The Cincinnati Bengals may have managed to retain their long-tenured head coach, Marvin Lewis, but they will soon be in the market for another defensive coordinator—not that that is a new phenomenon. In fact, Cincinnati has been one of the most frequent sources to find first-time head coaches over the past decade.
But that is not what is happening here. Paul Guenther, who has served as the team’s defensive coordinator for the past four seasons since replacing Mike Zimmer, now the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, is joining Jon Gruden’s staff in the same capacity with the Oakland Raiders.
Guenther has been with the organization for some time, initially coming over from Washington in 2005, where he was an assistant coach in a variety of roles, most recently responsible for the linebackers. The 46-year-old is perhaps the most well-respected coach on their staff league-wide.
Lewis said when he signed a new two-year contract to stay on board as head coach that he wanted to retain Guenther on his staff. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, he was offered a contract—his deal was expiring—but he found the opportunity under Gruden more appealing.
He is one of at least three coaches reported to have been definitely linked to Gruden’s new staff, even though Gruden’s position will not be official until Tuesday. He is reportedly signing a 10-year contract with the soon-to-be Las Vegas-based team worth $100 million.
Greg Olson—not the tight end—is expected to become the Raiders’ new offensive coordinator. He currently serves as the Los Angeles Rams’ quarterbacks coach and is helping to guide his second-year pupil, Jared Goff, into the postseason.
Also named as a hire “already in place”, according to Ian Rapoport, is Rich Bisaccia, currently a member of the Dallas Cowboys. He is their special teams coach and is expected to have the same role on Gruden’s staff.
Personally, I enjoy Gruden as an analyst, though he is sometimes comical and overzealous, and his commentary during the Steelers-Bengals game regarding Vontaze Burfict and JuJu Smith-Schuster was nothing short of idiotic.
Even with that said, however, this has the feeling of a farce to it, but then again, it would be the Raiders to be front and center in it. Gruden has vast football knowledge, but there is a good reason for his firing so many years ago. To afford him a king’s ransom borders on absurd.
But it will help to draw attention to a franchise moving to a new home, where an NFL franchise has never been based before. The cynic in me believes that has played a not insignificant role in the decision to name Gruden as head coach, and to do so in the manner in which it has unfolded.