It’s Valentine’s Day, and all the NFL teams have the key spots on their coaching staffs filled. This isn’t Major League Baseball free agency; things happen in a timely manner in the NFL.
Well, not all the spots are filled. The Cincinnati Bengals don’t have a defensive coordinator. And it’s getting a little weird.
The latest setback is that University of Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said no to the Bengals, according to Harrison Tenzer of picksticcs.com and confirmed by others. Then the New Orleans Saints blocked the Bengals from interviewing secondary coach Aaron Glenn, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
We’re not yet at Bryce Harper/Manny Machado levels of waiting around, but the Bengals don’t have a defensive coordinator a couple weeks before the scouting combine kicks off.
Bengals haven’t landed a defensive coordinator yet
The search for a defensive coordinator is becoming an important issue for new coach Zac Taylor.
According to Fletcher Page of Cincinnati.com, Jack Del Rio wanted the job but Taylor didn’t want him. Cincinnati tried to get Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, a Hail Mary ask, and that didn’t work. Dom Capers, fired by the Packers after years of criticism from the fanbase, was rumored to be a possibility but Cincinnati.com said “both sides mutually realized they weren’t fit for each other.” Vance Joseph, who apparently would have been a possibility, took the defensive coordinator job with the Arizona Cardinals.
And then Grantham said no to stay at Florida. Not that it’s outlandish to turn down an NFL job to stay in college (and he’s certainly paid handsomely by Florida, with a new extension paying him $1.8 million per year), but it’s a bit unusual. Cincinnati.com’s story said a factor in the decision was that “Grantham was concerned about the Bengals’ aging defensive line and lack of linebackers.” That’s not ideal.
Bengals still have candidates
It’s not like the Bengals are at the end of the line. They’ll find someone to run their defense.
Cincinnati.com said former Falcons coordinator Marquand Manuel and Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant are possibilities now that Grantham has said no. They might not have been Taylor’s first choices, but second choices often work out just fine.
It’s just a strange look. The Bengals were the last team to land a head coach, landing on Rams quarterbacks coach Taylor, who has a fairly light resume but did work with Sean McVay. The Bengals are hoping Taylor can replicate what McVay has done with Los Angeles.
This offseason hasn’t gone tremendously smoothly yet. But at some point the Bengals will land a defensive coordinator. Hopefully sometime soon.
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