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The CJ Roundtable: Talking Bengals Assistant Coaches

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The crew at Cincy Jungle engages in a debate on who is the best Bengals assistant coach.

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Over the years, the Cincy Jungle crew has engaged in side discussions about the Bengals between our writing assignments. Every once in a while, our schedules actually mesh and we shoot the bull about a topic that interests us while joined by a digital atmosphere. Since we are narcissistic know-it-alls, we like to make some of these discussions into posts for the site for reader enjoyment.

Recently, Anthony Cosenza, Josh Kirkendall, Jason Marcum, Mickey Mentzer and Nick Seuberling all discussed the team's assistant coaches. Enjoy.

AC: Who do you all think is the best Bengals assistant coach?

JK: Bill Walsh.

AC: I meant current.

JK: I'll say Jay Hayes.

AC: That's who I would go with. We actually agree!

JK: No we don't.

AC: Ah. I see what you did there. Clever, clever.

MM: Darrin Simmons.

JK: I think Simmons will go the John Harbaugh route one day...

MM: Bengals Kickers have been pretty good, Punter is outstanding and Clark Harris has been perfect (knock on wood.)

NS: Don't forget the gunner.

AC: Yeah. It's been a solid unit for some time now.

NS: That's what she said.

AC: A lot of fans will immediately say Vance Joseph, but I want to see another year. And, yes Nick. Yes, she did.

JK: What's Vance Joseph ever done? Coach a bunch of high draft picks and high-priced talents?

AC: True. But, if you look how the defense eroded last year, especially up front with zero pass rush, the nod has to be given to he and Mark Carrier for having the secondary basically carry the defensive unit all year. And, someone has to get production out of those "high draft picks" and "high-priced guys", right?

MM:I Question, why it seems the first rounders struggle to get on the field, he has that mark against him in my book

AC: Yeah. That bugs. That might be a Marvin thing though. I don't know.

JM: George loka was a fifth-round pick.

MM: True, he tends to be loyal to the vets

JK: Loyal would be an understatement.

AC: Iloka might end up being the best player in the secondary this year.

MM: I stick with Simmons, he has been Marvin's guy the whole time and the special teams is always a strong part of this squad

JK: I'm OK with Simmons but there was the whole '09 PAT debacle... what a nightmare.

AC: Lord. Do you remember what the special teams looked like, pre-Marvin? With Travis Dorsch and the like. Oh man. Yeah. That was brutal.

JK: I was more nervous on PATs than anything.

AC: Haha so was I. I seriously think it was like half a dozen or so snaps that were all over the place.

MM: True, but I could also argue that Simmons gets the scraps. As starters get injured, he loses his best guys. Take Vincent Rey for example. He was one of the top tacklers on special teams, then when Burfict goes down he gets torn from the unit. Simmons has to adjust.

AC: Hm. That's a good point.

JK: All that being said, I think that '15 is the year for Kyle Caskey. There isn't a bigger emphasis on offense than Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

MM: Couldn't you make the same argument about top draft picks?

JK: Very much so. We'll see how good he is based on how they perform, compared to last year.

MM: I think (as do many) it will be a strength of this team.

AC: I think that that group carries the team (pardon the pun) this year. All can run well, can catch. If they're healthy and have the right game plan of usage, they can be scary good.I believe that Caskey will be key to that group's development and their potential dominance this year. I mean, look at how good Jeremy Hill was at the end of the year.

JK: And I think the proof for Vance Joseph will depend more on Dre Kirkpatrick's and Darqueze Dennard's development.

MM: Yes, that is the story for '15 we should all hope for.

AC: Totally agree on Joseph.

MM: We know the running game will be good, if the young corners play well, this team could be scary

JK: Truth be told, the Bengals have two young coaches that are on their way to become eventual coordinators. A lot of fans will immediately say Vance Joseph, but I want to see another year.

AC: Yeah. I know he's had his share of misses and criticism, but Paul Alexander deserves credit. The line is really good as it is currently comprised

JK: Alexander gets a ton of hate.

AC: I heard that J.J. Watt was the NFL Network's No. 1 player and I began thinking about how he was a total non-factor in last year's game. In a season that he had 20 sacks and over 50 quarterback hits.

MM: Yes, last year. Not so hidden in the playoffs against the Bengals

JK: Yet Alexander developed Richie Braham, Willie Anderson, Eric Steinbach, Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, grew Clint Boling, etc.. In a game that the team had Marshall freaking Newhouse out there.

JK: Andy Dalton was also taking one-step drops. Lol.

AC: Yeah, I know, Mickey. But, they've become a dominant group since then.

MM: True, I like what Alexander has done. Especially when faced with injuries. I just think Simmons has a stronger resume.

JK: Any love for James Urban? I'm thinking Marvin Jones and Andrew Hawkins to start.

AC: Eh, yeah. But with the injuries last season, we saw the lack of development from other young guys.

MM: Kind of the story for a while.

JK: Well, young is a perspective. Dane Sanzenbacher, Brandon Tate aren't really that useful to begin with.

AC: Like Rex Burkhead was the preferred receiver in the playoffs before Cobi Hamilton and others you mentioned. If guys like James Wright and Mario Alford impress this year, I'll give him more love.

JK: Hamilton's brick hands are useful for fighting villains in a comic book, but that's it. (That was a brilliant quote) (I'm brilliant) (I'm the godfather)

AC: I feel like the wide receivers coach has had a cush job since Marvin arrived. Always had a great No. 1 on the roster.

MM: This is true.

JK: It's not like they've been without help though. Hue helped develop Houshmanzadeh from a fumbling machine on special teams to being a bonafide No. 2. Bring along Chris Henry and that was an amazing group. Marvin Jones goes from a No. 5 to a touchdown machine; though the argument is hurt that Sanu struggles to get open at times. Plus what happened with Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell. What a waste of a draft that was. OK, forget wide receiver coaches.

MM: Soooooo.... Simmons?

JK: I think Jay Hayes has a legitimate claim.

AC: That's mine for sure. For now. I think Caskey, Simmons and Urban all have something to say about it through 2015 though.

JK: That's not to take away from Darrin Simmons though.

MM: I could entertain Hayes.

JK: Like a comedy routine?

MM: Thinking about Atkins as a 4th rounder and Dunlap a 3rd

JK: Close.

AC: "I just flew in from Chicago and boy are my arms tired!"

JK: "A horse walked into a bar and the bartender asked, 'why the long face'"

AC: Is there one first round defensive lineman on the roster?

NS: No.

JK: The argument against Hayes could be Devon Still and Brandon Thompson development... and there's Domata Peko.

MM: Loyalty.

AC: 2s: Dunlap, Hunt, Still. 3s: Johnson, Clarke, Hardison, Thomason 4s: Atkins, Peko...

JK: Still is understandable and Thompson is buried behind Peko for the time being.

JM: Pat Sims doing way better in Oakland when he left. At least for one year.

AC: I always thought he was so underappreciated here. Their run defense was so much stronger with him.

JK: Ken Zampese -- two quarterbacks, four pro bowls. Just saying.

AC:, the Bengals have a pretty good coaching staff.

JK: Eh, it's okay. :D