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Was Nick Eason the Bengals’ scapegoat on defense?

The d-line coach was replaced with Marion Hobby. But, really, can the defense’s problems be attributed to Eason?

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Bengals recently hired Marion Hobby to be their d-line coach. And it was a good hire. But, after another bad year by the defense, we still don’t know why we’re supposed to believe firing Nick Eason will fix everything.

Cincinnati’s defensive strength was in the secondary, headed by Jessie Bates having the best performance by a safety on the year. The linebackers were inconsistent contributors, but that position saw a lot of upheaval, including three rookies being added.

It was the defensive line that was the real disappointment. The issues, however, were not necessarily about development. Longtime veterans Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins were non-factors, even though they were two of the team’s highest players. And, as Dunlap’s performance for the Seattle Seahawks has shown, these guys did not completely lose their talent overnight.

So what happened? Well, it’s not that hard to figure out that those two were not happy with how they were being used. According to a report by Tyler Dragon, neither vet liked the direction of the defense. Dunlap made it very clear he didn’t like being turned into a specialist and got traded. And Dragon reported that it’s very unlikely that Atkins will be back next year.

Let’s also not forget that linebackers coach Al Golden was also reportedly handling third down / rush packages.

Does any of that tell you the problem is the d-line coach? Sounds far more like a defensive coordinator issue, if you ask me. But it appears that Zac Taylor is comfortable with Lou Anarumo and wanted to do just enough to make it seem that things will change in 2021.

John Sheeran and I discuss the addition of Hobby and ask whether Eason was turned into a scapegoat in the video below:

You can also listen on iTunes and using the player below: