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Bengals Bytes (1/5): Marvin Lewis wants Andy Dalton to push the Bengals

Marvin Lewis wants Andy Dalton to be the leader that helps the Bengals’ get over the hump next season. The Bengals interviewed a new defensive coordinator.

Cincinnati Bengals v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Report: Teryl Austin to interview for Cincinnati Bengals DC job
In what is most assuredly not a good sign for his chances to become the next Detroit Lions head coach, Teryl Austin is scheduled to interview for the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator job Friday, ESPN reported.

Marvin Lewis wants Andy Dalton to push Bengals
Marvin Lewis avoided becoming a coaching casualty by signing a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday to keep the NFL's second-longest active coaching run alive. Still, Lewis understands the Bengals must improve if he wants to keep his job. Jumpstarting a lackluster offense that ranked dead last in the NFL in yards per game will be among his top priorities -- and he's hoping quarterback Andy Dalton will be the catalyst for change.

Names to watch for Bengals defensive coordinator
Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is exploring his options on the open market, and multiple league sources have told The Enquirer he is expected to find another opportunity. That means the Bengals and head coach Marvin Lewis could be in the market for a new defensive play caller.

Bills fans can’t stop donating money to Bengals’ charities
The afterglow of the Buffalo Bills’ first playoff berth in 17 seasons apparently still lingers, as the team’s fans continue to donate money in $17 increments to the charitable foundation created by Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife. The Red Rifle, who threw the fourth-quarter touchdown pass that led the Bengals past the Ravens on Sunday to propel the Bills into the postseason, reported Wednesday on Twitter that 10,000 donors had contributed nearly $250,000 to his foundation, which benefits seriously ill and physically challenged kids and their families.

Defensive sea change begins
The Zimmer-Guenther defensive scheme that has been the spine of the Bengals’ six post-season runs since 2009 is officially in the books with a report Thursday night that Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is interviewing for the job Friday. Paul Guenther is expected to be Jon Gruden’s DC in Oakland, but Gruden has yet to officially take the job. Austin’s interview is the first evidence that Guenther has ended his 13 seasons in Cincinnati that began as an advance scout and included stints coaching the special teams, secondary, linebackers, and he was Mike Zimmer’s third-down guru before succeeding him as coordinator in 2014.

TDBH: Visiting Chargers flip Wild Card tables on Bengals
The first Bengals team to finish in the top 10 in both NFL offense and defense since 1989 is left to wonder after today’s stunning 27-10 Wild Card loss to a West Coast team that had to travel to sold-out Paul Brown Stadium. How can they make the postseason three straight years and not advance after going 18-6 in the last 24 regular-season games? After San Diego neutralizes the Bengals’ pass rush with just 16 passes and 40 runs and are able to get into third-and-two or less five times, the AFC North champ Bengals take note. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis says the Bengals only have to add a formula. "We're not missing anything. We just have to perform under the lights," says Green-Ellis, who played in a Super Bowl with the Patriots. "Since the beginning of time when playoffs started championship teams are built on running the ball and stopping the run.”

Wood cheers Bengals ... again
Suddenly, Eric Wood, the grizzled leader of the Buffalo Bills offense, was a kid again last Sunday. Here he was rooting for a Bengals wide receiver to score. Tyler Boyd, running with the ball and Western New York’s redemption, was now Chad Johnson or T.J. Houshmandzadeh, back when Wood was roaming “The Pit,” for Elder High School. But he was probably younger than that. Probably closer to nine and 10 when he was just falling in love with football growing up on Cincinnati’s west side.

Buffalo Bills sending chicken wings to Cincinnati as thank you for Bengals win over Baltimore Ravens
The Bills are sending 1,440 chicken wings to the Cincinnati Bengals as a thank you for their win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday that clinched Buffalo's first playoff berth since 1999. The Bills announced the shipment from local restaurant chain Duff's in a tweet Thursday evening

Marvin Lewis talks free agency, knows Andy Dalton must improve
The Cincinnati Bengals are maintaining the status quo with coach Marvin Lewis signing a two-year contract, but Lewis suggested he realizes some things do need to change as he returns for a 16th season.

AFC North Bytes

Why trading up in the first round makes sense for the Ravens, and not for a wide receiver
The Ravens need for a playmaker on offense is clear this offseason. In a division with Antonio Brown, A.J. Green and Josh Gordon, the Ravens lack a receiver who can be a game changer. John Harbaugh discussed in his season ending press conference the need for a playmaker, but said the draft will be the biggest way in which the Ravens attempt to add that type of a weapon.

The Unheralded Building Block for Every NFL Team's Future
Assembling a successful NFL team requires building blocks of all shapes and sizes. Some are blockbuster free agents who earned a massive payday. Some are highly touted prospects who became first-round picks. And some are players who get overlooked for a number of reasons, but they later grow into key contributors.

Ryan Shazier Has Regained Feeling in Legs, Father Expects Him to Play Again
Vernon Shazier, the father of injured Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, told WPXI’s Lisa Sylvester that his son has regained feeling in his legs and believes Shazier will play football again in the future (h/t Adam Bittner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). "He's making progress daily," Vernon said. "He's a long way from where he was on that Monday night."

Random Bytes

DeMarco Murray out for Saturday
Titans running back Derrick Henry felt he had a “soft” performance against the Jaguars in Week 17 and he should have every opportunity to come up with something sharper against the Chiefs in the Wild Card round. Henry is set to be the lead back again this weekend as the Titans have again ruled DeMarco Murray out with a knee injury. Murray was injured in Week 16 and reportedly suffered a third-degree MCL tear that makes it little surprise that he didn’t practice this week and remains out for a second straight game.

Hope not lost LeSean McCoy could play in Bills' playoff game
The Buffalo Bills made the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. Will they have their No.1 running back when they play at Jacksonville in the wild card round? LeSean McCoy was carted off the field in Sunday’s regular season finale with an ankle injury. But being carted off doesn’t always mean an injury is horrendous or season-ending.

Beginning of the end for New England Patriots? Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick internal power struggle
THE PROBLEM WITH living your life under the spotlight is that the camera captures only the public eruption, not the months of silent anger. On Dec. 3, when the New England Patriots played the Buffalo Bills, Tom Brady walked to the sideline after throwing late and behind receiver Brandin Cooks on third down, ending a first-quarter drive. Brady was angrier and more irritable than usual, as has often been the case this season in the eyes of some Patriots players and staff. As he unsnapped his chinstrap, Brady passed offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the sideline.

Does the N.F.L. Have a Usain Bolt? Here Are the League’s Fastest Players - The New York Times
It has been proven time and again that football is, as Vince Lombardi said, a game of inches. Teams win or lose based on the smallest of distances. A deep pass glances off a receiver’s fingertips. One or two links of a chain force a team to punt instead of keeping the ball. But football is also a game of speed. And the measurement of that speed can help us understand why that deep pass wasn’t caught. Or why that running back was tackled two chain links short of the first down.