Who are early candidates to replace Jim Caldwell?
Though the Cincinnati Bengals will be heading into next season with new coordinators on offense and defense, they have smoothed the transition by staying within the coaching staff for both positions.
Hue Jackson already has made the move from running backs coach to replace Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator after Gruden was hired as head coach of the Washington Redskins. And now that Mike Zimmer is taking over as Minnesota Vikings head coach, the Bengals have picked linebackers coach Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator.
Zimmer had been the Bengals coordinator for six years, making the defense one of the NFL’s best. So the new man has a lot to live up to.
“How hard is it to follow Michael Jordan?” safety Chris Crocker told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s kind of that same feeling because the expectations are so high, specifically on the defensive side of the ball. The bar has been set so high. Cincinnati hadn’t been known for defense before Zim got there. Now, you can hang your hat on it. The next guy has got a heck of a challenge.”
Zimmer had been mentioned for head coaching positions previously before finally getting his chance in Minnesota.
“This offseason I felt like, man, it’s got to happen or it’s never going to happen,” Crocker said. “… At some point, everyone wants that opportunity. If you don’t get it, everybody gets a little older. The one thing I can say is Zim was happy where he was going and where he was at. But he wanted that opportunity. It was rightly deserved.”