Multiple reports indicated that Jim Turner would be relieved of his duties coaching the offensive line, but nothing has been made official quite yet.
Last Saturday, Sports Illustrated’s Elise Jesse reported that Turner—along with defensive line coach Nick Eason, defensive assistant Gerald Chatman, and wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell—would be let go, even if head coach Zac Taylor is retained.
Jesse is a top-notch journalist who has broken a number of the biggest stories on the Bengals. She appeared on our show late November to talk about the toxic culture of the team:
Jesse’s report was confirmed by ESPN’s Ben Baby and then no other than Dave Lapham came out and even started talking about Scott Peters, Bill Callahan’s assistant with the Cleveland Browns, as a potential replacement.
Then, on Thursday, Ian Rapoport confirmed that Turner and Bicknell will be gone. Soon after, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Bengals have an interview set with Detroit Lions’ offensive line coach Hank Fraley.
Lions OL coach Hank Fraley is expected to interview tomorrow for the OL job. He did a really good job with the Lions this season https://t.co/q0Su0dhg0A— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 7, 2021
Fraley has spent the last three seasons with the Lions, though the 2020 season was his first as the o-line coach. From 2018-2019, he was the team’s assistant o-line coach.
Before coming to Detroit, Fraley spent time with another NFC North team and in the college ranks. Fraley was the assistant o-line coach for the Minnesota Vikings from 2014-2016 as a part of head coach Mike Zimmer’s original staff. Fraley then became the o-line coach for UCLA in 2017 before going back to the NFL.
Since the Lions are undergoing a change at head coach, every assistant has an opportunity to move on. Fraley helped develop Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow, who was almost a Bengal himself, into one of the very best players at his position. The Lions improved in pass blocking and run blocking during Fraley’s first year when he really only had Ragnow and left tackle Taylor Decker to work with.
PFF ranked the Lions 9th in pass blocking and 16th in run blocking.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) January 7, 2021
ESPN had the Lions 20th in pass block win rate and 14th in run block win rate. https://t.co/pODNdAKloM
Regardless if Fraley takes the job, all indications are that Turner is done, though the team has not made anything official quite yet. This would be a big deal for Taylor for two reasons.
For starters, Taylor has made it very clear that he will be the one to decide who stays and who goes. Just look at how matter-of-factly he states that staff changes will be his decision:
Man this Zac Taylor clip is SOOOO awkward when he says staff decisions are his decision. Also makes me scared for the incoming assistants. pic.twitter.com/6VxUQQlgbw— Kyle (@bengalsjunkie) January 5, 2021
And secondly, Taylor and Turner are family. Turner is the cousin of Taylor’s father-in-law, Mike Sherman. And the two may be even closer than that.
Just imagine how it will play out. Taylor shows up to Thanksgiving dinner. Turner, who is now unemployed and spends his days on his front porch shouting obscenities at passersby, spots Taylor, gets him in a headlock, and later steals his plate. The point is, Taylor will have to live with this for decades.
John Sheeran and I discuss the firing of Turner and potential replacements in the video below:
You can also listen on iTunes and using the player below: