If there is one thing that distinguishes one Ohio team from the other, it is continuity. The Cleveland Browns regularly experience a lot of turnover, not just on their player roster, but among their coaching staff, and in their front office. They just let go of five coaches in their first year with the team.
The Cincinnati Bengals, on the other hand, often rely upon stability, with Marvin Lewis being among the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL. And generally speaking, especially in recent years, the primary way they part with their coaches is when they receive promotions from other teams.
As a matter of fact, with the Broncos yesterday reaching an agreement with Vance Joseph to become their new head coach, Lewis now has four former coaches under his umbrella who have moved up to the head-coaching ranks, joining Hue Jackson—just finishing his first season with Cleveland—Jay Gruden, and Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer was the Bengals’ defensive coordinator for several years before landing the head-coaching job with the Vikings. Paul Guenther took over for Zimmer after serving as an assistant coach with the team since 2005.
And the Bengals want to make sure he stays there. Gruden and Washington contacted the team about Guenther joining his staff to serve in the same role as defensive coordinator, but the organization denied the team permission to interview him.
That is nothing new for Cincinnati. Back in 2014, when Joseph was still on the staff as an assistant coach, the Broncos wanted to interview him for the defensive coordinator job. That interview request was denied. Last year, however, he was given the opportunity to interview and became the defensive coordinator under Zimmer’s Vikings, and now has joined the Broncos’ staff as head coach.
Even when they leave the nest, apparently, the Bengals still stay together. Joseph coached under Zimmer last year, as he previously did as the secondary coach to Zimmer’s defensive coordinator role. Gruden was hoping to bring in Guenther to work with him again.
The Bengals have lost a number of coaches in recent years to promotions from other organizations, and this is even as a team that denies interview requests more frequently than most. Perhaps that is partly why they value continuity so much. There were even rumors that there was a succession plan in place for Jackson to take over for Lewis in a couple years before he took the Browns job.