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Darrin Simmons will return as Bengals’ special teams coordinator in 2018

The Bengals will bring back the only special teams coordinator who has ever served under Marvin Lewis in that role.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Marvin Lewis has confirmed that Darrin Simmons will return as the Bengals’ special teams coordinator and that he may have more responsibilities added onto his job in 2018.

It is no surprise that Simmons will be returning after rumors swirled that he could be a possible replacement for Lewis if he were to leave the team.

Simmons led a special teams unit that only allowed one touchdown against them in 2017. They did also allow a huge return by Baltimore in Week 17 that set up a big touchdown before the half though as well and was part of a horrible minute of football for the Bengals.

On the other side of the fence, the Bengals didn’t have a touchdown on special teams either this season in a down year for the unit. Although, Adam Jones did have a touchdown return against the Browns that was called back by a very late block in the back call that the league later admitted was a mistake. It really should have counted.

Simmons didn’t coach a terrible special teams unit in 2017, but it was in no way outstanding. As far as outrageous moves go, this one doesn’t register a day after Lewis got extended as the team’s head coach. Similarly, the team is sticking with Bill Lazor who coached up the NFL’s 32nd ranked offense. With Simmons, this is a mostly expected move.

The note that Simmons could have more responsibilities is interesting because it opens up more room for change in how the team handles their substitutions and personnel. That is something that would be very refreshing to see considering how Lewis has handled those situations for the past few years. Maybe Simmons will be able to get young guys on the field quicker than Lewis would’ve, or he won’t bench a first round pick after a fumble. This may not be what the additional responsibilities are alluding to, but it would be welcomed change by many Bengals fans.

There is also a good chance that the Bengals and Lewis are giving Simmons these additional responsibilities in order to groom him to become aaft possible replacement for Lewis in the future. Simmons has been the Bengals special teams coach since Lewis took over the team in 2003, so his familiarity with how Lewis and the Bengals are run is probably very appealing to Mike Brown should he ever choose to move on from Lewis in the future.

Simmons has several success stories with the team during his 15 years. In 2005 he helped Shayne Graham beat the Bengals record for points when the kicker scored 131 points. He also became the first kicker to make the Pro Bowl for the Bengals. Graham also qualified as the most accurate kicker in Bengals history by hitting 87.5 percent of his kicks.

In the same year he turned Kyle Larson, who was a college free agent punter, into one of the best punters the Bengals had rostered in years. He averaged 43.2 yards per punt, which was the best average since 1998. He also had a 75-yard punt, which is a Bengals’ record.

Tab Perry also had a great season in 2005. In his rookie season he set records for kickoff returns with 60 and also had 1562 yards on kick off returns, which was another Bengals’ record. The 2005 team finished ninth in the NFL in average kickoff return (23.6) and seventh in average kickoff return coverage (21).

Simmons is back and we can only hope that the Bengals’ special teams improve next season from where they were this past season. It wasn’t a great year for the unit, but Simmons has proven he has what it takes to successfully coach up the Bengals’ special teams group.