Now that it is looking more and more like the Marvin Lewis era is coming to an end in Cincinnati, the question becomes what will happen to the current staff. Mike Brown could decide to keep on one of the current members of the Bengals’ staff as head coach, or he could make an outside hire to change things up. We’re hoping for the latter. Either way there are some coaches on this staff who may have a shot at becoming a head coach either next year or soon after.
Defensive Coordinator: Paul Guenther
Guenther is the obvious front runner for this question. Not only should he be the first coach of this bunch to get a shot, he will likely have a chance at becoming the Bengals’ next head coach.
Guenther has done a pretty great job at keeping the defense from falling off a cliff. At worst they have been a middle of the road defense when the roster wasn’t quite up to snuff. Other than that, the Bengals have been a very good defense year in and year out.
Guenther also coached under Mike Zimmer before filling in for the former Bengals defensive coordinator when he became the head coach in Minnesota. Guenther was never as aggressive as Zimmer was with blitzing—the Bengals rank among the teams that blitz least in the NFL—and he also didn’t adopt that signature old school coaching style that Zimmer learned under Bill Parcells. Guenther isn’t afraid to call a player out, but he isn’t like Zimmer in that aspect.
Overall Guenther will either be the Bengals’ next head coach, or he will have to make one more stop as a defensive coordinator to prove he is worthy of that head coaching job somewhere else. He is only 46-years old so he has time.
Offensive coordinator: Bill Lazor
Lazor took over the offensive coordinator spot after the Bengals’ Week 2 loss. He was previously the Bengals’ quarterbacks coach after coming to the Bengals from Miami where he served as an offensive coordinator. Lazor entered the NFL as Chip Kelly’s quarterbacks coach, so he understands where offenses are heading in the NFL. You can even see how much he has changed how the offense works since taking over the play calling duties.
Lazor is 45, and he may have an outside chance at the Bengals’ job, but more likely he will have to catch on somewhere else as a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator again. Still, in a few years he could easily be in position to take over a team.
Wide receivers coach: James Urban
Urban has been highly regarded as a very good at what he does. He is in his seventh year as the Bengals’ receivers coach, and he has helped coach up great players like A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
He is only 44 years-old, and life beyond the Bengals could prove fruitful. He could end up being an offensive coordinator fairly soon given his track record, and considering how many of Lewis’ former coaches have become head coaches elsewhere, he could easily stick on with any of those teams.
Linebackers coach: Jim Haslett
Haslett is the only person on the Bengals’ coaching staff who has previous head coaching experience. He was the head coach of the Saints from 2000-05. He was fired after the infamous hurricane Katrina season. The following season he became the defensive coordinator for the Rams, but after the head coach was fired, he was made the interim head coach.
He has bounced around with a few teams since before ending up with the Bengals in 2016. At 61 he may be looking at the twilight of his career, but he could move on to a head coaching spot quickly if a team is looking for an experienced coach. More realistically, he will end up as a linebackers or defensive coach somewhere else.
Which Bengals assistant do you see as a head coach either in Cincinnati or elsewhere down the line?