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Bengals leaning toward offensive coach outside of the organization, per report

This would be great news.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The buzz is building that the Bengals are close to finding their next head coach.

Jeremy Rauch is the latest to report as much, though he added a caveat that will be music Bengals fans’ ears.

According to that source, the Bengals are leaning towards hiring a coach with an offensive background, who did not spend the 2018 season on the Bengals coaching staff - special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and special assistant to the head coach Hue Jackson.

The source told FOX19 Now the Bengals have already narrowed in on their target, in their opinion.

If the Bengals ultimately go with an offensive mind outside of the organization, that means Darrin Simmons, Bill Lazor, Hue Jackson and Vance Joseph won’t get the job.

Based on who the Bengals have interviewed, that means Todd Monken, Eric Bieniemy, Zac Taylor and Shane Waldron are who the search is narrowing down to.

I don’t believe Waldron, the Rams’ passing-game coordinator, is a legitimate head-coaching target, but he could be the target for Taylor’s offensive coordinator if the latter becomes a head coach, or Waldron could simply replace Taylor in Los Angeles.

Some other offensive-minded coaches the Bengals could interview include Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, though neither has been linked to the Bengals.

If the Bengals unexpectedly go toward the college head-coaching route, Baylor’s Matt Rhule (linked to the Jets), Texas’ Tom Herman and Washington’s Chris Peterson all have strong offensive backgrounds. However, I think it’s highly unlikely at this point that Cincinnati dips into the college ranks.

That would leave Bieniemy, Taylor and Monken the best bets to be Cincinnati’s next coach if we’re reading the tea leaves. I think most Bengals fans would be pleased with any of the three, though Monken is who’s actually been calling great offenses in Tampa Bay, wheres Bieniemy (Andy Reid) and Taylor (Sean McVay) have essentially played second fiddle in their offenses’ play-calling.

Monken also appears to be the only legitimate candidate for another NFL team (Jets). There hasn’t been much buzz around Bieniemy and Taylor with other teams.

Of course, ‘leaning toward’ doesn’t mean ‘will hire,’ but between odd silence around the search coupled with the report Cincinnati was already looking at its next offensive coordinator, the tea leaves continue to suggest the next coach will be an offensive guy who wasn’t in Cincinnati last season.

That alone would be a big win for Bengaldom.