After the hiring of former offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, the Cincinnati Bengals are going to be searching for a new coach to steer the ship offensively. Like everyone in this world, Callahan did a lot of things very well but also had some glaring weaknesses. In order for this offense to bounce back after a somewhat diminished season where they finished 22nd in the NFL in total yardage, they will need to figure out who to bring in as offensive coordinator.
Cincinnati Bengals Bring Seahawks Offensive Coordinator in for Interview
On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Cincinnati director of player personnel Duke Tobin had conducted an interview for the now vacant offensive coordinator position with Seattle Seahawks former offensive line coach Andy Dickerson. Dickerson was employed under the command of head coach Pete Carroll before Carroll was relieved of his head coaching responsibilities and moved to a front office position.
While he may not be a splashy name, Dickerson has been an NFL coach for twenty years and has slowly worked his way up to being the offensive line coach in Seattle. He currently served as the run game coordinator in Seattle in 2021 and prior to that he was the assistant offensive line coach for the St. Louis and then Los Angeles Rams from 2012 to 2020. If hired, Dickerson would fulfill the trend of Head Coach Zac Taylor hiring connections he’s made from his past as Taylor and Dickerson both served on the Rams staff when Taylor was the assistant wide receivers coach and then quarterback coach in 2017 and 2018.
The most notable part of this interview is that it potentially marks a desired shift to more of a focus on the rushing attack from the Cincinnati front office. While Dickerson was the offensive line coach in Seattle, he was able to develop a group of young, inexperienced offensive linemen including first round pick Charles Cross and Damien Lewis into being a solid run blocking team. While the team was among the worst rushing teams last season, it was primarily due to a lack of emphasis from the front office on maintaining the offensive line than due to Dickerson.
While Cincinnati has built a dominant passing attack behind quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, there has certainly been an emphasis over the past two seasons on attempting to instill a running game to balance out the offense more. While that hasn’t been completely effective, the talent is certainly there now as Cincinnati has finally found a compliment to franchise running back Joe Mixon after the team drafted explosive back Chase Brown in the fifth round of last years draft. Callahan may have been a successful coach but his most significant short coming in Cincinnati was the failure of the rushing attack.
Rooney Rule Component
There has been major speculation this offseason that Cincinnati quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher was the heir apparent if Callahan were to leave for a head coaching position. While I am actually more excited about the prospect of brining in Dickerson, the Rooney Rule dictates that the team must at least interview two minority coaches before they can make a decision and it is possible that Dickerson could just be filling that requirement for the team.
While I stand by the opinion that teams mindlessly interviewing minority coaches with no intention of hiring them is a disgusting act, it certainly does still happen in the NFL. I have to believe (or at least want to) that the team is actually doing their due diligence and interviews Dickerson with an open mind as an offensive mind with a scheme that is completely alien to what Cincinnati has run over the past few seasons. After all, Cincinnati was one of few teams to have an African-American head coach only five short years ago when they had elite defensive mind Marvin Lewis.
There are a few sides to the coin with Pitcher having both familiarity with the coaches and continuity with the scheme (Pitcher will most likely run the same offense that Callahan has run). Dickerson would provide the team with a fresh outlook on offense that could propel the team to a whole new level. After all, they don’t really need an elite passing coach when Burrow can essentially take care of that side of the offense on his own.
Realistically, the team will probably hire Pitcher as this has been one of the most conservative ownership groups in the National Football League over the course of their tenure and Pitcher certainly provides the least amount of change from the past few seasons. Dickerson would provide Cincinnati with a fresh face to reinvigorate the offense and introduce a new perspective to a unit that has lacked imagination for the past few seasons.
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