Paul Guenther has been the linebackers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals since 2012. He is from Richboro, Pa. and from 1990-1993 he played LB at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, before becoming the schools head coach in 1997 (he was the youngest head coach in NCAA at the age of 25).
Prior to last season, according to this article http://www.psr-inc.net/bio_PaulGuenther.html):
Guenther worked…in a dual role, with defensive backs and special teams. He also worked closely with Zimmer on blitz techniques, and last season the Bengals ranked fifth in the NFL in sacks (45), up from 27 the previous year. Guenther had an expanded role last year in all aspects of the Bengals defensive strategy on passing downs.
"I like working with Zim because he’s so aggressive and likes to be on the cutting edge," Guenther says. "It’s important to understand the whole concept. What kind of routes are they running against the pressures? What are the protection schemes against the pressures we run? Get players to understand how they react as well."
There have been several media reports, including this one http://www.csnwashington.com/football-washington-redskins/talk/reports-skins-gruden-interested-talking-guenther, that suggest that new HC Jay Gruden would like to bring him on as defensive coordinator.
Why would he be a good choice?
Well….he’s not Jim Hasslet! Essentially I don’t necessarily have to come up with a better reason, but I will list a few.
- He has been under he tutelage or Marvin Lewis since Lewis was with the Redskins.
- He has been under the direct tutelage of Mike Zimmerman for roughly 9 years
- He believes in being aggressive and on the cutting edge from a defensive perspective
The last bullet point is the one that I think is most important about him. I get the sense that some fans long for the glory days of the Greg Blache 4-3 "bend, but don’t break" top 10 defenses of the past. However, I believe that with the wide-open spread offenses and mobile QB’s, sitting back and playing coverage simply won’t work. Defenses need to be able to contain the QB, but attack him up the middle (picture the approach the Cardinals used to shutdown Russell Wilson, or what you may see in the 49ers v. Panthers games). In addition, being cutting edge and giving QB’s (especially those who have yet to develop as pocket/progression QB’s) multiple different looks and disguises that they haven’t seen will present matchup problems.
The big question, especially with Jay Gruden wanting to stick with the 3-4, can he run a 3-4 defense? We shall see, if/when he does get hired, but again…he’s not Jim Hasslet and can’t be worse.