After a miserable past three games in which his defense allowed 500+ yards to opposing offenses for the first time in NFL history, the Bengals have reportedly fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
Josina Anderson broke the news and Katherine Terrell confirmed it. The Bengals have since made it official.
In Austin’s place, the Bengals won’t be hiring anyone new. Instead, head coach Marvin Lewis is set to take on the defensive coordinator responsibilities.
“I appreciate the hard work that Coach Austin has put into our football team, but I felt it best to make a change at this point in time, and I wish him the best,” Lewis said on Monday after the move was made official. “I will be coordinating the defense from here on out and I am excited to do that. This football team has a real chance to get back to playing winning football so we can compete for the playoffs, and that is our sole focus.”
The Bengals hired Austin away from the same role with the Detroit Lions in January. He was tasked with repairing a good but not great unit featuring many incredible playmakers like Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and William Jackson III. After Paul Guenther was never able to get the most out of his unit, fans were excited to see what Austin could do with the Bengals defense.
Instead, his defense was a complete joke, becoming the NFL’s worst.
Jessie Bates has become the best playmaker on the Bengals defense and maybe that makes sense as Austin was involved in drafting him. With many of the Bengals’ other top players on defense, they weren’t being played to match their abilities. Such seems to be the case with Jackson, for example.
The Bengals defense has just 21 sacks this year and interceptions were a big thing Austin preached. They have 10 so far this season, but had none yesterday against the Saints. The Bengals defense also had no sacks yesterday.
After Week 10, the Bengals rank 32nd in yards allowed per game, 31st in points per game, 23rd in sacks, 7th in interceptions, and 21st in forced fumbles.
As far as what comes next, it would make sense for the Bengals to promote linebackers coach Jim Haslett to defensive coordinator. Haslett was the Saints head coach from 2000 to 2005 and has been with the Bengals since 2016.
This is the second time in the last two years the Bengals have fired a coordinator in the middle of the season and just the second time in team history its happened. Maybe the Bengals really are changing. Too little, too late?
Stay tuned to Cincy Jungle as we continue to bring you the latest on this and all other Bengals happenings.