First Look at new Bengals Defensive Coordinator, Teryl Austin

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Cincinnati Bengals have signed former Lions Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin for the same position.

Austin had little success with the Lions after his first year with the team when they ranked second in the league in total defense. Since then, the team’s defense has yet to crack the top-15. This past season the Lions defense ranked 27th in the league.

Something worth noting is Austin’s history as a defensive backs/secondary coach. I’ll warn Bengals fans right now that it’s not that pretty.

Austin started off his NFL career as a secondary coach in Seattle where he ended up coaching for four unsuccessful seasons. The team failed to have a top-15 secondary under coach Austin and placed 27th, 23rd, and 25th in pass defense his first three years with the team. But in ’06 he managed to boost the Seahawks secondary to 16th in the league.

I guess that’s something worth noting? Probably not.

From 2007-2009 Austin’s train of unsuccessfulness continued. During those three years the Cardinals failed to even reach the top 20 in pass defense. Despite being the first Cardinals team to reach a Super Bowl in 2008, the team’s pass defense was ranked 22nd in the league that year. Ironically, giving up the infamous Santonio Holmes touchdown catch to deny the Cardinals their first Super Bowl.

Austin did end up finding some success when he coached for the Baltimore Ravens from 2011-2013. In his first season with the team, the Ravens secondary ranked 4th in the entire league. And, yet again, coached a secondary to another Super Bowl with the 2012 Ravens, despite them being ranked 17th in the league that season. But this time around his secondary (especially Jimmy Smith), actually saved his team from losing a Super Bowl in the final moments of the game.

The Bengals ranked 18th in the league in total defense this past season and eighth in pass defense. But they ranked 30th in run defense. The signing isn’t of any real significance. If anything, it’s a questionable signing. Austin is obviously a pass defensive-minded coach and the Bengals need someone to help adjust their run defense.

The Bengals will enter the off-season with the 13th highest cap space in the NFL. So perhaps the team intends to address some run-defensive needs in the draft and free agency. Although, the major concerns from their offense this past season makes you wonder which direction the Bengals front office will take.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Eric Himmelheber