The Cincinnati Bengals called off the dogs and shutdown the spotlights yesterday. They have their man. The team ended their search for a defensive coordinator when they announced they had hired New York Giants defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo as defensive coordinator. New Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has worked with Anarumo previously as parts of the Miami Dolphins coaching staff from 2012 to 2015.
Anarumo will be working from a low starting point with the Bengals. Last year the defence struggled after a good start to the season, in part because of injuries. Looking at the team rankings shows just how bad things were. Cincinnati ranked 32nd in total defence (413.6 yards allowed per game), 32nd against the pass (275.9 per game), 30th in points allowed (28.4 per game) and 29th against the run (137.8 yards per game).
The 52 year old Anarumo’s was considered by many to be one of the top candidates for the job. “I’ve always had great respect for Lou, and I know he is a tremendous defensive coach,” Taylor said in a statement released by the team. “He’s a great fit for what we want to build here in Cincinnati. Lou is an excellent communicator who the players will have great respect for, and he will get the best out of them.”
Anarumo has a long coaching background. Before his time with the Giants and Dolphins, Anarumo was a college coach from 1992-2011. Starting out his career as a coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (1992-94) he served as defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach. From 1995-2000 he held the role of assistant head coach at Harvard University. This was followed by stints as defensive backs coach at both Marshall University (2001-2003) and Purdue University (2004-2011).
Anarumo is no stranger to dealing with Pro Bowl talent, his secondary for the New York Giants featured Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins and former Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins. However, a season-long injury to rookie Sam Beal, the trade of starting cornerback Eli Apple and the Giants struggling pass rush saw the team rank 23rd in average passing yards per game (252.8) whilst allowing the thirteenth least passing touchdowns (24).
The Benefits of Being in Post Prior to Free Agency
Much has been made of the Bengals protracted search, so why is it so important to be set as a coaching staff even before free agency? Doing so allows Anarumo to communicate with the Bengals Scouts what he values at each position so that they can tune their free agent (and indeed draft) evaluations and rankings.
No doubt with this in mind the new coordinator confirmed that his team will keep the four-man front used under fired coach Marvin Lewis. “Like every team these days, we’ll be multiple,” Anarumo said. “Whether it be some four down or five down (linemen), I think that’s where the league is heading. We’ll get into all that as we get going. There are some guys around here that have made plays for a long time. There has been really good defence played here. I’m looking forward to meeting all of them and getting going.”
One of his first jobs will be to assist in the reclamation act of a woeful Bengals linebacking corp but with a lot of salary cap room and a top 15 draft pick the Bengals have the opportunity to be greatly improved on defense in 2019.
Albert Cesare – The Enquirer
Andrew Mills – NJ Advance Media