What a Tuesday.
First, when it seemed as if Marvin Lewis wasn’t going to return to Cincinnati to be their head coach, the team signed him to a two-year deal. Now, it appears there will be some changes in the coaching ranks after all.
Paul Guenther, who has been the team’s defensive coordinator since 2014, is reportedly looking for a job outside of Cincinnati now that he isn’t under contract with the Bengals. This, from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
With Bengals extending Marvin Lewis, well-respected defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, a free agent, is leaving to explore other options— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 2, 2018
Aside from being the defensive coordinator since Mike Zimmer’s departure, Guenther has been with the Bengals in some assistant capacity since 2005. It’s possible that he had his eyes set on possibly taking over Cincinnati’s head job, but when Lewis was re-signed, he feels inclined to move on elsewhere.
There was a recent report of Guenther being targeted by the Raiders and Jon Gruden, should he return there, but that would undoubtedly be a lateral move from the Bengals to Oakland. Regardless, he’ll likely be a hot candidate for some teams with coaching vacancies.
It was an up-and-down year for the Bengals’ defense under Guenther this past season. Cincinnati’s defense was ranked No. 18 overall, including a No. 8 ranking against the pass and a putrid No. 30 ranking against the run.
The Bengals were good at getting after the quarterback in 2017 though, as they finished in a tie with the Ravens with 41 sacks (11th). Guenther’s unit was also decimated at the linebacker position, particularly at the end of the year, causing some of the issues.
Since he isn’t under contract, he won’t need to ask the Bengals’ permission if he is indeed leaving. Lewis will need to move quickly to find Guenther’s replacement if his time is over in Cincinnati.
Update: According to Bengals.com, nothing is official yet with Guenther.
It's believed he won't make a call until he meets with Mike Brown and that could happen as soon as Wednesday.
"He'll get a chance to say yes or no and we do or we don't," Lewis said.