Cincinnati Bengals Rumors & News

Bengals Notes: Lewis, Jackson, Guenther

While Marvin Lewis is denying a report that a decision has been made on his future as Bengals head coach, he hasn’t necessarily said the core of the report — that he won’t return to Cincinnati in 2018 — is incorrect. If he does move on, Browns head coach Hue Jackson could potentially be in the running to replace Lewis, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Of course, Cleveland has indicated Jackson will be retained for next season, but those plans are always subject to change. Jackson, formerly the Bengals’ offensive coordinator, was approached regarding a Cincinnati succession plan in 2016, but because no such deal could be arranged, he bolted for the Browns job.

Here’s more from the AFC North, with a focus on the Bengals and Browns:

  • Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is considered a candidate to become Bengals head coach in 2018, but if he’s not promoted, Guenther could end up as the Redskins‘ DC next year, tweets Michael Lombardi of the Ringer. Washington head coach Jay Gruden (who worked with Guenther in Cincinnati) wanted to hire Guenther as his defensive coordinator a season ago, but the Bengals would not release his contract. Cincinnati has finished 14th, 10, and 17th in defensive DVOA in thee full seasons under Guenther, and ranked 19th heading into Week 15.

Marvin Lewis To Leave Bengals After 2017?

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is expected to leave the team after this season to “pursue opportunities elsewhere,” per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Following today’s loss to the Vikings, however, Lewis denied the report and stated he’s made no decisions about his future, per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).

Marvin Lewis (Vertical)

Lewis is the second-longest-tenured head coach in the league, behind only Bill Belichick of the Patriots. He was a linebackers coach in the collegiate ranks and for the Steelers before becoming the defensive coordinator of the expansion Ravens in 1996. He rose to prominence as an architect of the record-setting 2000 Ravens defense that helped capture Super Bowl XXXV and then served as the defensive coordinator/assistant head coach for the Redskins in 2002. He was hired by Cincinnati in 2003, when the Bengals were a laughingstock, and he restored them to relevance. He has posted a 123-111-3 regular season record and has guided the Bengals to four division titles. Despite his successes, however, his head coaching resume is marred by his 0-7 career playoff record, which has hung over his head especially heavily in recent seasons.

Nonetheless, there is expected to be a plethora of head coaching jobs available this offseason (even more than usual), and Schefter reports that the 59-year-old Lewis would be on the short list for a number of those positions. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though, tweets that Lewis plans to move to a front office role. Schefter does suggest that a front office or coaching adviser job is a possibility, but only if a head coaching job does not materialize.

As for the Bengals, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Lewis’ decision came as a surprise to the team. And, as most, if not all, of the team’s assistant coaches are also on expiring contracts — some of whom are unhappy with the way they have been treated financially — Schefter suggests that Cincinnati is likely to undergo a major coaching overhaul.

Nonetheless, Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network suggest that the Bengals could opt to replace Lewis with an internal candidate like current DC Paul Guenther or special teams coach Darrin Simmons (Twitter links). But Michael Lombardi of The Ringer tweets that the Bengals’ head coaching job is highly desirable, so the team will not be hurting for quality candidates.

The Bengals do not have a comment on the situation at the moment.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Sign OL J.J. Dielman Off Bengals’ Practice Squad

The Bengals have again seen one of their 2017 draft picks poached from their practice squad. Months after the Eagles added Jake Elliott, this time a rookie offensive lineman will travel elsewhere.

J.J. Dielman will now take Trevor Siemian‘s place on the Broncos’ active roster, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com categorizing this move (on Twitter) as a “present and future decision.”

Like Elliott, Dielman was a fifth-round pick. The Rams claimed Dielman off waivers following the preseason but waived him later in September, leading to the Utah product’s three-month stay on Cincinnati’s practice squad. Prior to his Bengals selection, Dielman played guard alongside current Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles with the Utes. The Bengals did not make a move to promote Dielman in an effort to prevent this transaction. Dielman is listed as a guard but played right tackle and center over the past three seasons in Salt Lake City.

The Broncos placed Ronald Leary on IR this week and started Connor McGovern in that spot. McGovern and Max Garcia, a 2015 fourth-round pick, were drafted to play in Gary Kubiak‘s system. And the Broncos have been linked to Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, a first-round prospect.

So, guard appears to be a place with which the franchise is willing to tinker.

Bengals Place OL T.J. Johnson On IR

T.J. Johnson‘s season has come to an end. The Bengals placed the offensive lineman on the injured reserve today, reports Jim Owczarski of The Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). The 27-year-old was suddenly mentioned on the injury report late last night with a pectoral ailment. The team has promoted running back Jarveon Williams from the practice squad to take the open roster spot.

T.J. JohnsonJohnson has been a dependable reserve lineman for the Bengals over the past three-plus seasons, as he’s only started five of his 45 career games. The 27-year-old, who is technically labeled as a center, has been relatively productive in 13 games this season, as Pro Football Focus ranked him 46th among 77 eligible offensive guards. With Johnson sidelined for the rest of the season, the Bengals will likely turn to Eric WinstonAlex Redmond, and Christian Westerman for more reserve reps.

Williams, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Texas at San Antonio, has spent the entire season on Cincinnati’s practice squad. His promotion could be an indication that Joe Mixon won’t be ready to go for tomorrow’s game against the Vikings. In that case, Williams would slide in behind Giovani Bernard and Brian Hill on the depth chart.

Bengals Place LB Kevin Minter On IR

The Bengals placed linebacker Kevin Minter on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. To take his place, they have promoted fellow ‘backer Brandon Bell from the practice squad. Kevin Minter (vertical)

Minter signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the Bengals in free agency this past spring. The Bengals were willing to give Minter a longer deal, but Minter wanted the opportunity to hit the 2018 free agent market. Unfortunately, he did not give himself a great platform for the open market. Injuries limited Minter to just nine games this year and his 32 tackles were the lowest of any of his seasons as an on-field regular.

Before coming to Cincinnati, Minter spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cardinals. He started all 32 regular season games for Arizona in 2015 and 2016 and played the most snaps (1,003) of any Cardinals linebacker last year. In that time, he racked up 81 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and four passes defensed while grading as the league’s No. 25 linebacker, per Pro Football Focus.

Minter will miss the Bengals’ final three games against the Vikings, Lions, and Ravens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/13/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: CB Marcus Sayles

Oakland Raiders

  • Signed: DE Joby Saint Fleur

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Bengals Meet With Rey Maualuga

Linebacker Rey Maualuga visited the Bengals on Wednesday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Maualuga, of course, offers familiarity with the Bengals system and he could be an easy plug-in for the team’s injury-ravaged LB group. Rey Maualuge (Vertical)

The status of outside linebackers Nick Vigil (hamstring) and Vontaze Burfict (concussion) is up in the air as the Bengals get set for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. Rookies Carl Lawson and Jordan Evans will see an increase in playing time, but the presence of a vet like Maualuga would help solidify the team’s pass rush.

Maualuga joined the Dolphins in the summer, but he found himself without a job after he was arrested for battery at a nightclub in November. Prior to that incident, the linebacker made four starts for the Dolphins and played in six games.

The Bengals are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but they’re virtually out of the running. However, Maualuga can get himself back in the NFL conversation with a successful three-game audition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/12/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/17

Today’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Designated to return from injured reserve: QB Jeff Driskel

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

  • Signed off Chiefs‘ practice squad: OL Damien Mama

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Promoted to active roster: LB Riley Bullough
  • Waived: CB Deji Olatoye

Bengals Discussed Moving John Ross To CB

Before he landed on IR, the Bengals spoke with first-round pick John Ross about the possibility of moving to cornerback, Mike Florio of PFT hears. It’s not clear how serious the Bengals were about a position change or why they were thinking about it in the first place. One source speculated that it was a move to help solidify the team’s depth at cornerback and Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears the same thing. But, another suggested to Florio that the proposed switch had to do with Ross’ overall toughness.