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Tough but exciting moves for Guenther, Lippincott

Posted Jan 10, 2018

Before Paul Guenther went cross country, he took one of the longest walks off his life when he ventured to the corner office at Paul Brown Stadium to tell Bengals president Mike Brown he was leaving to join Jon Gruden in Oakland

 Paul Guenther helped develop Vontaze Burifct into a Pro Bowler.

Before Paul Guenther went cross country, he took one of the longest walks off his life when he ventured to the corner office at Paul Brown Stadium to tell Bengals president Mike Brown he was leaving to join Jon Gruden in Oakland

“That was tough. I owe a lot to Mike and the family. I became a coach there,” said Guenther Tuesday after all the pomp and circumstance associated with officially being named the Raiders defensive coordinator. “But I thought I had to get away and find out how somebody else did it and to get a shot at being a head coach.”

The Bengals replaced Guenther Monday with Lions coordinator Teryl Austin the day before he and Gruden even met the press. Head coach Marvin Lewis could announce three more hires by the end of the week at offensive line, quarterbacks, and secondary.

Guenther, 46, did it all at Paul Brown Stadium since he arrived in 2005. Advance scouting. Quality control. Assisting DBs. Assisting linebackers. Coaching linebackers. When Thomas Howard tore his ACL the Thursday before the third game in 2012 he made sure undrafted rookie Vontaze Burfict was ready to start on Sunday at WILL backer and at the end of the next season Burfict led the league in tackles and went to the Pro Bowl. And for the last four years as coordinator that included two post-season berths and a club scoring record in 2015.

“We’ve been in the same building for eight years,” said linebacker Vincent Rey, an undrafted special teamer that Guenther help develop into a key piece with 48 starts. “In 2013 when I began playing on defense he put me in great position to make plays with (two picks and four sacks). He’s a very smart guy. The one thing he taught was don’t let them score no matter what. That dropped off a little bit this year but that’s what was still driving us.”

The Bengals hit an unbelievable spate of injuries at linebacker this past season as well as facing the most snaps of any defense in the league while allowing the sixth fewest yards per play. The gritty Rey became the face of that in the regular-season finale in Baltimore when he was carted off the field with three different injures (back, elbow, ankle) and kept coming back during the 31-27 victory.

Rey also noted the man Guenther is taking with him as his linebackers coach, David Lippincott, a 10-year assistant that coached three years on offense before coming over to the defense where he impressed players and coaches alike in a variety of roles.

“I’m going to miss him,” Rey said. “He knew the defense inside and out he could explain it all to me.”

And that’s going to be the challenge for the players and coaches during the offseason. None of the players have had any other defensive system. But there are enough holdovers from Guenther’s staff that can make for a good transition. The man Lippincott assisted at linebackers, Jim Haslett returns, as does safeties coach Robert Livingston and defensive line coach Jacob Burney.

“Any familiarity is good,” Rey said. “I really like Coach Haslett. He’s a guy that’s played in the league and has helped my game. The only thing I know about (Austin) is that he’s from the Detroit Lions and he’s a good coach. At the end of the day, I’m doing whatever they ask so I can stay in the league.”

Guenther says taking Lippincott with him is a no-brainer as the first hire of his staff. He’ll need him to help teach the Bengals system to the Raiders.

“Lippy came up like I did as a scout, a quality control guy,” Guenther said. “He’s a hard-working guy who is smart and he can help me set the schedule and knows how I want things done. I believe in the system. I taught it to the (assistant) coaches a few years ago and that kind of re-invigorates you.”

But it’s still a tough move for both. All Guenther’s two sons know is Cincinnati. Lippincott is Cincinnati all the way out of Moeller High School.

“Mike made a strong offer to keep me,” Guenther said. “It was just time. Time to see how other people do it.”

 

 

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