If you would have asked me when the season ended if the Bengals would have both coordinators back for next year, I would have called it 50-50. A coin flip. Even up.
Now, unless something crazy happens in the coming months, it seems that both Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer will be back on the Bengals sidelines in 2012. And that my friends is a huge win.
Gruden kept Andy Dalton from looking like a rookie in a season that was shortened by the lockout. He helped put A.J. Green in the Pro Bowl and has installed an offense that is productive if not eye-popping. And on the other side, Zimmer has done what has become his trademark. He’s produced a defense that is strong against the run and stingy when it seems to count, giving the team a chance to win in almost every game.
The fact that both men will return next year is a huge win. It provides consistency and continuity and should help the team make progress this offseason, both on the field and on the roster. Gruden and Zimmer both know what players they need to make each unit better. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their schemes. And they know what could make them even better.
Do not underestimate the importance of both guys being back with the team. It could be an advantage that leads to many more in the coming months.
It’s a huge win.
And as a Bengals fan, I’ll take as many as I can get.