Bengals defense excels by keeping it simple

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The AFC North has a lockdown on the league’s top rankings in yards allowed on defense.

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Baltimore top the overall list.

The Bengals are the big surprise of that group, especially after losing key personnel like Johnathan Joseph in the offseason. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer attributes the success in part to scaling back things because of the lockout.

“I called Bill Parcells and Chuck Fairbanks in the offseason, and we talked about how to catch up, since I figured we’d be so far behind,” defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer told Albert Breer of this week. “Those guys have been through camps without OTAs and that sort of thing, and one thing they told me is that if you try to put everything in, you’ll have a big mess and the players will be confused. So we went slow, putting in one coverage and one or two base pressures a day through camp.”

This approach is similar to the one Bill Belichick took in New England. He went with a 4-3 base defense this year in part because it would be easier to teach the basics with fewer practices.

The Bengals approach has worked better than in New England. Cincinnati has avoided the miscommunication mistakes that have plagued other groups.

“Basically, we’ve slowed it down so guys can play reckless,” Zimmer said.

The schedule gets much tougher after the bye week. The Bengals are 4-2 in part because they have played weak opponents.  Perhaps the fast start will give this Bengals team the confidence they can play with anyone, in large part because of Zimmer’s defense.

11 responses to “Bengals defense excels by keeping it simple

  1. Cincy’s defense is fast, aggressive and underrated. The offense is young and talented behind Dalton and Green. All they need is a RB and this team will be making noise in the AFC North for years to come.

  2. “I called Bill Parcells and Chuck Fairbanks in the offseason….”


    I wonder what retirement home he located them at?

  3. If they can run the ball (and they have yet to do so successfully) they will be a threat regardless of who they play. If they can’t, they won’t sniff the playoffs and probably won’t win more than 7 games.

    Regardless, they are playing much better than I hoped for.

  4. Chuck Fairbanks = 5th best coach in Patriots history. Should be higher; was robbed of a possible Super Bowl berth by the infamous (and bogus) roughing the passer call in the 1976 playoffs against da Raiders.

    It took 24 seasons for the Patriots to get their revenge…how you feeling about the ‘tuck rule’ Oakland, ha ha ha?

  5. This underappreciated defense is the only reason the team has a good record (so far). The last two games were won by defensive touchdowns. No big-talent media stars, just good old-fashioned teamwork. Fun to watch.

  6. Gonna be interesting to see if the bengals can keep Zimmer as a coordinator. I think they want him to replace Marvin at some point but he may have a lot of interest from other teams

  7. Marvin will finish out his current contract. Zim will take over as head coach and Marvin will move to the Front Office as GM..Mark it down.

  8. “Weak opponents”? It’s funny how the pundits say that now when they had them as the 32nd team in the league to start the season. How is there any weaker opponent then us? We ARE the weak opponent according to all in the media on Sep. 10th. Someones got some splainin to do…

  9. Just so ya know… Bengals D has only shown (purposefully) a glimpse of there blitz package.

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