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Bengals Bytes (1/9): Teryl Austin’s first rule on defense

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Teryl Austin has a great first rule on defense that the Bengals could learn from. He also doesn’t commit to playing a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.

Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Mike Brown-Marvin Lewis fact or fiction: Cheap with players?
To judge whether Brown and the Bengals don’t spend enough money on winning, you have to look through a few different lenses. There is actual money spent on personnel and then money spent on facilities to support the personnel. Let’s start with money spent on personnel. Fans love to take shots at the Bengals for not spending enough money to keep players around. Fingers can be pointed toward watching Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler leave the offensive line as well as Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu vacate the receiving corps in recent years.

Bengals' Michael Johnson gives Super Bowl tickets to Cincinnati police officer
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson continues to prove that he is truly one of the good guys in the NFL. Johnson, who led a program encouraging kids and the Cincinnati Police Department to strengthen their relationship through understanding of each other, Tweeted that his Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nomination came with Super Bowl tickets to give to someone who has motivated and inspired him, and that he gave them to Cincinnati Police Department officer Eddie Hawkins.

Bengals Beat Podcast: Lewis fallout, staff changes
Bengals beat writers Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr. discuss more of the fallout of Marvin Lewis' return to Cincinnati and the staff changes made in the week since. Hear from Lewis and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Plus, Bizarro BBP and power ranking coffee.

Jon Kitna talking with Bengals about rejoining team as assistant, source says
A former Bengals quarterback could be returning — as a coach. A source told Sporting News that Jon Kitna has interviewed for a position on head coach Marvin Lewis' staff. Although the exact role wasn’t immediately known, Kitna may be under consideration for the team's vacant quarterbacks coach job. Cincinnati created the opening early this season when Bill Lazor was promoted to offensive coordinator to replace the fired Ken Zampese.

Bengals Sign Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin
The Bengals signed Teryl Austin as defensive coordinator. Austin comes to Cincinnati from the Detroit Lions, where he served as defensive coordinator since 2014. “I am excited to add Teryl to our coaching staff as defensive coordinator,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “He is a bright and aggressive coach with a wealth of experience. I look forward to working alongside him to take full advantage of our talented defensive personnel.”

Bicknell's football life finds a Green pasture
The football life of Bob Bicknell, which began in junior high when he held the cord of his father’s headsets and had to duck the incoming fruit when Jack Bicknell called the right play to get Boston College into the Tangerine Bowl, just got even more interesting Monday when he was named A.J. Green’s position coach. “That’s probably the next best thing about this was an opportunity to work with someone like him,” said Bicknell, the Bengals’ new receivers coach who arrives via a one-year stint coaching the Baylor receivers. “You just watch what he does as a player and everyone can see that, but (also) everything I’ve heard about him as a person and a professional.”

Coaching Conversations With Mike Brown
“The obvious thing is that when we are all singing from the same hymnbook and know the words it helps,” Mike told me. “You do things without having to ponder why. It’s incorporated in you and I think that’s a good thing not a bad thing. Yes, there’s the argument that change helps and I think periodically the people that argue that are correct, but I think when you look at the National Football League there’s way too much turnover. The owners turn over the coaches at the end of the year – about seven go every year, about a quarter of the coaches. It takes the heat off the owner, but I don’t think it’s justified in that many cases.”

Teryl Austin will be the new defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals
Former Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been hired as the new defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, the team announced Monday. He replaces Paul Guenther, who is expected to take the same position with the Raiders. The Bengals also announced that Bob Bicknell will coach the wide receivers, replacing James Urban, who will now coach quarterbacks for the Ravens. Bicknell, who spent last season at Baylor, was an assistant in the NFL from 2007-16.

TDBH: Brawl in the Paul: Steelers hijack Wild Card in last 1:23
While rain paints Paul Brown Stadium in a ghostly hue during tonight’s Wild Card Game, the Bengals pour on a break-neck fourth quarter with 16 unanswered points behind backup quarterback AJ McCarron and it looks for the all world like they are headed to their first post-season win in 25 years. They’ve got the ball on the Steelers’ doorstep and a 16-15 lead with 1:32 left before it all implodes emotionally and physically in a gut-wrenching 18-16 loss to the Steelers. The Bengals learn a painful lesson about narratives and winning.

Austin's first rule: can't beat ourselves
Like Marvin Lewis, Teryl Austin, the Bengals’ new defensive coordinator, comes to Cincinnati with a Super Bowl ring from Baltimore. And, like Lewis, he’s not going to tell the world how he’s going to line them up on Opening Day. 4-3 or 3-4? “We’ll be multiple. I can’t promise you anything,” Austin said Monday night after the Bengals announced his signing. “I can promise you we’ll be multiple and I like our guys to play disciplined. I don’t want to beat ourselves. I think more games are lost in this league than are won. Games are lost because guys make mistakes at inopportune times.”

AFC North Bytes

John Harbaugh says drafting a QB is a real possibility for the Ravens
While the Baltimore Ravens have enjoyed remarkable stability at quarterback over the past decade, with Joe Flacco anchoring the offense since his arrival to the league in 2008, all good things must come to an end. Clearly, the Ravens’ front office isn’t oblivious to that, as Baltimore coach John Harbaugh has made it seem like the Ravens might be preparing for a Flacco-less future already.

Could Browns have traded for Jimmy Garoppolo?
Jimmy Garoppolo was the apple of many Cleveland fans’ eyes throughout the offseason leading into the 2017 campaign. The New England Patriots backup quarterback was often rumored to be headed to Cleveland by various media entities both local and national.

Antonio Brown Returns to Steelers Practice, Says He Feels Good Ahead of Playoffs
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is back on the practice field ahead of Sunday's AFC Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the news Monday, noting Brown "said he feels good."

Random Bytes

Blake Bortles Is Getting the Job Done, but It Hasn't Won Him Any Fans
If you watch the Marvel movies and television shows—and it's no longer cool to pretend that you don't—you know that there is a whole universe of superheroes out there, from high-flying galactic champions like Iron Man and Thor down to gritty street-level crime fighters like Luke Cage and Daredevil. They're like NFL quarterbacks in many ways: fun to watch and root for, some more effective and exciting than others.

Ranking the Biggest Matchups of the NFL Divisional Playoffs
And then there were eight. After a Wild Card Weekend that included Saturday upsets and Sunday chalk, the divisional round matchups were set. In Philadelphia, the Eagles will attempt to allay fears that they are a wounded No. 1 seed without quarterback Carson Wentz when they host the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons.

Saban's NFL Coaching Mistakes, Possible Return
It didn’t matter that it was 95 degrees with high humidity. Or that the players just went through 45 minutes of on-field pre-practice work. Or that it was the middle of training camp. Or that it was the start of a three-hour practice for the 80 guys who were lining up for stretch. Every strap on every Dolphin’s helmet was going to be buckled. “If you had one unbuckled,” says Sage Rosenfels, then a back-up quarterback for the Dolphins, “then someone was going to say something to you.”