The Cincinnati Bengals already have interviewed more candidates than their last coaching search when Marvin Lewis was hired in 2003, according to the team website, and they reportedly aren’t done looking yet.
Cincinnati is one of eight teams looking for a new head coach after Lewis and the Bengals mutually parted ways Dec. 31 following a 6-10 finish to the 2018 season.
According to national media reports, the Bengals already have interviewed or at least scheduled interviews with eight candidates. When Lewis was hired away from his position as Washington Redskins defensive coordinator 16 years ago, the team interviewed four other coaches and the process took 16 days, according to Bengals.com.
In-house candidates that reportedly were interviewed last week include special assistant and former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
Jackson, 53, has served various roles with the Bengals over eight seasons, including as offensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015 before becoming Cleveland’s head coach. He was 3-36-1 when the Browns fired him midseason. Simmons, 45, has spent the past 16 years on the Bengals’ staff, including the last six as special teams coordinator, but has coached in the NFL since 1998. Lazor joined the Bengals’ staff as quarterbacks coach in 2016 and was promoted to offensive coordinator two games into the 2017 season. He has coached in the league since 2003.
The Bengals also interviewed former Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph, Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Rams pass game coordinator Shane Waldron and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy last week and were scheduled to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken on Monday.
Among those candidates only Waldron and Monken don’t have any known previous connections to Cincinnati.
Joseph, who has been coaching in the league since 2005, was the Bengals’ defensive backs coach in 2014 and 2015 before becoming the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator the following year and taking over as the Broncos head coach in 2017. The 46-year-old was fired Dec. 31 after a 6-10 finish and 11-21 record over two seasons but had success as a defensive coordinator for Miami, playing a key role in the Dolphins returning to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. Joseph guided a Miami defense that ranked fourth in the NFL on third downs (36.2 percent) and forced the sixth-most negative plays (107).
Bienemy, 49, was a running back for the Bengals from 1995 to 1998 as part of his nine-year NFL playing career. He began his coaching career at the University of Colorado in 2001 and earned his first NFL coaching job as running backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings from 2006 to 2010. He went back to Colorado as offensive coordinator in 2011-12 before the Kansas City Chiefs hired him in 2013 as their running backs coach, a position he held until this season when he was promoted to offensive coordinator.
Chiefs first-year starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes ranked second in the league with 318.6 passing yards per game and led the league with 50 touchdowns. Kansas City scored an NFL-leading 35.3 points per game during the regular season. The Chiefs play the Colts in an AFC divisional playoff game Saturday.
Taylor, 35, spent the 2016 college football season in the Queen City as the Cincinnati Bearcats’ offensive coordinator during Tommy Tuberville’s final year. He became the Rams’ assistant wide receivers coach in 2017 before moving to quarterbacks coach this season, helping an offense that ranked second in total yards and points. Quarterback Jared Goff ranked fourth in passing with 293.0 yards per game.
The NFC No. 2-seeded Rams host the Cowboys in divisional playoffs Saturday. Taylor also spent the 2012 through 2015 seasons as an assistant/offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.
Waldron, 39, began his NFL coaching career as a football operations assistant for the New England Patriots in 2002. He followed Charlie Weis to Notre Dame, where he spent the 2005 to 2009 seasons. After stints with the United Football League’s Hartford Colonials, UMass and Washington Redskins, Waldron became the Rams tight ends coach in 2017. He took over as passing game coordinator this year after Matt LaFleur left to become the Titans’ offensive coordinator.
Monken, 52, has mostly coached in college during his 30-year career. His first NFL job was as wide receivers coach for the Jaguars from 2007 to 2010. After that, he returned to the college ranks as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State for two seasons and the head coach at Southern Mississippi for three years. He became Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator in 2016 when recently fired Dirk Koetter took over as head coach.
The Bengals also requested interviews from Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak but McDaniels turned them down and the Broncos denied their inquiry, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.