After a 2-14 season, the largest coaching staff in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals may not look the same next season.
17 of the 24 coaches on staff were hired last offseason, and it’s safe to say that most, if not all, of those coaches will be back for a second year. The seven assistants left over from the Marvin Lewis era may not be as safe, especially when considering how some respective units underperformed in 2019. This doesn’t completely exclude any coach that’s only been here for a year though.
If there’s going to be any changes to Zac Taylor’s extensive staff, these are the names that could be on the hot seat.
Assistants hired before Zac Taylor
Alex Van Pelt — Quarterbacks coach
With Taylor at head coach and Brian Callahan at offensive coordinator, the Bengals had three coaches with experience as a quarterback coach on staff. Van Pelt was here for Lewis’ last season in 2018 and was kept on to continue helping Andy Dalton and also Ryan Finley. Not only was this Dalton’s worst season as a pro, Finley looked horridly ill-prepared in his first three games as a pro.
Van Pelt’s resume is still a solid one, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them go in another direction here.
Bob Bicknell — Wide Receivers Coach
Not having A.J. Green for the entire year stung for the receivers room. Injuries to John Ross III and then Auden Tate also took away options for the unit, but there’s still a sense of dissatisfaction with the inconsistencies Tyler Boyd and Alex Erickson went through this year. Neither Damion Willis nor Stanley Morgan carried their preseason momentum into the regular season as well.
Putting all of this on Bicknell isn’t fair, but as another guy that was here before Taylor took over, his job going forward wasn’t exactly secured after 2019.
Daronte Jones — Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach
Everyone points to the linebackers when it comes to identifying the weaknesses of the Bengals’ defense, but the secondary had as rough of a time as any unit for Cincinnati. Jones was also hired in 2018 and has done a serviceable job with the cornerbacks and safeties coach Robert Livingston. Unfortunately, minimal growth out of both William Jackson III and Dre Kirkpatrick leave a lot more to be desired.
Jones also worked with Lou Anarumo back when both were in Miami, so this relationship probably isn’t over just yet. With noticeable change coming to the position, however, nothing can be written off just yet.
Assistants Hired by Zac Taylor
James Casey — Tight Ends Coach
The conservative Tyler Eifert plan looks great in hindsight and Casey can’t be held responsible for being the sole braintrust that decision. What can be put under Casey’s ledger are the underwhelming performances of both C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample. Both were more heavily relied on as run blockers in this offense and they did more damage to that part of the offense than anything.
The offense that Taylor was expected to run wasn’t one that heavily featured tight ends in the passing game, but needless to say, neither one was effective in that area either. Casey’s a young coach who is still getting his feet under him, but this was not a great start to his NFL coaching career.
Jim Turner — Offensive Line Coach
Turner probably isn’t on any hot seat, and we can use this as an opportunity to give him the credit he’s due. Things weren’t looking too great when the Cordy Glenn saga was at its low point and the offensive line was the pit of despair it had the potential of being. In conjunction with Taylor and Callahan, Turner helped mold the unit into the best version of itself, even if it still wasn’t relatively good compared to the league average.
Still, this is a franchise that has gone through three offensive line coaches in as many years and the one they were reportedly eyeing last year, Bill Callahan, is now available. Turner is likely to stay on, provided they don’t go after Callahan to replace him, which is still possible at this point.