The Bengals aren’t wasting time in their search for a new head coach.
First up, the team will interview in-house candidates, and one of them apparently has a real shot at landing the job. However, it’s not Hue Jackson as many have speculated, but instead, it’s special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons.
The #Bengals plan to conduct interviews soon with in-house head coach candidates -- a list that's expected to include STC Darrin Simmons and OC Bill Lazor, sources say. Of course, Hue Jackson -- long viewed as Marvin Lewis' successor -- also finished the season on staff.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 31, 2018
Many teams who fire their head coaches end up interviewing at least one in-house candidate, so it’s no surprise to see the Bengals doing their due diligence with who they have on staff.
Saying this, I don’t think Bill Lazor has any hope of getting this job, and I would be surprised if he’s a NFL head coach in the foreseeable future. He’s barely cutting it as an offensive coordinator, and there’s been some thought that, if Hue Jackson isn’t named head coach, he could end up replacing Lazor as the team’s offensive coordinator.
As for Simmons, he was once regarded as one of the best special teams coordinators in football. However, his units have taken a step back in recent years, though a lot of that has been due to an onslaught of injuries that have forced rookies and inexperienced players into prominent roles on special teams.
If the Bengals end up hiring Simmons, it will be viewed as a ‘meh’ hire, but at this point, anything is better than Marvin Lewis, and I’d rather give Simmons a shot as a head coach over Jackson.