Although he was one of the hottest candidates on the market, hiring the 35-year-old Zac Taylor was a bold move by the Bengals.
As the Bengals wait for Taylor’s season with the Los Angeles Rams to end, many of the best coordinator options are accepting other jobs around the NFL. With that in mind, here are some possible offensive and defensive coordinator options who are not being talked about.
Offensive Coordinator Options
Major Applewhite - formerly University of Houston - Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Everyone is obsessed with college coaches and their high powered offenses, so much so that Kliff Kingsbury is now head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after getting fired by his alma mater Texas Tech. Applewhite just got fired as head coach at the University of Houston, where he replaced Tom Herman there two years ago when Herman left for Texas. Applewhite coached quarterbacks and coordinated the offense of Houston, Texas, Alabama, and Rice.
Sean Ryan - Houston Texans - Quarterbacks Coach
Ryan’s work as Deshaun Watson’s position coach has been inexplicably overlooked over the last two years. Watson’s seamless transition into the NFL has been a wonderful thing to witness, and Ryan absolutely deserves credit for it. Ryan has been Watson’s only position coach in the NFL and prior to that he coached an impressive group of Texans receivers. After bouncing around New England colleges as an assistant, Ryan broke into the NFL in 2007 with the New York Giants as an offensive quality control coach before then coaching the wide receivers and quarterbacks for the team.
Joe Lombardi - New Orleans Saints - Quarterbacks Coach
It is not just Lombardi’s bloodlines or his USAA commercials that make him a candidate. Lombardi started coaching the Saints quarterbacks in 2009, the year they won the Super Bowl. He took a couple years off when he served as the offensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions before returning to resume his duties tutoring Drew Brees in 2016. Lombardi would give the Bengals exposure to the special things that the Saints have done offensively in the last couple of season including their creative use of Taysom Hill and effective use of both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
Defensive Coordinator Options
Ejiro Evero - Los Angeles Rams - Safeties Coach
People have speculated about Taylor bringing one of the Rams offensive coaches with him, but Evero is an excellent young defensive coach who could be an interesting hire for the Bengals. While Taylor learned from Sean McVay, Evero learned from defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who is widely considered one of the best play callers on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams safeties have been very effective, particularly John Johnson, who made an immediate impact after being drafted in the third round.
Chris Hewitt - Baltimore Ravens - Secondary Coach
A University of Cincinnati alum, Hewitt spent eight years coaching under Greg Schiano at Rutgers before joining the Ravens coaching staff. He steadily rose up the ranks on their staff and spent the last two seasons as secondary coach. During that time he learned under the tutelage of Don Martindale and Dean Pees. The Ravens secondary has been especially great in the last couple of seasons and a driving force behind that dominating defense.
Josh Boyer - New England Patriots - Cornerbacks Coach
Boyer has been the Patriots cornerbacks coach since 2012 and was the defensive backs coach for three seasons before that. The Patriots play with excellent technique at the cornerback position and understand how to play the ball. Boyer played a major role in turning rookie free agent Malcolm Butler into a star and is well on the way to doing the same with J.C. Jackson.