Before this season officially became another lost one for the Cincinnati Bengals, speculation was already growing regarding the relationship between the coaching staff and its players. Rarely do you hear multiple players express similar concerns, but Carlos Dunlap and John Ross III all but confirmed their discontent back in October, and only one of them got their wish and was traded away from the team.
According to Bengals insider Elise Jesse of AllBengals.com, many players are feeling exactly how Dunlap and Ross have felt about the coaching staff, and the staff isn’t making things much better.
Jesse stated that multiple sources describe the atmosphere in the locker room as a “college-level” environment, and while there is “very little” trust between the players and staff, most players are keeping their grievances to themselves in fear of losing playing time.
This might have to do with certain coaches not connecting at all with the players. The two biggest examples are defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo and offensive line coach Jim Turner.
Anarumo obviously butted heads with Dunlap, but that toxic behavior doesn’t appear to be exclusive to the now former Bengal:
Sources say defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is unapproachable. They add that he regularly uses abusive language and commonly calls players “dumb mother f---ers” and “dumb b----es”.
They say Anarumo has created an environment where communication and accountability are scarce. He often yells at one player for mistakes and chooses to ignore the mistakes of other players in his favor.
Turner’s indiscretions are no secret at this point. His character was exposed during his time with the Miami Dolphins for his role in Bullygate scandal. In addition to establishing a poor environment in the offensive line room, Turner also called offensive tackle Isaiah Prince a “thug” during a Zoom meeting back in the Spring. Prince was one of two Bengals to opt-out out of the season due to concerns about COVID-19.
As for the offensive line’s meeting room, there are low standards and a lack of accountability. There is little competition for starting spots on the offensive line because Turner has “his guys.” Michel Jordan is a prime example of that.
Anarumo and Turner are key assistants on the Bengals’ coaching staff, but both are here because they were chosen by head coach Zac Taylor. The second-year head coach has preached culture and accountability from the day he was hired, and neither principle seems like it’s being utilized in his locker room.
The most recent example came last Sunday, when team leader Joe Burrow went down with his season-ending injury and Taylor tried to rally the rest of the team after a deflating 20-9 loss. Apparently, players weren’t buying it.
“We see right through it,” a member of the team said.
We’re starting to see right through it as well.