The Cincinnati Bengals appear to be moving on from defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
The latest sign of this is the team conducting an interview with Teryl Austin, according to ESPN reporter Josina Anderson.
I'm told Teryl Austin, who is still under contract as the #Lions defensive coordinator, will arrive in Cincy tomorrow to interview for the #Bengals defensive coordinator position, per source.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 5, 2018
Austin has actually been interviewed for Detroit’s opening at head coach, though he doesn’t have the greatest track record during his stint as defensive coordinator for the Lions. He has run the Lions’ defense since 2014. During that span, Detroit has finished third, 23rd, 13th and 21st in points allowed.
That’s not great, especially in regards to this past three seasons, but his defense has consistently been among the NFL’s best at forcing turnovers. This year, the Lions finished third in the NFL with 32 takeaways, despite playing five rookies in starting or key backup roles.
Austin had a recent coaching stint with the Baltimore Ravens as their secondary coach from 2011-13, so Marvin Lewis and the Bengals have some familiarity with him. He was also defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators in 2010.
Prior to that, Austin joined the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff as their defensive backs coach from 2007-09. In 2009, he helped the team reach Super Bowl XLIII, where they would lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This interview is a pretty good sign that Guenther won’t be back in Cincinnati, despite Lewis saying there was still a chance he stays. Austin is probably one of the better candidates out there, but he’s still not at the level of someone like Jack Del Rio or Chuck Pagano. Pagano is reportedly interviewing for the Ravens’ DC opening.
Our Twitter friend David, who’s a big-time Lions fan, had some thoughts about Austin potentially coming to the Bengals:
As a passionate Lions fan, I think Teryl Austin would be a great choice for the Bengals as DC if he becomes available. I also believe T.A. has the makings of a high caliber HC in the right type of situations.— David ( D6 ) (@D6plus) January 3, 2018
Teryl Austin would have a noticeably better Defensive Line to work with in Cincinnati than he did with the Lions D-Line in 2017.— David ( D6 ) (@D6plus) January 5, 2018
Teryl Austin used a one gap up the field philosophy. Players that like to get after the QB, instead of holding the point of attack, are attracted to playing under Austin. Geno Atkins and Carson Dunlap would likely be thrilled with Austin.— David ( D6 ) (@D6plus) January 3, 2018
Teryl Austin is versatile with his Defense. In 2014 when DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley were still with the Lions, the pass rush was light years better than in 2017. Not much blitzing that season. Blitzing was a much greater part of Def. in recent seasons. 1/2— David ( D6 ) (@D6plus) January 3, 2018