Bengals Reportedly Targeting Jack Del Rio To Lead Defense

Jack Del Rio is a name that commands a degree of respect for his ability to command a defense, finding more success as a defensive coordinator than he had as a head coach in separate stints. His first coordinating job game with the Carolina Panthers in 2002 and he took a team that allowed 25.6 points per game in 2001 and turned it into one that allowed only 18.9, fifth-best that year.

He also helped put together a Denver Broncos defense that in 2015, the year after he left to take a head coaching job with the Oakland Raiders, would lead that franchise to its third Super Bowl title. While he had a few good years as a head coach, turning the Raiders into a winning team again in 2016, he is among those that I would say are better suited for coordinating.

That is what the Cincinnati Bengals are reportedly thinking, as they are said to be targeting him to take over as defensive coordinator for the team in 2019. The Bengals recently parted ways with Head Coach Marvin Lewis, who also served as their interim defensive coordinator in the second half of last season after they fired Teryl Austin during the year.

The Bengals are waiting—because they have to—until after the Super Bowl in two weeks before they hire their next head coach, which is fully expected to be Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, a Guy Who Knows Sean McVay.

Taylor has no head coaching or even coordinating experience, so Cincinnati could also be looking at being in Del Rio as somebody whom the young man could lean upon if necessary. The 55 year old has spent 12 years in the NFL as a head coach and another four as a coordinator, plus five years prior to that in lesser roles.

Del Rio was let go by the Raiders following the 2017 season as they plotted to reunite with Jon Gruden, whom they once traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signing him to a 10-year, $100 million contract. They had to buy Del Rio out.

He ended up sitting out the 2018 season, not working for any organization, but he was still being paid by the Raiders. Oakland will still be paying him in 2019, but Del Rio is said to want to return to coaching this season, and Cincinnati would be a sensible destination.

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