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said he "could not be more pleased with the job" that head coach Hue Jackson and the rest of the coaching staff did during the 2016 season. There appears to be at least one exception to that, however.

Steelers need 'cold-weather quarterback' Ben Roethlisberger to conquer the elements

With a snow shower expected and temperatures dropping into the low teens on Sunday at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell sees a clear-cut advantage over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC wild-card round.

Steve Smith's retirement letter had one more burn

Steve Smith retires from the NFL as one of the league’s greatest trash talkers, and his farewell letter to Roger Goodell is proof. The longtime Ravens wide receiver has made a living leaving defensive backs in the dust and letting them know about it on and off the field. In his retirement letter on Friday, he told the league office that he’d finally give “antagonizing defensive backs” a rest.

Random Bytes

Matching to estimate the causal effects of firing an NFL coach

The 2016 NFL regular season has ended, and with it has come the usual coaching carousel in which many franchises have opted to fire their head coach. As of January 2nd, six of the league’s 32 teams have openings, with five of those coming by way of a fired predecessor (Denver’s retiring Gary Kubiak being the lone exception). But it’s not like 2016 is any type of outlier; roughly 4 coaches per year have been canned since the early 1980’s.

Matt Ryan named first-team All-Pro, confirming he’s MVP favorite

If there were any doubt that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award, that doubt was erased today. The Associated Press has announced that Ryan is the first-team All-Pro quarterback.

Lions downgrade starting center Travis Swanson to out

The Lions will be without their starting center when they take on the Seahawks tonight. Travis Swanson, who has missed the last four games with a concussion, will miss his fifth in a row tonight in Seattle.

NFL Rookie of the Year 2016 Finalists Announced: Full List of Players, Reaction

The NFL announced its finalists for the Rookie of the Year award Friday afternoon, and the NFC East has a strong contingent, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys headline the ballot alongside Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, San Diego Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones.