CINCINNATI — Former Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been hired as the new defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, the team announced Monday. He replaces Paul Guenther, who is expected to take the same position with the Raiders.
The Bengals also announced that Bob Bicknell will coach the wide receivers, replacing James Urban, who will now coach quarterbacks for the Ravens. Bicknell, who spent last season at Baylor, was an assistant in the NFL from 2007-16.
Austin, 52, was with the Lions from 2014-17 as defensive coordinator under Jim Caldwell. He previously spent three seasons as the Ravens’ secondary coach.
“He is a bright and aggressive coach with a wealth of experience,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said in a news release. “I look forward to working alongside him to take full advantage of our talented defensive personnel.”
Austin was also pursued by the Raiders as a potential defensive backs coach and assistant head coach. He has interviewed for several head-coaching positions during the past few seasons and was considered as a potential candidate to replace Caldwell.
“It’s an honor to join the Bengals organization,” Austin said. “I look forward to leading an aggressive group of young men and helping them and the team achieve our goals.”
Under Austin, the Lions ranked second, 18th, 18th and 27th in total defense. He employs an aggressive style rooted in the 4-3 scheme. That defense, which relies on a strong pass rush, has proved to be boom or bust, as opponents completed 72.7 percent of their passes against the Lions. The unit finished third in takeaways in 2017.
The Bengals will make their first switch at defensive coordinator since 2014, when Guenther was promoted to the position after spending several seasons as an assistant. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer held the job for six seasons before Guenther.
The Bengals finished 22nd, 11th, 17th and 18th in total yards allowed under Guenther. They finished 11th in sacks and 16th in points allowed in 2017.
The coaching changes follow a new contract for Lewis, who will return as head coach in 2018 despite two straight losing seasons.