At this point it feels like we’re just beating a dead horse with all of the Hue Jackson rumors. Personally, I think there’s about a 10-15% chance Hue Jackson is named the 10th head coach in Bengals history. If the season ticket holders weren’t dropping faster than bottles of hair bleach in Guy Fieri’s bathroom, I would’ve set it at a 50/50 scenario. Mike Brown likes familiarity, so Hue Jackson and Vance Joseph (former Bengals DB coach) would be “logical” choices for the next head coach, but Mike Brown is smart enough to see how much the coaching decision could hit his wallet if it doesn’t win back the fan base.
Normally I’d say an owner making a decision to appease the fan base is a terrible thing, but in this case it’s a necessity. The stadium has been pathetically empty for the last few seasons to the point where I feel like a Hue Jackson hiring would make Paul Brown Stadium a 25% full venue on Sundays except twice a year when they play the Browns and Steelers.
If you’re planning on hiring a Marvin Lewis re-tread in Vance Joseph or Hue Jackson, why not just keep Marvin? I’m not saying either of these coaches are Marvin clones, but I’d put Marvin far above Hue in the all-time coach rankings. Vance Joseph didn’t really get a fair shake in Denver, but he didn’t exactly instill confidence in fans that he wouldn’t terribly mismanage the clock and personnel decisions much like Marvin did over the years. With Marvin, at least we knew what we were getting. We were going to bounce back and forth between 6-10 and 10-6 without the hopes of a playoff win. I’d take that over being the laughing stock of the league by hiring Hue Jackson, and that’s saying a lot because I was as over Marvin Lewis as a human being can be over someone.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. The Bengals have been reported to have requested an interview with Josh McDaniels and have scheduled interviews with Zac Taylor and Eric Bieniemy. Any of these three would be HUGE, not only for the organization but for the fan base. Josh McDaniels seems like a long shot and honestly, he’d be an idiot to come here unless he was just looking for a place where he’d get 15 years of job security without ownership barking at him for results. If we’re looking at Eric Bieniemy and Zac Taylor, it’s a toss-up for me. I love the idea of a Sean McVay protege (even though Zac is three years older) in Cincinnati and he seems like the most likely of the three to land in Cincinnati among all of the places they’re interviewing. He’s young, hungry, and has been a QB coach in one of the most prolific offensive teams in the NFL for the last two seasons. Not to mention, he spent a year as a Cincinnati Bearcats assistant in 2016. Maybe he still has an apartment in Clifton he’s been subletting to grad students. Seems likely.
If you’re looking to Twitter for any indication, Eric Bieniemy would make the fans the happiest. He’s a former Bengals running back and current offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs after being their running backs coach since 2013. I could see his former relationship with the Bengals affecting his decision in two ways. First, I could see him wanting to come back and give the fans a winner after playing through the miserable years of the franchise and knowing how hungry the city is for a true contender. On the other hand, I could see him wanting to stay the hell way from this toxic franchise that has sucked the soul out of so many people over the years. I can’t read his mind; we don’t have that technology yet. But if I were a betting man, I would expect him to find greener pastures in other cities (possibly New York with the Jets).
The Bengals coaching situation is a rare combination of trying to find a sucker dumb enough to want to coach here and someone good enough to continue building what Marvin had going for a large portion of his tenure. Unfortunately, I think Hue fits one side of that combination, but not the one I’d prefer. Vance Joseph may be unfairly criticized for being a Marvin disciple, and if things ended on a higher note with Marvin, maybe things would be different. The Bengals need a fresh start and organizational refresh. I’m just not sold on the idea that Hue or Vance provide that.
Here’s to hoping Hue gets snatched up by Minnesota to be their offensive coordinator before the Bengals have a decision for him. This is the only way I’ll be able to sleep at night until I see the press conference with someone other than Hue Jackson sitting next to Mike Brown.Follow @BennyMacBlog