The future needs change. Marvin Lewis did great things for a stretch in Cincinnati. He turned them from the laughing stock of the 90s into a respectable franchise that had two legit chances at Super Bowl runs in 2005 & 2015. Starting QB injuries derailed both chances and they never got back to that level. The voice of the team needs to change as it has become stale. The NFL has surpassed Marvin and his coaching style. They must go with an external hire, as the team needs a big change.
There are two decent candidates internally in Paul Guenther and Darren Simmons but neither of these options will catapult this team to the next level they need. The risk of going external is if this will cause Mike Brown to get even more involved again. Marvin Lewis was able to somewhat reduce Mike Brown’s thumbprint on the team. It was still evident at times that Mike was still too involved and many of those decisions came back to really hurt the team.
An external offensive minded coach is an absolute necessity for the next hire. I would like this team to look in this draft for a long-term QB replacement/upgrade and these HC candidates reflect that desire. I believe there are five candidates that would be great hires for this team.
- Josh McDaniels – This is the only coach on my list that has been a head coach before. I really want a fresh first time coach, but McDaniels is too good to not consider. He made mistakes in Denver and I think he has learned from those mistakes. He has been very picky about his next opportunity as this is likely his last chance if he fails. A focused McDaniels that has not jumped at the first opportunity bodes well for a coach who has matured. He has been very successful as an OC in NE. Yes, he has Tom Brady but not all OCs have succeeded with future HOF QBs. I really like his ability to create mismatches for his offensive weapons and actually use them. This has not existed in Cincinnati and they have talent (Mixon, Gio, Ross) that can be used very successfully. McDaniels is from Ohio and his dad was a legendary coach in Ohio so maybe he can be convinced to come here even with the Mike Brown handicap.
- John DeFilippo – He is a former small college QB and is a young coach (39 y/o) that has a lot of experience in the NFL. He has worked in the NFL for NYG, Raiders, Jets, Browns and Eagles. He also had summer intern stints with the Panthers and Colts while in college. Wentz has grown a lot since the draft and had the Eagles looking like a top Super Bowl contender. As I mentioned above, I would like the Bengals to look to draft the Bengals future QB this year as we have likely seen the Dalton ceiling. He also happens to be an Ohio native as well.
- Matt Nagy – Nagy is another former small college QB and 39 year old coach. He has only been on Andy Reid’s staffs in Philadelphia and now KC. He recently made the news as play calling duties switched from Andy Reid to Nagy and the offense was jumpstarted after struggling for weeks. KC does not have a star in their offense, but Nagy has found ways to feed their young, undersized playmakers (Tyreke Hill & Albert Wilson) even with the limitations of Alex Smith at QB. It was reported that Nagy had a big hand in KC moving up for Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is not a proven NFL QB but his future looked very bright during the preseason.
- Jim Bob Cooter – He has the best name in all of sports and that is good enough for me. He also was a former QB, backup at Tennessee, and has experience with multiple NFL teams. He is a very young coach at just 33 years old. He has worked for the Colts, Chiefs, Broncos and Lions. The Denver Broncos brought him in after a recommendation by Peyton Manning. If Peyton thinks highly of a coach that says enough for me. Both Lions coordinators seem to be hot commodities heading into this offseason. The Lions lost Calvin Johnston to retirement after the 2015 season and Cooter kept that offense from free falling. Matthew Stafford has flaws but since Cooter took over Stafford has seen his completion percentage, YPA and QBR rise.
- Harold Goodwin – Bruce Arians runs a fun offense and his right hand man is Goodwin. Goodwin has worked with Arians in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and now Arizona. Prior to linking up with Arians, he also worked for the Bears. Goodwin is a former offensive lineman at Michigan and is just 44 years old. The Bengals OL is another area that needs some coaching love. As well as providing a new voice to the team it would provide a new voice to the OL which is in need after 2.5 decades of Paul Alexander and the recent failures to find OL talent in the draft. Goodwin has been taking over a larger portion of the play calling duties from Arians recently. Like Arians, Goodwin is a big fan of stretching the field and airing it out. With talents like AJ Green and John Ross and possibly a new QB, this would be an exciting offense to run here.
Who would you like to see as the next HC?